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Kia Stonic Debuts for Europe

Brand banks on big growth in subcompact crossover segment

The Kia Stonic world tour began in Europe, where the new subcompact crossover arrived with a more conservative design than its Hyundai Kona cousin.

It features the brand's signature tiger-nose grille, a bit of rugged body cladding, and more traditional headlamp units than the Kona. A targa-style roof painted in a different color than the rest of the Stonic's body reminds us a bit of the Soul. European buyers will be able to choose between five different roof colors, and up to 20 two-tone color combinations will be available.

Inside the cabin, the Stonic packs a floating touchscreen and contrasting bright trim elements. The model will come with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety technologies include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision alert, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and driver attention warning.

Engine options include a 1.0-liter turbo gas engine as well as 1.25-liter and 1.4-liter naturally aspirated gas engines. A 1.6-liter diesel will also be offered.

Kia Motors Europe COO Michael Cole predicts the B-segment SUV market will explode over the next several years. In terms of volume, it's expected to overtake the more traditional compact SUV C-segment market by 2020. At this time, more than one in ten new cars sold in Europe will slot into the subcompact crossover segment.

"As the segment expands, the Stonic looks set to become one of our best-selling cars," Cole said in a statement.

The Stonic goes on sale in Europe during the third quarter of this year. The automaker hasn't said whether or not the subcompact crossover will make its way to the U.S., but Hyundai has confirmed that the Kona will arrive in early 2018.