Kia launches surprise new small SUV in Amsterdam, goes on sale later this year.
Some trends come and go like the changing of the wind. Remember when people used to wear those sunglasses that looked like venetian blinds? Those didn’t stick around for long – mainly because Kanye West was the only one who could pull them off.
But something that is very much here to stay is the compact SUV. Small enough for the city, yet big on design, these high riding hatchbacks are more popular than ever.
In fact, according to Korean manufacturer Kia, 21% of buyers are currently upsizing from a hatchback into something a little taller, and its new Stonic is the latest contender to take on the popular Nissan Juke.
Based on the same platform as the new Rio, the Kia Stonic takes full advantage of that much desired raised ride height. Plastic cladding promotes a more rugged appearance, as do the contrasting roof rails.
The latest incarnation of Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grill can be found between a set of detailed headlights, and the car can be decked out with a contrasting roof that opens up the choice of 20 different two-tone color combinations.
Interior space is high on the agenda, with the Stonic offering class-leading shoulder room. While the cabin does sport a few scratchy plastics, it does feel well-built and strong enough to withstand that most destructive force on earth, a toddler mid-tantrum.
The Stonic’s center console hosts Kia’s latest touchscreen infotainment display, which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Rear occupants aren’t forgotten about either, being supplied with good head- and legroom. Even the middle passenger has somewhere to put their feet thanks to the flat floor. Go round to the back of the car and a wide-opening hatch reveals a 352-liter trunk.
The new Kia Stonic comes with a choice of four engines from launch, at least in Europe. Gasoline units include a new turbocharged 1.0-liter producing 116 horsepower, a 1.25-liter that can also be found in the latest Picanto, and the range-topper at 1.4-liter completes the set. There is only one diesel to choose from, a 1.6-liter unit, which Kia says is the least polluting of the bunch.
You can buy your Stonic with a whole range of active safety equipment, such as the emergency braking system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, driver attention warning and blind spot detection. One particularly useful bit of technological will no doubt be the ‘Rear Cross Traffic Alert’, which will keep you safe when reversing out of busy supermarket parking spaces.
Set to go on sale in Europe towards the end of the year, Kia’s latest addition faces some tough competition, but the Stonic shows clear signs of a brand with growing momentum. Details about the U.S.-spec model will follow.
Gallery: 2018 Kia Stonic
KIA STONIC: AN EYE-CATCHING AND CONFIDENT COMPACT CROSSOVER
- An important all-new model for Kia in a fast-growing segment
- Eye-catching, confident, SUV inspired design
- Combines agile handling and a sporty ride for an exciting drive
- Powered by a range of lightweight, downsized engines
- Cabin combines style and technology options
- Smart packaging for a spacious and versatile cabin
- Strong, lightweight body with new driver-assist technologies
- On sale in Europe during Q3 2017
The all-new Kia Stonic is an eye-catching and confident compact crossover, and is set to become an important conquest model for Kia in one of Europe’s newest and fastest-growing vehicle segments.
The B-SUV segment currently accounts for 1.1 million new car sales in Europe each year – around seven per cent of the market – and is forecast to expand to more than two million annual sales by 2020.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, comments: “The Kia Stonic will be one of the most compelling new cars in this rapidly-expanding class, backed by Kia’s unique warranty, and the brand’s reputation for reliability, quality and contemporary design. As the segment expands, the Stonic looks set to become one of our best-selling cars.”
“By volume, the B-SUV market is expected to overtake the C-SUV segment by 2020, when more than one in ten new cars sold in Europe will be from the Stonic’s segment. The B-SUV segment attracts buyers from across the spectrum, with 21 per cent of all customers upsizing from a supermini, and another 15 per cent downsizing from their family hatchbacks. Cars like the Stonic also appeal to those looking to replace their compact MPVs.”
The design of the car is one of the brand’s most striking to date, yet it is immediately recognisable as a Kia thanks to key signature design elements, such as the ‘tiger-nose’ grille. Designed in Europe, in collaboration with Kia’s Korean design studio, the body blends sharp horizontal feature lines with softer sculpted surfaces. Induviduality is important to many customers in the B-SUV segment, and the Stonic’s ‘Targa’-style roof enables buyers to choose a two-tone paint finish, inspired by the design of the 2013 Kia Provo concept. It will be available in Europe with up to 20 two-tone colour combinations, with a choice of up to five distinctive colours for the roof.
A range of lightweight, downsized, turbocharged petrol and diesel engines are available, each paired with a manual transmission, maximising driver engagement and efficiency. Buyers have the choice of Kia’s lightweight 1.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine, producing 120 ps, as well as 1.25- or 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated MPI (multi-point injection) petrol engines. An efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine completes the range, offering the lowest emissions in the line-up.
The car’s European-tuned steering and suspension are designed to offer an exciting drive, with immediate handling responses and a stable ride. The car is fitted as standard with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), ensuring the front-wheel drive Stonic remains enjoyable and confidence-inspiring to drive in all conditions. Specific functions of VSM include Torque Vectoring by Braking, Straight Line Stability, and Cornering Brake Control.
The Stonic’s European-designed cabin places technology and ergonomics at its heart, offering buyers as much potential for individuality as the exterior with a range of vivid colour packs for buyers to choose from. One of the smartest cars in its class, it provides owners infotainment technologies designed to enhance safety, comfort and convenience. The car gets Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ as standard, bringing seamless smartphone functionality to the touchscreen infotainment system. Like other Kia models, it is available with a broad range of technologies to enhance comfort and convenience, including heated front seats, cruise control and keyless entry.
Within its compact exterior dimensions, the Stonic’s smart packaging maximises interior space for all occupants. The car offers class-leading shoulder room and generous leg- and head-room, while the versatile 352-litre (VDA) boot has a two-step boot floor.
The car is built on a strong, safe and lightweight platform and bodyshell, with Advanced High Strength Steel accounting for 51 per cent of materials used. The body ensures driving confidence, passenger comfort and refinement in all conditions. Buyers can choose from a selection of Kia’s DRiVE WISE Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to further enhance active safety. These technologies include Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition and Forward Collision Alert; Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert; and Lane Departure Warning System. Backed by a new fusion camera system, Stonic offers High Beam Assist and Driver Attention Warning to further satisfy the safety needs of customers.
Backed by Kia’s quality promise, the car will be sold as standard with the company’s unique seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty. It goes on sale across Europe during the third quarter of 2017.