Kia Stonic 2018 preview
This is Kia's brand new competitor in the quickly expanding compact crossover segment, hoping to appeal to youthful buyers with good looks, two-tone colour options and plenty of infotainment tech. The B-SUV sector currently accounts for 1.1 million new car sales in Europe annually (around seven per cent of the total market) and is forecast to expand to more than two million annual sales by 2020, so this is seen as a key new car for the Korean brand.
What will its rivals be?
If you asked that question this time last year then the list would have been relatively short, including the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur. This year, however, there has been an explosion of new small crossovers being revealed. Ones to watch include the Hyundai Kona and SEAT's Arona, while Volkswagen has its own version in the pipeline too.
Any tech info?
Irish specifications have yet to be confirmed, but the Stonic will be available with Kia's 'Drive Wise Advanced Driver Assistance Systems' (ADAS) to enhance active safety. These technologies include Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition and Forward Collision Alert; Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert; and Lane Departure Warning System. Using what Kia calls a new 'fusion camera system', the Stonic can also be fitted with High Beam Assist and Driver Attention Warning. Back in the cabin, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard for the touchscreen infotainment.
What will the range be like?
We don't yet know what the Irish market will be offered in terms of trim levels, but the Stonic will be available in no less than 20 two-tone colour combinations, with up to five different roof colours. Engines fitted to the Stonic will include 1.25- and 1.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol units, plus a turbocharged 1.0-litre, while those that travel longer distances regularly will be more interested in the 1.6-litre diesel.
Assuming the Stonic can be had in normal colours, as well as the eye-catching two-tone options, we expect Kia Ireland to do well with it, as it's clearly a growing market. First impressions suggest that it looks good without resorting to styling gimmicks and, of course, it will come with the Korean company's seven-year warranty.