Kia Stonic confirmed for Oz
Kia Australia has finally revealed that it will tackle the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V head on, in the newly created VFACTS light SUV segment.
The importer’s COO, Damien Meredith, announced the Rio-based Kia Stonic baby SUV for Australia during this weekend’s Australian Open tennis tournament – for which Kia is the major sponsor.
“It’s called the Stonic and we’ll have that in the last quarter of this year,” Meredith replied during a media ‘roundtable’ when asked about the new baby SUV.
Confusingly, Kia is also teasing yet another all-new small SUV – this time aimed at the Indian market, where it could be called the Kia Sonet – ahead of its reveal at the New Delhi motor show early next month.
The Kia Sonet is likely to be an Indian-spec version of the Stonic; indeed, pre-reveal teaser sketches of the two vehicles look very similar, as you can see from the brown (Sonet) and yellow (Stonic) cars in these images.
Australia could receive an updated version of Europe’s Kia Stonic, which is available with turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel engines, but it’s unclear what specifications it will bring relative to the versions sold in the UK and India.
At this stage Kia Australia is saying little about the Stonic, which will be sourced from Korea for our market, but has confirmed pricing is likely to start around the same point as the company’s small passenger car, the Cerato.
Therefore expect a base price of around $20,000, just like the Hyundai Venue, which is powered by a 1.6-litre non-turbo four-cylinder petrol engine.
“Clearly there is an emerging light SUV segment, newly categorised by the FCAI, and we see an opportunity…” said Roland Rivero, Kia Australia’s product manager.
“Stonic shares [its] platform with Rio, similar [to] the Mazda2 and CX-3 relationship…
“Dimensionally it is similar to the CX-3 as well, so there’s a clear step up – you go from Stonic to Seltos; Sportage will grow in the new generation and [new] Sorento will complete our SUV model line-up.”
When it arrives in the hotly-contested light SUV segment, the Stonic will bring to four the number of SUVs offered (so far) by Kia Australia, which was the only top 10 brand to increase its sales in 2019.
Combined with a new Sorento due in mid-2020 and a new Carnival people-mover due in late 2020 (before the arrival of a new Sportage and EV versions of the Niro and Soul), the Stonic will almost certainly help Kia Australia to another sales record this year.