And it won’t be a Kona makeover, they assure.
Korean carmaker Kia are slowly but surely improving their product offerings day by day, and will finally be fielding a compact-crossover contender to go against hot-sellers like the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Subaru XV before 2019 is up, it seems. Where sister-brand Hyundai already has the Kona on our market, Kia’s been unusually mum on the subject, despite having an able competitor in the Kia Stonic (which shares its major components with the Kona) already available in European markets.
Kia’s local comms boss Kevin Hepworth had the information to share with the media in Melbourne, assuring those interested in such a car that not only is the brand intent on competing in that space, but that it will be a distinctly-different product than what Hyundai is already offering.
“The other car we really want to get is that sub-Sportage SUV. We’re looking at getting that at the end of next year, September-October next year is the plan for that. [And] it’s not a Kona, it’s a Kia.” — Kevin Hepworth, General Manager (Media & Corporate Communications), Kia Australia
What’s interesting is that Kia seems to be going towards getting a car in this segment that would be broadly based on the SP Concept that was unveiled in February, in New Delhi. Notably at the time, Kia said that the SP previewed the brands ambitions for the region, which we didn’t think meant Australia. It’s all good though, because the SP Concept previews a car that certainly looks exciting, more so than the rather stoic Stonic.
In fact, even Kia’s design boss Peter Schreyer said that the SP’s styling would likely set it up as a sales hit when it arrives in showrooms, hinting that little would be lost in the gestation from concept car to production model.
“It’s still a concept so it’s a little bit exaggerated, but the actual production car will be very close to what you see here.” — Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer, Kia Motors
Upon the arrival of the Kia SP, there’s little doubt that it’ll spell the end for the relatively-unloved Soul hatchback. Once a design darling through most of the world, the Soul has simply lost its lustre in the marketplace with more and more buyers flocking readily to SUVs, and so the Soul will probably lose its place on the Australian lineup by then. But Kia Australia themselves are taking a very ‘never say never’ attitude to the Soul, so maybe there’s something in store there.