• Kia’s SUV Madness Has No Boundaries: The Koreans Could Build Yet Another Crossover

The company’s tenth SUV could be based on the Rio

Like most automakers out there, Kia took the SUV market by storm and launched a handful of vehicles in recent years. But even though it already has nine crossovers spread over various markets, the Korean brand isn’t ready to stop just yet. According to Kia Europe’s head of product planning, the firm could add yet another SUV in the near future.

Kia Wants Another Small SUV

2017 Kia Rio High Resolution Exterior
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The Kia Stonic, launched in 2017, also shares underpinnings with the Rio hatchback

Speaking to Autocar, Kia Europe’s head of product planning David Labrosse said that Kia is investigating whether it should develop a new small crossover based on the Rio hatchback.

"What we are looking at is whether the market is going to split into low and high seating positions for SUVs and crossovers and whether we need five models to cover the market or four and whether some should be electric or not," said Labrosse.

"Nothing is decided, but that’s [Rio-based SUV] a decision on the table right now," Kia Europe’s chief operating officer Emilio Herrera added, confirming that the Korean company is seriously thinking about expanding its SUV lineup.

2018 Kia Stonic Exterior
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A Rio-based crossover isn’t a brand-new idea though. The Kia Stonic, launched in 2017, also shares underpinnings with hatchback. Should it happen, it will be Kia’s sixth subcompact crossover. In 2019, Kia introduced the Seltos, a five-door SUV that’s only slightly bigger than the Stonic. This vehicle shares underpinnings with the Hyundai Venue, yet another entry-level crossover launched in 2019. The other mini SUV available from Kia are the already iconic Soul, the Niro, and the fresh Xceed.

The new SUV might take a different road design-wise

2018 Kia Ceed Exterior
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Having four boxy SUVs that are similar in size isn’t a very bright idea, so Kia will probably take a different route with this Rio-based vehicle. Word has it Kia wants a slightly sportier subcompact SUV, so it could borrow styling cues from the Xceed. The latter is a high-riding, coupe-style hatchback with aggressive design features like thin and swept-back headlamps, big bumper vents, and a sleek profile. The new Rio-based SUV could fill the really small gap between the Xceed and the slightly boxier Seltos. In order to do so, the next-generation Seltos might grow bigger.

Kia’s insane offensive on the SUV market

2017 Kia Niro Exterior AutoShow
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Kia has taken this way too serious and now offers no fewer than nine crossovers

In today’s market, it’s quite risky to do business without SUVs. Only a handful of automakers manage to survive without one. SUVs sell like hotcakes and bring bigger profits. But Kia has taken this way too serious and now offers no fewer than nine crossovers. It might sound hard to believe, but five of them are subcompacts. And it could grow to include six nameplates soon.

Kia’s mini SUV lineup is quite vast. While the Soul goes back to 2008, Kia launched the other four in recent years. Specifically, the Niro, Stonic, Seltos and Xceed came into the market between 2016 and 2019. The Seltos and Xceed are hitting dealerships this year.

2020 Kia Soul
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While the subcompact segment is crowded with Kia crossovers, the compact market includes only the Sportage, yet another traditional vehicle from the brand. Moving up the ladder, we have the familiar Sorento in the midsize segment. Kia also offers the Mohave here, but this model is only available in Korea. Finally, we have the Telluride to give Kia a presence in the full-size SUV market in the United States.

Yup, having nine crossovers is insane and it’s a record among modern automakers, but Kia isn’t willing to stop here.

Kia won’t launch a new SUV until 2020

2019 Kia Sp Signature Concept
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With the Seltos, Xceed and Telluride hitting dealerships in 2019, Kia won’t have too much time to develop a brand-new crossover. If it’s approved by the end of 2019, the new Rio-based SUV could arrive in second half of 2020. That’s a bit optimistic though, so I wouldn’t wait for another small SUV from the Korean brand until 2021.

Further Reading

2019 Kia Sp Signature Concept
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Read our review of the 2019 Kia SP Signature Concept

2017 Kia Niro High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read up on the 2017 Kia Niro

2017 Kia Rio High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review of the 2019 Kia Rio

2020 Kia Soul
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Check out everything we know about the 2020 Kia Soul

2018 Kia Ceed Exterior
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Get in touch with the 2020 Kia Ceed

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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