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Chicago Auto Show: Kia unveils Superman Optima

Published February 8, 2013

CHICAGO, ILL. — Kia has unleashed the sixth vehicle in its Justice League team, a Superman-themed Optima.

The special edition Optima, giant “S” emblazoned across its hood, has a bevelled front grille inspired by the man of steel’s belt, red rear deck paint meant to suggest a cape, and heat-vision-inspired red headlights.

Recap: Hot new cars unveiled at Chicago Auto Show

The Kryptonian crime fighter joins a partnership between Kia and DC Entertainment publicizing the We Can Be Heroes campaign, which fights hunger in Africa. The team so far consists of special edition Kias representing Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg.

Kia also had other unveilings here at the Chicago Auto Show. Here’s a look at some of them:

Forte

The fourth of seven vehicles to arrive from the Korean manufacturer this year is a sharp little 5-door hatchback aimed at attracting a younger demographic.

Lower, longer and wider, the standard EX Forte 5-door features the 2.0L, 173 hp four-cylinder and 16” aluminum rims. Overall cargo space is 657 litres and interior options included heated and ventilated seats, leather upholstery and navigation.

But there’s good news for the enthusiast, a more potent sport-spec SX version riding on 18” alloys with low-profile rubber, embellished with faux carbon-fibre and gloss black trim and dual chrome tips beneath its pert little rump.

It wears the familiar “tiger-nose” grille, but it’s a much smaller version than the sedan’s and there’s a gaping air intake underneath.

For the first time, the Forte is offered with a turbo-charged engine option —a new 1.6L producing 201 horsepower with 195 lb. ft. of torque. It’s paired with either a six-speed manual, or six-speed automatic with paddle shifts.

The 2014 Forte 5-door should arrive in showrooms by this fall.

Kia Cross GT

Kia’s chief design officer Tom Kearns introduced Kia Cross GT concept, a sharply sculpted crossover intended to represent a “seamless meld between high technology and nature.” Based on the Sorento, but with a longer wheelbase and lower roofline, the wildly futuristic concept features suicide rear doors and a clamshell cargo area with a glass hatch. The suggested power train is a 3.8L V6 gas/electric hybrid with a 32 km electric-only range.

The cabin features “floating” seats anchored to a central tunnel, and reclaimed wood trim. Navigation, sound and HVAC are controlled by touchscreen and a steering wheel located mouse. Overhead, a multi-panelled skylight features hexagonally shaped glass sections.

Penned by Kia’s Irvine California design studio, the Cross GT will probably never fully see production, but elements of it undoubtedly will work their way into future vehicles as Kia “evolves to new levels of sophistication.”

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