In the flashy explosion of interpretations that marks the crossover universe, by now the dominant type of car, it is always nice to encounter proposals that germinated within a less orthodox creative process. On that note, Grégory Guillaume, head of design for Kia, has a story that stems from a while ago: “When we began to design the current Ceed hatchback, we thought that a sporty three-door version would be introduced to the range, as had happened for a previous model.”
“Then we realised, quite suddenly, that cars without rear doors did not meet with the same appreciation that they used to, so the manufacturing plans changed quickly. At the same time, however, the image of the brand gained in dynamism: we definitely couldn’t imagine renouncing the idea of a seductive and powerful version. The challenge began at that point for us designers.”
The intriguing research into a concept that could reinvent a formula that was in decline, spurred us to choose two ideas that could stand out from the others: a peculiar shooting brake with five doors, which became the Proceed, and a high ground but high spirited and vivacious vehicle. The latter, which was also promising enough to receive the directors’ approval, has, today, become the XCeed. “At the beginning it almost seemed as though the family of compact cars would have to comprise one unit less, but, in the end, it had one more.”
“This peculiar gestation changed everything. If we had begun by designing a simple crossover for families, the definitive product would have been fairly different. The need to substitute a model that could, without any hesitation, be defined as “sporty” spurred us to conceive of the style in a way that was quite a bit more expressive.”
The passenger compartment is another obvious manifestation of such tension towards a renewed qualitative research: the dashboard is, in fact, new. Although apparently similar to that of its sisters, it is enhanced with even more advanced commands and dares a chromatic approach that is very assertive, playing on contrasting details. It almost seems as though the crossover qualification, today, leads designers to generate solutions that are especially satisfying and elegant.
The spaces, in the end, shouldn’t disappoint with respect to rival, and more distinct, external features: “Despite the surfaces that are rich in curves and the rather wide gauges, which make the roof seem narrow, the internal width is almost identical to that of the other Ceeds, including the wagon. Mums and Dads won’t find anything to object to here,” Guillaume concludes with a smile.
(Full article in A&D no. 238)