During their press conference at the Detroit Auto Show this afternoon, Kia Motors of America Executive VP, Len Hunt, introduced new global design director Peter Schreyer (pictured) to the assembly. Mr. Schreyer then spoke about introducing more passion to KIA design to go along with the quality and value reputation that they have built up in recent years. He then proceeded to unveil a design concept called the Kue. The Kue is a scissor-doored four seat cross-over, sitting on a 114-inch wheelbase. The four, 22-inch wheels are driven by a supercharged 4.6L V-8 with 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. The engine is based on the one from an upcoming Hyundai premium sedan that has been referred to as the Equus although the production name will likely be different. The face of the Kue and some of the other design elements are indicators of what future Kia models will look like. Asked whether a vehicle of this type might appear in showrooms in the future, Kia America President BongGou Lee smiled and said "maybe".
The press release and specs are after the jump.
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KIA UNVEILS KUE CONCEPT AT
NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Crossover Concept Focuses on Sporty Driving and
Hints at Future Design Direction for Kia
IRVINE, Calif., January 8, 2007 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today during a press conference unveiled the all-new Kia Kue crossover concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The press conference also served as the official public debut in North America for Peter Schreyer, new global design chief of Kia Motors Corporation (KMC).
"We've instilled confidence and integrity in our consumer base with vehicles that provide value, quality and safety," said Len Hunt, executive vice president and COO of KMA. "Kue embodies the next phase of our brand evolution, which will instill pride and passion in our customers through great design."
The Kia Kue employs a different approach to the crossover utility vehicle segment by taking elements of what makes a CUV to a new level, namely performance. Kue is designed first and foremost as a driver's vehicle. While possessing SUV characteristics and capabilities, the Kia Kue focuses more on giving the driver an exhilarating driving experience on the way to the home improvement center than on how much it can haul.
The Kia Kue has a monocoque platform that sits on 22-inch tires with a wheelbase of more than 114 inches, packaged in an overall length of 186 inches. Though purely a concept, the Kia Kue does, however, hint at future styling directions for Kia Motors.
"Good design shouldn't look like you are trying too hard," said Tom Kearns, KMA chief designer. "The future Kia direction will incorporate the 'less is more' philosophy but still include a heavy dose of boldness to be distinct."
With its four wheels pushed to the corners and exterior skin tautly stretched over its underpinnings, the Kue sits powerful and poised. Draped muscular wheel flares play a nice contrast to crisp beveled sections found elsewhere on the body. Swept back headlights connect to the front grille to create a clean, aggressive down-road appearance. The side window shape flows effortlessly into the rear backlight where two centerline hinging doors open to access rear storage. A single side door that incorporates a negative skive shape opens scissor style for easy ingress and egress.
On the inside Kue continues the clean, athletic theme with bold understated simplicity. With a four-passenger seating arrangement and custom-built bucket seats, 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 functionality. Touch pad and motion-sensing controls are used to adjust things like audio and climate, and the entire system is programmable so that one surface may activate the stereo for one driver and temperature for another. Rear passengers have their own, separate interface.
The generation-next functionality of the interior is complemented by the use of sophisticated seat and surface materials and a modern color palette. Carefully selected materials and textures are vital components to the interior design of Kue, and they create an upscale 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. Overall, the Kue interior presents a new perspective of upscale function with an emphasis on comfortable, user-friendly interaction.
Just as inviting is Kue's appeal to be driven in a sporty fashion. Fitted with a 400-horsepower, DOHC, supercharged 4.6-liter V8 that twists out 400 lb-ft of torque, Kue is a true 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.
Developed by the KMA design team as an expression of Kia's global design language, the Kia Kue is a true reflection of the Kia brand and the passion it embraces.
Kia Motors America – the sales, marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corp. in Seoul, South Korea – offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 630 dealers throughout the United States. For more information visit www.kiamedia.com.
Kia Kue Features & Specifications
Length: 186 in. (4724mm)
Width: 79 in. (1929mm)
Height: 63 in. (1600mm)
Wheel base: 114.2 in. (2900mm)
Track F/R: 64.5/65 in. (1640/1652mm)
Wheels & Tires
Draped muscular wheel flares
Beveled side sections
Scissor-style side doors
Swept back headlights
Rear backlight with centerline hinging doors
Liquid metal paint scheme
Driver- and passenger-adjustable technology-driven interface
Programmable touch pad and motion-sensing controls
Mid dark interior theme with highlights
Sophisticated seat and surface materials and a modern color palette
4.6-liter, supercharged V8, 400hp 400 lb-ft torque
All-wheel drive (AWD)
Five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability
Adaptive cruise control