Chicago Auto Show: Kia unveils Cross GT Concept

Frequently, when automakers describe their new concept cars as “stunning,” we ask, “Whom are you trying to convince: us or you?” This time, however, we agree with Kia. The new Cross GT Concept CUV is really stunning.

Tugging at our car-loving heartstrings, Kia smartly bathed the new full-size CUV concept in a color called “Fusion Copper,” or as we like to refer to it: brown. After all, who can say no to a car with brown paint? Exactly.

The Cross GT was penned in the Kia Design Center America, and includes some of our favorite styling touches. Kia’s designers included rear suicide doors for “easy access to the rear bucket seats” and a rear clamshell tailgate. We know that neither of these features actually improve interior accessibility but rather just look awesome; hats off to Kia for including both.

Aside from its stunning lines, the Cross GT features some pretty cool tech, both under the hood and inside the cabin. Kia has placed a “state-of-the-art” 3.8-liter V6 hybrid drivetrain under the hood, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The eight-speed auto sends power to all four wheels through a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system.

Interestingly, the Cross GT hybrid system features a pancake-shaped electric motor, which has been wedged between the V6 and the automatic transmission. The battery pack powering the electric motor is located under the rear floor. All told, the Cross GT powertrain produces 400 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. When we asked James Hope, National Manager of Product Communications for Kia, about any production plans for the pancake hybrid, he said, “The drivetrain on the Cross GT is purely conceptual. While there are currently no plans to offer such a powertrain, we took our inspiration from the Optima hybrid, which paved the way for Kia to continue to explore this type of hybrid technology.”

Kia brags that drivers will be able to keep hands on the wheels at all times thanks to the central mouse control technology and easy-to-use touch screen. How a mouse or touch screen keeps a drivers hands on the wheel hasn’t been made clear. But we like the idea. In the back, rear passengers will be able to access the Internet and the onboard infotainment system through screens mounted in the headrests of the front seats.

We love this new full-size CUV concept. If put into production, the Cross GT would be positioned above the current Sorrento, and although the production version would most likely be watered down, we hope Kia takes our advice and builds it.

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