Kia KCV4 Mojave Concept
Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) has rapidly expanded its product line-up in North America into several new segments, including the midsize SUV, large sedan and minivan categories, but today at the Chicago International Auto Show, the fastest-growing Korean car company held a world premier for something entirely different -- a concept mid-size pick-up truck dubbed the KCV4 “Mojave.”
The first pick-up truck -- concept or production -- Kia has ever shown in the United States, the Mojave is specifically designed to meet the needs and tastes of North American consumers. However, due to the fact that KMC does not have a suitable manufacturing location to build a truck for North America, there are no production plans at this time.
“The idea behind the Mojave project was to take advantage of Kia’s research and development resources and create a concept vehicle that is closely aligned with Kia’s positioning in North America,” said Peter M. Butterfield, president and CEO of Kia Motors America. “Despite the fact that we do not currently have a factory with the capacity, or the location, to manufacture this truck, the Mojave is an outstanding example of what Kia is capable of delivering, and will allow us to conduct consumer research at the Chicago International Auto Show to gauge consumers’ reactions.”
The Mojave was designed at the Kia/Hyundai Research & Design Center in NamYang, South Korea, under the direction of Lee Jae-Rim, Designer and Senior Research Engineer on the Advanced Design Team at Nam Yang.
“Our design objectives for the Mojave were unique in that we attempted to combine a forward-thinking cabin with an advanced, open and modern feel that would appeal to Generation Y consumers,” said Mr. Lee. “Alternately, the exterior design combines a more traditional exterior truck profile made up of simple, basic forms that clearly communicate the rugged capability of the vehicle.”
Sized between American compact and full-size trucks, the Mojave features a sporty two-plus-two cabin with front-facing rear seats. All seating positions are easily accessible via four center-opening doors. The absence of a B-pillar enhances ingress and egress, creating a large entryway into the vehicle.
Using aircraft design as their inspiration, Mojave’s design team created an interior space that is focused around the truck’s instrumentation, including a center stack with oversized graphics for quick visual reference to instruments and running conditions, as well as controls for entertainment features such as onboard navigation and trip computers that can accommodate an add-on DVD video system.
Continuing the aircraft theme, the Mojave’s cabin features very little wasted space, with enough storage for even the most active of lifestyles. The Mojave features a removable center console storage box that can be used to haul CDs or even cold drinks to the beach, and a built-in storage bin underneath the rear seat offers waterproof , concealed storage once the adventure is over. Even the rear doors feature angled, fold-out storage bins for the use of rear-seat passengers.
Combining its advanced interior look with first class materials, all four seats are upholstered in bleached tan leather, with brushed metal accents highlighting the instrument panel and door trim.
Mojave’s traditional, simple exterior was designed to convey the concept truck’s ruggedness and ability through its basic forms, which stand in stark contrast to the more progressive interior treatment. In keeping with Kia’s plans to gauge consumer reaction to the vehicle, the design team took great care to stay away from the typically overblown exterior styling common among concept vehicles to retain a “real world” appearance.
Whether it’s cruising around town or loading up a team of longboards for a weekend surfing expedition, the Mojave is designed to meet the every-day needs of its driver and passengers, while also serving as an excellent companion for even the most active of lifestyles.
A key design feature is the Mojave’s ability to stretch its rear bed into the passenger cabin at the touch of a button. After manually raising the rear glass and folding down the rear seats, the power-operated rear wall quickly slides forward to extend the bed from 71 inches to 86 inches in length -- enough room to fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood -- making even a larger-than-normal load from Home Depot easy to deliver. The extended bed position also provides built-in protection from forward-sliding cargo due to the design of the folded rear seat back.
Another thoughtful feature is a specially-designed tailgate that creates a flush extended load floor when folded flat, eliminating the gap between load-floor and dropped gate found in other pick-up trucks, and making the removal of heavy or rolling items much easier. The use of a “notched” tailgate, as well as distinct vertical LED brake lights and reverse lamps, provides the Mojave with one of the more unique rear fascias among pick-up trucks.
Extra storage space for smaller items is handled with the provision of storage spaces inside the truck bed behind each wheel well.
The Mojave was engineered and designed in alignment with Kia’s reputation for offering the highest-value vehicles in each segment where the company competes, as well as fulfilling segment-leading levels of quality and safety in the company’s newest generation of vehicles.
At 130 inches, the Mojave’s wheelbase is considerably longer than the Kia Sorento platform on which it is based. The concept truck boasts a 3.8-liter, DOHC 24-valve V6 putting out an estimated 280 horsepower, coupled with a 5-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission.
The fully-boxed ladder frame with nine cross members provides a rugged foundation for the body-on-frame vehicle, supported by double-wishbone, coil-over-shock front independent suspension, and a five-link rigid rear axle with coil springs and level-control. Front and rear suspensions are augmented by stabilizer bars and gas-pressure shocks.
The Mojave uses power-assisted rack and pinion steering that was engineered to be capable of working with a hydraulically-controlled rear steering system that would provide maximum maneuverability while parking (counter-steer), and additional stability during lane changes or in heavy cross winds on the highway (same-phase steer). When called on to stop, power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic brake force distribution (EBS) and brake assist help the driver come to a smooth, controlled stop. The final piece of the handling equation is an aggressive tire and wheel package that includes 20-inch sport tires on 20-inch machine-finished wheels.
The KCV IV was named “Mojave” for two reasons. Not only does the name represent the ruggedness and beauty of the spectacular American Southwest, it also represents the geographic location (Mojave Desert, near California City, CA) where Kia and Hyundai R & D are building a 4,300-acre, $50-million proving ground facility where the next generation Kia vehicles for the North American market will prove their mettle before receiving the final approvals for production.
“The Mojave represents a great opportunity for Kia to continue to affirm our commitment to the North American market,” said Peter Butterfield. “We continue to invest heavily in the U.S. and around the world to support the steady expansion of sales and market share for Kia globally, and we hope that by showcasing designs like the Mojave more people will become aware of, and interested in, the Kia brand.”
Source: Kia press