Depending upon where you live you might be tempted to call it a “shooting brake,” a “carryall,” a “depot car,” or even an “estate car.” For its part, Kia is calling the Proceed Concept its bringing to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month an “extended hatchback.” For our part we’d dub it a “station wagon,” and a stunning one, at that.
Kia isn’t saying exactly what it has in mind for the concept vehicle, whether it will replace or supplement a line of hatchbacks it has offered in Europe under names like the Cee’d and Procee’d. And, sadly, it is not revealing whether there might just be an opportunity to bring the Proceed Concept to the United States where the once popular wagon body style seems to finally be regaining a market toehold.
Like the new Kia Stinger, the Proceed is the sort of vehicle that will further enhance the reputation for cutting-edge styling for a brand that, barely a decade ago, was more commonly seen as the maker of boring econoboxes.
“Low, lean and lithe,” Kia says of the Proceed Concept, it is “characterized by its rakish roofline, muscular proportions and compact footprint.”
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The long hood of the compact five-door wagon gives the show car an almost rear-drive stance, enhanced by the steep rake of the windshield, the coupe-like flow of the roofline and the steep rear hatch.
The familiar Kia tiger-nose grille is more subdued than on the Stinger, but the overall appearance of the face is distinctively sporty, with what appears to be carbon fiber framing large air scoops on either side of the front fascia, and Lava Red wing-like strakes below the bumper. Slit-like LED headlamps and daytime running lights are accompanied by what the Korean carmaker describes as a “Luminline.”
That, it explains, is “an illuminated outline of the car’s glasshouse that greets drivers as they approach the car. This serves as a powerful nocturnal visual identifier for the Proceed Concept, highlighting its fastback shape.”
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From the side, one immediately spots the 20-inch wheels, bookending rising chromed accent lines and what again appears to be carbon fiber for the Proceed Concept’s sills and rockers. A closer look also reveals hidden, pop-out door handles, as well as the lack of B-pillars. The two advanced images Kia has released fail to show much of the back end, though it appears the back fascia takes on some sharp creases as it flows off the rear fenders. There also appear to be some more carbon fiber accents below the LED taillamps.
How close is the Kia Proceed Concept to production? We’d expect to see little if any carbon fiber in a production model, considering the cost of that still-exotic material. And the oversized wheels would likely shrink down by a few inches. But the overall look seems certain to carry over into a street model.
As for powertrains, there are likely to be a variety of alternatives, depending on market, starting with a turbocharged, 1.0-liter three-cylinder gas engine. A diesel would be a certainty for Europe, as well.
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What about the U.S.? That’s one of the big questions we’ll be asking next week about the Proceed, which was designed at Kia’s Frankfurt design studio. Until now, the old Procee’d didn’t make the jump to the States, but considering the striking looks of this show car it would be a disappointment if Kia didn’t find a way to make it across the Atlantic this time. It just might be the car to bring back the station wagon – or whatever you prefer to call it.