Kia Motors @ SEMA 2015

Kia's booth has been a consistent source of joy during my eight years covering the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. I can always count on the Korean automaker to bring some of the craziest customs; the 2015 show is no exception.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
1
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

Near the booth's entrance is the insane Kia Forte Koupe Mud Bogger -- making the most striking first impressions of all the OEM customs at the show.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
2
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

Kia starts with the standard Forte Koup's unibody and layers on customizations starting with midnight sapphire paint and white accents that are probably a bit too nice for this car's intended purpose.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
3
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

The Mud Boggers starts to get weird below the beltline. The Forte Koup's body and suspension have been raised to add 4 additional inches of ground clearance.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
4
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

Kia gives us no info about the powertrain, so I'm assuming that the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and front-wheel-drive transmission survive transformation unmolested. At the very least, it's got a freer flowing exhaust.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
5
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

The Koup has been upgraded with a dark fabric ragtop and a roll cage finished in contrasting white.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
6
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

The interior's carpet is stripped and replaced with Line-X spray-on protective coating.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
7
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

The steering wheel and shifter are replaced with race inspired hardware. Gauges replace the UVO entertainment system's touchscreen. Interestingly, the USB ports at the base of the dash are intact.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
8
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

Sparco seats with multipoint harnesses keep the driver and one passenger in place when off-roading and muddin'.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
9
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

A powder-coated brush guard and an LED light bar lead the way.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
10
of 40

Forte Koup Mud Bogger

Fuel Off-road 15-inch Revolver wheels with knobby 28-inch tires fill the wells beneath the extended fender flares.

With only 200 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque on tap, the Mud Bogger probably isn't fast, but it sure looks fun.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
11
of 40

Pacwest Adventure Sorento

The Pacwest Adventure Sorento is also built for off-roading, but is a bit less extreme. For starters, it's based on an SUV, not a small low-powered coupe.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
12
of 40

Pacwest Adventure Sorento

The 3.3-liter engine is augmented with a snorkel intake, which should allow it to ford rivers.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
13
of 40

Pacwest Adventure Sorento

The front bumper is removed and replaced with a brush guard and skid plate. In theory, this should grant the Sorento steeper approach and departure angles.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
14
of 40

Pacwest Adventure Sorento

However, in practice, the rear bumper is left intact and augmented with a tubular bumper. This sort of mitigates any approach and departure angle gains. Hey, at least the CUV looks cool.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
15
of 40

Pacwest Adventure Sorento

Inside, the Sorento is upholstered with rugged fabric seats and accented with green paint that matches the exterior.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
16
of 40

Pacwest Adventure Sorento

17-inch wheels wrapped in Nitto Trail Grappler tires are designed for driving in the dirt.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
17
of 40

Photo Safari Sedona

The Photo Safari Sedona started its life as a minivan. It has a mildly "off-road" inspired style, but boasts some interesting function to go with its new form.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
18
of 40

Photo Safari Sedona

The front bumper and roof rack are augmented with auxiliary lighting.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
19
of 40

Photo Safari Sedona

The roof rack also features mounting points for DLSR and action cameras.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
20
of 40

Photo Safari Sedona

Underpinning the Sedona is an auto-leveling air suspension rated for a vehicle weighing up to 2,500 pounds.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
21
of 40

Photo Safari Sedona

The eight-passenger van has been modified into a two-passenger photo safari truck. The rear storage area is now open to the air with metal lockers.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
22
of 40

Photo Safari Sedona

The middle seats have been removed and replaced with an Extend0-Bed platform that holds a swiveling seat that serves as a photographer's platform.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
23
of 40

Photo Safari Sedona

The seat can be retracted to bring the photographer into a small digital photo processing lab with an iMac.

Up front is a single driver's seat. I'd love one of these for shooting rolling CNET Car Tech footage.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
24
of 40

Trail'ster

The Trail'ster is the off-road mirror to Kia's Track'ster concept. Both are based on the Soul compact urban crossover. The Trail'ster was orginally unveiled at this year's Chicago Auto show.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
25
of 40

Trail'ster

The exterior features contrasting polar pearl snowdrift and terra bronze metallic paints. LED accent lighting looks showcar cool, but probably doesn't do much for forward visibility.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
26
of 40

Trail'ster

Custom 19-inch wheels are shod with Pirelli Carving Edge winter tires.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
27
of 40

Trail'ster

A rolltop fabric roof slides beneath an integrated roof rack. Drivers can mount a snowboard or mountain bikes up there.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
28
of 40

Trail'ster

The interior has been reupholstered with baseball glove leather, which looks fantastic with its contrasting stitching.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
29
of 40

Trail'ster

All six of Kia's customs feature a badge that indicates a different region of Kia's nationwide celebration of the American roadtrip. The Trail'ster, example, is inspired by the Rocky Mountain region. The Mud Bogger is inspired by the South.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
30
of 40

A1A Optima

The A1A Optima was designed for relaxing in the sun of South Florida and inspired by the culture of Miami's South Beach and Key West.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
31
of 40

A1A Optima

The sedan's roof has been totally removed and the body has been coated in custom turquoise paint.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
32
of 40

A1A Optima

The custom was built by LUX Motorwerks and, according to Kia, "this isn't any average chop job." The attention to detail comes through in, well, the details of this custom. Just check out this Tiarra Luxury chrome grille.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
33
of 40

A1A Optima

The windshield has also been chopped and shortened to give the A1A Optima a low, lean look and expose passengers to the ocean breeze.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
34
of 40

A1A Optima

The interior is upholstered with white leather, which not only looks good but will stay cool when exposed to the sun. Whether it'll stay bright under the passengers' buns depends on how diligently it's cleaned.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
35
of 40

A1A Optima

The back doors are rear hinged, suicide-style, and a double-hump tonneau smooths the transition to the trunk lid.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
36
of 40

A1A Optima

The Optima is suspended over chrome 20-inch HRE S104 wheels. Kia feels that 245 horsepower is enough to cruise with, so the sedan's front-wheel-drive turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain is unmodified.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
37
of 40

A1A Optima

The body has been reinforced with hidden steel tubing to deal with the removal of the structural roof.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
38
of 40

Ballast Point Sedona

Representing California in Kia's booth is a beer truck. Nice!

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
39
of 40

Ballast Point Sedona

This is the Ballast Point Sedona's second appearance at SEMA. The van has been totally rebuilt from the B-pillars back as a working bar that serves beer to showgoers over the age of 21.

Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
40
of 40
Up Next

2018 Hennessey Ford Raptor 6x6 at SEMA: 6 wheels, more fun