Kia Wants To Build More Fun GT Cars And More Rugged SUVs

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Look forward to more exciting models from the Korean brand.

At the launch event for the 2021 Kia Seltos, we had a chance to speak with the carmaker's Director of Corporate Communications, James Bell, about the future of the company's performance models. The Stinger GT was a great addition to the Kia lineup and the company has followed it up with other sporty models like a GT-Line variant of the Soul and GT version of the Forte. Even the next-generation Optima is rumored to receive a sporty GT version.

Bell says Kia will have "lots of fun stuff to talk about" in due time and the GT name will be used to signify "on-road and off-road" performance for the Kia brand much like how N and N-Line are used for the Hyundai brand. Just think of GT as Kia's version of Toyota's TRD.

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In addition to sporty road-oriented cars with the GT badge, Bell also spoke openly about a desire to create more rugged SUV models possibly using the X-Line name. The X-Line moniker was first used on the Soul and it is rumored to migrate to the more capable Telluride. Kia has had no trouble selling higher trim versions of the Telluride, with the SX trim still commanding sticker price or above at most dealerships. "Internally, we call it the Selluride," Bell said.

Based on our conversations with Bell, we expect the X-Line name to be used on off-road appearance packages while the GT name could be reserved for vehicles with noticeable performance enhancements. At the first drive event, Kia even brought out the Seltos X-Line Trail Attack Concept to show off a vision of what a more rugged Seltos could look like.

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This talk of offering more rugged SUVs isn't completely new. When the Telluride was first revealed, Kia hinted at offering OEM performance parts for its models, similar to TRD. Bell told CarBuzz that "Albert Biermann (Hyundai Motor Group president of performance development and high-performance vehicle development) was upset that Kia did not attend SEMA this year." He wouldn't confirm that Kia is working on its own in-house performance parts division but it clearly seems like a project that Biermann would like to pursue. For now, it looks like we can start to get excited for sportier and tougher models from Kia.

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