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Kia Sportspace will reach production
Kia has confirmed to TopGear.com that the rather pretty, Alfa-ish Sportspace concept will enter production within the next 18 months.
Speaking at the Geneva motor show, where the Sportspace concept made its worldwide debut, a Kia spokesperson confirmed that plans are already afoot to build what is basically an Optima wagon.
It’s all part of the South Korean giant’s plans to move the brand into a sportier, more performance-led direction, something that this estate car could help spearhead.
Michael Cole, CEO for Kia Motors Europe, admitted to TopGear.com that “[Kia] wants to enter segments that we’re not in to support our growth. In Europe particularly the D-segment wagon is a volume segment, so it’s worth going for.
“Here we’ve created a car that’s not such a conventional load lugger, but something that’s got real style,” he added.
The concept Sportspace is powered by a version of the Optima T-Hybrid’s diesel-electric setup - a 170bhp arrangement incorporating a 1.7-litre diesel engine with a turbo, electric booster, and temporary AWD - but Cole didn’t rule out future versions with a bit more oomph.
“A performance version would probably be a step much further down the line,” he said, “but we believe we are in a good progression to position the brand as a sporty, innovative company with great design. If you look at that Sportspace concept, you can see how you can have a performance version.”
There’s a potential four-door super saloon in the offing, too; that twin-turbo, V6-engined GT concept that Kia confirmed for production a while back. “We get the new Optima this year,” Cole said. “Could we go to a wagon, and then from there a performance saloon? That would be a nice fit and product positioning for the Kia brand as part of our aspiration for the future.”
The car Top Gear wants to see - aside from the twin-turbo GT - is GT4 Stinger concept from last year, though that’s still a mighty way off, if at all. “It’s a lovely looking car,” said Cole, “but there are no plans to put it into production. We’ve got other things ahead of that.” Things like the GT line to help build awareness and ‘cascade’ some of the full-fat GT cars into lower models.
“I see Kia as sporty, modern, innovative and mainstream,” Cole told TG. “That’s the direction we’re moving in. There’s a very exciting three to four years ahead of us.”
So, a pretty estate, a performance saloon and more GT-line cars. And - fingers crossed - that GT4 Stinger. Reckon Kia will stick it to the big performance boys come 2020?