By on October 13, 2017

Kia Stonic and Soul - Images: KiaIt seems so obvious as to be unmistakable. You’ve been selling an unexpectedly successful Kia Soul for nearly a decade, turning it from what was thought to be a niche-market idea into one of your most popular products.

Do that again.

Hence, here cometh the Kia Stonic. It’s not bound for America, at least not yet, but the Stonic serves elsewhere as the Kia version of the Hyundai Kona. Only unlike the Kona, the Stonic is — like the Soul — a front-wheel-drive subcompact-based “utility vehicle.”

Cargo volume? Virtually identical, at 12.4 cubic feet for the Stonic and 12.5 cubic feet for the Soul. Pricing? In the United Kingdom, the Soul stretches from £14,310 to £23,565, starting slightly below the Stonic’s £16,295 entry point and rising above the Stonic’s top-spec £20,495 price.

This overlap in price, mission, and size is exactly what the doctor ordered, so we have a few vital recommendations for Kia’s rivals.

Jeep needs to find a uniquely styled, ever-so-slightly upsized version of the Compass to squeeze between the Compass and the Cherokee. Jeep doesn’t offer enough small SUVs, clearly.

Mercedes-Benz has the GLA. Mercedes-Benz has the GLC. Uh… where’s the Mercedes-Benz GLB? Moreover, where’s the GLD to sit between the GLC and the GLE?

Give BMW some credit. The company’s designers thought of the X6 and X4 “coupes” before any other automaker. But for some buyers, the X4 will prove far too practical? There should be a BMW X4½ with absolutely no cargo capacity whatsoever. We can see the slogan now: Uncompromisingly Compromised.

There’s a gaping hole between the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore. The only solution here is to reincarnate Oldsmobile as a one-model brand featuring the Oldsmobile Cutlass Bravada.

Land Rover’s Range Rover lineup now features four models: Range Rover, Sport, Evoque, and the latest Velar. The Velar is stunning, but if Land Rover traded its rear doors for a convertible roof, the Evoque wouldn’t have to bear on its own the responsibility of satisfying every SUV convertible enthusiast.

Between the likely dying Juke, the Rogue Sport, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder, and Armada, Nissan’s SUV/crossover lineup is almost comically small. Like the Rogue, the Rogue Sport should also offer a third-row option. A two-door, short-wheelbase Armada is the spiritual successor to the Chevrolet Tahoe GT.

Subaru builds the Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback — similarly priced two-row crossovers — but doesn’t seem to grasp the gap left in the market for a slightly smaller Forester with a more curvaceous roof line. And while they’re at it, a larger Crosstrek with a more squared-off tailgate would hit the spot.

Toyota ought to resort to its old ways. There used to be a three-row RAV4; there used to be a two-row Highlander. Let’s stoke more competition inside the showroom. Light a fire under their bonnets.


Like TTAC’s staff, TTAC’s audience clearly recognizes the need for these models. Hey, choice is good, right? We can only hope that by publicizing the obvious holes in the market and by offering plugs for those holes, automakers will step up and do the right thing.

[Images: Kia]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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14 Comments on “TTAC Product Planning Advice: The Kia Stonic and Soul Edition...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Even worse for the competition, Kia has the Niro.

  • avatar

    VW clearly didn’t get the memo – they just canceled the Scirocco..

    • 0 avatar

      Well, a more accurate observation would be why they won’t sell the T-Roc here. It seems to be a no-brainer.

      Someone opined before that they may not be able to afford to launch it here, which I find preposterous since they intend to launch the much lower-volume CC replacement here. A coupe-like sedan? Just what a market hell-bent on shunning cars needs! Not an entry into a segment that is actually growing, no, that would be silly.

      Besides, as much as DieselGate has cost them, I don’t think they’re running low on money by any stretch of the imagination.

  • avatar

    I don’t see why the Stonic, offered as AWD-only here, can’t work beside the FWD-only Soul. It would be priced above it and appeal to those who want AWD, which the Soul and Niro don’t offer. Those seeking a more SUV-like vehicle would choose it over the Soul.

    Maybe I just want it so Hyundai-Kia will sell more of it than the ugly Kona.

  • avatar

    Olds Cutlass Bravada cute-ute, great idea.

    I’d totally buy a Royale Brougham edition if it had pillowy brown velour seats.

  • avatar

    Burning bonnets – seems like the perfect metaphor for the USA today, so very much more conservative now than back when burning bras was the order of the day!

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Please no, not the bra burning myth.

      Stick with the light a fire under…..

      • 0 avatar

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Interesting how they have fallen out of fashion. They were popular in the 80’s and 90’s.

          Maybe because of better paints and clear coats they became less necessary.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve never liked them. They don’t protect very well, they tend to leave the paint scratched and with uneven fading (especially noticeable on darker colors). I bought a 1994 Aerostar Sport with a bra on the hood only. It took me hours of polishing to get it to look right after I ripped it off and stuffed it in the garbage can.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    So then, Mazda needs the CX-4 and CX-8 stateside, STAT. Not to mention the missing CX numbers 1, 2, 6, and 7, each a missed opportunity.

  • avatar

    “Like TTAC’s staff, TTAC’s audience clearly recognizes the need for…” – humor.

  • avatar

    “Like TTAC’s staff, TTAC’s audience clearly recognizes the need for…” – humorous click bait.

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