KIA will enter the fast-growing compact SUV market next year.
Labelled a crossover utility vehicle, the high-riding offering will be based off the Rio small car platform.
Full details and specifications are yet to be revealed but is expected to arrive in Australia late next year.
The Kia compact SUV will likely come up against the likes of Mazda's CX-3 and Honda's HR-V, and to be competitive will need to be priced in the realm of $22,500 plus on-roads.
Kia took the wraps off a three-door Provo concept car back in 2013 featuring smaller dimensions to the vehicle forecast to Aussie reach showrooms.
While that vehicle was a three-door hybrid, this cross-over version of the Rio is expected to have naturally aspirated drivetrains and five doors.
"We have to be strident with what affect it will have on Rio and where it fits in the market and does the does it is supposed to do against HR-V and CX-3 etcetera," Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith said.
"The footprint is probably a little smaller than those so we have to make sure it's competitive.
"It's not a full SUV, that's why it is called a CUV (crossover utility vehicle). We'll see what we can do in regards to pricing strategy and how its footprint matches with those other cars."
Mr Meredith said Kia will still be maintaining a strong presence in the sub-$20,000 passenger car market, with drive-away pricing for the Picanto pint-size vehicle ($14,990), Rio ($16,990) and Cerato ($19,990).
Sports utility vehicles made up 37.5% of vehicle sales last month according to industry statistician VFACTS. Passenger cars dropped to 39.5%, compared to 43.5% at the same time last year.
Leading the way in the sub-compact SUV segment are the CX-3, HR-V, Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Subaru XV and the Suzuki Vitara.
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