And Then Kia Showed Up and Saved the Luxury Station Wagon

Yes, that Kia.

September 13, 2017 9:00 am

When we handicapped the race to build the world’s best luxury station wagon earlier this year, we didn’t realize a darkhorse would be entering the field: Kia.

While the new Proceed concept may never go into production, it’s a sharp departure from the well-meaning but woefully unsexy models the South Korean marque is best known for. Whether Vice Chair Peter Scheyer (formerly of Audi’s design team) wants to call it an extended hatch (the official coined term), a shooting brake or sport CUV — we care not.

All we care is that it’s a bitchin’ little sport mobile.

kia (5 images)

Like most concepts, the Proceed packs some intriguing bells and whistles that go beyond your everyday tow package and infotainment options. The standard sporty LED lighting is accompanied by something the Korean maker calls a “Lumenline,” aka an illuminated outline of the car’s glasshouse that is meant to welcome the driver as he/she approaches the vehicle. It looks very cool. As does that Lava Red polish, which is the result of a weeklong process wherein 19 layers of paint are hand-applied to achieve a lustrous finish.

In the even more peculiar department, though, the Proceed has a “Memory Bank” integrated into the dashboard. This is a flush-mounted shelf that packs three distinct aromas. “There’s the warm musky smell of aged leather, the oily fragrance of a garage that’s home to a classic car, and the tang of high-octane motorsport fuel. Each of these three engraved flacons contains a scent synonymous with power, passion and performance; aromas that any petrolhead will instantly recognize,” says style lead Gregory Guillaume.

So while you’ll be driving a Kia, the olfactory sensation will make you feel more like you’re rolling in a Porsche 911 or Dodge Demon.

Not that the car doesn’t pack a serious puch … at least for an extended hatch. If it ever comes to fruition, the likely options will include everything from a European diesel to a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder source.

The future of the Proceed will hinge on two factors: Does Kia, a name synonymous with dependability and affordability, want to build a stealthy wagon? And, considering the price would substantially break the Kia median, will anyone actually buy it?

You can certainly count us in.

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