Kia KV7 Concept at 2011 Detroit Auto Show

  • Looks like: Something that delivers pizzas
  • Defining characteristics: A single gullwing rear door
  • Ridiculous features: Lounge-inspired passenger compartment
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Hopefully none

Kia says it is embracing the box with its KV7 concept. Instead of trying to make this minivan concept something other than a box shape, Kia took the functional design and tried to spruce it up. On the outside, this means LED lighting all the way around, including an LED strip of fog lights and pulsating LEDs on the turn signals that illuminate in the direction of the turn.

The KV7 is roughly the size of today’s current crop of minivans, though it's about 9 inches shorter bumper to bumper. The flat sides look clean, as they don't have swooping lines used in the redesigned Honda Odyssey or Nissan Quest. And the front of the KV7 is blunt, unlike the pointy nose of the new Toyota Sienna.

It is simply a box. It’s not particularly unique on the outside, except for the sweet gullwing door on passenger side only. Sure, the shape is functional and lends the most interior room, but if Kia plans to move this concept vehicle any closer to production, it could slap all the lights it wants on the outside, and I still wouldn't be convinced that families will embrace the box.

The dashboard is an electronic explosion, with all the controls illuminated in a glowing green. While the interior is a bit more unique, even for a concept, imagine taking an Ikea catalog and transplanting the most chill, laid-back pieces into a minivan. There’s a lounge-like atmosphere with a couch, swivel chairs and teak wood floors. The lounge is modernized with a “floating” tabletop computer in the back. The floating computer is like an old sit-down Pac-Man arcade machine whose innards have been replaced with an iPad or similar touch-screen device. I wasn't invited to play Angry Birds on it, though.

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