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CHICAGO – Kia Motors America tomorrow will unveil a concept version of its new ’07 Rondo multipurpose vehicle, the Rondo SX, at the auto show here.

The Rondo SX Concept is a sportier take on the new MPV, which went on sale in wide distribution last month.

“We have positioned the all-new ’07 Rondo as a vehicle of function and versatility,” Len Hunt, KMA executive vice president and chief operating officer, says in a statement. “The Rondo SX Concept is proof that smart, spacious vehicles don’t need to be boring, and that consumers can still be passionate about a daily driver.”

Kia says the Rondo SX is not just all flash and no substance, as the auto maker has squeezed an extra 10 hp out of the Rondo’s 2.7L V-6 engine via an enhanced cold-air intake and a cat-back exhaust system, bringing its horsepower to 192.

Kia also has lowered the Rondo’s ride height by 3 ins. (7.6 cm), for improved cornering, as well as to give it a more athletic stance.

The Rondo’s braking performance has been improved with the addition of cross-drilled front and rear brake rotors for the SX Concept.

Appearance changes are plentiful, though, as the Rondo SX has more aggressive fascias, similar to those found on Kia’s Rio and Spectra models.

Kia has increased the size of the Rondo’s lower air intake and revised the grille using a metal-mesh-insert.

In the rear, the Rondo SX Concept has a metal-mesh vent insert, diffuser and dual exhaust outlets, Kia says.

The SX sports 4-stage metallic gray paint, with door handles and body-side moldings finished in “technical” silver for added contrast.

Kia has removed the Rondo’s standard roof rack for a cleaner, more aerodynamic look.

The body-kit available on the Rondo LX and EX trims is used on the SX Concept, but the color has been changed to a metallic gray from white for a more subtle contrast.

The Rondo SX Concept rides on 18-in. 5-spoke alloy wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport tires. The Rondo LX trim comes with 16-in. wheels, while 17-in. wheels are standard on the Rondo EX.

Interior changes for the SX include a black leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching; Alacantara dark gray fabric with light gray and red leather trim on the seats and door panels; and brushed stainless steel pedals.

While just a concept, a company spokesman supports recent assertions by KMA executives that a SX trim will join the Rondo lineup in the near future.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com