Kia has confirmed its new sub-compact utility vehicle will be called Stonic, carrying on the tradition of naming its CUVs/SUVs with S-initials.
The company had last year filed a patent on the name with the US Patent Office, for the mini-ute based on the new Rio and ready to do battle with the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, among others.
The company recently released artist sketches of the new vehicle that’s due to go on sale in the latter half of this year, and promised it would be probably the company’s most customizable vehicle, inside and out.
The sketches show a window treatment similar to that of the current Soul, with a front end reminiscent of recent Kia introductions. The creased sides and steeply-raked rear window is reminiscent of Nissan’s Juke and Toyota’s C-HR (two other rivals). The roof rails seem to have a unique look, but we’ll wait until a physical model is presented because we doubt it will have the massive wheel/tire package shown on the sketch.
The interior also looks to feature sharp lines and smooth panels, and looks to open up the centre of the vehicle with a floating console housing the shifter jutting out from the instrument panel.
No specs or equipment were released, but we expect it to have a lot of what the new Rio has to offer, including manual and automatic transmissions and 4-cylinder engine(s). It will also have to offer all-wheel drive if it hopes to compete with the others in its segment.
And it will share a lot of its underpinnings with the Hyundai Kona, which will be introduced by Kia’s parent company in about a week, and which is due in showrooms in 2018. Reportedly, Kia will also be making an electric Stonic, probably using some of the electricals from the Hyundai Ioniq to match up against the Chevrolet Bolt, and apparently also a Kona EV.