Kia has previewed a brand new sub-compact SUV similar in size to the Mazda CX-3, though for our Australian readers there is a catch — this isn’t the version Kia will sell in the West.
Called the Kia KX3, the baby SUV concept premiered today in Guangzhou may be a concept in name, though it looks every bit the production car and even incorporates existing Kia powertrain technology.
According to the Korean brand, the KX3 ostensibly previews the C-segment SUV the company wants to “offer exclusively for the Chinese market”. As such, it was developed with joint venture partner Dongfeng Yueda Kia.
That said, one could also speculate it foreshadows the sub-Sportage SUV the company is working on for Europe, the US and others such as Australia, though whether that mooted vehicle will retain the styling and mechanicals of this concept remains unclear.
The KX3 bears close resemblance to the new-generation Sorento, though — call us crazy — is it just us that see a little Porsche in its headlights and bonnet? There’s also a new take on Kia’s Tiger Nose grille, the surround of which incorporates LED daytime running lights.
Kia says the concept is 4260mm long, 1765mm wide and has 2590mm between the wheels. It is also 1630mm high and has a decent 400L of cargo storage.
Under the bonnet is Kia’s 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine from the Koup Turbo, matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch (DCT) auto. The concept’s chassis and shell have also been engineered for a Chinese NCAP five-star rating.
Kia has long fielded questions about when it will enter the sub-compact SUV race against cars such as the CX-3 and Nissan Juke on a global basis.
Earlier this month, reports from Europe suggested a dedicated hybrid crossover was on the cards for the end of 2016. Kia has also previously shown the radical Niro concept at the 2013 Frankfurt show and has openly talked about the benefits of entering such an emerging market.
You can bet your boot straps Kia Australia will be itching to get such a vehicle here whenever an option becomes available. Small SUV sales are up 17 per cent this year against an overall down market, and the addition of the Mazda CX-3 in 2015 will see this momentum continue.
This sentiment is echoed by Kia Australia general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth, who told us “as soon as one comes on the table we’ll have our hand up. It’s one of the areas that’s showing growth”.
Tell us. what do you think of the styling? Do cars such as this and the CX-3 show car-makers are becoming more adroit at designing this sort of car?