Korean carmaker Kia has already announced plans to launch six models in India in three years. The line-up is expected to be a mix of made-in-India and assembled-in-India models, the first of which will be the production version of the SP Concept SUV that goes on sale in August this year. The second made-in-India model will be a compact SUV that will get an Auto Expo 2020 reveal. While these launches will be interspersed by locally-assembled models from Kia’s international line-up, we have learnt that Kia’s third made-for-India product will be a cross-hatchback scheduled for launch in 2021.
The cross-hatchback is expected to be based on the next-gen Rio hatchback. The current Rio is sold as a hatchback and as a sedan abroad, though markets like China and Russia also get a cross-hatch version called the K2 Cross. The China-spec cross-hatch is 40mm longer and 30mm wider than the Rio hatchback it is based on, which measures 4,064mm in length, 1,725mm in width and 1,450mm in height. The Kia cross-hatch for India will measure less than four metres in length to qualify for small car excise benefits.
It is understood that the cross-hatchback will be the only version of the model in India. Kia wants to cash in on the craze for SUVs in the country and is confident its cross-hatchback would be seen as an interesting alternative to hatchbacks like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. However, given the tepid response to cross-hatchbacks so far, the move could be risky.
There’s no word on engine and transmission options but it is likely the Kia cross-hatch will share its 118hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and 1.5-litre diesel motor with the upcoming compact SUV.