Stonic: Kia's new crossover packs weird name, rugged look
I'd expect a number of those elements to change in production guise, though.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
The Stonic will be given a full unveiling later this year, before it goes on sale in the second half of 2017. For now, we'll have to make do with concept renderings, which obviously exaggerate a number of features and tend to look far more stylish than the watered-down version that will eventually hit the road.
What I see, I like. Packing nearly the same grille and headlights found on other new Kia models, the Stonic plays well with Kia's current design language. Strong fenders, sharply raked A- and C-pillars and a sporty diffuser out back are all lovely features in these renderings, but I can't help but imagine how much will have to change before it's approved for production -- B-segment
like this have to be inexpensive, after all.
The interior is much closer to reality, with a traditional Kia steering wheel and trim pieces that look ready for the dealership. There's a big ol' screen in the middle of the dashboard, but as with other Kia models, there's still plenty of physical switchgear underneath. There's also a mostly-traditional shifter -- no weird dials or push buttons here, thankfully.
The weirdest part of the car, though, is its name. Stonic is supposed to be a portmanteau of "speedy" and "tonic" -- not the drink, but the first note of a musical scale. Apparently, putting those two terms together suggests agility and freshness, but I just see the name of some weird Silicon Valley startup: "Hey, did you download Stonic yet?"
The Stonic, much like the Hyundai Kona with which it will likely share a chassis, hangs out in the subcompact crossover segment. It'll have to hold its own against a growing number of competitors, including the Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V and
Juke. While the styles are clearly wildly different, it'll be interesting to see how Hyundai's and Kia's offerings set themselves apart -- not only from the rest of the segment, but from each other, too.