IS THIS the best-looking mainstream wagon of 2015? Kia keeps producing better and better-looking cars and the new Kia Sportspace concept shows it's not sitting still. It's much more seductive than the Subaru Outback, more aggressive than the Mazda 6 wagon and makes the Skoda Octavia wagon look conservative.
Based on the forthcoming Optima – that’s the same architecture that’s been used for the new Hyundai Sonata and Tucson, and will also be the basis for the new Kia Sportage – the Sportspace previews the look of the new model due here in 2016.
Created by Kia’s European design studio, which is based in Frankfurt, Germany, the Sportspace is the work of Kia’s European head of design, Gregory Guillaume. Typical of both Kia president and designer Peter Schreyer and Guillaume’s style, the Sportspace has well-balanced proportions and an athletic stance. It leads with the signature ‘tiger-nose’ Kia front grille, but its muscular shoulders and rising, coupe-like side window line is like nothing we’ve seen on a Kia wagon before.
And despite being designed for space, Kia says it’s a four-seater, indicating that the brushed-aluminium look centre console in that bold cabin intersects the rear seat, too. The key here is the company’s description of the luggage area as ‘reasonable’.
“We set out to design a car that is a totally new breed of grand tourer – one for active people who need reasonable cargo space on the weekend, but don’t want to compromise moving around in style, comfort and with an element of sportiness,” says Guillaume.
The current Kia Optima has been on sale here since 2010 and is powered by a 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder. It shares the engine and underpinnings with the previous generation Hyundai Sonata, and is expected to use the same carryover 2.4-litre as the new Sonata, launched last week. Also joining the range will be the grunty 180kW/350m 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder that arrived with the latest Hyundai.
The Kia Sportspace will be unveiled at the 2015 Geneva motor show.