Kia aims 7-seater SUV segment in India, 2022 model may rival Alcazar, Safari


Kia India, formerly known as Kia Motors India, is planning to enter the 7-seater SUV segment in the country early next year with a brand new model. The Korean carmaker, while revealing its future plans for India, said it is not looking into the sedan segment right now. It is aiming for the segment in which it still does not have a presence in the country.

The three-row SUV segment in India has suddenly emerged as a viable option at a time when personal mobility is getting priority amid social distancing norms during the Covid-19 pandemic. India already has several three-row passenger vehicles like Toyota Innova Crysta, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga or the Renault Triber, there seems to be a new trend to convert popular five-seater SUVs into three-row models.

India has recently the launch of the Tata Safari, a 7-seater rendition of its popular 5-seater SUV Harrier. Earlier this year, Hyundai also announced that it will launch a 7-seater SUV, called Alcazar, which is based on its most popular 5-seater offering Creta SUV.

Kia India seems to be going with the flow in the market, where some of the carmakers are now venturing into the 7-seater SUV segment. According to some other reports, Kia may consider an MPV for India, which has been spied testing in recent times. Codenamed KY, the 7-seater vehicle is said to be based on the Sonet SUV and may hit Indian market in January next year. However, Kia India has officially not given any details about its new model.

However, earlier this month, Kia had unveiled a 7-seater version of the Sonet SUV for the South Asian market. Indonesia became the first country in the world to get the three-row variant of the Kia Sonet SUV. Kia is also likely to drive in this model in other Asian markets soon.

The top-spec seven-seater Kia Sonet, called Premiere 7, has a 10.25-inch LCD infotainment screen and has several functions like multiple bluetooth connection, voice recognition, USB and AUX connection, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto among several others.

Could this three-row Sonet SUV be Kia’s answer to Hyundai’s Alcazar or Tata Motor’s Safari SUVs? Or is Kia working on a completely unseen model, based on its existing line of SUVs, for the Indian market? Either way, the 7-seater three-row segment is going to see similar competition already seen in the mid-SUV segment, especially between the two Korean siblings.