It seems like a new compact crossover is launched every second day at the moment, with fresh high-riding hatches from Hyundai and Citroen launching just last week. Now they have company compliments of Kia, in the form of the sharply-styled Stonic.
As is becoming common in compact cars, choice is central to the appeal here. The car will be offered with five different finishes for the roof and a big range of exterior colors, many of which have been inspired by the Provo concept from 2013. Kia is getting good at turning concepts into production cars – the Stinger borrows heavily from the GT and GT4 Stinger, and the Track'ster became the facelifted Soul.
Given most manufacturers promise huge things but rarely deliver on their concepts, it's nice to see Kia following through. Beyond its concept flourishes, the Stonic is closely related to the Rio hatchback in looks, with a similar front grille and headlamp design. The rear end shares plenty with the bigger Sportage, although the compact proportions give it a sportier look.
The similarities with other Kia designs continue inside, where the Stonic is very similar to the Rio with which it shares a platform. Sure, there are a few extra flashes of color trim and unique seats to make the SUV feel special, but both cars share the same dashboard layout and infotainment system. Given it works well in the Rio, the decision makes sense, though the interior does look a bit plain when compared to the colorful exterior.
Power will come from a range of compact petrol and diesel engines, hooked up to manual gearboxes. A turbocharged 1.0-liter engine with 118 hp (88 kW) of power sits beside 1.25-liter and 1.4-liter naturally aspirated petrol options in the range, while diesel power comes from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder. The car will be front-wheel drive, regardless of what's under the hood.
As you'd expect of a modern city car, a range of active safety features will be optional. The usual suite of auto-emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot detection and lane-keeping assist all available as part of the Advanced Driver Assistance System pack. If you still manage to have an accident in spite of all this help, the Kia says the stiff bodyshell makes the Stonic a good performer in crash tests.
The Stonic will be on sale in Europe during Q3 this year. There's no word as yet on whether it will come to the USA.
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