We're Almost Sure to See One of Kia's Two 'Concept' SUVs

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
were almost sure to see one of kias two 8216 concept suvs

When your author hears the word “Masterpiece,” his mind conjures up images of a coveted line of K-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers, one of which still exists on the market. Kia’s not thinking about guns, though the themes of toughness, precision, and premium appeal carry over to the automotive world.

Masterpiece is the name applied to one of two Kia concept SUVs unveiled Thursday at the Seoul Motor Show, but it’s the second of the two vehicles that might be most relevant to North American buyers.

The Masterpiece is a brawny midsize SUV that also carries the Mohave name. While this moniker might be unfamiliar to domestic audiences, Americans will remember its brief stint in Kia’s U.S. lineup as the Borrego — a body-on-frame model whose lifespan was cut short by the recession. Mohave soldiers on overseas, and the concept certainly looks like a sneak peek at its successor.

The second concept, called the SP Signature, is a very fleshed-out small utility vehicle that’s the latest in a line of SP-badged concepts. Kia’s Signature is clearly more than just a design exercise; the company says it “previews a production-ready compact SUV from Kia, due to be revealed for the first time later in 2019.”

Debuting the same week Kia’s corporate cousin, Hyundai, teased its upcoming small Venue crossover, it looks like this could be that model’s twin. For now, Kia’s staying tight-lipped about the Signature’s U.S. availability. One thing’s for sure, though — we’ll see the signature’s styling carry over to other vehicles in the Kia utility lineup.

The next Mohave, as previewed by the Masterpiece, is a question mark. Kia missed its chance to capitalize on U.S. SUV demand a decade ago, but it made up for it with this year’s release of the three-row Telluride. Reintroducing a similar-sized SUV, even a more rugged (and possibly BOF) one, might cannibalize Telluride and Sorento sales.

Then again, having too many utility vehicles is hardly a problem facing automakers these days. Just the opposite, in fact.

[Images: Kia Motors]

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  • Bd2 Bd2 on Mar 29, 2019

    The SP concept has been out for some time (debuted in Feb. of 2018) and previews the Tusker - which is what we're getting in lieu of the Stonic. As for the Masterpiece, it's nothing new either as it's just the same Borrego/Mohave but w/ a more extensive 2nd refresh (and needless to say, we won't be seeing it return here).

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Mar 29, 2019

    The orange one looks too much like Geordi La Forge porked an Evoque. The long chrome unibrow is a bit much.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.
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