It's no secret we tend to cater to Chevys, Fords, Dodges, and even a Toyota or a Nissan once in a while, but never in my knowledge have we ever featured a Kia. For good reason, until recently, Kia wasn't known for building vehicles that you could use the word "cool" after and not receive a beating. In 2006, Kia reached out to Mitch Kelly, of Kelly and Sons Crazy Painters, in Bellflower, California, to change this perception and build an SUV that could be labeled as custom. Surprisingly, it wasn't as daunting a task as you may think, as the new Kia Sportage platform has been upgraded since its inception.

Starting with a bigger, faster, and more aggressive-looking Sportage, the crew at Kelly and Sons began by lowering the sport ute with Eibach drop coils and filled the fenderwells with 20x8-1/2-inch KMC chrome wheels with 255/40R20 Toyo tires wrapping each hoop. Next on the agenda were Kelly and Sons' bread and butter: paint and body. Using Kia's Korean connections, Mitch Kelly was able to order and install Mobis Korean-market custom front and rear fasciae with custom grilles, LED signals, and side rocker mouldings. The crew at Kelly and Sons then went to work applying the House of Kolor Purple to the entire SUV. Mitch then laid out a sweet set of flames and sprayed the House of Kolor Silver to the top half. Instantly, the Kia looked tremendously better and had a whole new attitude. With the exterior handled, it was time to create a matching interior.

For audio and video chores, the Sportage was delivered to Bassick Addictions, in Highland, California. The shop was given the responsibility of building the ultimate Kia interior. Owner Terry decided that in order to create such a one-off vehicle, the back seats would have to be removed and each door panel would be pulled and customized. Enlisting the aid of companies like Jensen, Kicker, and Audiovox, Bassick Addictions had some serious firepower behind the project.

Up front, a Jensen head unit sends signals to multiple Kicker amps, which in turn power 20 sets of Kicker mids and highs and eight Kicker 12-inch subs. Each door was stuffed with Kicker mids, and each door received at least two 7-inch Audiovox monitors. Audiovox DVD players provide the movie options-and with 4,000 watts of surround-sound power, the experience must be a great one. The crew at Bassick even removed the stock taillights in favor of more Kicker mids and highs. Lifting up the hatch reveals two 10.2-inch Audiovox flip-down monitors from the hatch. When the lights go out, purple street glow can be seen from the intricate enclosure, which also houses a 30-inch Audiovox LCD screen. Katzkin silver-and-black leather seats complete the overall package.

With this much added weight inside the Kia, an Alpine-created, modified MagnaCharger supercharger sits atop the 2.7L V-6 for an estimated 270 hp. Splashes of purple paint make the engine look the part, and a CGS exhaust adds some rumble.

Built in an impressive three months, the purple and silver Kia actually looks pretty cool, and every aspect of the SUV was customized. For the record, Kia SUVs can be cool, but it did take this one nearly $40,000 to pull it off.

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