The striking five-door also goes up against the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Vauxhall Mokka X, majoring on styling, electronic driver aids and has a wider choice of colours than you'll find on other Kia models, including two-tone options and several bold interior choices. A 7.0in infotainment touchscreen is standard, with options for TomTom sat-nav and a wide variety of apps.
This entry-level price undercuts that of the Nissan Juke by around £600. Range-topping First Edition Stonics, with a 1.6-litre diesel engine, cost from £20,495. The entry-level car, the £16,295 1.4-litre petrol in 2 specification, gets 17in alloys, air conditioning, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and electric, heated door mirrors. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is optional on entry-level Stonics but standard higher up the range.
Kia's European marketing director, Artur Mertens, said: "This segment is the fastest growing in Europe. It was one million sales last year and will be two million by 2020. By 2020, 10% of all cars sold will be a B-SUV. Until now, Kia has had no strong presence here, and now we're launching into a market that's taking off. This is really important for us in Europe."
Petrol engines include a 99bhp 1.4 giving 51.4mpg and 125g/km CO2, a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel returning 67.3mpg and 109g/km and a 118bhp, 56.5mpg and 115g/km 1.0 litre turbo triple, these with six-speed manual transmissions. A seven-speed automatic will be offered on the 1.0 turbo later. The diesel option is a 109bhp 1.6, to be replaced by a substantially updated engine during 2018.
— Autocar (@autocar) June 20, 2017
Kia's European COO Michael Cole confirmed that the firm has no plans to launch an electric version of the Stonic, or any further SUV models - although he said the latter could change if there was customer demand. That approach contrasts with sister firm Hyundai, which is developing a Kona EV for a 2018 launch, along with two new models for its SUV range.
Cole said: "[The Stonic] will be a very strong volume seller for us, in our top three. We already have very good heritage of making crossovers and SUVs, and this follows the Sportage in launching into a very popular and fast-growing segment."