We’re not sure what passes for humour in their offices.
The Geneva motor show is largely considered to be the most prestigious event of its kind the world over, with manufacturers saving their latest & greatest debutants and show cars for the occasion. Some do it to signal intent, while others (like start-up brands) use it as a badge of honour, to be able to say that their cars were worthy of the hallowed halls of Geneva.
But when you’re Kia, the Korean marque that’s enjoyed immense success since its helm was given to Peter Schreyer (and subsequently Luc Donckerwolke), you could use the show as a way to show the light-hearted side of the Korean-founded German-staffed brand. Or at least, attempt to.
That leads us to the ‘Imagine by Kia,’ which is a concept car of such odd proportions & appeal that we can’t help but furrow our brows. For starters, the Korean company has decided that the way to keep saloon & hatchback appeal alive in the age of the crossover is to put them all together, and the ‘Imagine’ is the product of that unholy orgy. There’s also solid acrylic in its face (to hold up the floating main headlight units) and cut glass in the wheels, because tyres & glass have always gotten along swimmingly.
Inside is Kia’s most obvious try at humour (or so they claim) in the form of 21 ultra high-definition screens angled towards the driver, that cascade from the left edge of the dash to the right, which the company says presents itself as one seamless display when sat in the driver’s seat. Kia says it’s a “humorous & irreverent riposte to the on-going competition to see who can produce the car with the biggest screen.”
Well alright then Kia, but I’d rather have a Volvo Sensus screen, thank you.
Moving past that is the very peculiar steering wheel which, as well as the silk-trimmed seats. What we can appreciate is that the cabin bears a very minimalist look (save for those screens) that contrasts glaringly with the increasingly-complex cabins of modern cars. We also like the doors, with the rear ones rear-hinged, as they open up to reveal unobstructed access to the accommodation.
The ‘Imagine by Kia’ is very much a design concept, as evident by the brief mention that this is a zero-emissions vehicle that runs on electricity, and then nothing more. While the ‘Tiger Face’ look up front is a reinterpretation of the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille that Peter Schreyer made a design signature for Kia, the rest of the Imagine leaves us with more questions than answers.
Lay off the happy juice, alright? Or at the very least, don’t mix your liqueurs.