By on June 20, 2017

2018 Kia Stonic, Image: Kia

After Hyundai dropped the curtain on its B-segment Kona crossover last week, corporate cousin Kia wasn’t far behind, pulling the wraps off its own new subcompact crossover earlier today.

The Stonic, which will go on sale in Europe in the third quarter of this year, rides atop the same platform as the Kona, but arguably wears it better. Sporting a more cohesive design, a sharp, contemporary face, and headlights in all the right places, the Stonic aims to gra Kia a slice of the growing subcompact utility vehicle market. In Europe, the segment is expected to grow to more than 10 percent of all new sales in just a few years.

That’s money Kia wants to take home to Korea. It’s not just overtaxed European buyers on Kia’s hit list, either; automakers are hurriedly adding missing CUVs to their North American lineups to boost sales and market share.

2018 Kia Stonic, Image: Kia

Speaking purely from a continental standpoint, Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, claimed in a statement, “By volume, the B-SUV market is expected to overtake the C-SUV segment by 2020.” B-segment buyers, he said, are attracted from many other segments, making a subcompact crossover an attractive vehicle to add to a lineup.

Compared to the questionable face adorning the Kona, Kia’s Stonic appears much cleaner. While the two bodies are similar — yes, you can order that roof (minus the basket-handle B-pillar) in a different color — Kia’s new offering makes better use of its allotted body cladding. No messy spillover from the wheel arches here. Inside, everything appears tasteful, well-positioned and uncluttered, with a hint of sporty flair. Body colors abound in the cabin.

Kia mentions the Stonic’s “European-tuned” steering and suspension, which was tailored to give the little CUV a sportier ride, as well as the use of high-strength steel (which comprises 51 percent of the body) during its development. Remember Kia’s plan to make itself seen as the exciting brand? This is a mild part of that blueprint. The Kia Stinger represents the other end of the scale.

2018 Kia Stonic, Image: Kia

In Europe, Kia promises 20 two-tone color combinations. Will Americans also be able to go hog-wild with the palette when the model appears late this year? Time will tell, but “global” models carry that designation for a reason.

Under the hood of the Stonic, in Europe and overseas, at least, lies a bevy of small engines you won’t see this side of any ocean. Gasoline engines displacing 1.0, 1.25 and 1.4 liters join a 1.6-liter diesel as the overseas powerplants. Over here, we’re likely to see a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6-liter.

Kia hasn’t announced an on-sale date or U.S. pricing for the model, as Europe comes first. We’ll likely first see the Stonic in the flesh at the Frankfurt auto show in September. Hopefully then we’ll learn more of model’s specifications, including more details on Kia’s claim of “class-leading” shoulder room.

[Images: Kia]

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24 Comments on “2018 Kia Stonic Revealed; Subcompact Newcomer Hungry for Your Kids and Pets...”


  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    Is that pronounced STOH-nic, as in “stone”, or STAH-nic, as in “stock”?

  • avatar
    sirwired

    WTF is a “Stonic”? I hope it gets re-named before it hits our shores, if it ever does, because that’s awful, and of course kinda similar to “Sonic”. (Although that didn’t stop Toyota with calling their B-SUV the C-HR, which looks a lot more like a Honda name than a Toyota name.)

  • avatar
    IBx1

    The new Soooonnii-what do you mean Chevy already made it? Fine. The new sah…stor…stone…sanio…STONIC? Stonic!

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Stonic”, really? Who named it? Bring this guy here, place against the wall and shoot, or send him to KPDR. Is it a manual shifter I see there? – I am getting excited.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    What a stupid, stupid name. All the hard work engineers put into releasing a vehicle and the marketing team just craps the bed.

    I’d be staying up late with dental floss to get that badge off the back if it were my car.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    Compact and dynamic design, pretty nice, actually. But I’d disagree on the “face”: The Kia grille looks a bit forced here. Just a black opening or even a mesh (does anyone do meshes anymore) would have been more coherent, imho.

    Also, no further comment on the name.

  • avatar
    deanst

    This is arguably the best looking vehicle in the clown-car class – a low bar to be sure. I really like what Kia is doing with design, but the biggest issues I have is the KIA logo itself – which looks like someone forget to give any thought to it, and the grill – where they are still struggling to find an attractive interpretation of their tiger nose. I do have faith that Peter Schreyer will figure it out eventually.

    I also wonder what is going on in the back – where did they hide the handle to open the hatch?

  • avatar
    Groovypippin

    Sub-compact SUVs are not for your kids or pets. They are for aging empty nesters who want to sit up higher and not struggle to get in and out of their current, larger sedan.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, claimed in a statement, “By volume, the B-SUV market is expected to overtake the C-SUV segment by 2020.”

    This is hard to believe, with humans getting taller and wider, and gas being so cheap. Maybe economic hardships will enable this lower segment to grow.

    “Kia’s claim of “class-leading” shoulder room”… That may not be saying much. This will be a very small car.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I suspect the move will be from b segment cars to b segment CUVs. Latest stats I saw was that b segment market share globally is down the most, while SUV share is up the most.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    In monotone red, white, blue, or black this would look better. The dual colors makes it too busy for me.

    Do Hyundai and Kia sit down before they co-develop a product, and say…

    Hyundai: “OK, we’ll make the ugly one, but it will sell better.”
    Kia: “Fine, then we’ll make the pretty one.”

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Used to be pretty uniform that way.

      But these days…

      Elantra > Forte
      Tucson > Sportage (Sportage has the better rear)

      There are something about the Kona that I like better than the Stonic, starting with the dash.

  • avatar
    shift99

    Wonder how/if this will stack up to the new Chinese focus?

  • avatar
    RHD

    “Which engine do you have under the bonnet?”

    “It has the 1.25 litre.”

    “Ooh, you went for the upgrade!”

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Interesting looking vehicle. But just wait until Hyundai reveals the new Teehoe, Milibu and Colvette.

    Not bad but seriously, try harder on the name Hyundai/Kia

  • avatar
    scott25

    The Kona at least had personality (90s throwback), this is just another boring blob crossover.

    Agree the name is terrible (this is from the same company that makes the Cadenza and Optima though) and these vehicles are never used for kids and only sometimes for pets.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Yay for the 3 pedals in the photo.
    Boo for the stupid name. Did I miss the obit for Market Research?

  • avatar
    MLS

    The “basket handle” is on the C-pillar, not the B.

    This thing is nice-looking for its segment, but Christ, what a stupid name.

  • avatar
    bd2

    The weird thing is that the Australian market is claiming that they won’t be getting the Stonic and instead, will be getting a different small CUV later.

    Have a difficult time believing that Kia has been developing another subcompact CUV (this is their 2nd, after the one for developing markets, 3rd if you count the Niro).

    Probably has to do something with the powertrains as the European spec models are too underpowered for Australia – but that would hold the same for the NA market.

  • avatar
    mike9o

    Is this even coming to the US? I can’t see Kia selling this, Niro and Soul.


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