Kia took another step toward expanding its product portfolio with the debut of the Stonic, a new subcompact crossover, at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Stonic, which is a blend of “speedy” and “tonic,” helps the South Korean automaker fill a gap in one of the more popular auto segments in Europe as well as the U.S. The new model features a European design flair even though it was designed in Europe and Asia.
Kia claims the Stonic is “one of the smartest cars in its class,” as it’s laden with technologies designed to improve the crossover’s handling, safety, comfort and convenience. The car’s intelligent packaging results in a spacious cabin and enables a high level of storage versatility.
The Stonic is the smaller Korean carmaker’s answer to bigger sibling Hyundai’s new Kona. Both models are believed to share the same, underlying platform as the redesigned Hyundai Accent coming out later this year.
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The new Stonic’s Euro-inspired stying features compact dimensions and a low center of gravity, which allows for a sleek, lithe body that has a clear tie to the appearance of Kia’s larger SUVs. While it features Kia’s trademark “tiger-nose” grille, it also gets black body cladding around the base of the car, and skidplates at the front and rear, add a further element of purpose to the car’s design as an sport-ute.
While the exterior design is clearly aimed at exciting small SUV buyers, what may have a bigger impact on them is that the Stonic allows for a high level of customization. Customers can select from nine single-tone body colors and five roof colors, creating up to 20 two-tone paint combinations.
Depending on the body paint finish, the contrast roof is available in Aurora Black, Electric Green, Signal Red, Clear White or Tan Orange. Buyers can also choose from 15- or 17-inch aluminum alloy wheel designs.
The ability to customize the Stonic extends to the powertrain options, at least in Europe. The crossover will most often come equipped with a lightweight 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection three-cylinder turbo engine putting out about 120 horsepower. A 100 hp version of the engine will also be available to buyers sometime next year.
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Also available from launch are a pair of naturally-aspirated gasoline multi-point injection engines: the 1.25-liter engine produces about 84 hp, while the 1.4-liter unit produces 100 hp. The most efficient engine in the Stonic range is Kia’s 1.6-liter diesel engine, producing 110 hp. It’s unclear if the diesel model will come to the U.S.
Technology will play a role in enhancing driver enjoyment, as well as safety. The front-wheel drive Stonic features Electronic Stability Control and Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system as standard.
The large 7-inch touchscreen at the center of dashboard provides the control panel for the Stonic. When equipped with satellite navigation, the Stonic is available with Kia Connected Services. The package includes live traffic updates, speed camera locations and alerts, point-of-interest search and weather forecasts. Kia Connected Services is available free-of-charge for seven years after the car’s purchase.
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Like other Kia models, the Stonic is available with a broad range of creature comfort technologies, including heated front seats and steering wheel; six-speaker audio system; automatic cruise control; electrochromic rear-view mirror; smart key with engine on/off button; rear-view camera; fully-automatic air conditioning; rain-sensing windscreen wipers; and High Beam Assist automatic lighting.