Mike Stevens | Jan 11, 2011

Kia, like its partner Hyundai, has a history of taking its concepts through to production with only minor changes - just look at the Soul, the Cerato Koup and the Korean-market No3 (Venga).

Of course, as with the bizarre Pop, Kee and Ray concepts, not all are called to take the next step. Where then does the new KV7 concept fit into Kia's future; the back lot, or the showroom?

For now, Kia isn't saying, but Kia America's design boss Tom Kearns believes the whole 'minivan' category needs a shakeup; and that's what his team set out to do with the KV7.

"From the outset, we felt the category was in need of an honest reassessment due to the fact that everyone seems so desperate to attach the word ‘sporty' to their minivan, even though vans, at their very core are simply a box," Kearns said.

"Rather than reject the box we chose to celebrate it, just like we did with the Soul, and the result is a straightforward yet sophisticated vehicle that retains the functionality vans are known for and meets the changing and diverse needs of today's consumers."

Giving it a wider and hot rod-like chopped look, the KV7 features shorter-than-usual roof pillars - a look enhanced by the long headlights and low-offset 20-inch wheels.

With the doors closed, the KV7 looks - depending on how you ask - either subtly stylish or a touch on the wrong side of boring. Pull the handles however, and the rear doors reach up into a Mercedes-like gullwing arrangement.

Inside, the KV7 is fitted out in a holiday-minded layout, including swivel seats all-round, and a lounging area in the rear with space for three.

Power for Kia's latest concept is provided by the company's 2.0 litre Theta II GDI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and although specific power figures have not been offered, Kia says the new engine can deliver up to 213kW.

While this concept's interior - and its gullwing door setup - is unlikely to join any potential leap to production, the KV7 is nonetheless a refreshing new take on the minivan/MPV segment.

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