April 1, 2008 Concept cars tend to fall into two categories - there's the blue-sky, "probably wont happen" variety that push the boundaries of automotive design and thinking, then there's the more conservative, practical flavor that provide a firm indication of the advancements we are likely to see on the showroom floor in the not too distant future. Kia Motors Corporation's KOUP is the latter, and by the looks of the car, the company's future design direction appears pretty slick.
Out of the Kia Motors America Design Center in Irvine, California, and debuted at the 2008 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), the Kia KOUP's aggressive exterior lines are backed by a 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged engine equipped with a GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) twin scroll turbocharger that puts out 290 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque between 2,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm.
The car's low, muscular stance is enhanced by the use of prominent wheel flares, short overhangs and a wedge shaped profile. The chin spoiler, cowl panel, side-view mirrors, rear bumper insert and rear diffuser all feature carbon fiber enhancements, with carbon fiber and black chrome enhanced LED lamp lenses, twin panoramic-view glass roof panels and open design wheels that reveal the Brembo® calipers and cross-drilled rotors adding further impact to the exterior design.
The KOUP's interior features an inward leaning dashboard and race-inspired steering wheel in front of a three-gauge instrument cluster and steering column-mounted paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission. Telematics includes a Bluetooth-enabled navigation system and entertainment is delivered via an eight speaker system including large rear deck speakers matched to a juke box audio system.
Power and efficiency is boosted by the GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) system which injects fuel directly into the cylinder under high pressure. This is designed to cool the intake charge and improve combustion behavior to deliver better fuel economy and low emissions.
The front-wheel-drive Concept also boasts superior handling through an engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system and the use of Continuous Damping Control (CDC) for quick movements and sharp turns paired with a sport-tuned, four-wheel independent suspension and strut tower bar for tighter grip during more spirited driving.
Safety highlights include six standard airbags, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), plus adaptive front lighting and cruise control.
"The Kia KOUP concept represents the future of the Kia brand and its dynamic vehicles that speak to our core philosophies," said Tom Kearns, chief designer of Kia Motors America (KMA). "Kia strives to appeal to the emotional side of car enthusiasts who seek adventure and want to take a leap into the future with style and advanced technology, and the KOUP effectively delivers."