Kia KV7 Concept

This is the 2011 Kia Optima.

This is the 2011 Kia Optima. A production car.

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Looks stylish, doesn’t it? Certainly not the sort of thing that one might ordinarily expect from what has heretofore been a “value brand,” which is a euphemistic way of saying—well, you know what it means.

Clearly, Kia is elevating its brand through design.

Further in that direction is a concept vehicle that it will be revealing at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January, the KV7:

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So far, Kia concept and Kia production vehicles have had a high level of visual affinity.

So if the past is prologue. . . .