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
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    110 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    22000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2014 Kia KX3 Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 578920

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.

Exterior Dimensions

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.)

Interior

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.

Drivetrain

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.

Prices

It’s still a concept so don’t expect any pricing details to be revealed anytime soon.

Competitors

BYD S6

2014 BYD S6 High Resolution Exterior
- image 573492

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.

Conclusion

2014 Kia KX3 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 578921

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.

  • Leave it
    • What does the interior look like? Is there even one inside?
    • The overall shape looks unbalanced
    • Rear section isn’t particularly exciting

Press Release

Kia Motors Corporation’s joint venture in China, Dongfeng Yueda Kia (DYK), today unveiled the KX3 concept in Guangzhou, China, previewing a C-segment SUV that Kia envisions to offer exclusively for the Chinese market.

2014 Kia KX3 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 578921

Making its global premiere at the 2014 Guangzhou Motor Show, the KX3 concept’s unique appearance is designed to appeal to young Chinese consumers who are looking for high-value, high-quality cars that reflect their passion for - and pursuit of - an outgoing lifestyle. Kia’s latest concept illustrates what a compact SUV from the Korean brand could look like in a rapidly growing segment of the Chinese car market.

The KX3 concept blends an SUV silhouette with sporty looks, featuring a coupé-inspired glass area, small rear spoiler, gently rising belt-line and muscular wheel arches. Kia’s trademark ‘tiger-nose’ grille gets a new matte chrome-look surround, which sits below the concept’s wraparound LED headlights. The KX3’s high ground-clearance and chrome-look body cladding around the base hint at the concept’s four-wheel drive capabilities and on-road stability. The result is a stylish, athletic-looking compact SUV, promising both a high degree of practicality and a great drive.

At 4,260 mm long, with a wide 1,765 mm body and generous 2,590 mm wheelbase, the KX3 concept ensures that passengers benefit from plenty of cabin space. The raised body, at 1,630 mm in height, offers a commanding view of the drive ahead - on- and off-road - while the concept’s large 400-liter cargo area is completely flat for added practicality.

The KX3 concept is powered by Kia’s high-tech 1.6-litre turbo gasoline direct injection (T-GDI) engine, paired with an advanced seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), and offers motorists fun-to-drive handling characteristics. The four-wheel drive powertrain, backed up by the T-GDI engine’s strong performance and high fuel economy, lets drivers enjoy greater stability in all conditions.

The KX3’s chassis has been engineered for a five-star C-NCAP safety rating, employing ultra-high tensile steel throughout the body shell to maximize passive safety.

The high quality cabin is designed to offer a high level of refinement and comfort, while Kia’s latest in-car connectivity technology - with easy-to-use smartphone functionality - will satisfy the needs of young-at-heart Chinese drivers. The KX3 concept promises a high level of standard equipment, and a wide range of options, to ensure the greatest possible value to buyers.

The KX3 concept has been designed and engineered exclusively for the Chinese car market through Kia’s DYK joint venture. Kia Motors has yet to confirm whether the KX3 concept will be put into production.

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