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Kia confirms Stonic crossover on its way

Fourth-quarter debut for sub-Seltos SUV as Kia prepares for dual crossover attack

27 Jan 2020

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) has given the green light to the baby Stonic SUV after earlier suggesting it was not an entirely suitable fit for the market here, with the South Korean brand now preparing to launch a double-barrelled attack on the burgeoning compact crossover segment.

 

Launched overseas in 2017 and scheduled to arrive in Australia in the final quarter, the Stonic will sit below the recently launched Seltos small SUV, and just upstream from the Cerato small car, with Kia targeting the likes of Mazda’s CX-3 which starts from $22,710 plus on-road costs.

 

Australian pricing and specification are still to be released, but this entry point is the marker KMAu is targeting with the Korean-sourced Stonic.

 

The company has confirmed that it is close to finalising a local suspension tune for the Stonic, striking a better balance between ride quality and handling for Australian conditions than provided by the less forgiving European set-up, while two familiar petrol engines are expected to be offered at launch.

 

These include a 1.0-litre three-cylinder T-GDi turbo-petrol engine – as seen in the local Rio GT-Line – that in other markets where Stonic is sold produces 88kW of power at 6000rpm and 171Nm of torque from 1500-4000rpm, driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

 

The other powertrain is a 74kW/133Nm 1.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder – as also used in the local Rio – paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

 

An 84kW/280Nm 1.6-litre turbo-diesel available overseas will not be offered here.

 

The Stonic measures 4140mm long, 1760mm wide and 1520mm high, resting on a 2580mm wheelbase. The Seltos, by comparison, is 4370mm long, 1800mm wide and 1615mm high, on a 2630mm wheelbase.

 

Maximum luggage volume is 352 litres with the rear seats upright, extending to 1155L with them folded, compared to the Seltos’ 433/1393L capacity.

 

Kia also claims the Stonic’s cabin offers plenty of space for occupants, with 1070mm and 850mm legroom for front and rear passengers respectively, 996/975mm headroom and 1375/1355mm shoulder-room.

 

Front knee-room is also said to be generous for this class thanks to the D-cut steering wheel and raised, flat base of the dashboard, while the fuel tank is positioned beneath the rear bench to liberate extra legroom for rear seat passengers and enable a low seating position.

 

“Clearly there is an emerging light SUV segment … and we see an opportunity to take a slice (with Stonic),” said KMAu general manager of product planning Roland Rivero.

 

“The dimensions of a Stonic – it shares a platform with a Rio – (are) similar to what a Mazda2 and CX-3 relationship has.

 

“Dimensionally, it is similar to the CX-3 as well, so there’s a clear step up as you go from Stonic, to Seltos, Sportage – which will grow with the new generation – and then Sorento will complete our SUV line-up.

 

“Positioning-wise, between Cerato and Seltos there’s a nice ‘sweet spot’ as well that we can take advantage of. Profitability-wise, it’s also a good car for us and the dealer network.”

 

The Stonic’s exterior design was led by Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany, in collaboration with styling HQ in Namyang, South Korea.

 

Overseas markets have up to four different trim levels available, typically with a high level of safety equipment fitted standard across the range including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, high-beam assist and tyre pressure monitoring.

 

Six airbags should also be fitted standard.

 

A total of 139,250 small SUVs were recorded as sold in Australia last year, up 0.1 per cent on the previous year and standing as the fourth-largest market segment behind small cars (163,701), pick-ups/cab-chassis (201,652) and, at the top of the pile, medium-sized SUVs (203,233).

 

Kia will bolster its SUV stocks further this year with the fourth-generation Sorento large SUV arriving early in the third quarter, launching with diesel power first and following up with petrol before the year is out.

 

Mild and plug-in hybrid versions are also anticipated for Sorento when they become available for the Australian market.


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