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Kia unveils Stonic compact SUV

No show: The Kia Stonic will not be coming Down Under, with Kia’s Australian arm opting to wait for a more market-appropriate offering.

New Kia Stonic revealed for Q3 international launch, Aus debut off the cards


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21 Jun 2017

KIA has ripped the covers off its new Stonic small SUV ahead of a European on-sale date in the third quarter this year, however an Australian debut is off the table due to the unsuitable nature of the Stonic’s powertrain line-up.

Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) general manager media & corporate communications Kevin Hepworth said that despite the popularity of compact SUVs in Australia, the Stonic would not be a good fit for the Australian market.

“We have no interest in the car as it is at the moment,” he said. “We don’t believe it will suit the Australian market and rather than launch something that is unsuitable, we’d rather wait for a model that we believe will be better suited to the Australian buyer.” In particular, Mr Hepworth alluded to the less-than-desirable four-speed automatic transmission found in some variants of the Stonic, including the 74kW/133Nm 1.4-litre aspirated four-cylinder version – a powerplant borrowed from the Rio light car.

The as-yet-unknown alternative to the Stonic is expected to arrive in Australia around 2019 and could be closely related to sister brand-Hyundai’s just revealed Kona crossover.

As for the Stonic, it is immediately recognisable as a Kia thanks to its signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, and features a large lower air intake, black cladding around the skirts of the entire vehicle, sporty rear bumper, and two-tone door mirror and roof paint combinations with 20 colour schemes available.

Along with the aforementioned 1.4-litre unit, powertrains include a 1.25-litre aspirated four-pot, an 88kW 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder donk, and a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel four.

Inside, cabin styling is lifted heavily from the Rio, with a similar steering wheel, touchscreen display, air-conditioning cluster and instrument cluster.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered as standard, and the 352-litre luggage bay can be expanded or compacted with the two-step boot floor.

The Stonic’s steering and suspension have been tuned for the European market, and comes standard with electronic stability control and vehicle stability management, which encompasses torque vectoring, straight line stability and cornering brake control.

Optional active safety features include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition and forward collision alert, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist and driver attention warning.

Despite turning down the Stonic, Kia will be keen to enter the small SUV segment, which so far is the fifth-highest selling segment in Australia in 2017, behind the small passenger, medium SUV, 4x4 pick-up and large SUV segments.

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