If we want to see radical car designs, we can always trust the Koreans to give us that with their concept cars. Here we have the Kia Sportspace Concept wagon, which hints rather largely at how the fourth generation Kia Optima will look like. If the Sportspace is indeed the Optima’s new face, then it would be the first time the mid-size Korean sedan can be had in a wagon body, brawling in the arena alongside its sister company’s Hyundai i40 Tourer.
The Sportspace is 4,855 mm long, 1,870 mm wide, 1,425 mm tall and sits on a 2,840 mm-long wheelbase. Comparatively, the outgoing Kia Optima’s overall length is 10mm shorter, 40mm narrower, 30mm taller and a full 45mm shorter wheelbase that of the Sportspace. So expect better rear legroom space when the Sportspace makes it to production, although the concept only appears to accommodate four persons.
On the outside, the Sportspace’s front features the brand’s signature ‘Tiger nose’ grille with rotatable inlets, allowing greater air intake if need be. Profile-wise, Kia’s designers highlights the strong character line running along the body, visually connecting the front and rear. Its high beltline, shaped flanks and carbon fibre kick-plate exudes a sense of muscularity and athleticism.
The D-pillar is brought forward and is positioned to give the car a more hatchback-like rear door arrangement. Finished here in a shade of ‘Ignition Red’, the sporty wagon sits atop 20-inch 10-spoke wheels with carbon fibre inserts.
On the inside, the all-black cabin seats four, and the carbon fibre seats are hand woven ‘cuoio intrecciato’ wrapped with polished black leather. The dashboard appears to be simple, though it’s a very unlikely character when production begins. Other visually evident design cues include the sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel, intricate-looking user-customisable instrument clusters, huge infotainment screen with split-screen function that is operated via the console knob just below the gear lever.
Apparently, Kia’s removed the conventional rear view mirror, replacing it with a slim screen feeding continuous stream of visuals fed by the rear view camera. It’s unclear whether this feature will make it to production, but this author believes that the traditional electro-chromic rear view mirror does a better job at addressing long term reliability concerns.
Powering the Sportspace is Kia’s latest diesel-electric T-Hybrid system, featuring a lightweight 1.7-litre twincharged oil burner supported by an electric booster. The 48-volt booster increases low end torque and provides better acceleration for highway overtaking. The Sportspace can also be driven in all-electric mode, with Kia claiming that this T-Hybrid system is simpler and lighter than conventional hybrid-drive systems.
So, what do you think of the Optima wagon? Let us know what you think of the Sportspace concept in the comments section below!