True concept cars are meant to inspire the imagination, to challenge convention, to be as original, daring and emotion-driven as an automobile can be.
At first glance, the Imagine by Kia Concept seems to fit the description. But while it’s definitely daring and fresh, blurring the lines between SUVs, sedans, and crossovers, it might as well be the first concept vehicle that trolls other carmakers.
Ever since Tesla slapped a giant 17-inch tablet on the dash of the Model S in 2012, automakers took notice and gradually implemented larger displays in their new vehicles.
Kia believes this trend has reached ridiculous proportions and its Geneva Motor Show design study is the company’s way of telling the industry how it feels about it. The concept features no fewer than 21 individual ultra-high resolution screens inside.
“These 21 incredibly thin screens are a humorous and irreverent riposte to the on-going competition between some automotive manufacturers to see who can produce the car with the biggest screen,” says Ralph Kluge, Kia Motors Europe’s general manager of interior design.
The displays are arranged like a deck of cards on the dash “in a layout that is at the same time both casual and coordinated,” according to the carmaker. Kudos to Kia for signaling other automakers that some of them have gone too far with the screen frenzy. Nevertheless, the screen-wall is highly functional, effectively creating a single unified display from the driver’s point of view. Isn’t Kia sending mixed messages here?
It’s underpinned by Kia’s first bespoke electric vehicle platform
As you can imagine, the Korean company didn’t go through the trouble of building a concept car just to tease other carmakers. In fact, Imagine by Kia brings forward “a more progressive Kia design language for the future.”
According to the carmaker, the concept features “intelligent reinterpretations of existing Kia motifs and a bodywork characterized by a blend of tautly-drawn sheet metal, crisp lines, and efficient aerodynamics.”
Penned by Kia’s European design center in Frankfurt, the study envisions a four-door all-electric C-segment model that features an airy and spacious interior. Obviously, we won’t see something like this on the road, but Imagine by Kia does hint at interior and exterior design elements that future production models could adopt — such as the “tiger mask” front light signature.
It’s a statement more than anything else, and the fact that Kia didn’t reveal much about the bespoke electric platform that underpins the concept only strengthens that impression. All the automaker said is the vehicle features a low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack that powers a compact drivetrain.