Brian Joss –
KIA’s design team has swept the board yet again in the annual Red Dot Awards, picking up two ‘Red Dots’ for the outstanding product design of the KIA Soul EV and all-new KIA Sorento SUV.
The Red Dot Awards programme is one of the most highly-respected international design competitions in the world and celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
The jury – made up of design experts from a range of industries – awarded a ‘Winner’ and ‘Honourable Mention’ to the KIA Soul EV and KIA Sorento, respectively in recognition of their exceptional design details.
Ever since receiving its first award at this internationally-recognised design competition in 2009, KIA’s design-oriented products have been successful every single year. In total, 13 KIA models have now won a Red Dot award, in addition to many other design prizes.
These aren’t the first awards for the recently launched KIA Soul and flagship new-generation Sorento, both of which have been awarded coveted iF Design Awards in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The KIA Soul – the sister model to the EV electric version – also received a Red Dot Award in 2014.
“Our international design teams have every reason to be proud of the honours we have won at the 2015 Red Dot Awards, which show just how successful they have been in mastering the different design challenges of these two models,” said Peter Schreyer, president and chief design officer of KIA Motors Corporation and the Hyundai Motor Company.
“The third generation of the KIA Sorento has a subtly altered character and has made a great leap forward in quality. The new model combines a classic SUV spirit with a premium look that is particularly noticeable in the interior.
“The cabin of the KIA Soul EV also features exceptional material and design quality. When designing this car, the aim was to grasp the specific challenges of an electric car as a fresh opportunity, and our design team has achieved this brilliantly.”
The KIA Soul EV closely resembles the second generation Soul, which takes the bold look and the individuality of the urban crossover even further. The changes made to the electric version are particularly noticeable on the front: the dimensions of the lower air inlet are slightly flatter and the radiator grille has been replaced with a fascia that conceals the charging ports. The KIA Soul EV is also available with an exclusive, vibrant two-tone styling (featuring a roof in a different color).
The interior design follows the lead of the basic model but uses a distinctive design concept. The light, inviting cabin has a premium look and feel and boasts a number of technical innovations, ranging from an OLED (organic light emitting diode) display, to innovative energy saving features, such as the world’s first ‘driver only’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
The space-saving battery packaging – contained within the floor of the car – gives the 4 140 mm-long car an unusual amount of space compared with other electric cars of this size. Additionally, the 81 kW KIA Soul EV offers up to 212 km from a single charge.
The new KIA Sorento combines a lithe, elegant appearance with a powerful on-road presence. This dynamic appearance is further emphasized by its long body (4,780 mm) and a slightly lower roof line. The large, almost-vertical ‘tiger-nose’ grille adds to the car’s self-assured look, with robust under-body cladding at the front and rear underscoring its SUV character.
The new design of the KIA flagship was developed under the guidance of the KIA design team in Namyang, Korea, with the assistance of the KIA design centers in Frankfurt, Germany, and Irvine, California. The European design team was responsible for styling the elegant and luxurious interior.
The clear, modern design of the cabin is built around a series of wide, horizontal lines, emphasizing the spaciousness of the new SUV. The car, which is available with five or seven seats (depending on market), also provides an exceptional degree of versatility – offering buyers a sliding second row of seats and a luggage area capable of holding up to 1 732 litres
This year, 1 994 companies from 56 countries entered 4 925 new products for one of the highly coveted Red Dots.
The competition, which has been held since 1955 by the Design Centre of North Rhine-Westphalia, attaches great importance to the impartiality of its highly-respected jury: to avoid any bias, none of the jury members may be an employee of the manufacturing industry.
In the contest’s 60th year the international jury of freelance designers, professors and trade journalists from 25 countries featured major design thought-leaders, include designers Werner Aisslinger (Germany), Hans Ehrich (Sweden), Jimmy Choo (Malaysia), Hideshi Hamaguchi (Japan), Martin Darbyshire (United Kingdom) and Ken Okuyama (Japan). Products are judged according to criteria such as functionality, degree of innovation, ergonomics, formal quality and ecological compatibility.
The official presentation of the 2015 Red Dot Awards will take place on 29 June in Essen, Germany at the Aalto Theater, an opera house designed by Alvar Aalto.