Nevertheless, Kia UK has started paving the way for the new crossover by streamlining its Sportage range by eliminating slow-selling trim levels. In the longer term, the next-generation Sportage, due to be launched around 2021/22, will grow in size to make room for the new crossover.
Both the crossover and shooting brake Ceeds will share their 2.6-metre-long wheelbases with the new Ceed hatch and estate. The shooting brake will be the most distinctive, with a sweeping roofline and swept-back hatch door, as shown by the concept.
Despite the dominance of SUV sales in the new car market, Martins expects the shooting brake to still be a strong seller among its siblings. He said Kia believes that “the gigantic trend to SUVs won’t end, but the most progressive customers who were looking at SUVs five, six years ago see SUVs as mainstream now and are looking for different stuff”.
“If it’s our Qashqai moment, then it’d be a dream, of course,” Martins added. “I don’t think it’ll go that far, but 20-25% of the mix [of Ceed estate sales] would be success for it.”
Kia also experimented with fastback-styling inspired by the rear-drive Stinger for the Ceed, but Guillaume admitted the proportions didn’t work on the 4.3-metre-long model. He said: “For a fastback to look right, you need a long roofline and a certain overall length to develop the shape.”
Together, the Ceed crossover and shooting brake are intended to replace the three-door Proceed as the sporty alternatives to the Ceed hatch and estate. Much of their development has taken place at the Nürburgring, where Kia and sister brand Hyundai have a testing base.
The brands’ boss for vehicle testing, former BMW M chief engineer Albert Biermann, has overseen their chassis development and he told Autocar earlier this year that all new models will be more fun to drive.
Although powertrains for the shooting brake and crossover Ceeds have yet to be confirmed, power for the new Ceed hatch and estate comes from a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel. The smallest is a 1.0-litre T-GDi unit that produces 118bhp, while a 1.4-litre T-GDi engine replaces the old car’s 1.6 petrol and comes in 99bhp and 138bhp forms. Just one 1.6-litre diesel CRDi is offered but it's new and comes in 113bhp and 134bhp guises.
It’s likely that most, if not all, of those powertrains will be offered with the shooting brake and crossover. Despite having a more sporty focus, the models will not be performance cars, according to Martins.
“We’re not looking for extreme performance like Hyundai with N,” he said. “The idea is to lead from a design perspective, and have something really nice. The C-segment is so mature; the way to stand out is with special design.”