Like plenty of carmakers at the moment, Kia is leaning heavily on the SUV movement, releasing model after model at breakneck pace. Its next offering, a compact B-segment crossover due to be revealed later this year, has been previewed by this, the SP Signature concept in its home market of Korea.
If the SP name sounds familiar, that’s because the Signature is an evolution of the SP Concept shown in India last year. Originally, the production version was supposed to launch the Kia brand in the South Asian country this year as a rival to the Hyundai Creta, but evidently something has changed along the way and the car is now slated to go on sale globally.
The Signature may be a more production-ready preview, but the rugged design stays faithful to the original show car. The beefy front end, with its large, closed-off “tiger nose” grille joined to a slim light strip at the top and larger main lamps below it, is practically identical to the SP. The wraparound windscreen design, contrasting roof, broad two-piece tail lights and fake twin tailpipes are also carried over.
This being less of a flight of fancy than the previous concept, the Signature ditches a few of the fantastical design cues like the distinctive roof-mounted light bar and hidden door handles. Unlike the earlier SP, the Signature does not have a visible interior, but expect the production version to be closer to the latest Kia models like the Rio, ditching the Mercedes-style flatscreen display panel.
Now, doubtless many of you will remember that Kia already has a product in that segment, called the Stonic. That may be true, but the Stonic is more of a Euro-centric vehicle, with a softer, more car-like design. It stands to reason that Kia is following the approach it took for the C-segment market, selling the Ceed in Europe and the Cerato in the rest of the world.
Like the Stonic, the production version is expected to be based on the Rio and should be offered with some of the same engines. These include a 1.25 and 1.4 litre naturally-aspirated petrol engines, a 1.0 litre turbo petrol and a 1.6 litre turbodiesel.