Could this be the small crossover we don’t need?
Korean marque Kia has gone further down the compact-SUV path from the SP Signature Concept that we saw last month, with the company revealing sketches of what appears to be the proper production version ahead of its proper launch. Rumoured to be called the Tusker, the small SUV for the wider Australasian region will be launched in its home market before venturing elsewhere, with only Europe clearly marked as a no-go zone.
What’s clear is that Kia’s design studios have retained a lot of the roughty-toughty look that we liked from the SP Signature, though it’s been watered down a touch for production application. There are some imaginative bits like the full-width chrome elements that make up the grille garnishes and highlight the headlights, as well as the very prominent bonnet creases and under-headlight air intakes.
At the rear it’s plain to see that the taillights mimic the motifs of the headlights, albeit with a slightly softer application, and broken up by what looks to be a chrome garnish element that links the left and right taillights together. There is also a prominent bash-plate at the rear, just like the one in the front, but there appears to be abhorrent fake exhaust tips out back that absolutely does this writers’ head in.
“We have created a car that stands out everywhere. Its robust yet sporty design will be matched by a wide range of features and technologies that are 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.” – Byung Chul Juh, Head of Styling, Kia Motors Corporation
While Kia was happy to release sketches of the exterior, they remain coy about what we can expect inside. If it remains true to concept, there should be a widescreen display dominating the dash, but we imagine that the accountants at Kia (and parent-company Hyundai) will put a stop to that almost immediately. But we can hope, right?
With a Korean launch expected before the end of the year, we can hope to see the Kia ‘Tusker’ on local shores sometime in the first half of next year. Right now we have our fingers crossed that it’ll offer some sort of forced-induction powerplant, all-wheel drive, and ride & handling blessed by Albert Biermann. If so specified, if the Tusker doesn’t sell like hot cakes, we’ll jump into Sydney Harbour.