Kia Plans "Toyobaru" RWD Coupe Rival

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
kia plans toyobaru rwd coupe rival

Autocar is reporting that Kia has its ever-eager eyes on the affordable RWD sporty coupe market. It’s 2008 Kee coupe concept could borrow the Genesis coupe’s RWD platform when it eventually makes its appearance.

In an exclusive interview Kia design director Peter Schreyer told Autocar that the Kee wasn’t in the European product plan for the next two years, but also confirmed that he is very keen to bring added strength and desirability to the Kia brand with such a car.

Sounds keen. Details follow:

Schreyer says he would support the switch to RWD even if it makes the Kee more expensive to build.

“Assuming Kia’s European fortunes continue to improve at the rate they are now, we could be ready in, say, five years for a car like Kee. We could spin it off the Cee’d or Magentis platform, but for me, it would be important for the Kee to be rear-wheel drive. And there is, of course, already a rear-driven platform within the Hyundai-Kia group that we could look to use, if our timing was good.

“We would have to aim to rival the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota’s new rear-driven coupe. The car would not need to be very fast or very powerful, but it should be compact, affordable and fun – a true sports car.”

“Personally, I have to say that I’m very excited by the idea, and very enthusiastic to make it happen.”

Did he just say five years? Ouch. But then Kia moves fairly briskly. Or not; Schreyer says that Kia’s Korean management board is “habitually conservative and pragmatic”. The key to Kia’s success?

“The problem with Kee is that no one – not in Europe, the USA or Korea – can say with confidence what numbers the Kee would sell in.

“We are not like Audi or Porsche. We are not in a position to just create something and then announce to the market that it’s the perfect kind of sports car.”

“When you’re making cars like this, it’s important to make them with a great deal of confidence,” he went on. “So I think the Kia brand has to grow a little more in stature before the time will be right for Kee.”

At the rate Kia is growing in stature in the US, the time could well be right…now.

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  • CarPerson CarPerson on Dec 14, 2009

    Does closing the doors sound like a dull thud or a car crash? Does the interior noise level stay below 76db(a) measured at the driver’s right ear on I-90 between Seattle (mp 0) and Snoqualmie Pass summit (mp 40)? Is the V6 a 60-degree or a boat-anchor 90-degree? Can it brake 60-0 mph in less than 130 feet? Can it be purchased without a leak roof? Get back to me when we know if we have a REAL contender.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Dec 14, 2009
    Shrinking the Genesis platform into a car the size of a shortened Impreza/slightly larger Miata will require greatly stretching the definition of platform. Not really. Witness the Nissan FM platform: everything from the stubby little Z-Car two-seater to the FX SUV.

  • Make_light I drive a 2015 A4 and had one of these as a loaner once. It was a huge disappointment (and I would have considered purchasing one as my next car--I'm something of a small crossover apologist). The engine sounded insanely coarse and unrefined (to the point that I wasn't sure if it was poor insulation or there was something wrong with my loaner). The seats, interior materials, and NVH were a huge downgrade compared to my dated A4. I get that they are a completely different class of car, but the contrast struck me. The Q3 just didn't feel like a luxury vehicle at all. Friends of mine drive a Tiguan and I can't think of one way in which the Q3 feels worth the extra cost. My mom's CX-5 is better than either in every conceivable way.
  • Arthur Dailey Personally I prefer a 1970s velour interior to the leather interior. And also prefer the instrument panel and steering wheel introduced later in the Mark series to the ones in the photograph. I have never seen a Mark III or IV with a 'centre console'. Was that even an option for the Mark IV? Rather than bucket seats they had the exceptional and sorely missed 60/40 front seating. The most comfortable seats of all for a man of a 'certain size'. In retrospect this may mark the point when Cadillac lost it mojo. Through the early to mid/late 70's Lincoln surpassed Cadillac in 'prestige/pride of place'. Then the 'imports' took over in the 1980s with the rise of the 'yuppies'.
  • Arthur Dailey Really enjoying this series and the author's writing style. My love of PLC's is well known. And my dream stated many times would be to 'resto mod' a Pucci edition Mark IV. I did have a '78 T-Bird, acquired brand new. Preferred the looks of the T-Bird of this generation to the Cougar. Hideaway headlights, the T-Birds roof treatment and grille. Mine had the 400 cid engine. Please what is with the engine displacements listed in the article? I am Canada and still prefer using cubic inches when referencing any domestic vehicles manufactured in the 20th century. As for my T-Bird the engine and transmission were reliable. Not so much some of the other mechanical components. Alternator, starter, carburetor. The vehicle refused to start multiple times, usually during the coldest nights/days or in the most out of the way spots. My friends were sure that it was trying to kill me. Otherwise a really nice, quiet, 'floaty' ride, with easy 'one finger' steering and excellent 60/40 split front seat. One of these with modern mechanicals/components would be a most excellent highway cruiser.
  • FreedMike Maybe they should buy Twitter now.
  • FreedMike A lot of what people are calling "turbo lag" may actually be the transmission. In this case, Audi used a standard automatic in this application versus the DSG, and that makes a big difference. The pre-2022 VW Arteon had the same issue - plenty of HP, but the transmission held it back. If Audi had used the DSG, this would be a substantially quicker, more engaging car. In any case, I don't get these "entry lux" compact CUVs (think: Cadillac XT4, Lexus NX, BMW X1, etc). If you must have a compact CUV, I can think of far better options for a lot less money. And, no, the Tiguan isn't one of them - it has the Miller-cycle 2.0T, so it's a dog. But a Mazda CX-30 with the 2.5T would fit the bill.
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