Muscles its way into the crossover crowd
Kia Motors unveiled an all-new Kue crossover concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The V8-powered, all-wheel-drive, high performance Kue is designed to deliver an exhilarating drive, in and out of town, on- and off-road.
“In recent years Kia has instilled growing confidence and integrity in our customers’ minds with vehicles that provide quality, value and safety,” said Len Hunt, executive vice president and COO of Kia Motors America at the concept’s public debut. “Now the Kue embodies the next phase of our brand evolution, which will inspire pride and passion in our customers through its great design,” Hunt added.
The Kue employs a different approach to the crossover utility vehicle segment by taking elements of what makes a great Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) to a new level, namely performance. It is designed first and foremost as a driver’s vehicle. While possessing many SUV characteristics and capabilities, the Kue focuses more on giving the driver an exhilarating driving experience — on the open road and on the way to the DIY centre — rather than on how much it can carry.
Sitting on giant 22-inch diameter wheels the concept does, however, hint at future styling directions for Kia products.
“Good design shouldn’t look like you are trying too hard,” said Tom Kearns, chief designer. “The future Kia direction will incorporate the ‘less is more’ philosophy but still include a heavy dose of boldness to be distinct.”
Inside, the clean, athletic theme with bold understated simplicity is continued. With a four-seat layout and individual custom-built bucket seats, the Kue is a vehicle both driver and passengers can enjoy. A technology-driven interface designed to adjust to driver and passenger preference is the focus of the interior functions. Touch pad and motion-sensing controls are used to adjust systems such as audio and climate control. The entire touch-pad set up is programmable so that one surface may activate the stereo for one driver and temperature for another. Rear passengers have their own separate interface.
Functionality of the interior is complemented by the use of sophisticated seat and surface materials. Carefully selected materials and textures are vital elements of the interior design, creating a luxury feel that is both modern and inviting. A mid-dark interior theme with highlights was chosen in place of the typical light interior common to many concept cars.
Just as inviting is its appeal to be driven in a sporty fashion. Fitted with a 400 hp, supercharged 4.6-litre V8 engine, the Kue is a true high performance vehicle. Helping the driver harness all that power is a full-time all-wheel drive system yielding predictable driving characteristics both on- and off-road.