Chicago Auto Show: RONDO SX SUPER SLAKEY CONCEPT SPACE WAGON!

It's time once again to work up that RONDO thirst. The rollout of the RONDO SX Concept at the big Chicago show makes it official. Driving an econobox need not be drab. The RONDO SX takes styling cues from itself and existing SX cousins, but means them up a bit to bring forth an aggressive and sporty look. A cold air intake and cat back exhaust take the otherwise stock engine to 192 hp. A three-inch suspension drop onto some 18-inch rims shod with sticky Michelins keeps RONDO closer to the road. The RONDO SX is also stuffed full of modern luxury sport materials and finishes, including but not limited to Alcantara. Kia hopes that the RONDO SX will put forth the message that driving around everyday need not be boring, and that RONDO can bring excitement to the world of space wagons. Always use RONDO to gather blinking Mooninites from underpasses for resale on eBay. Full press release after the jump.

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Kia Rondo SX Concept Coming to Chicago; LA Auto Show: Kia RONDO Slakes Thirst for Space Wagons [Internal]

Kia Unveils Rondo SX Concept at Chicago Auto Show

Concept Displays Aggressive, Sporty Side of the All-New Kia Model

CHICAGO, February 8, 2007 - Kia Motors America (KMA) debuted its all-new crossover vehicle, the 2007 Kia Rondo, at the Los Angeles Auto Show just last November and has wasted no time enhancing its "Exciting and Enabling" brand direction with the Chicago International Auto Show introduction of the Rondo SX Concept. Already a capable vehicle - Rondo is based on the current-generation Kia Optima platform - the SX concept elevates the crossover to new heights by showing that practicality doesn't mean excitement is sacrificed.

"We have positioned the all-new 2007 Rondo as a vehicle of function and versatility," said Len Hunt, executive vice president and COO of KMA. "The Rondo SX Concept is proof that smart, spacious vehicles don't need to be boring, and that consumers can still be passionate about a daily driver."

The Rondo SX Concept is finished in a sophisticated four-stage metallic gray exterior color and reinforces its sporty theme with cues from current Kia SX-trimmed vehicles like the Rio and Spectra models, which include more aggressive front and rear fascias, sportier grille inserts and other exciting exterior details. Key front-end changes include a larger lower air intake, an integrated SX-styled front fascia, new brake cooling ducts as well as a restyled metal-mesh-insert front grille to match. Headlight inner rings also are darkened in color to complete the aggressive look.

Likewise, the rear fascia receives sportier treatment with a new metal-mesh vent insert, diffuser and dual exhaust outlets. Roof rails, which are standard on most Rondo models, have been removed for an aerodynamically cleaner look and the door handles and body-side moldings finished in a contrasting technical silver color to present a smooth and contemporary overall finish. The Rondo SX Concept is fitted with an optional accessory body kit currently available on LX and EX trim lines. However, on the SX concept model, the initially argent-colored lower rear spoiler, fender flares and rear/side fascia extensions of the body kit have been finished in a slightly contrasting metallic gray color. The vehicle sits on aggressive five-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels fitted with 235/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport performance tires to complete its bold exterior stance.

On the inside, the Rondo SX Concept is enhanced with modern luxury sport materials and finishes. From the driver's seat an SX-familiar black leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting red stitching can be easily identified. The seats are trimmed in gray leather with custom contrasting red leather trim surrounding dark gray Alcantara inserts. Dark gray Alcantara and red leather accents also can be found on the front and rear door trim. Replacing the stock black parts are SX-styled brushed stainless steel sport pedals, as well as platinum-look accents for the center stack, shifter surround and door switch trims.

The Rondo SX Concept's 2.7-liter DOHC V6 has been enhanced with a cold-air intake and a cat-back exhaust system that yields an additional 10 horsepower to boost the engine's output to 192 horsepower. The SX Concept's ride height has been lowered approximately three inches to improve cornering and augment the sporty aesthetic. The vehicle also is equipped with cross-drilled and slotted front and rear brake rotors for enhanced braking performance.