Nowadays it feels as if a new compact crossover is unveiled every other day. Just last week Citroen and Hyundai launched new high-riding hatches. In keeping with this trend, Kia has now launched their own compact crossover, the stylish Stonic.
Just as in other compact cars, choice is the main attraction here. The Stonic will be available in five distinct finishes for the roof and a wide array of exterior colors, most of which are based on the 2013 Provo concept. Kia is acquiring the knack for successfully converting concept cars into production cars; for instance the Stinger is heavily inspired by the GT and GT4 Stinger, while the Track'ster evolved into the updated Soul.
With the majority of manufacturers making big promises on their concepts and often failing to deliver, it is refreshing to observe Kia bucking this trend. Apart from its concept twists, the Stonic has a close resemblance to the Rio hatchback, especially the design of the headlamp and front grille. The rear shares many attributes with the Sportage, even though the compact dimensions make it look sportier.
The Stonic’s resemblance to other Kia designs extend to the inside, where it again looks very much like the Kia Rio that occupies the same platform. Certainly, there are several additional splashes of color trim and exclusive seats to give the SUV a special feel, but the two cars have identical infotainment systems and dashboard layouts. Since it is effective in the Rio, it is a sensible decision, although the interior looks somewhat plain in comparison to the colorful exterior.
Kia has pointed out that the design of the Stonic’s cabin has placed a very high emphasis on ergonomics.The car gets a massive central touchscreen with built-in navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Other gizmos include cruise control, keyless entry and heated front seats. The company promises that space will not be an issue-with the car boasting of class-leading head, leg and shoulder room. A two-step floor at the back will enable owners to shrink or expand the 352-liter boot according to their preferences.
The Stonic will be powered by a range of compact diesel and petrol engines connected to manual gearboxes. A 1.0 liter turbocharged engine with a power output of 118 horsepower(88 kW) sits next to naturally aspirated 1.25 and 1.4 –liter petrol engine options in the range, whereas diesel power is generated by a four cylinder, 1.6-liter engine. Irrespective of what is under the hood, the Stonic will be a front-wheel drive car.
Being a modern city car, the Stonic will come with an array of optional active safety features. The standard suite of forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot detection and auto-emergency braking will all be offered under the Advanced Driver Assistance System package. In case you still get an accident despite all this assistance, Kia states that the stiffened body shell ensures that the Stonic performs well in crash tests.
The car is scheduled to be on sale in Europe in the course of the third quarter of 2017. So far it has not been disclosed if the car will be sold in the US.