The Seltos is Kia’s smallest crossover in the United States, but that would change if the Stonic (hypothetically) were to come to North America. This little CUV is about 230 millimeters (9 inches) shorter than the Seltos and also 40 mm (1.5 inches) narrower while having an 80 mm (3.1 inches) lower roofline. Kia gave the Stonic a nip and tuck earlier this year in Europe and now it’s introducing a new flagship trim.
The new derivative joins the company’s ever-growing GT Line portfolio and brings an assortment of sporty visual upgrades without any mechanical tweaks. It looks a smidge more aggressive than the lesser versions of the Stonic, although those dual faux exhaust tips are definitely not screaming performance. The two-tone appearance with a contrasting yellow roof and air intakes is a nice touch, and we’re also fond of those 17-inch wheels reserved for this variant.
Gallery: 2021 Kia Stonic GT Line
The Stonic GT Line comes with a unique front grille and a revised bumper hosting faux air intakes. Skid plates in silver complete the changes on the outside, which can be had in six main colors and either a yellow or black roof. The changes on the inside are less obvious, although there’s swanky new upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with the GT Line badging.
Under the hood, it gets the same turbocharged 1.0-liter gasoline engine as the regular Stonic, complete with the mild-hybrid tech introduced with the crossover’s mid-cycle update. The three-pot mill produces 118 horsepower and 172 Newton-meters (127 pound-feet) of torque and works with a six-speed manual as standard. It’s not just any manual transmission, but Kia’s new clutch-by-wire iMT that eschews the clutch pedal as the mechanical linkage is replaced by a purely electronic setup.
Alternatively, the engine can be hooked up to an optional seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. In this case, the engine’s maximum torque grows to 200 Nm (148 lb-ft). Regardless of gearbox, power is channeled exclusively to the front wheels as opposed to the Seltos’ AWD capabilities. Whether it’s the iMT or the DCT, the new Stonic GT Line runs to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 10.4 seconds and tops out at 115 mph (185 km/h).
The GT Line is already available in the UK and likely other Euro markets.