The KCD-II Mesa, the second Kia Motors America (KMA) concept vehicle developed by Kia’s California Design Center in Irvine, CA, is a modern, rugged body-on-frame SUV that features three rows of seats, dual full-length sunroofs and an expansive 116" wheelbase.
Whether you’re cruising around the concrete jungle or 100 miles from the nearest town, you’ll feel safe inside Mesa’s rugged, yet functional exterior. Kia’s designers pushed the imposing, custom-built 22" alloy wheels to the corners of the vehicle in an effort to maximize interior space while simultaneously creating stable, responsive handling characteristics of this full-sized SUV.
The turret-style wrap-around windshield reveals a passenger compartment that offers maximum visibility from inside the cabin. The Mesa’s high beltline also offers a sense of security and protection. You may notice that the Mesa’s thick rear pillars add to the vehicle’s robust appearance, and outwardly they appear to support the entire roof structure. In fact, the A- and B-pillars actually help distribute improved support and occupant protection, providing a solid structure, along with its fully boxed frame. This design becomes effective for withstanding the extreme bending and twisting which is inherent in off-road vehicle operation. And, the three-dimensional sculpting of the rear lift-gate further reinforces the vehicle’s image of strength and solidity.
Entering the vehicle, you’ll see where rugged meets racy, as the Mesa’s functional exterior design gives way to a racing-inspired "Sunset Orange" interior that draws on Kia’s off-road-racing heritage. From Paris to Dakar to Baja California, Kia established an over-achiever reputation for its performance in legendary off-road events, and the KCD-II Mesa capitalizes on that heritage with its simple, straightforward interior design. Even the dual full-length panoramic glass sunroofs provide a high ceiling over each of the Mesa’s six passenger seating positions, providing occupants with a sense of freedom and spaciousness uncommon in even the largest SUVs on the market.
While the Mesa is powered by Kia’s existing 3.5-liter DOHC naturally aspirated V-6 engine (which is found on the Sorento, the automaker’s mid-size SUV), the engine compartment is sized to accommodate Kia’s next-generation power plants.
The V-6 is equipped with multi-port electronic fuel injection and dual-mode intake system, allowing the 24-valve engine to deliver the kind of low-end torque and high-end horsepower that fits the broad requirements of a high-performance sport-utility vehicle.
Of course, the Mesa features full-time four-wheel-drive with low range for challenging off-road travel. The full-time four-wheel-drive (4WD) system with Active Torque Transfer shifts power to the front and rear wheels according to road conditions, from a maximum 100 percent rear-wheel drive to a 50/50 split. It is also equipped with a limited-slip rear differential to further enhance traction on low-grip surfaces.