Production version of the SP concept snapped in Europe ahead of an Australian launch by year's end.

Photographers have spied the upcoming small Kia crossover destined for the Asia-Pacific and North America, believed to be named the Tusker.

The Tusker is the production version of the SP concept revealed at last year's New Delhi motor show, and should arrive in Australia before the end of the year to compete with the likes of the Mitsubishi ASX and Mazda CX-3.

Australian-delivered models will be produced in South Korea, though the Tusker will also be built in India for that market.

Having an SUV model to slot beneath the popular Sportage will be a godsend for the Korean brand, which has lacked a competitor in the small SUV segment currently dominated by the aforementioned ASX and CX-3, along with parent Hyundai's Kona.

In October last year Kia Australia indicated it's expecting the production version of the SP concept to arrive around September or October this year.

Kevin Hepworth, communications boss for Kia's local division, added that the SP/Tusker won't be just a Hyundai Kona clone.

"It's not a Kona, it's a Kia car," he said.

The small SUV segment currently accounts for just under 13.0 per cent of the Australian new car market, sitting in fourth behind medium SUVs, small cars, and 4x4 utes.

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