2013 Kia CUB Concept Is Retro-Futurist Hatch With Surfacing and Stance To Best Even MINI Cooper

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Here is a real charmer of a concept – one that shows what the aesthetic of the Soul might look like in a traditional five-door hatchback.

The retro portion of the design is in the low hood and steep windshield glass, while the futurist element comes with the lack of gaudy chrome detailing or a big grille up front. Rounding takes over in the front corner vents and the smooth flow of the rear canopy and hatch region. A shark-fin element appears in three-dimensional relief in the front door panel, while the rear glass incorporates a CHMSL LED as its tailgate spoiler.

These are hard ideas to reconcile in one vehicle’s design – but the Kia CUB concept nails it. Very stylish.


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  • Global premiere of all-new CUB compact four-door coupe concept
  • Comfortable four-seater cabin appeals to trend-setting urban dwellers
  • Rearward-opening rear doors ensure excellent cabin access 

Kia Motors sprang a major surprise on visitors to the 9th Seoul International Motor Show today in Korea with the world premiere of its all-new ‘CUB’ concept.

Designed at the Kia headquarters studio in Seoul, under the direction of President and Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, the CUB is less than four metres long, has rearward-opening rear doors and an ‘access-all-areas’ interior concept without traditional B-pillars, providing excellent access to the luxuriously trimmed cabin.

“The new Kia CUB is a compact, four-door coupe created with a clear focus on driving performance and practicality,” comments Thomas Oh, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Corporation.  “Styled to appeal to trend-setting urban dwellers, the CUB features a comfortable four-seater cabin which generates an emotional, feel-good response and delivers everyday, real-world benefits.”

The exterior styling of the CUB highlights that it is both sleek and small, with a cheerful face and a daring character.  Design features created by Peter Schreyer for the 2007 Kia Kee 2+2 concept are revisited in a new form.  The CUB’s nose has a broad wrap-around ‘mouth’ and there is a ‘dip’ in the top of the windshield – a motif that is featured on Optima, Sportage and cee’d models.  The latest interpretation of grille is a shallower design incorporating the turbocharger’s air intake, highlighted in body colour.2013 Kia CUB Concept 9 2013 Kia CUB Concept 8 2013 Kia CUB Concept 7 2013 Kia CUB Concept 6 2013 Kia CUB Concept 22 2013 Kia CUB Concept 21 2013 Kia CUB Concept 20 2013 Kia CUB Concept 19 2013 Kia CUB Concept 12 2013 Kia CUB Concept 13 2013 Kia CUB Concept 14 2013 Kia CUB Concept 15 2013 Kia CUB Concept 16 2013 Kia CUB Concept 17 2013 Kia CUB Concept 18

The headlamps feature two-point LED lights – similar to those which first appeared on the Kia Quoris large flagship sedan last year.  Large 19-inch alloy wheels fill the wheelarches and the front doors have aerodynamic ‘turning-vanes’ at sill level to streamline and add definition the CUB’s flanks.

At the rear, LED tail lights complete the premium feel of the exterior and the nose treatment derived from Kia’s Kee concept car is replicated at the tail to accentuate the width of the vehicle.

The super-smooth exterior, with its flush glazing, minimum-drag wing mirrors and automatic touch-type door handles, promises ultra-low aerodynamic drag.  A two-colour paint finish with sporty stripe hints at the CUB’s high-performance potential, while the car’s broad track gives it an imposing stance.

Four-seater luxury cabin

With four individual seats, the CUB’s interior presents a unique ambience.  The cabin creates the sensation of a luxurious coupe and is trimmed in black leather with yellow colour accents around the seats, door armrests and steering wheel.

The instrument cluster design is inspired by the eyes of a wild animal. The centre-stack design is minimalist with an air vent controlled by touch sensor. For extra safety, the steering wheel rim is capable of monitoring the driver’s biorhythms.

As well as a steering-wheel, there is a DIS (Driving Information System) controller connected to a gesture camera which provides easier operation while driving. With well-defined motions, drivers can set up each menu on the centre display. Hinting at the high-performance nature of the CUB, there is a footrest provided in the front passenger footwell.

Turbocharged 204 ps engine

The CUB powertrain features a new version of the company’s 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct injection) engine – recently confirmed as the powerunit for the new Kia pro_cee’d GT and cee’d GT sold in Europe.

Fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharger and strengthened internal components, the new engine generates 51 per cent more power (204 ps) and 60 per cent more torque (265 Nm) than the regular 1.6-litre unit.  This engine enables both of Kia’s European GT models, with a six-speed manual transmission, to accelerate to 62mph in 7.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 143mph.

At present there are no plans to put the Kia CUB concept into volume production.2013 Kia CUB Concept gif