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20 February 2013

Kia’s Cross GT concept hints of an upcoming sporty SUV

Words by Hans Gerald Chua | Photos courtesy of Kia Motors America
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Crossovers and SUVs are quickly becoming the transport of choice for most people nowadays. They're easy to drive, versatile, and can practically do anything a sedan can, only better. As a matter of fact, manufacturers have begun turning them into luxury saloons and even supercars. And the latest to join in the fray of classy sporty crossovers is Kia, who recently came up with the Cross GT concept.
"The debut of the GT in 2011 heralded a new frontier for Kia, both from a design and a business perspective," noted Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors Corporation President and Global Chief of Design. "It beautifully illustrated to the world that the brand was ready to explore the possibility of perhaps one day offering a full-size rear-drive luxury saloon. The Cross GT, with its raised stance and large cargo area, allows us to envision the GT in the form of a full-size luxury crossover."
The Cross GT concept shares the same blood line with the Sorento, but is bigger by 21 cm in length and 12.5 cm in width. Overall height was chopped by 4 cm to give the concept a low roofline which always equates to “being sporty.” It's then equipped with dual rear-hinged doors for easy accesses to all four passengers, which complements the futuristic look. Yes, it's a strict four-seater with four matching buckets seats that are, by the way, anchored to the central tunnel to make them look like they're floating. There's also a multi-panel glass sunroof that looks like it was inspired by the Millennium Falcon. And of course, it wears Kia's signature “tiger nose” grill.
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Kia's design department decorated the interior with the finest materials they could get their hands on to stress just how “luxurious” this SUV is. Beautiful Almond-Terra-colored leather and re-harvested American Walnut are just some of the accents that decorate the Cross GT's surfaces. But don’t you worry, because its 100% eco-friendly. As for the HVAC and infotainment system, everything is easily controllable with its touch screen and central mouse interface. This lets the driver access the device menu without taking his hands off the wheel. Rear passengers, on the other hand, can enjoy internet access and infotainment options through two flat screen panels at the back.
Resting under the bonnet is a new 3.8 liter V6 hybrid that's accompanied by an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive. With the engine and electric motor working in unison, it spits out 400 horsepower and 678 Nm of torque - numbers which should put it within the range of the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, and BMW X5.
The Cross GT concept is definitely an SUV worth waiting for. Unfortunately, Kia stated that this concept is “purely conceptual,” even the hybrid powertrain. But as with all concepts, we're pretty sure that some of its design cues will find their way into production models in the near future.