By on March 1, 2019

Last week, Kia teased a mystery concept bound for a Geneva Motor Show unveiling as a way to show off its consistently improving skills in automotive design. With a second batch of teaser photos cropping up on Thursday, it’s now abundantly clear the brand made no small effort to create a shining beacon of vehicular style. But it also happens to have more screens than the TSA, indicating that Kia willingly engaged in one of this year’s biggest concept car styling trends.

Truthfully, the display bandwagon probably left town in 2018 — about the time when Byton revealed a crossover at CES with a screen that literally replaced the entire dashboard, plus one mounted on the steering wheel for good measure. The company could be seen disappearing beyond the horizon, whipping its horses while other manufacturers attempted to catch up and climb aboard.

Now, Kia is holding the reins. And it’s laughing maniacally. 

There are key differences between Kia and Byton’s approach. The Chinese firm’s massive central display is clearly intended to be functional — Byton even said it intends to implement it on production vehicles. But Kia’s design is a purely creative pursuit, resulting in something equally beautiful and ridiculous.

The Korean company even called the setup “a humorous riposte to the industry’s current obsession with ever increasing dashboard screens.”

Eloquently insulting other brands and showcasing a sense of humor? You have our attention, Kia.

The concept features a 21 ultra high-resolution screens, synchronized together as they cascade across the dashboard. It’s very pretty, but also much easier to appreciate — as the automaker isn’t trying to convince us it’ll be the next option added to the Sportage or Rio’s order form.

As for the car itself, Kia said it will be an all-electric four-door passenger car with a massive glass roof that “draws together elements of a muscular sports utility vehicle, a sleek and athletic family saloon and a versatile and spacious crossover.” Sadly, the release was not devoid of the fluff that accompanies most concept vehicle announcements.

“Kia prides itself on its power to surprise, which is why we wanted to move away from the rational and focus on the emotional, and embrace a warmer and more human approach to electrification,” said Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe. “After all, electricity is found within every atom – it’s the energy that flows within us and around us on our planet. Harnessing its potential has propelled us from one innovation to the next.”

Rather than view Kia’s mystery concept as some progenitor of a specific model, we’re inclined to see it as a testbed for potential design choices that could gradually find their way into production models. The manufacturer wants to see what the public clings to and how receptive it might be to the choices made.

We’ll have a complete look at those decisions after Kia debuts its new concept on March 5th.

[Images: Kia]

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