In the past two years, work has been underway to bring a production car to market.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the Kia design centre in Europe, chief designer Gregory Guillaume said the brand’s B-segment SUV contribution was is “not far away”.
“We had a concept car in that segment here two years ago, exactly here at the Frankfurt show. It was called the Niro. We were trying to say to people, don’t worry we’re working on it. It should be coming relatively soon,” Guillaume said.
According to Guillaume, at the time Niro was revealed, Kia had already been studying the segment and had recognised a potential demand for something smaller than the Soul, and admitted “it takes a certain amount of time to develop the car”.
But a number of other manufacturers are already in-market and taking advantage of the popularity of smaller and smaller SUVs, with the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Renault Captur already making a splash.
“I think it’s a segment that popped out of nowhere, it developed really really quickly. The [Nissan] Juke was really the first car in Europe that kind of appeared and took a lot of people by surprise and now you have more and more cars arriving in that segment,” he said.
So, when can we expect to see a city-sized SUV offering from Kia?
“I can’t give you details,” he said, before stating that “you cannot ignore that segment in Europe”.
Last year CarAdvice spoke with Kia’s vice president of overseas marketing, Soon-Nam Lee, at the brand’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, about the potential production version of the Niro concept (read the full story here).
According to Lee, we can expect something that is very much in the same vein as the concept vehicle.
“We would do our best to reflect the Niro concept,” Lee said at the time.
Guillaume echoed that when asked whether the design would be revolutionary for Kia.
“No, in terms of what Kia design is, we are very clear with what we believe, in what we like, the type of car, the type of design that we do. The revolution will be more of what that car is in the segment,” he said.
“But we won’t do it the Renault Captur way, we won’t do it the [Mazda] CX-3 way, we’ll do it the Kia way.”