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Kia Cross GT Concept Debut

A Head Turning Sorento?


Kia Research Click to hide

What's New

Kia has slowly evolved its brand and image from an econo-box non-entity, into a well-recognized automaker. Part of the transition is due to a dramatic evolution in the automaker's styling. Case in point: the Kia Cross GT Concept, which debuted to a curious crowd here in Chicago. Kia had kept the wraps pretty tightly on this one until just before the show, and we can see why. The Cross GT is an attention-getting, get-off-the-fence hate it or love it crossover. And maybe that's what Kia needs. Playing second fiddle to cousin Hyundai in the U.S., the automaker needs a vehicle that can generate excitement and sales the way the Kia Optima has.

Who It's For

Kia is primarily regarded as an economy brand, but the Korean automaker raised a few eyebrows recently, saying it had ambitions to become a player in the premium segment. The Kia Cross GT Concept is a clear move in that direction, and demonstrates a focal shifting point. Powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 and paired to an eight-speed transmission, the Cross GT is no slouch. And packing a little more engine heft means the price to own one could reach $40,000, if it comes with many of the premium amenities such as leather bucket seats, and infotainment screens for rear passengers as well. A little larger than the Kia Sorento, the automaker could replace the Sorento with the Cross GT; this would pit it against more premium competition, like the Cadillac SRX, and future Lincoln MKC.

Key Features

The Kia Cross GT Concept could usher in a new era of more premium offerings for the Korean automaker.
  • Powerful 3.8-liter V-6 engine
  • Advanced eight-speed automatic transmission could help with fuel economy
  • $40,000. If you offer a more premium vehicle, it's going to come at a premium price
  • Dramatic, head-turning, polarizing styling

What We Think

In the midst of a transition to a more premium market and brand image, Kia suddenly finds itself evolving, once again. And the shift to a more premium market can be seen in the Kia Cross GT Concept. Loaded with amenities not generally found on Kias, as well as a powerful 3.8-liter V-6 engine and advanced eight-speed automatic transmission, it's clear the automaker is coming out swinging. But it may be too early to tell whether the polarizing styling and higher price tag will be a winning combination for Kia.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: Chicago 2013

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