Funny name, the Kia Stonic, isn’t it? It actually comes from the words ‘speedy’ and ‘tonic’. Somehow, these are supposed to evoke youthfulness and fun. It's evoked plenty of reactions, that’s for sure.
Still, it’s better that the Kia stands out from the crowd - yes, crowd - because the small SUV market is one of the biggest there is. In fact, this segment has doubled in size since the Kia Stonic made its debut in 2017, and that’s why almost every mainstream manufacturer (and more than the odd premium one) offers what is effectively a supermini on stilts.
The big players are the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Ford Puma, as well as the Kia's sister car, the Hyundai Kona. Given the number of contenders splashing about, the water in the shallow end of the junior soft-roader market’s swimming pool is evidently rather lovely at present. You wonder, frankly, how many more paddlers it can take.
Customers shopping for a ‘B-segment SUV’, we are told, aren’t necessarily after ruggedness or capability, but are looking instead for a ‘right-sized’ hatchback – having ruled out a Volkswagen Golf-sized conventional five-door as more car than they need. They want the convenience of a fairly high driver seat, and the improved visibility that grants, as well as a good-sized boot – in a package that’s still lighter and more economical than the average family hatchback. They also like the alternative design appeal of the modern crossover; or at least, they like the idea of not owning another ordinary five-door family hatchback exactly like their last car.