Kia KV7 concept car (2011) at the Detroit auto show

Published: 10 January 2011

Kia whisked the covers off the KV7 concept car at the 2011 Detroit auto show this afternoon.

These are the first official pictures of the KV7, a spectacular gullwing people carrier that's as bamboozling to look at as an adventurous Korean lunch to a westerner.

Kia's KV7: the background

The Kia KV7 is an SUV-MPV crossover, designed at Kia's Californian styling studio. As such, we shouldn't be surprised it has gullwing doors, tabletop copmuters and lounge seating built in.

The design team claim they're 'embracing the box' set by the chunky Kia Soul.
 
'From the outset, we felt the category was in need of an honest reassessment due to the fact that everyone seems so desperate to attach the word ‘sporty' to their MPV even though MPVs, at their very core, are simply a box,' said Tom Kearns, chief designer of Kia Motors America.

'Rather than reject the box we chose to celebrate it, just like we did with the Soul, and the result is a straightforward yet sophisticated vehicle that retains the functionality MPVs are known for and meets the changing and diverse needs of today's consumers.'

What about inside the new KV7?

The lounge-like interior opens up with a gullwing door on the passenger side. Not that we know that many lounges on 21 inch wheels, but there you go.

Interestingly, there are four swivelling captain's chairs, plus a rear 'mini-lounge' with a further three seats in this wi-fi enabled cabin. That's where the KV7 names comes from; it's a seven-seater.

Powering the KV7, which remains strictly a pie-in-the-sky concept at this stage according to officials in Detroit, is a 285bhp 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine from the US-spec Optima.

Mind you, at 4873mm long, could this just about be a more interesting way to replace the unloved Sedona full-size MPV?

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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