A coupe-styled hatchback "designed for fun," the Kia Provo Concept makes its debut in Geneva infusing dramatic visual presence with a new take on hybrid power than reportedly points to the automaker's future vision for its B-segment expansion plans. How close a variant of this cheeky compact ever gets to becoming reality is still open to question, but there's no denying Kia's latest one-off is a serious head-turner.
Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer at Kia's European styling base in Frankfurt where the Provo Concept was born, says it was exclusively crafted with Euro tastes and conditions in mind, specifically to please city-based enthusiasts who seek to experience the joys of a long and winding open road. Finished in Storm Metal with Blood-Orange roof and accent panels set off by aluminum and carbon fiber bits, the Provo Concept embodies the most liberal interpretation of Kia cues seen to date.
Up front, the Provo's radical nose matches bold but functional sculpting with distinctive main lighting elements. Each lamp is consists of over 850 programmable LEDs that allow it to function as a high/low beam, DRL, ultra-bright race-style illumination or even a decorative display.
Moving on back, a wraparound windshield conceals the Provo Concept's A-pillars while its dynamic profile is highlighted by prominently flared fenderwells filled with 19-inch milled-alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 performance tires. Adding a final bit of drama to the mix, the Provo boasts an equally assertive tail treatment that includes a full-width rear lamp assembly that mimics the front light design and a functional diffuser that incorporates the dual exhaust outlets.
To properly match its high-spirited looks, Kia fitted the Provo Concept with a trick gas/electric all-wheel-drive hybrid package. The automaker's 1.6-liter turbocharged/direct-injected GDI 4-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 201 horsepower in this application drives the front wheels via Kia's first 7-speed DCT dual-clutch sequential automated transmission. At the rear, an electric motor that uses regenerative braking to help replenish its on-board battery pack can add up to another 44 ponies automatically or at the driver's request to increase the vehicle's responsiveness during hard cornering or full-throttle acceleration. The setup also permits the Provo to operate at low speeds in a pure EV mode.
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The noir-themed cabin in this radical Kia was designed to eliminate a conventional large center console and embraces a number of high-tech solutions to enhance functionality and user-friendliness. The carbon fiber dash features custom analog-look main gauges as part of a programmable digital display that can be configured in Normal, Cruise, Track and Entertainment modes using a console-mounted Multi-Media Interface controller. Covered in black diamond-quilted leather, the fixed-position front seat features a single-piece lower cushion with rotating individual backs to allow easier access to the Provo's modestly scaled aft quarters. A flat-bottom racing-style multifunction steering wheel with paddle-shift levers provides directional control while a power-adjustable column and pedal set can accommodate drivers of any size.
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