SUVs are hot property right now, but Kia’s design boss says something new is coming.

    “SUVs were maybe a learning from people driving [MPVs] and being tired of it,” Kia’s head of global design Karim Habib told Autocar.

    “The post-SUV is coming.

    “We will try different things. I do think there are more efficient ways of doing space.”

    While Kia’s EV6 crossover blurs the lines between car and SUV with its sleek styling, the new EV9 has a more traditional, boxy SUV shape and the upcoming EV5 mirrors this on a smaller scale.

    Mr Habib didn’t elaborate on just what a “post-SUV” will look like.

    “I think in a world where technological progress needs to be visible, if the SUV doesn’t manage to show that, it’s not going to survive,” he said.

    “If we manage to create vehicles that are SUVs that do feel like they progress, I think they’re going to survive.”

    He also singled out the current Carnival as proof people movers – aka MPVs or minivans – can be “cool” and “desirable”.

    “I personally believe that you can do really cool vans,” he said.

    Whatever Kia does, under its new Opposites United design philosophy Mr Habib doesn’t intend for its vehicles to follow a Russian nesting doll approach.

    Instead, he’s seeking to design products with an “aspirational quality” that form part of a “product portfolio that has a certain consistency between the products but at the same time has its own particular elements”.

    “I don’t think each one will be as different as [the EV6 and EV9],” he clarifies. “That’s not the way we want to build a brand. We want to build a brand with consistency and recognisability.”

    Mr Habib isn’t the only design boss to muse publicly about what’s coming next in automotive design.

    General Motors design boss Mike Simcoe told CarExpert earlier this year that coupe SUVs are the future, but that sedans are also “coming back, big time”.

    “Sedans are still around, and watch this space,” he said, adding, “People still like sedans and, more than ever, they see them as more premium and more sporty.”

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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