Following the rear-wheel drive Kia Stinger GT saloon, with the Kia Stonic now launched as the latest compact crossover on the market, the Koreans have indisputably shown they finally found some style.
Surprisingly that style comes from Germany, and even more surprisingly to be precise, it comes from staid old Wolfsburg from whence Kia and Hyundai plucked out the best design talent and attracted it to the Korean brand with the enticement of, basically, starting the Group’s new design language from a clean sheet of paper.
Peter Schreyer and Luc Donckerwolke are just two ex-Volkswagen design superstars that made the move to Kyundai-Kia to undertake the grand task of injecting some actual style into the brands. Earlier this month Hyundai was at it again, poaching ex-VW designer Simon Loasby.
This is all undeniably very good for the Koreans, as the sales results show the Korean design revolution is working. The latest result is this Kia Stonic which is ready to go on sale in Europe initially, from the end of this summer.
Competing in the tough B-segment of compact crossovers which include the popular Nissan Juke as well as the cheap Renault Captur and upcoming new Hyundai Kona, the Kia Stonic shares its mechanical gubbins with the latter sibling model.
Kia says that the B-SUV segment in Europe alone is a market about to grow to 2.0 million cars from the current 1.1 million as early as the year 2020, meaning the Stonic is quite a big deal for the Koreans. Kia Europe COO Michael Cole says: “As the segment expands, the Stonic looks set to become one of our best-selling cars.”
In fact Kia expects cars such as the Stonic and the related Kona to overtake the C-segment crossover by 2020, and what’s more many of these buyers will be new to the segment with Kia estimating that over 20 per cent of them will come from previous supermini ownership, while 15 per cent will actually be downsizing from larger cars.
Designed in Kia’s European studio, the Stonic did have styling input from the company’s mothership in Korea too, featuring the brand’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille, and plenty of ever-trendy sculpted surfaces as well as the now seemingly compulsory contrasting roof although Kia has the cheek to call the Stonic’s a Targa-style roof.
When launched overseas Kia will offer customers a series of small, turbocharged petrol engines ranging from a 1.0-litre to a 1.4-litre four-cylinder. It remains to be seen what power plant options the Middle East market will get.
As you’ve come to expect from Kia, the Stonic will be loaded to the hilt with kit such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and the specifications promise class-leading headroom and legroom as well as a 352-litre cargo capacity in the boot.
Other tech includes a host of driver assistance systems, and safety technologies like Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition, Forward Collision Alert, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Departure Warning System. When it reached our shores you can expect the Kia Stonic to start from the Dh50K range going up into the 60s through the upper trim levels.