2014 Kia KX3 Concept
Kia’s surprising absence at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show caught some people by surprise. But as it turns out, those who were looking for Kia went to the wrong auto show. The Korean automaker did attend a show, and it even presented a new concept vehicle. But it wasn’t in LA; it was over 7,000 miles away in Guangzhou, China. Yes, Kia was in attendance at the 2014 Guangzhou Auto Show where it presented the KX3 Concept, a preview model for a C-segment SUV that will be exclusively sold in the Chinese market. On a slightly less obvious level, the KX3 Concept could also be a spiritual preview of the next-generation Kia Sportage that’s due out in 2015.
What appears certain is that the KX3 Concept will evolve into a production model in China as part of Kia’s joint venture with Dongfeng Yueda Kia (DYK). What’s less certain is how much influence the concept will have on the new Sportage.
Kia hasn’t said anything of note on the latter front, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if the new Sportage does utilize some of the KX3’s styling elements, especially with how the concept’s design has been well-received since making its auto show debut in Guangzhou.
Click past the jump to read more about the Kia KX3 Concept.
2014 Kia KX3 Concept
0-60 time:8 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:110 mph (Est.)
Measuring 167.71 inches long and 69.4 inches wide, the Kia KX3 Concept has the proportions to be considered as a preview look of the new Sportage, even though it is slightly shorter and narrower than the current Kia SUV.
The front end features a fresh design that, quite frankly, is a little more appealing than what we see now in the Sportage. Highlights include the angular, wraparound LED headlights that run up to the edges of the hood and the longer, chrome-wrapped tiger grille (taken from the Kia Soul) that stretches across the entire front section. The lower bumper does looks slightly subdued with the small intakes, the fog lamps with their own chrome borders, and the chrome-look body cladding.
One thing I don’t like is how the KX3 Concept’s round front section doesn’t jive with its muscular body. It’s a shame because the front takes a lot out of the concept’s otherwise pleasing athletic appearance. Hopefully, Kia addresses this once it starts building the production model.
|Length||4,260 MM (167.71 Inches)|
|Width||1,765 MM (69.48 Inches)|
|Height||1,630 MM (64.17 Inches)|
|Wheelbase||2,590 MM (101.96 Inches)|
|Cargo capacity||400-liter (14.13 cu. ft.)|
It’s been a while since we last saw an automaker resort to using heavy black tint on a concept’s windshield and windows. Kia did it with the KX3 Concept, though, so really, there’s no way of seeing what the innards of the concept looks like.
The showpiece model that was unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show also sported the same heavy black tinted windows so yeah, Kia doesn’t want to show us the cabin just yet. The only information the company said about the interior is that it’s going to have the "latest in-car connectivity technology" to go with a wide range of other options.
At this point, the only thing we can do is take Kia’s word for it, albeit with slightly raised eyebrows.
The lack of info on the cabin is a little disappointing, but at least we know that the KX3 Concept will use a 1.6-liter, turbocharged engine. No output numbers were given, but the concept will also have a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission that will be responsible for sending power to all four wheels of the SUV.
The downsized engine compared to the Sportage’s existing 2.4-liter mill should equate to improved fuel economy, even though that’s still contingent upon how much power those turbos add to the mix.
It’s still a concept so don’t expect any pricing details to be revealed anytime soon.
The automotive demand in the Chinese market is strong enough that local manufacturers like BYD have successfully carved a place for themselves even with the growing importance being placed on the market by American, European, and other Asian brands.
The BYD S6 is a perfect example of this. The S6 first hit the market in 2011 and since then, it’s been one of the more popular SUVs in that country. The S6’s design isn’t as sophisticated as other SUVs, but its combination of first-class safety and technology features, coupled with a surprisingly polished interior has become an attractive package for Chinese consumers.
A choice of three engines, including the top-of-the-line 2.4-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 158 ponies and 173 pound-feet of torque, also adds to the S6’s appeal.
If Kia ultimately decides to green light a production version of the KX3 Concept, it’s doing so knowing that competition in China in that specific segment is as tough as it’s ever been. Once out, the yet-to-be-named Kia crossover should have its hands full with the BYD S6 and other Chinese SUVs in the market.
The Kia KX3 Concept has a lot of potential. It’s got some quirks that I think need improvement, but if Kia does a little nip here and a little tuck there, it could have a pretty attractive model on its hands. Th cu ft.at should pay some dividends if the company really wants to promote the concept as a hip SUV for China’s millennial market.