The Kia Novo concept, unveiled at the 2015 Seoul motor show, hints at the future of Kia’s design and strategy. Targeting modern urbanites with stressful jobs and frantic schedules, the concept is a bold four-door sedan with a tapered roofline and a driver-focused cabin.
The name ‘Novo’ represents the concept of making something new and fresh, as interpreted by Kia’s designers. Derived from the Latin word ‘novatus’, the Novo concept 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 through its design and high-tech interior features. The Kia Novo takes inspiration from classic, traditional craftsmanship and vehicle design, and reinterprets it using modern materials and cutting-edge production techniques.
Novo’s coupé-inspired exterior
Designed at Kia’s Namyang design center in Korea, on a specially-adapted version of Kia’s C-segment global platform, the Novo has a coupé-inspired silhouette. The Novo’s minimal front overhangs, longer rear overhangs and fastback roofline, as well as a slim, long DLO, gives it a raked, sporty profile.
The smooth, geometric design of the car’s shape is blended with a series of sharp, decisive lines and forms around the body. The front of the Novo sports the latest interpretation of Kia’s hallmark ‘tiger-nose’ grille, now wider and more deeply embedded, and slim, new laser headlamps. Low, wide air intakes house additional laser headlamps, which frame the Novo’s bold face, emphasize its low, wide stance and give the car a unique lighting signature.
The large front wheelarches 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 profile, 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 roofline and two-tone silver and green paint finish.
Minimalist, driver-oriented interior
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 IP, whose sharp lines are embellished with the use of leather 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 touchpad also 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 displays 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 ambiance of the cabin, each made up of simple linear shapes and featuring built-in inertia reel seatbelts to minimize ‘cabin clutter’.
The Kia Novo concept is a bold and fresh take on the carmaker’s design identity, established by Peter Schreyer, and an interesting preview of what is likely to become another model in the Korean company’s strong vehicle lineup.