Kia’s desperately needed small crossover SUV to rival cars such as Mazda CX-3 appears to be coming together, as these reputed development-car spy images show.
Our photographer friends have caught this camouflaged prototype model doing cold weather testing on a frozen lake in Sweden. Suggestions out of Europe are that this car might be called the Kia Stonic. The name is not confirmed.
We don’t know a whole lot, but we do understand that the Kia B-segment crossover will sit upon a stretched version of the new Rio’s platform — which obviously has a lot of commonality with Hyundai, itself primed for a belated baby crossover — and use new downsized turbo engines, probably matched to a new seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox.
Front-wheel drive is obviously a goer, though an all-wheel drive derivative is a possibility.
It also would not be a stretch to suggest that the new sub-Sportage Kia SUV will sport similar lines to the new Rio (pictured below), and a similar cabin with floating tablet screen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Our sources at Kia confirmed that the much-speculated world premiere slated for the Frankfurt motor show in September this year is an accurate guesstimate.
Pictured: New Kia Rio's cabin, which gives clues as to what the new crossover's interior will look like
Following on from this, it’s not a big leap to suggest the Kia crossover will arrive in Australia around March/April 2018, replete with localised suspension, where it will slot into the range between the new Rio and popular Sportage, priced from about $25,000.
Kia Australia is naturally very keen on the car, which would provide incremental sales. The Korean company grew a massive 26.5 per cent in 2016 and climbed inside the national top 10 brands, while this year it’ll build its image with the rear-drive Stinger GT.
Rivals beyond the CX-3 in the hugely popular small SUV segment — a segment where Kia has been losing buyers to rival brands — are the Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, soon-to-be-upgraded Subaru XV and the imminent Toyota C-HR.
As we recently reported, the Kia B-segment crossover will not replace the boxy Soul, which will enter a next generation and fill the role of a legacy car for Kia, a la VW’s Beetle or BMW’s Mini.
We’ll give you more details once we know them.