Crossovers continue to proliferate throughout the Kia line-up as the Korean company looks at adding another B-segment SUV, according to a report from Autocar.
Possibly wearing 'XRio' badges, it would be conceptually similar to the C-segment XCeed. The XCeed is based on the European-market Ceed, which itself shares underpinnings with the Cerato sold locally.
Although it rides higher than the regular Ceed and shares its platform, it has relatively slinky, coupe-like styling for an SUV. The XRio, if it’s called that, would follow the same formula but with Rio underpinnings.
Kia already sells the Rio-derived Stonic (pictured above) in the European and Korean markets, as well as in the Chinese market where it wears KX1 badges. To make room for the XRio, the next-generation Stonic – due in 2023/24 – would adopt more traditional SUV styling.
Currently, the Stonic has a seating position much the same as the Rio’s. The XRio and XCeed would therefore be what Kia refers to as 'B-Low' and 'C-Low' models, to be paired with a B-High Stonic and the C-High Sportage.
Sleeker SUV models have become a hot ticket, with Kia predicting the low-roof, high-riding XCeed will soon become its best-seller in Europe. Should it do so, the XRio will almost definitely reach production.
In Russia and China, Kia also sells a crossover badged KX Cross and Rio X-Line, respectively. Though it’s also related to the Rio, it’s 10cm longer than the Stonic and wears different and arguably more conservative styling. Like the current Stonic, however, it looks more or less like a jacked-up hatchback.
Think that’s enough B-segment crossovers for Kia? Wrong! There’s also the upcoming Seltos (above), the first (and so far, only) Kia to be sold and manufactured in India. It’s launching here this year, though our versions will come from Kia’s Gwangju factory in South Korea.
The Seltos is almost identical dimensionally to the Niro, available only as a hybrid or an EV. The Niro is much more widely available than the aforementioned models, being sold in the North American, European and Asian markets. From next year, the Niro EV is earmarked to make its way to Australia, too.
There’s one other B-segment Kia crossover, the KX3, produced by Dongfeng Yueda Kia and sold only in China. It’s based on the Hyundai Creta/ix25, a global model manufactured in China, India, Brazil and Russia.
Though its quirky styling eschews convention, the boxy Soul could also be considered a B-segment crossover of sorts. It’s a hit in the US market, narrowly outselling both the Forte (Cerato) and Optima last year to make it Kia’s best-selling model there.
Above: 2020 Kia Seltos
If Kia launches the XRio in markets alongside the Stonic, it won’t be the only automaker to employ this dual-model strategy in a segment.
Mercedes-Benz, for example, will split the C-segment with its new GLA and upcoming GLB. Ford, too, will have a more square-rigged, “baby Bronco” companion to the Escape. Jeep first employed this strategy over a decade ago with its boxy Patriot and more car-like Compass.