2015 Geneva Motor Show: 2016 Kia Optima previewed

Stunning Kia Sportspace concept points the way to the Korean brand’s next-generation Optima wagon

THE Sportspace is the star of Kia’s Geneva Motor Show stand, and previews the next-generation Optima wagon, sister car to the Hyundai Sonata, that will arrive in showrooms in late 2016 to take on the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6.

The concept car debuts an evolution of Kia’s trademark ‘tiger nose’ grille, with a more slimline appearance.

Senior Kia designer Alex Daniel told Wheels the Sportspace was more like an extended hatchback than a wagon.

“The main objective was to create a D-segment concept, an everyday car for the family with extra space and a car you can escape to the mountains in with your skis,” he told us.

“But it is not like a typical wagon, it is less bulky. We have a lot of plan shape on the rear of the vehicle, and the corners are pushed in, which pushes the D-pillar forward.”

“The rear is more horizontal than a shooting brake [wagon], so you don’t get the same trade-off in space as the roof tapers; it is more of a practical vehicle, but still with a very streamlined look.

“Currently we have two versions of the tiger nose on our production cars. On the Rio and Optima, for instance, it is more like a mask, but the Soul is more central and open. With this concept, we wanted to develop the mask theme.”

All of the exterior design apart from some small details – the LED headlights would require additional functionality to be road-legal – are viable for production, the radical four-seat interior less so, as is typical with concept cars.

Mirroring the current Optima, a range of transversely mounted four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will be offered when the production car debuts, driving the front wheels alone.

However, both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants will join the range at a later date.

Insiders would not be drawn on whether this might also lead to the introduction of all-wheel-drive to a Kia sedan.

The next-generation Optima will debut as a sedan at next month’s New York motor show.

The production version of the Sportspace will be launched at the Geneva show in 2016 and go on sale about six months later.

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