Kia Cross GT is one tricked-out hybrid

Posted by Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling

Kia Motors, besides showing off the unique Superman themed Optima Hybrid at the ongoing 2013 Chicago Auto Show, also unveiled a hybrid crossover concept meant to hint at a new push the brand is trying to go in automotive design and luxury looks.

Dubbed the Cross GT, it isn’t necessarily something you’ll see in Kia dealerships tomorrow, though it does “signal one possible design direction” the automaker might go in the future.

The Cross GT from Kia makes use of a 3.8-liter V6 hybrid, 8-speed automatic and torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive. The hybrid technology is said to build upon Kia’s parallel hybrid system, a pancake-shaped electric motor sandwiched between the V6 and transmission. The electric motor, which is packaged under the rear floor, combines with the V6 to produce 500 lb.-ft. of torque and 400 horsepower, with an all-electric range of 20-miles.

This large, luxury crossover idea is based upon Kia’s existing GT chassis, with proportions similar to its rear-drive stablemate with short overhangs, a long wheelbase and an aggressively wide posture. Besides the previously mentioned all wheel drive through, the Cross GT offers up in difference as well greater visibility thanks to its taller stature.

Interesting design touches include a lower roofline than most large crossovers, an airy cabin, dual rear-hinged doors said to allow for easy access to the rear bucket seats, a cargo compartment accessed through a “clam shell” design that incorporates a traditional glass hatch and a tailgate and a multi-paneled sky light with hexagonal glass inserts.

On the inside, as with many other concepts we’ve seen over the years, Kia aims for a higher end look and feel through items like leather-covered bucket seats that “appear to float within the cabin” and use of re-harvested American Walnut across the instrument panel and 100 percent eco-friendly renewable wool felt throughout the vehicle.

There’s also access to its systems like HVAC, telematics and entertainment, through touch screen and central mouse control technology that’s said to keep the driver’s hands on the wheel at all times.

Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling