The Kia XCeed compact crossover completes the Ceed range by adding a model in one of Europe's most competitive segments.
Despite the growing number of players in the sector, Kia expects the XCeed to be "among the best performers within the Ceed range" in terms of sales, Kia Product Manager Ioannis Roussis said.
Crossovers and SUVs are increasingly dominant in the compact segment, accounting for 48 percent of all sales of compact-sized cars in Europe in 2018, he said.
Roussis said exterior design is by far the most important feature customers look for in a crossover, with 64 percent of them mentioning it as a purchase factor.
The XCeed is built on the same K2 platform as the hatchback version and it has a sleek, coupe-like look. It is 48mm taller and 85mm longer than the hatchback, but the sister cars have the same wheelbase and the same front doors. Most of the increased height comes from the raised ride position (+20 mm) and larger tires (+17mm).
Kia hopes to sell 45,000 to 50,000 units of the XCeed in Europe over a full year, said Pablo Martinez Masip, who is Kia Europe's director of product management and pricing.
The XCeed will only be sold in Europe.
European sales of the current three versions of the Ceed were up 39 percent to 63,307 in the first seven months, according to JATO Dynamics.
The XCeed, which will be positioned above the Stonic small crossover and below the Sportage midsize SUV, will compete against rivals such as the Ford Focus Active, Toyota C-HR and Nissan Qashqai.
Kia Europe Chief Operating Officer Emilio Herrera said the XCeed's sporty design makes it more desirable than many taller, larger SUVs without compromising on versatility because of its "intelligent packaging," which "merges the strengths of both hatchback and SUV."
The XCeed offers 426 liters of luggage space, which Kia says is second only to the Nissan Qashqai but beats competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Toyota C-HR and Ford Focus Active.
Interior design options include a 12.3-inch full digital cluster (not configurable by the customer) and a 10.25-inch navigation system. The navigation system includes seven years of Kia connected services.