Kia teases new saloon concept

KIA saloon concept car.

Kia has teased the first image of a brand-new concept car due to be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The new saloon is the 11th concept model created by Kia’s European design studio in Germany, which has also produced models like the GT4 Stinger sports concept.

Featuring confident, powerful lines sweeping from the hallmark tiger-nose grille towards the car’s rear, Kia says that the new concept “embodies modern design and refined, understated energy”.

Kia has so far remained tight-lipped about the concept, but judging from the picture it looks closer to the design of a production car, rather than a full-blown concept design exercise.

As a result, this has led to speculation that the new concept could actually be hinting at the design direction for a new version of the Kia Optima saloon, which was last updated in 2013.

Premium design

It also looks distinctly premium in design, perhaps alluding to Kia’s ongoing efforts to shift its range upmarket and to offer an alternative to the German rivals which largely dominate the luxury sector.

While no official information has surfaced yet, it’s expected that the new Optima will indeed be far more upmarket compared with its predecessors, with a significantly altered design and spec list.

It’s expected that the new Optima will come with a plug-in hybrid option to rival Ford’s new hybrid Mondeo and also significantly boost its potential in the competitive fleet car segment.

As well as that, other rumours suggest that an all-electric version could also be on the way, along with a new estate tailored specifically to European tastes that could follow soon after the saloon.

The Geneva Motor Show will also see the debut of the new facelifted version of Kia’s Picanto city car, which has benefitted from a redesign and a host of new additions to its list of kit.

Its bold looks have been enhanced with reworked front and rear bumpers, while 14-inch alloy wheels are also available on the new model alongside an optional sport pack.

Interior features

On the inside, Kia has added new chrome features around the instrument panel and dashboard air vents, plus a new cloth upholstery pattern to further brighten its appeal to drivers.

New kit includes the latest version of Kia’s infotainment navigation system with a seven-inch display, plus cruise control and various interior colour packs with varying degrees of coloured faux leather.

The refreshed Picanto will also come with larger 241mm brakes than its predecessor to reduce stopping distances, while buyers now will have the option of getting even larger 252mm brakes.

Prices have yet to be announced for the updated Picanto, though it’s expected that more will be known upon its unveiling at Geneva, alongside Kia’s new concept.