Out of all the current car companies, you wouldn't expect Kia to be so hung up on fuel saving technology. After all, they're known primarily for their small cars that already get better gas mileage than a lot of the rides on the road today. But they don't care. Lately, they've been on a roll with their next generation hybrid offerings. So far we've seen their Borrego Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, the Forte LPI Hybrid, the twin-turbo diesel Sorento Hybrid and the cee'd Hybrid. And at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show they unveiled their most daring concept yet, the Kia Ray.

Falling under Kia's new EcoDynamics sub-brand, the Ray concept packs in a bunch of fuel saving tech into the most attractive design we've seen from Kia in, well, ever. Why should you care? Kia is all about affordability. If and when the entire market shifts towards electric and hybrid powered vehicles, you can expect them to build one that won't break your bank. And if they look as good as this, well, thats a win/win. Learn more about the Ray concept below...


EXTERIOR: To say this is the most striking Kia we've seen yet would be an understatement. We know it's just a concept car, but the Ray's bulbous curves makes it look extremely slippery. That's thanks to the seamlessly styled exterior. The more wind and rolling resistance a car has working against it, the more fuel it has to burn to move. To lower its drag co-efficient, Kia's designers sought to produce as many flush surfaces as they could to minimize any unneeded edges. They wanted to make as little a footprint as possible, so they made the body panels mostly out of recycled and other lightweight materials. On top of that is a nano-laminate film put in place to reduce solar heat so you don't have to use your air conditioner as much in the summertime.


INTERIOR:Just like the exterior, the Ray's interior is all about keeping the passengers as cool and comfortable as possible while leaving a small footprint. To do that, Kia uses recycled materials bathed in cool white tones to reflect as much sun heat as possible. Entertainment will be supplied by Kia's next generation infotainment system called UVO. Powered by Microsoft, UVO will allow users to easily control their music and their mobile phones via touch screen and voice activated controls, kind of like a new age Microsoft Sync.


DRIVETRAIN: As futuristic as the exterior and interior technology is, the Ray's drivetrain seems to be lifted straight out of 2010. Mated to a 78kw electric motor is a 1.4 liter, 153 hp gasoline direct injected motor running with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). According to Kia, on a single charge, this set up will allow the driver to travel 50 miles solely on electricity before the gasoline motor kicks in. They claim the Ray's good for 202 mpg, with a total range of 746 miles, which, if true, is pretty damn impressive.