Kia reveals new

Stonic SUV

Kia Stonic, 2017, reveal, front
Kia Stonic, 2017, reveal, front, static
Kia Stonic, 2017, reveal, side
Kia Stonic, 2017, reveal, rear seats
Kia Stonic, 2017, reveal, interior
Kia Stonic, 2017, reveal, rear
Kia Stonic, 2017, reveal, boot

KIA may be coming a bit late to the fast-growing compact SUV sector but once the front-wheel-drive Stonic arrives in the UK in October it is expected to become one of the Korean car maker's top selling models.

Unveiled this week this five-door, five-seater compact SUV, which is based on Kia's current Rio platform, is likely to start at a competitive price of between £14,500 and £15,000, smack bang up against the established rival pair of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.

The Stonic will be powered with a choice of three current Kia petrol engines - the highly impressive 1.0-litre 118bhp three-cylinder plus the 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre - whilst a 1.6-litre diesel engine will be added later.

Kia's UK boss Paul Philpott is adamant that the Stonic will prove to be "both one of our biggest selling cars and also our biggest new car to attract conquest sales".

He went on: "The B segment is the fastest growing in the business and we are so pleased to be able to now compete in it for the first time and with a model that's really different in our view from all the opposition.

"For a start there will be a choice of 20 two-tone body colour combination plus five unique roof colours plus a host of other options and variations offering each customer to really customise their particular car without having to break the bank to be able to afford them.

"Apart from many options available the spec line-up will be in the usual Kia format, starting with the entry-level 1 through 3 and then GT-Line models."

He added: "We believe the Stonic will appeal particularly to the sub 35 year-old buyer who want a sensible, compact SUV type of car, well kitted out that includes many standard safety features and has bags of interior space, certainly head and leg room in the rear seats - and has a bit of style about it."

The Stonic has been basically designed by Kia's Frankfurt styling studios under the guidance of the company's design chief Peter Schreyer who admitted from the start it was aimed specifically as a compact SUV for driving on European roads and had taken him and his team only three years to be developed from scratch.

"We were determined not to just create another small SUV but one with dynamic proportions that was also markedly different from what else was in the market place," Schreyer explained.

"Specifically we didn't want a high bodied style of SUV which was why it was so important to get those dynamic proportions right and at the same time having the distinctive Kia front end with the tiger-style nose grills and strong, sweeping headlights.

"It also had to be functional and practical at the same time create a present on the road that would make it stand out from the others," he continued.

"It has an important identity of its own and that's another aspect which I believe will attract drivers of all age to the car."

The Stonic cars unveiled to VIP audience in Amsterdam all sat on 17-inch wheels and Schreyer admitted if he could do the design all again.

"I would like to have slightly bigger wheels to give it an even little bit more presence or statue but sometimes as a designer you have to compromise with what the engineers also want," he said.

"But I am happy with what we have created and I think it will appeal to a wider motoring audience who want something different to both look at and drive in this sector."

The Stonic does have a decent enough presence though with some classic rugged black cladding around the bottom of the car and round the wheel arches plus metal styled skid plates at both the front and rear.

As Schreyer also declared the interior styling, trim and finishing was again a crucial area in which his team spent a great deal of time, discussion and effort and on first viewing it clearly has worked with stylish yet good lumbar supporting seats, a well laid out dashboard with a seven-inch infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for all the latest smartphone use.

There are also heated front seats and an impressive list of standard equipment that includes cruise control, keyless entry and much more.

The amount of interior space is also impressive and it will sit five adults in comfort with the rear seats in particular offering good head, shoulder and leg room while the 352-litre boot has two step floors plus room enough for a space saver tyre underneath them both.

Standard safety features will also include Electronic Stability Control and another feature described as Vehicle Stability Management.

The engineers developing the Stonic have driven it thousands of miles of all kinds of European roads, including in the UK, all aimed at making the ideal fit for drivers here and which involved specially tunes suspension and steering.

And as Paul Philpott added: "It's a compact SUV definitely designed in every aspect for our kinds of roads and with many good in-built features that makes it different from the rest of the car in my view and a new model that's going to take Kia on to another level."

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