Design & Technology / Product

Kia N°3 : The first B-MPV you want to be seen in! March 30th, 2009

By Kia Design Center Europe

Creating a new concept car is the most exciting part of a designer’s job. Being involved in a project such as N°3 gives us a chance to live out our dreams for the future of Kia.

Kia N°3 is our interpretation of a fast growing segment here in Europe. As we started the N°3 project we were greatly inspired by the challenge to design the most attractive compact MPV.

– Top view of Kia N°3 shows a clear and wide panorama roof

It is clear form marketing data that the main motivations for purchasing this kind of car are rational and functional requirements. People buy compact MPVs because they need versatile space, and sadly emotional decisions often are much further down the list.

This is a problem for us as designers because we love to design things that evoke an emotional response. So we had to ask ourselves: “Do we “force” our customers because of utilitarian needs to drive cars in which they simply wouldn’t to be seen in?
Does functionality automatically imply “being dull & boring”?

We believe definitely No! This, we realized, was our chance to create a winner by combining the attributes of a great looking car, like attractive proportions, a dynamic profile and sophisticated interior, with all of the functionality, space and versatility typical of an MPV.

– The Concept Sketch of N°3

Simply managing to create an attractive and dynamic looking compact MPV is quite a design achievement in itself. To make this possible we worked a lot with the basic proportions of the package: N°3 has a very long wheelbase for its size, and sits on segment defying 19-inch rims. The car is also wider and lower than you would expect from a normal MPV. Looking at the rear of the car in particular reveals how wide it is and how planted it sits on the road, again a powerful stance not expected from this kind of package. The result is the great surface tension and very dynamic profile of N°3.
Something you might not expect from a compact MPV:

For our interior we wanted an element of surprise. We chose a striking combination of interior colours and textures inspired by high fashion sportswear. So inside you will find tactile mix of materials; from the high gloss white seat shells that support matt-gold and deeply ribbed upholstery, to the piano black speakers sitting on finely textured door surfaces. These themes are great in combination with the “Rockstar-grey” matt metallic exterior and it’s bold use of gloss white details.

– N°3′s interior inspired by sports wears

Once you sit in N°3 you will also be surprised by the feeling of space created by the diagonal panoramic roof. A truly full length feature that stretches from the bonnet right back to the tailgate spoiler. With so much light pouring in from the panoramic roof the golden seats even seem to glow in their ambience.

Another unique feature recognisable from both inside and out is the sun visor above the driver’s seat. Inspired by the helmets of astronauts and jet pilots, we created a sliding gold-chromed visor. Driven by solar sensors the golden visor will prevent you from being blinded.

– Your vision will be protected by N°3’s goggle-like sun visor

All these features make us believe: N°3 offers real “fun to drive” and it is the car you would like to be seen in.

And the people walking or driving by will recognize the new Kia N°3 at once by its highly distinctive “family face”. As a new interpretation of Kia´s signature grille we designed a slender version in high-gloss piano-black. When you start the engine an illuminated white contour line will make our signature grille even more eye-catching.

– The front view sketch of the N°3 concept shows Kia’s new family look
Kia N°3 is not just a flight of fancy. This concept is closely related to a new car that will be launched at the beginning of next year, and we are confident that consumers won’t be disappointed how close this dream car is to reality.

  • 20:17:39 UTC on July 20, 1969, as the lunar module settled on the surface Aldrin said, “Okay. Engine stop,” and Armstrong said, “Shutdown.” The first words Armstrong intentionally spoke to Mission Control and the world from the lunar surface were, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed”.

    Nice to see that pic of Buzz Aldrin there!

  • HyundaiSmoke

    We want this as the US Rio, or make this an Accent. Anything smaller would be too small for American Tastes. Leave your smaller number 2 concept you will show one day in Europe please.

  • dicer

    can you tell me something about the inner dimensions of the launched version of this car.
    is its size similar to volkswagen – touran or similar to opel – meriva here in europe?

    will be there a MPV in the future similar to volkswagen – touran?

  • Colin


    Well, this is too early to tell the specific dimensions of Kia N°3.
    Comparing to VW’s Touran, Kia N°3 has roomier leg room. I can only tell you this now. Sorry.

    Of course there is a MPV similar to VW’s Touran. It’s Carense/Rondo.
    Please check out our web site’s showroom:

    Thank you!

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