LEXUS LAUNCHES LUXURY HYBRID
Toyota Motor Co. used the North American International Auto Show to unveil a new, more sophisticated hybrid powertrain in a version of the new
2004 lexus RX330
KIA SLICES WITH FINAL DETROIT UNVEILING
2003 Kia KCD-1 Slice conceptEnlarge Photo
A 2.7-liter DOHC V-6 powers the KCD-1, coupled with a Sportmatic automatic transmission. The suspension is independent all around and sport-tuned, with stabilizer bars front and rear.
While—for the U.S. market—it’s a relatively compact vehicle (at 177 inches long), there’s seating for six in the KCD-1, in three rows. The seats can be folder in various combinations depending on cargo. The doors open up wide from the middle and they’re solenoid-operated. Inside, the gauges and dials are likened to those on sailboats, while the center console resembles a motorcycle fuel tank.
Off-roading isn’t part of the package. Rather, the Slice was designed to provide more passenger and cargo-hauling capacity without a sacrifice in driver enjoyment, handling ability, or fuel economy. –Bengt Halvorson
KIA LOOKING FOR A SLICE OF CROSSOVER MARKET
Kia Motors is looking hard to produce the Slice concept vehicle it is showing this week at the Detroit show, and is considering pricing the Optima spin-off around $20,000 with all-wheel-drive, say company officials. The Slice is reminiscent of the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe, but has three rows of seats and no B-pillar. Kia, which has gained credibility in the last two years with its Kia Sedona and the new Sorento SUV, could severely undercut Subaru's all-wheel-drive Outback with the Slice. "Slice is not just a concept, it's a very serious market niche we think we can take advantage of with a design that is right in the heart of where the crossover, sport wagon market is going, but with a great value positioning relative to other entries," said one senior Kia official. --Jim Burt