Kia Motors unveiled its latest concept car – the Kia Novo – today at the Seoul Motor Show 2015. Featuring bold, coupé-inspired styling and a minimalist, driver-focused cabin, the Kia Novo hints at the design direction for the brand’s next-generation compact vehicles.
Taking its name from the Latin ‘novatus’ (meaning renewed or refreshed), the Kia Novo concept is aimed at modern urbanites with stressful jobs and frantic schedules. Interpreted by Kia’s designers, the name ‘Novo’ represents the concept of making something new and fresh. The Novo establishes a calming, focused environment in which drivers can refresh and rejuvenate as they transition from one life commitment to the next.
Fittingly, ‘novatus’ also provides the origin of the English word, ‘innovation’, which the Novo concept brings to life with thoroughly innovative styling and high-tech interior features. The Kia Novo takes inspiration from classic, traditional craftsmanship and vehicle design, and reinterprets it for the 21st Century using modern materials and cutting-edge production techniques to create a sharp, dynamic body over a state-of-the-art powertrain.
Dramatic coupé-inspired exterior design
Designed at Kia’s state-of-the-art Namyang design center in Korea, and based on a specially-adapted version of the Cerato (Forte) platform, the Novo bears a coupé-inspired silhouette and unmistakeable Kia styling. The Novo’s minimal front overhangs, longer rear overhangs and fastback roofline, as well as a slim, long glass area, give it a raked, sporty profile.
The large front wheel arches lead directly into a strong, consistent shoulder line to meet the rear laser lamps, whose shape echoes those of the front for an identical light signature. The rear of the car uses prominent lines and low triangular exhausts to add greater width and volume to its shape and emphasize the car’s sportiness and on-road stability. Crisp lines surrounding the rear of the car ensure a high aerodynamic efficiency.
The Novo’s sharply creased bodywork gives the car a clean, modern appearance when viewed from the side, with strong lines on the doors, skirts and aluminum wing vents. Rear-hinged doors complete the car’s striking profile appearance, with slim, central pop-out door handles running level to the finely-sculpted aluminum door mirrors.
The Novo’s diamond-cut alloy wheels feature a similarly sharp design, made up of straight edges and two-tone carbon and silver finish. Completing the Novo’s thoroughly contemporary look are an aluminum rear roof line and two-tone silver and green paint finish.
Driver-oriented interior with minimalist design forms
Designed as a sanctuary from the frenzied outside world, the Kia Novo’s cabin is a relaxing space in which to temporarily escape the stresses and strains of modern life. Focused solely on the driver, the minimalist interior provides few distractions from the task of driving, while all occupants benefit from plenty of space, a result of the car’s long body and intelligent packaging.
The long, wide dashboard, whose sharp lines are embellished with the use of leather, stitching and aluminum highlights, is angled towards the driver. The instrument binnacle shows relevant information through a compact three-dimensional hologram display, while a ‘blind control’ touch pad next to the steering wheel allows drivers to control the car’s many functions without having to take their eyes off the road ahead. The touch pad incorporates a fingerprint scanner, which automatically sets up elements of the car according to the driver’s preferences, such as music selection, audio volume and the type of information displayed. A wide touchscreen in the center of the dash provides the car’s full range of functionality to occupants.
As well as the neat, simple design forms that make up the dashboard and center console, the interior’s four individual dark brown leather sports seats add to the minimalist ambience of the cabin, each made up of simple linear shapes and featuring built-in inertia reel seatbelts to minimize ‘cabin clutter’.
1.6-liter T-GDI engine mated with a new seven-speed DCT
The Novo is powered by the latest high-tech production Kia powertrain to match its dynamic looks. A 1.6-liter ‘Kappa’ turbo gasoline direct injection (T-GDI) engine has been paired with the brand’s seven speed DCT to power the front wheels. The result is decisive, sporty performance and impressive fuel economy for Kia’s latest show star.
The Kia Novo concept is fitted with innovative new ‘adaptive concave profile’ tires, with a sunken middle section between two contact points serving to cool the rubber and channel excess road water away from the wheels for greater grip. The unique 20-inch tires feature two slim contact points on the outer edges to provide lower rolling resistance and reduce road noise, while contributing to provide a high level of grip under cornering.
There are currently no plans to bring the Kia Novo concept to production, though Kia has a history of delivering production vehicles that bear a strong resemblance to concept vehicles that precede them. The Kia Novo concept provides a glimpse into Kia’s plans for its future compact car line-up.