Seoul Shaker: Kia Cub Concept is little in a big way

By Bob Nagy on April 3, 2013 6:12 AM
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Formally revealed at the Seoul Auto Show, the kicky Kia CUB Concept is a one-off design study that melds numerous innovative elements in a diminutive but stylish package conceived to please "trend-setting urban dwellers." Inspired by the 2007 Kee Concept, this 5-door hatch is barely 13 feet long but packs a surprising amount of passenger space and upline features in its well-appointed 4-seat cabin.

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Crafted under the supervision of Kia's Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, at the automaker's headquarters in Korea, the exterior of the CUB has what's described as a "cheerful" face with a wraparound mouth flanked by headlamps that incorporate two-point LED elements. The rear fascia reprises a similar design motif, also set off with LED infused taillamps. Riding on a large 19-inch wheel/tire package that hints at the substantial power beneath its hood, the CUB also features racing-inspired integral "turning vanes" in the front doors along with aero-enhancing mini mirrors and flush auto-touch door openers. Access to the CUB's aft quarters is made easier due to the absence of a formal B-pillar and the fitment of rear-hinged rear doors.  
Motivating the front-drive CUB is a new generation of Kia's 1.6-liter GDI turbocharged/direct-injected 4-cylinder that generates 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Backed by a 6-speed manual transmission, it gives the CUB a brisk 7.7-second 0-62 mph sprint time as well as a top speed of 143 mph.

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Cleanly designed and fitted with individual pedestal-mounted seats trimmed in black leather with yellow accents, the CUB Concept's cabin serves up an equally impressive menu of surprise and delight elements. From an instrument cluster inspired by the eyes of a wild animal and a steering wheel capable of monitoring the driver's biorhythms to touch-sensor-activated central air vents and a Driver Information System controller linked to a gesture camera that facilitate easy on-the-fly setting changes, this Kia one-off embodies a number of intriguing possibilities that could well turn up in future production models.


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