Kia has just released teaser images of a new compact car concept that will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. We won’t know much else about this concept until its official release on September 10, but Kia flexed its vocabulary to describe the car as “mischievous,” “gutsy,” and even “impish.”
It’s unclear what these descriptors are hinting at, but Kia does say that this is a B-segment concept previewing a new, stylish compact designed with Europe in mind. Kia’s current entry in the B-segment is the Rio subcompact sedan and hatchback. The Kia Soul hatchback is arguably a B-segment car as well, but competes in a slightly larger, boxier class with the Scion xB and is less performance oriented than this upcoming concept seems to be.
The main teaser photo of the concept shows a high-riding, rally-inspired look with Kia’s traditional grille flanked by fog lights and a swoopy, power-bulge hood. In fact, this look reminds us of the Nissan Juke, a small crossover-like hatchback based on the subcompact Nissan Versa platform. We would not be surprised if Kia has a Juke competitor in the works based on the Rio platform, as the Juke has found unexpected success both in Europe and the US and arguably has no direct rivals. The interior of the Kia concept seems to show the typical futuristic concept car fluff that is unlikely to ever make production, but the color scheme with neon green highlights interspersed along the black dashboard is interesting nonetheless.
Kia has shown other concepts expressing their intentions to enter the premium B-segment market. At last year’s Geneva Motor Show, Kia showed another B-segment concept called the Provo, a compact coupe with cheeky styling inspired by the Mini Coupe. There was also the Cub concept at the Seoul Motor Show earlier this year, which was an even smaller hatchback with rear suicide doors and no B-pillar. Both the Provo concept and the Cub concept featured the 1.6-liter, 201 hp turbocharged four-cylinder from the Hyundai Veloster Turbo that will soon make its appearance in the 2014 Kia Forte Koup and 5-door models. It remains to be seen which of these concepts will come to fruition or whether any of them will make it to the US, but it’s clear that Kia has something up its sleeve for the compact segment.
For now, keep an eye out for the upcoming concept that previews a small, sporty crossover for Kia.