TMR Team | Jun 7, 2017

Kia has teased a new small SUV, called the Stonic, set to join the Korean company’s international lineup with the release of a series of design sketches hinting at the new model’s final form.

Despite lacking a competitor in the fast-growing small SUV class in Australia, Kia’s Australian operation has decided against adding the new model, leaving the medium SUV Sportage as the brand’s smallest high-rider.

The Stonic takes its name from a combination of ‘speedy’ and the musical term, ‘tonic’ referring to the first and last note in a scale, with Kia describing the Stonic as "an eye-catching and confident compact crossover", and suggesting that the production version will be "the most customizable Kia ever, inside and out".

Unlike Hyundai’s small Kona SUV, which is based on the underpinnings of the i30 hatch, the Stonic will go one size smaller, with the new Kia Rio providing the mechanical package for the new SUV.

As with the hybrid Kia Niro small SUV, the brand's local arm has "no plans for it at this stage", waiting instead for a model from its parent company that would be better suited to Australian tastes.

With sales of traditional light hatches, like the Rio, in decline, and a push for new, more compact crossovers and SUVs such as the the Toyota C-HR and Mazda CX-3 that decision may prove to be a bold call.

MORE: Kia News and Reviews

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