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2007 Detroit Auto Show – Kia Kue – Knocking on the door of Passion and Pride of Ownership?

  • January 11, 2007
  • Concept Cars, Kia
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Kia Motors America showed the Kue concept Crossover SUV at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. An interesting exercise, it opens the discussion about Kia’s sporting pretentions in the USA market. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific staffers were on hand at Detroit to evaluate the Kue and its potential for success. In a word… success as a 2-door – NOT!
Kia “Sporty” Sibling to Mainstream Hyundai Motor America

No there haven’t been to many Kias parked within the flags at the local enthusiast car shows.

In terms of Asian imports maybe Mazda Miatas, Subaru WRXs, Mitsubishi EVOs, Nissan Zs, and Toyota Supras; but no Kias. Being Hyundai’s ‘sporty sibling’ we might be able to follow the train of thought into believing that there may be a following for a supercharged V8 infused with passion and earmarked for that coveted space in the garage. That time may very well come; but we’re not there yet.

Since 1994 Kia has been trying to capture an audience in the U.S. Winning over the confidence of Americans has been a long road for Kia. A road filled with U-Turns, potholes, and detours. Initially Americans believed whole heartedly that Korean build quality was synonymous with Japanese build quality but with a lower price tag. Americans went to the movies with high hopes but walked out of the theater dismayed. It took nearly a decade to rebuild buyer confidence as Kia has managed to improve build quality along with their brand image.
Kia Kue – Future Generation Kia Crossover SUV – But 2-Doors? NO.
The Kia Kue speaks to future generations at Kia. Will there be a two-door 400 horsepower crossover SUV just like the Kia Kue anytime soon? No, Kia is too smart to commit vehicular suicide with a 2-door only SUV – we think, we hope. Concepts are often two-door, but the production vehicle arrives with four. Kia also has the luxury of learning from history. Yes, there have been two door sport utes like the Isuzu VehiCross, Toyota Rav4, Mazda Navajo, Ford Explorer Sport, Jeep Cherokee two-door, but the US market never embraced them. Even the first generation Kia Sportage offered a two-door bodystyle for awhile. It sold in the dozens.
The Kue has given us a glimpse into Kias future with certain design cues and more powerful engines, definitely V6 and possibly a V8 down the road. The Kue is about the size of a Nissan Murano with an Infiniti FX performance attitude. It has a longer wheelbase and overall length than the current Kia Sorento (186 inches and 114 inches = Kue and 180 inches and 107 inches = Sorento). Basically the size of a Mazda CX-7.
Every good car company knows their limitations and I think Kia knows where they currently stand with the American public. They have built up our confidence with enticing low prices, higher standards, in terms of quality, and warranty’s instilling a peace of mind that seems to lower the risk. Their next hurdles will be giving owners a strong sense of passion and pride.

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