Mystery crossover spied in Europe looking a jacked-up Ceed – could this be the new sub-Sportage model?

Photographers have snapped images of a mystery Kia crossover prototype doing rounds in Europe, believed to be based on the Ceed hatchback.

In terms of size, the new Kia SUV slots between the Rio-based Stonic and the larger Sportage, making it around the same size as the Hyundai Kona and Ford Focus Active.

A clear link to the Ceed can be seen at the front, with the slim 'tiger nose' grille and aggressive headlights looking very much like the Euro-market hatch and wagon.

While it appears to be based on the Ceed, this model seems to be wearing unique sheetmetal, particularly at the rear which is an all-new design from what we can see.

The glasshouse arrangement also looks very different to that of the Ceed, leading us to believe it will likely wear its own name and be offered as a standalone crossover model rather than being pitched as a member of the Ceed family.

In saying that, expect the new model to be powered by the same range of three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as the related small car. Whether the crossover will be offered with front- and all-wheel drive, though, remains to be seen.

We already know that Kia is working on a production version of the SP concept (above) revealed at the 2018 Auto Expo in New Delhi earlier this year, due for an Australian launch before the end of 2019.

However, this prototype spied in Europe looks nothing like the SP, which means Kia's European division could once again be developing a model specifically for that market, while the SP will satisfy the Asia-Pacific and North American markets.

This approach has been used for some time for the company's small car offerings – the Ceed and Cerato (Forte).

Regardless of whether there are one or two small crossovers globally, Kia currently has a gaping hole in its SUV line-up between the Stonic and Sportage, and needs a proper rival to the likes of the top-selling Nissan Qashqai – in Europe and Australia.

Kia Australia was unable to comment as to whether the vehicle we see here is the same as the production version of the SP concept due next year, so we'll have to wait and see.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest, and click on the images for the full gallery.