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Two interesting SUV concepts launched at 2015 Chicago Auto Show

The Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept was revealed at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

The nation TMs largest consumer auto show takes place in February each year, smack dab in the middle of the Midwest. It TMs always cold and often snowy this time of year, so it TMs only fitting that automakers choose this show to launch their SUVs.There were two notable concepts launched last week at the show: One from Mitsubishi and the other from Kia.While bits of the Mitsubishi concept will likely find their way into upcoming production models, it is unlikely that the entire SUV will see the streets. Though, we have to admit we love the edgy design on the GC-PHEV and would love to see more than a little of this concept make it into production.The Kia Trail TMster, on the other hand, has a much better chance of seeing the light of day. What we love: That it brings all-wheel drive (AWD) to a compact and easy-to-maneuver vehicle. Kia didn TMt say straight out that they would build it, but you could tell by the well-done finishes and realistic interior that they TMre giving it serious consideration.This concept kicked off the media day press conferences and is a look at what could be. Based on the Kia Soul, the Trail TMster Concept is an AWD model that Kia says is perfect for the city-dweller-turned-outdoor-adventurer.It comes equipped with a 1.6-liter, turbocharged engine and a 27-kW, 270-volt electric motor, which combine to deliver 220 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.With the hybrid powertrain, the Trail TMster would get a 25 to 30 percent improvement in city fuel economy, and a five to ten percent improvement in highway driving.Kia hasn TMt committed to building this compact concept, but if they did, it would make a nice competitor to the all-new Jeep Renegade.Kia actually ended the press conference with a question to you, the consumer. What do you think? Should Kia bring the Trail TMster into production?If the GC-PHEV Concept is anything to go by, Mitsubishi appears to be coming back to life.This newest concept launched in Chicago is another exercise in design from the automaker, which follows the launch of the XR-PHEV Concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.Mitsubishi is getting ready to undergo a complete overhaul starting with the 2016 model year, and these two concepts give hints at what TMs coming.The GC-PHEV is equipped with a supercharged V-6 engine mated to a plug-in hybrid motor.During the reveal, Mitsubishi warned that though gas prices are currently low, they won TMt stay that way. So, the automaker appears to be making a serious foray into the plug-in hybrid world.Stay tuned for the New York Auto Show, where Mitsubishi will launch the production version of the all-new 2016 Outlander. We can TMt wait to see what design aspects from the GC-PHEV will show up.The 2015 Chicago Auto Show runs through Feb. 22, 2015, at McCormick Place. For more information visit the auto show website: www.chicagoautoshow.com.

By Jill Ciminillo, Automotive Editor for Sinclair Broadcast Group

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