Automotive design was supposed to be the preserve of European carmakers. It was widely believed that while Asian manufacturers made excellent cars, they didn’t quite cut it as far as design went. None of them would ever become design classics, or inspire a trend. That was until Kia happened to the automotive world. The cars made by the young company not only offered great value, but they were also among the best-looking ones in the business. Here’s a look at some of their recent champions.
With those powerful haunches and rear-wheel-drive proportions, the Stinger is as good-looking as they come.
STINGER: ALL HAIL THE KING
The 1970s were a glorious era in the history of automobiles. The 1980s’ oil crisis was still a decade away, and the cars were big and fast and gloriously noisy. The ‘70s witnessed numerous GT or Gran Turismo classics that looked like a million bucks and swallowed large distances rapidly, even as they insulated their occupants from the world outside. The soul of the Kia Stinger, which was first showcased as a concept – the GT Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show – is directly influenced by these ’70s automotive icons. The world was impressed, but very few people thought that it would actually make it to production. But that was exactly what happened when the GT concept debuted as the Stinger in 2018. And so a car that was ‘all about the journey’ started its own journey. The Stinger is a looker, no doubt, and among the best-looking fastbacks out there at the moment.
Now while it is as muscular as they come – with those powerful haunches, rear-wheel drive proportions, and wide front and rear track – the Stinger is not just about good looks. The extended wheelbase delivers a spacious cabin, and has an elegantly taut and athletic stance – a far cry from your regular boy-racer machine. The Stinger has a drag coefficient of 0.30 Cd, and while it was developed across various places in the world, it emerged as a finished product, so to speak, at the legendary Nürburgring. Enough said.
SPORTAGE: ACING IN STYLE
Way back in the early 1990s, the Sportage proved that a capable, feature-packed SUV could also be exceptionally good-looking. Almost three decades and four generations later, in March last year, the Sportage reached five million in cumulative sales.
In March last year, the Sportage reached five million units in cumulative sales.
Recently, Kia showcased the 2020 Sportage at the Chicago Motor Show, and the world was wowed in the Windy City as it was all those years ago. Even a casual glance at the Sportage will tell you why it has managed to attract so much attention.
The Sportage is all about road presence. It has an air of confidence but is not over the top. The design language, which has always been very European, is all about sleek lines and dynamic curves. Then there is that unmistakable, distinctive face, with its trademark ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, which instantly announces the car as a Kia.
Although, the designers have tweaked the famous face a bit. The headlights, which once formed a single unit with the grille, are now larger and distinct from the ‘nose’. This gives the Sportage a broader face, but the sportiness is even more accentuated; that dynamism is also reflected from the side and the rear, thanks to the sloping roofline. And what’s not to like about those pronounced wheel arches and the sharp lines and creases? Horizontal lines also play their part at the rear, and highlight the car’s width. And that rear spoiler is a nice place for your eyes to rest after they’ve traversed the length of the car.
TELLURIDE: THE ADVENTURER
The Kia Telluride is a tribute to largeness and boldness. The Telluride, the largest Kia ever, pays homage to the original SUVs. The all-new 2020 Telluride, which made a splash recently at the Detroit Motor Show, is all about the outdoors and evokes a sense of adventure.
It looks the part, too. In fact, it was meant to. The hood is long and broad, and the grille wide. Its bold, stacked headlamps hint at power, and a clean side profile evokes muscular tension. Other highlights that elevate the Telluride’s design include inverted ‘L’ tail-lamps with LED stripes; elongated nameplates on the leading edge of the hood and liftgate, and a sculpted rear skid plate with integrated twin exhaust tips that give the viewer a hint of its off-road capabilities.
Like it is with all Kias, the Telluride has immense go to complement its show and is well-equipped to take you to places most vehicles won’t. For starters, how does a 291hp, 3.8-litre V6 sound? The Telluride’s active all-wheel-drive system distributes torque between the front and rear wheels after gauging road conditions and driver inputs.
The Telluride’s interior is plush and features both quality materials and tech goodies
The options list is long and tempting, right from a self-levelling rear suspension to the latest tech guardian angels. The Kia Telluride may have the capability to take on all kinds of terrain, but its cabin seems more plush than a palace. It’s got rich Nappa leather upholstery, simulated brushed metal and matte-finished wood interior hooks, heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats, and ceiling-mounted climate control, among others.
An interior design touch that is particularly memorable? Grab handles integrated into the centre console evoke the promise of adventure.
‘L’ tail-lamps and bold stacked headlamps hint at power.