Kia unveils SP Signature concept at Seoul Motor Show

Previews a compact crossover coming to the U.S. later this year

Kia SP Signature Concept
Kia SP Signature Concept / Image Credit: Kia
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The Seoul Motor Show is alive and kicking, and Kia has used its home event to display two new concepts. One is the Mohave Masterpiece large SUV, which is what our Borrego could have become if the Borrego hadn't been sent to slaughter in 2009 after just one year on sale here. The other concept is the SP Signature, said to preview a compact crossover Kia will sell around the world starting later this year. The four-door is a toned-down, more production-ready version of the SP concept unveiled at India's Auto Expo last year.

The car's a bit of a cryptid, with few facts and plenty of fuzzy details to go on. The SP Signature concept apparently began as an Indian-market product, then morphed into a worldwide offering. Kia said the "SP Concept hints at the company's plans to introduce a new small SUV for its global markets," but that "hint" has already been confirmed; Kia Motors CEO Han-Woo Park told Automotive News last October that the U.S. would get a new compact crossover in late 2019, and a prototype matching the Signature's profile has been spotted testing.

Slotting in below the Sportage and about the size of the Hyundai Kona, the reported retail name is Tusker, but we aren't sure that name will apply here. Although the Signature evokes Kona vibes, detailing makes the Signature look more technical and hawkish than the Kona, which we like. Rumor also has it that the so-called Tusker won't include all-wheel drive as an option so as to leave daylight between it and the Sportage.

Several outlets have posited a debut at the New York Auto Show, partly because the N.Y. show put out a press release listing Kia as one of the automakers with a world debut. That press release has since disappeared, and with Hyundai having announced the even smaller Venue crossover for New York, it's possible Kia could have to give way to big brother.

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