KIA has revealed a compact city SUV ready to go on sale later this year, but Kia Australia won't be bringing it here.
Called the Stonic - rather cutely a blend of "speedy" and "tonic" - Kevin Hepworth from Kia Australia said it was not the vehicle the brand needed in the red hot small SUV segment.
"We're not taking it because it doesn't have a suitable drivetrain combination for what we need in the category," he said. "It's more an urban vehicle for Europe in particular, but we're waiting for a more focused SUV coming along the track, which we suggest would be in 2019.
"We would love a car in that segment (small SUV), but we need the right one."
The Stonic's reveal follows the imminent arrival of Hyundai's new Kona small SUV, the first time its fellow Korean car manufacturer will enter this popular segment.
Built on the small Rio platform, the Stonic, revealed only in concept form in the pictures, is: "an eye-catching and confident compact crossover with true European design flair...inspired by the form and function of larger Kia SUVs."
Key features we can take from the concept pictures are a sweeping coupe-esque roof line, integrated roof racks and complex-looking sharp rear lights.
Inside the design looks simple and clean with a large "floating" touchscreen and orange highlights, emphasising that the Stonic will be "the most customisable Kia ever, inside and out."
Kia was Australia's fastest growing mainstream car brand in 2016, selling over 42,000 cars for a growth of 27% over the previous year.
This year is shaping up to be a busy and exciting one for the brand. Its new Stinger grand tourer arrives in September, including a 272kW/510Nm performance version which should hit 100kmh in 4.9 seconds.
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