The Korean manufacturer is set to grow its SUV range, adding a smaller model alongside the Sportage and Sorento
Mark Tisshaw
17 February 2016

Kia has plans to launch a compact SUV within the next two years, one of nine new models it plans to launch by the end of 2018.

Kia’s European marketing director Artur Martins confirmed to Autocar that the small SUV, a rival to the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, will be on sale within the next two years.

Read our full review on the Renault Captur

“There’s space to grow with SUVs, into lower segments,” said Martins at the European reveal of the new Optima SW and Niro hybrid. “This model makes sense for us, and we will bring it in the future, two years maximum.”

The B-segment SUV is likely to be based on the underpinnings of the next-generation Rio, which is set to arrive next year.

Both form part of Kia’s renewed model offensive, which will see the nine models launched by the end of the 2018, including replacements for existing models and body derivatives. This process started with the new Sportage and Optima, and will continue with the Optima SW and Niro unveiled today.

Read our review on the Nissan Juke

Martins also reconfirmed Kia’s desire to produce a production version of the highly regarded GT concept as one of the nine new models. He said Kia wanted the car to be one “you totally fall in love with”, that “drives well, has good ride and handling, a strong powertrain”, rather than be an all-out hardcore driving machine.

Kia signalled its desire to build small SUVs with a concept named the Niro – no relation to the recently unveiled production car of the same name –  shown off at the Frankfurt motor show in 2013.

Kia is also considering a large SUV inspired by the Telluride concept it presented at the Detroit motor show at the start of 2016.

Speaking to Autocar at the recent Chicago motor show, Michael Sprague, chief operating officer of Kia Motors America said: “When we come out with concepts, they are usually pretty strong indications of what’s to come.

“Those concepts tell people that we see an opportunity in the big SUV space and its more than likely something along those lines will come.”

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