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Cars
The U.S. may have the world’s largest market for passenger vehicles, and if the excitement regarding a new Kia vehicle concept that was recently revealed at the Chicago Auto Show is any indication, American consumers might soon become the largest market for innovative hybrid SUVs as well.

This year’s show, which is being held from February 14 to 22 at the McCormick Center, has already drawn an impressive crowd. The main feature of the show, according to NBC News, is Kia’s new eco-friendly SUV Trail’ster Concept.

The Trail’ster is reportedly Kia’s third follow-up to its “crossover” battery- and electric-powered Soulster Design, which the Korean car manufacturer released back in 2009.

Not only has Kia addressed and fixed the most problems found with battery-powered cars — i.e., poor performance and battery charging issues — but it has also developed additional features for the Trail’ster that often aren’t even included in regular passenger Sedans. AutoGo.ca notes that the impressive 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine in the Trail’ster, which enables all-wheel drive capabilities, is unheard of in the world of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Add to that Kia’s claim that the car could reduce fuel consumption by 25-30%, and it almost seems like the Trail’ster is too good to be true.

To be honest, the Trail’ster hasn’t actually entered the manufacturing stage yet; the “concept” model is simply Kia’s way of measuring consumer interest before producing vehicles on a large scale. But it’s likely that consumers could see Trail’sters hitting the roads sooner rather than later, and NBC News notes that consumer interest in both hybrid vehicles and SUVs are likely to influence Kia’s decision to begin manufacturing the car.

And it’s very possible that the innovative designs of the Trail’ster are exactly what’s making this year’s Chicago Auto Show into a major success already.

Michael Harley, the head of online automotive website AutoWeb, recently stated to the Detroit Free Press that the Chicago Auto Show is much calmer, compared to shows in other cities, making the atmosphere friendlier for consumers. At the same, Harley states, this intimate environment is a good indication of a particular car’s success.

“If an automaker can keep its vehicle secret until Chicago, a vehicle can get the spotlight.”

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