Kia will launch its small SUV later this year.
Following Hyundai’s reveal of the Venue, its new small global crossover, sister company Kia is following suit with these new sketches. First it revealed — at least in drawings — what the model’s exterior will look like. Now, we get our first glimpses of the interior. Kia says it is aiming this car at “youthful, tech-savvy buyers looking for ease-of-use with a bold design statement.”
Front and center when it comes to the interior is a large, 10.25-inch infotainment screen. That is actually the same size as the screen you get in the massive Telluride SUV, while its placement makes it look like it’s rising out of the center stack. Beneath it are simple, straightforward HVAC controls. At the center console, you get the same sort of gear lever you would find in the new Forte or Soul. All in all, the interior looks like fairly standard Kia fare.
On the outside, Kia’s new small SUV looks much more dramatic. You still have the signature Tiger Nose grille, as expected. However, the concept at least integrates the headlight assemblies into that grille, creating one nearly-seamless front fascia. The car also has stockier proportions near the wheels, while it tapers further up to look more like a normal hatchback. LED taillights wrap around a chrome strip that extends outward from the Kia badge, a styling cue that adds some upscale feel to an otherwise entry-level econobox.
On sale in Korea first
What powertrain Kia’s new small SUV will house is a mystery until its reveal, which is rumored to happen in June. Kia will likely use the 1.6-liter Gamma II engine, similar to what’s in the Hyundai Venue. In the Venue, it produces 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque. Base SE models get a manual transmission, while the higher trim level gets the new CVT unit instead.
Since Kia bills itself as a sportier, more youthful brand, it may eschew the CVT in place of a traditional automatic. At the top end, a seven-speed dual clutch transmission will likely what’s on offer. If that is the case, we may see a turbocharged variant with a bit more oomph than the Venue.
Kia announced it would launch its small SUV in South Korea first later this year. Global markets will get this new model starting in 2020.