Kia is taking a more direct stab at the heart of the compact crossover market with this brand new product called the Stonic.
Although it’s likely to compete in the same space as the Soul, the Stonic won’t replace Kia’s hip-to-be-square B-segment crossover, but it is likely to become more popular in markets where buyers prefer a sleeker design.
Styled in Europe and largely aimed at that market, the new crossover is based on the latest Rio, but has a raised stance, completely unique sheetmetal and a slightly bigger boot, holding 352 litres versus 325.
The biggest talking point, from a design point of view, will be the split contrast roof colour scheme that creates a ‘Targa-like’ illusion and allows buyers to choose between 20 different two-tone paint combinations.
Powering the front wheels, depending on the market in question, is the familiar selection of petrol and diesel engines, including 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre normally aspirated petrols, a 1-litre direct injection turbopetrol and 1.6-litre turbodiesel.
The suspension and steering, says Kia, have been tuned in line with European tastes.
Much the same story with the cabin design, which is closely related to the Rio’s inner quarters, just with funkier colour options.
The command centre is a high-mounted touchscreen infotainment system, fitted as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
Available driver assistance gadgets include Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition and Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, High Beam Assist and Driver Attention Warning.
We’re currently awaiting word on whether the Stonic is destined for South Africa. Watch this space.