Kia Niro 4

It looks like the Koreans are finally entering the burgeoning global B-segment market with the Kia Niro, after the China-only KX3 and Hyundai ix25 were launched late last year. That’s not surprising, given that it used the Niro name on a distinctive three-door SUV concept revealed at Frankfurt 2013, looking fit to take the equally-polarising Nissan Juke head-on.

Fast forward a couple of years, our European spy photographers have captured the small crossover out and about in Germany. Heavily camouflaged, the side profile looks similar to the KX3, but there are minor differences around the leading edge of the A-pillar that indicate that this new car isn’t just a KX3 with Euro-specific front and rear fascias.

Kia Niro 9

What the Niro should share with the KX3 are the powertrains – a 1.6 litre Gamma four-pot in both 123 hp/151 Nm naturally-aspirated (with a six-speed auto and manual gearboxes) and 200 hp/264 Nm T-GDI (with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission) flavours. We’ve seen the turbo mill before – it’s also featured on our Cerato Koup and Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Diesel engines should also be available for the European market.

The B-segment crossover segment will be a hotbed of activity whenever the Niro arrives – the Honda HR-V has taken the world by storm, while the Juke, Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka remain competitive. There’s the Ford EcoSport too, don’t forget, and the Fiat 500X is set to enter markets soon. So, when is Hyundai’s turn?