Hybrid-Powered Kia Cross GT Concept CUV Unveiled At Chicago Auto Show

Yesterday Kia Motors America unveiled the Cross GT concept at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

According to Kia, the Cross GT seamlessly melds high technology with nature, creating a harmonious partnership between driver and vehicle that also respects our global environment.

While purely a concept, the Cross GT does reveal Kia’s intentions to potentially offer a larger premium CUV than the current Sorento.

“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 is based on Kia’s rear-drive GT-chassis and has short overhangs, a long wheelbase and an aggressively wide posture. But the Cross GT offers even greater visibility thanks to its taller stature and features all-wheel drive for improved performance and all-weather capability.

The Cross GT is powered by what Kia calls an efficient hybrid powertrain that looks to reduce the vehicle’s carbon footprint. Starting with the company’s 3.8-liter V6 hybrid, 8-speed automatic and torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive, the concept adds an evolution of Kia’s parallel hybrid system, a pancake-shaped electric motor sandwiched between the V6 and the transmission.

The electric motor is packaged under the rear floor.  Combined, the V6 and electric motor produce 500 pound-foot of torque and 400 horsepower, with an all-electric range of 20-miles – sufficient according to Kia to enable exhilarating performance, while delivering superior fuel economy and fuel efficiency.

While strictly a concept powertrain, Kia’s hybrid technology, combined with all-wheel drive are ideas that Kia said may one day find their way into a production vehicle.

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At 122.0 inches, the Cross GT’s wheelbase is longer than Sorento’s by 15.7 inches, and its overall length of 192.8 inches is 8.4 inches greater than the Sorento. Still compared to the Sorento, the 79.1-inch width is 4.9 inches wider, but the Cross GT’s overall height of 65.3 inches is actually 1.6 inches shorter, giving the concept a lower roofline than most large CUVs.

The Cross GT has dual rear-hinged doors, more commonly referred to as “suicide” doors.  The unique configuration allows for easy access to the rear bucket seats.

The cargo compartment is accessed through a “clam shell” design that incorporates a traditional glass hatch and a tailgate.