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Stonic: Kia's new crossover packs weird name, rugged look

I'd expect a number of those elements to change in production guise, though.


Whatever Hyundai does, Kia will almost always follow suit. Hyundai is about to unveil its new subcompact crossover, the Kona, so it's about time for Kia to get in on the action with the Stonic.

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.

The bulges on this crossover give the Stinger a run for its money, but that should change when the production version is unveiled.


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 crossovers 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 Nissan 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.

That sure does look like a new infotainment system to me, but again, that'll probably change to the standard UVO system once it's ready for production.