Thursday September 11, 2003
Kia used the Frankfurt Motor Show (September 11 - 21) for the world launch of its latest concept car and first four seat coupe/convertible- the KCV-III.
Designed at the Namyang R&D Centre, the KCV-III showcases new technologies and styling that will be part of Kia's future line-up including headlamps and windscreen wipers that switch-on automatically and an advanced cruise control system that incorporates radar as part of its safety features.
Aimed at customers aged between 20 and 30 (the "Y-generation" which is expected to make-up 20 % of total industry sales in the US by 2020), the multi-purpose KCV-III features a four-cylinder inline DOHC engine that displaces 2.0 litres and generates 145 ps (108 kW) at 6,000 rpm. Torque is a healthy 19.4 kgm (190 Nm).
The side view is dominated by massive 20-inch wheels, giving the KCV-III a low-slung appearance and the doors are angled down toward the front for a more dynamic look.
The roof folds down at the touch of a button and is composed of three panels of solar control glass so that you can still enjoy the view when the weather is unsuitable for driving with the top-down.
The rear takes its cue from high-performance sports cars and its rounded contours highlight the vehicle's aerodynamic styling.
Independent strut suspension at the front coupled with a torsion beam rear axle give the KCV-III reliable, responsive handling characteristics according to Kia.
Safety features include seat-integrated roll-bars and advanced airbags that sense whether the passenger seat is occupied before deploying and seatbelt sensors to detect whether or not a seatbelt is being worn. The active headrests move forward in the event of a collision to prevent whiplash injuries that are common even in minor accidents.
Special "soft spots" in the front bumpers and hood are designed to cushion the impact if the car were to hit a pedestrian and windscreen wipers recessed to avoid causing additional injury.
The KCV-III's electronic stability program (ESP) employs sensors to monitor each road wheel, the steering wheel angle, throttle position, acceleration and yaw and compares data on the intended direction of the car and the actual track of the car. When a potential skid is identified, the ESP "sees" the problem by constantly comparing the status of the car to a computer generated reference model based on the current situation.
This system is designed to correct driver errors and provide greater control in wet, icy or slippery conditions. The ESP is supplemented by a brake assist system that overrides the typical driver's inclination to brake too slowly or too late by increasing power to the brakes and bringing the car to a stop in the shortest possible distance.
In terms of driving the car, technology is used to ensure that both hands can be kept on the wheel for the maximum amount of time - headlamps and windscreen wipers are controlled automatically using sensors that monitor light levels and detect water on the windscreen.
The KCV-III's adaptive cruise control system uses a radar sensor to detect cars in front and automatically activate the brake. When the car in front is passed or moves aside, the cruise control system automatically resumes the previously set speed.
Another sensor to the rear of the car detects obstacles when the KCV-III is reversing and sounds an alarm in the cockpit to alert the driver.
The KCV-III also incorporates a mobile telematics system programmed via an in-dash DVD player that provides the driver with audible and visual cues, MP3 player and access to the vehicle is via a personal key card that contains an integrated circuit that both unlocks the doors and starts the engine.
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