Eric Killorin

Fri Mar 15 2013 14:46:06 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

2013 Geneva Auto Show: Kia Provo Concept Wows the Crowds.

The Kia Provo Concept appears for the first time at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show.
The stunning Provo Concept is not slated for production, but it likely foreshadows future Kia designs.
Highlights include turbocharged hybrid power and a 1-piece carbon fiber dashboard.
If you're digging the Kia Provo Concept's sense of style, you're not alone. It's been one of the biggest hits at this year's Geneva Auto Show, flaunting a sleek yet muscular shape that puts the Kia brand in a whole new light.

Granted, Kia's styling has been a strong suit ever since former Audi designer Peter Schreyer came aboard a few years back. The current Optima, Sportage, Rio and Soul all boast cutting-edge looks.

But the Provo Concept clearly takes it up a notch. Slap a BMW badge on the Provo's nose and the crowds wouldn't question it for a second. The proportions are perfect on this car, and there's a confident crispness to it that recalls Schreyer's Audi days. The consensus seems to be that if Kia built this car, style-conscious car shoppers would be lined up out the showroom door.

Naturally, there are some details here that wouldn't make it to production. The carbon fiber exterior panels and dashboard would have to go, for example, and we doubt the aluminum toggle switches would make the grade. How about the active rear spoiler with adjustable airflow vents? Yeah, that's another one that would likely end up on the cutting room floor.

The Provo Concept's hybrid powertrain, on the other hand, seems pretty doable. The gas engine, a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, is already in service in the Veloster Turbo, and the dual-clutch automatic transmission could be derived from Hyundai's existing DCT. As for the electric motor that drives the rear wheels, well, it depends on how much Kia wants to charge -- but we don't doubt that they've got the requisite technology.

In short, this is a car that could be built. And we'll be very surprised if something like it doesn't end up hitting dealerships within the next few years, whether it's in the form of a redesigned Soul or an all-new model designed to make Kia's lineup a little more upscale.

What it means to you: For now, just enjoy the eye candy, and the fact that you're genuinely ogling a concept car from Kia. How times change, eh? One of the more notable storylines from the 2013 Geneva Auto Show is that Kia is really coming into its own.

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