Kia KCD12 Concept to Signal Plans for Large CUV

Debut planned in Detroit.

by on Jan.06, 2016

The Kia KCD12 concept vehicle takes aim at the large, high-line crossover segment.

Kia will roll out the latest in its long-running series of KCD concept vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

Dubbed the KCD12, the show car will offer a solid glimpse of what the Korean carmaker has in mind for the full-size crossover segment, slotting in above its current Sorento model, a company source told

What a Concept!

Kia officials released this teaser image during this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. An initial look suggests the KCD12 would be sized somewhere between a Toyota Highlander and Sequoia. But the concept vehicle appears to be targeting a more premium segment of the market.

(Automakers turn CES into a high-tech auto show. Click Here for the story.)

The concept vehicle takes the shape of a more classic SUV, foregoing the edgy design adopted by many of the latest compact and midsize crossovers, including Kia’s own Soul model.

Company representatives declined to offer any more insight into the Kia KCD12 in advance of its Detroit debut, but has learned that a production version would be based on a new platform, likely one shared with a Kia passenger car model.

Kia's first entry into the true luxury market came with the debut of the K900 sedan.

That could mean something entirely new or a modified version of the large platform developed for sibling brand Hyundai’s latest large passenger car models.

It appears likely, one way or the other, that Kia will eventually go to market with a version of the KCD12. Like its rivals, the Korean carmaker has been racing to adapt to market trends, especially the shift from conventional passenger cars to utility vehicles. And, as with Hyundai, Kia has some big gaps in its CUV line-up.

Even so, Kia has developed some significant momentum in the marketplace. Though it missed its global target last year, it saw a 7.9% increase in U.S. demand compared to 2014. Its top seller remained the midsize Optima, but that could change if current market trends hold – and if it drops the right CUVs into its line-up.

Both Korean brands have been trying to expand out of their mainstream, value-oriented niches. Hyundai is in the process of launching a standalone luxury brand, the new Genesis. And while Kia isn’t expected to follow that route, it is also pressing up-market, notably with the K900 sedan. The production version of the KCD12 could serve as a utility vehicle companion to that big four-door.

For now, Kia is dropping only a few hints about the show car, but it will feature plenty of advanced technology features, some hinted at during the maker’s CES news conference. It is developing a series of driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technologies collectively dubbed “Drive Wise.”

(For more on Kia’s autonomous vehicle plans, Click Here.)

Meanwhile, Kia is integrating other connectivity features into its Novo concept that may show up in the KCD12. Among other things, it hints, like for “state-of-the-art health-and-wellness technology.”

From a technological standpoint, “The innovations presented at this year’s (CES) demonstrate the future direction we are taking,” said Tae-Won Lim, Senior Vice President, Central Advanced Research and Engineering.

The KCD12 coming to the Detroit Auto Show may demonstrate how Kia intends to put that technology on the road.

(Click Here for a look at the latest Kia Sportage.)

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