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Kia teases sporty new small SUV

New generation: Kia will target millennials with its all-new small SUV that goes on sale in Australia in the final quarter of this year.

Sketches show Kia’s imminent production small SUV will be close to SP concept

15 May 2019

KIA has released sketches of its long-awaited small SUV, confirming that the unnamed sub-Sportage crossover will closely resemble the SP and SP Signature concepts that the company has shown over the past year.


The South Korean company promises the new vehicle will have the space and capabilities of a traditional SUV in a compact package while also “matching the unique preferences and needs of the millennial generation”.


Rumoured to be badged Tusker for western markets, the new vehicle will be unveiled in the northern summer – possibly in India where Kia is starting its market push – before being rolled out to global markets, including Australia, in the second half of 2019.


The two sketches – one of the front and another of the rear – show that the new model has retained most of the styling cues of the SP concept that broke cover at India’s AutoExpo in February last year.


The fascia includes a reworked “tiger nose” grille with a mesh inlet and LED headlights in blocks that curve to the sides to give a 3D look.


At the back, a chrome bar across the width of the boot pierces the LED tail-lights that have elements that echo the look of the front lights. Sporty touches include big-bore exhaust outlets and faux bash plates front and back.


Head of Kia Styling Byung Chul Juh describes the design as “robust but sporty”, adding that it will boast a wide range of features and technologies universally suited to younger buyers in markets around the world.


“Our new small SUV is a proposition that no other car in its class will match,” he said.


The small SUV has been a long time coming for Kia Motors Australia which has previously knocked back other small Kia SUV models, including the Stonic, as unsuitable for Australian buyers.


Instead, it has waited patiently for the new vehicle which is expected to have the powertrains and classy trim options demanded by local consumers.


Made in South Korea for Australia, the Tusker, or whatever it will be called, should hit showrooms in the final quarter of this year to take on the likes of the Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona in a crowded segment with more than 20 contestants.


So far this year, the breakneck growth of the segment in recent years has stalled along with the rest of the market, finishing 0.5 down on the same period of 2018 at the end of April.


Although the new Kia will shoulder the bulk of the small SUV load for the brand in the Australian market, it will be joined early next year by an all-electric crossover, the e-Niro.

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