KIA is confident that its upcoming compact SUV will be the sportiest looking yet, with elegant proportions that will make it stand out among the Mazda CX-3 and Renault Captur set.
Expected to be unveiled within the next 12 months, the as-yet unnamed crossover will pay only lip service to the Niro Concept pictured here, shown two years ago at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show.
Kia Motors’ chief designer for Europe, Gregory Guillaume, promises that the production model will be worth the wait.
“In terms of where Kia design is, we are very clear with what we believe in, what we like, the type of car, and the type of design that we do,” he told Wheels at the recent 2015 Frankfurt show.
“So the revolution will be more what that car is in its segment, like the Sportage is in its segment. We won’t do it the Renault Captur, we won’t do it the CX-3 way, we’ll do it the Kia way.
“With everything we do, we spend an enormous amount of time getting the proportions right. We don’t rely on cosmetics and gimmicks in the end to get the wow effect. The wow effect needs to come from inside, the core of the vehicle… like the Sportage, which is sportier than anything else in that segment.”
Mr Guillaume admitted that Kia underestimated the popularity of the compact SUV, and Kia’s need for one, especially in Europe. But the company is no longer dragging its feet.
“We did have a concept two years ago called the Niro,” he said. “We were trying to tell people back then: ‘Don’t worry, we’re working on it, it should be here relatively soon.’ But it’s a segment that’s developed really, really quickly. The [Nissan] Juke took people by surprise with how much success it has had, and now we have more and more cars arriving in this segment, and we will be there very, very soon. Don’t worry.
“It does take a certain amount of time to develop that sort of car… but you cannot ignore that segment.”
Thought to be the replacement for Kia’s six-year old Venga mini people mover series, which is currently built in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Russia, the company’s CX-3 competitor will be based on the latest Hyundai i20 supermini’s architecture, and should include a fresh range of three-cylinder and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
Kia Motors Australia communications manager Kevin Hepworth reiterated that the upcoming compact SUV would be “a very welcome addition to the range”.