Kia has unveiled its new European-market small SUV. Teased just a few weeks ago, the Stonic showcases a bold new design that is sure to grab the attention of buyers in the urban crossover segment, however, Australian buyers will be overlooked yet again.
From the outside the Stonic showcases a sharp front end style that incorporates Kia’s 'Tiger Nose' grille resign surrounded by angular headlights and intakes. By far the boldest style statement, though, is the ‘Targa-style’ roof which allows for optional spit two-tone paint finishes.
The look is no less conventional towards the rear, with a low set number plate mount that intersects the tailgate’s lower edge, and usual zig-zag through the lower door cladding, and a wrap-over C-pillar when optioned with one of the five available contrasting roof finishes.
The Stonic will face-off against competitors like the Nissan Juke and Toyota CH-R, and despite arriving at the same time as the similarly-positioned Kona from sister-company Hyundai, the Stonic has more in common than the current Rio light hatch than the i30-based Kona.
With the European market in mind engines include efficient 1.25 and 1.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol four-cylinder engine, plus a range-topping 88kW 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo petrol. A 1.6-litre turbo diesel will also join the range.
On the inside the Stonic will come packed with heated front seats, keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control, and touchscreen infotainment systems featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto depending on the specification.
Like the out-there exterior combos, the interior will also be available with a range of audacious colour packs to brighten up the horizontally-oriented dash and centre console.
Safety systems will include Kia’s ‘Drive Wise’ safety suite including blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning, plus driver attention warning and auto high beam assist.
Kia considers Europe’s B-segment critical to success with small SUV sales already representing 1.1 million sales a year and set to grow to 2 million a year by 2020, but despite segment growth in Australia the Stonic isn’t slated to appear locally, with another as-yet undisclosed global small SUV expected to fill that void for Kia in Australia.
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