In opening up a class for compact crossovers, the Nissan Juke has unwittingly made it a requirement that any competing vehicle must scare the average child at fifty paces.

That's the best explanation we can come up with for the Kia Provo concept, due for unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show when it opens to the press tomorrow.

Like all concept cars, it's more a pointer to what might arrive in the future, than a definite preview of a new model--though we'd certainly welcome its 204-horsepower hybrid drivetrain in a future model.

Under the hood is a 1.6-liter turbocharged GDi gasoline engine, similar to that found in other Kia and Hyundai models.

Unlike those typical Kias and Hyundais, the Provo concept also features a rear-mounted electric motor, supplying 45 horses of extra power to the rear wheels when required--or propelling the vehicle entirely using electricity, at low speeds. The engine at the front sends its own power through Kia's first 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

At around 53 inches tall it's closer in stature to a regular hatchback than the similarly weird Juke, despite the Kia's chunky crossover styling.

The deep front airdam is hard to miss, particularly with its orange accents, replicated on the roof. An incredibly narrow version of Kia's signature "tiger nose" grille and a set of LED headlights round off the Provo's aggressive face.

There's a muscular rear end too, while inside there's a simple dashboard design, complete with turbine-style air vents, electronic dials, and a swooping single-piece seat for both driver and passenger.

To get around the single seat, it's the pedals and wheel which adjust for the driver--while the use of a dual-clutch auto gearbox, rather than a stick-shift manual, frees up the cabin floor.

Predictably, no performance or economy details have been released, but we're sure to find out more when the covers are pulled off during the Geneva Motor Show.


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