Kia Cross GT live photos: 2013 Chicago Auto Show

The Kia Cross GT concept represents two things…one, where they want to go with their more premium offerings, and two, what future Kia CUVs will look like. This definitely isn’t your mother’s Borrego.

Speaking of the Borrego, it was perhaps to most ill-timed vehicle launch in automotive history. Mind you, it wasn’t a bad vehicle, having offered a tonne of kit and a great price, which are both Kia hallmarks. However, it introduced a body-on-frame RWD SUV at about the same time as the Great Gas Crisis of 2008…to coincide with the housing market crash just a few months earlier, and to precede the Great Recession of 2009. Needless to say, Borregos weren’t exactly flying off of the dealership lots, even with lots of money on the hood. Sadly, it only lived for one model year.

But this isn’t about failed product launches in the past, this is about premium CUVs in the future. If Kia was smart, and decided to build a flagship similar to this, they might have a hit on their hands. The design takes the current theme to the next level, capped off with the now-signature tiger grill. One particular design element that should die in a fire is the faux side vents. I don’t know of Kia got the memo, but Jaguar called and left a message saying that they were played out as of 2009. That being said, thee overall look is part Infiniti and part Chevrolet Traverse…but Kia has managed to pull it off. Compared to the current Sorento, the Cross GT is longer, lower, and wider. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kia go in this direction with the Sorento.

Going inside, Kia takes it up a notch with an interior swathed in real wood and leather. On the technology front, it also houses a buttonless touchscreen display, and rear passengers are treated to flatscreen monitors with internet access. No more worries about the kiddos being bored to death on long roadtrips…or people like me.

Under the bonnet, Kia displayed its version of what a hybrid system would look like in the possible flagship CUV. Taking the existing 3.8V6 and making it a hybrid will yield over 400 horsepower and 500 lb-ft. of torque, while having the ability to travel for up to 20 miles on a single electric charge. No fuel economy numbers were released, but hopefully Kia will get them right the first time.

Perhaps we’ll see some version of this concept in Kia’s lineup in the near future, but at least expect some of the exterior and interior features to find its way into some of their more uplevel models in the years to come. Kia’s come a long way from the days of the Sephia and Rio…

Photo Credit: Newspress

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