With the reveal of a third new vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show today, Kia is firmly planting its flag in the Midwestern city. The 2013 Cross GT concept is a look into the future at a possible rear-wheel drive luxury crossover.
As its name implies, this vehicle is based on the GT concept that debuted in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. According to Kia’s press release, it’s meant to blur the lines between a gran turismo and a luxury crossover.
As with many concept vehicles these days, the Cross GT features a hybrid drivetrain. At the heart of the system is a familiar 3.8-liter V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Beyond that combination, Kia engineers sandwiched an electric motor between the engine and gearbox. All told this “parallel hybrid” powertrain delivers 400 horsepower with an earth-shattering 500 lb-ft of torque. Supposedly it can also deliver 20 miles of all-electric driving.
The Cross GT concept is rear-wheel-drive biased but it also features torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, perfect for slippery auto-show situations like driving on low-pile carpeting or parking on a turntable.
The car was penned at Kia’s design center in Irvine Calif.; The same studio that gave birth to the Track’ster, KV7 and Soul’ster concepts, to name a few. Its predecessor, the GT, was designed in Germany. And if you’re wondering, that color is called “Fusion Copper.”
For a little perspective, the Cross GT’s wheelbase is a lanky 122 inches. That stretches almost 16 inches past the Kia Sorento. This concept is also about 5 inches wider and 8 inches longer than the Sorento.
Suicide doors are slowly making a comeback, on concept cars at least, and the Cross GT prominently features them. These “rear-hinged” portals in modern parlance open wide for easy access to the second-row bucket seats and offer an unobstructed view of its snazzy interior. A multi-panel glass roof allows light to pour into the interior for an even more spacious feel.
In keeping with this hybrid’s earth-friendly demeanor, its seating surfaces are clad in leather that was tanned using vegetable oil and colored with natural dyes. Supposedly they were inspired by fine equestrian saddles. Reclaimed American walnut wood trim also adds to the premium look to the Cross GT’s cabin.
Will this stylish, brightly colored crossover ever make it into production? For now Kia is playing it cool, calling it a possible design direction they may explore in the future.
GALLERY: 2013 Kia Cross GT Concept
GALLERY: 2013 Kia Cross GT Concept Live Shots
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