Kia Motors Europe has announced an upgraded Stonic compact crossover, previewing what’s to come when the Rio-based SUV hits Australian showrooms “late in 2020“.

Australian details are still to be confirmed, but we can expect the Stonic to bring similar enhancements to the MY21 Rio hatchback as a minimum.

That means the Stonic should get a new-generation 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard, complete with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a new 4.2-inch TFT colour supervision cluster in the driver’s instrument binnacle.

“Kia’s popularity in Australia is growing as is the desire to drive a SUV,” said Damien Meredith, chief operating officer for Kia Australia.

“We have the products and the warranty to satisfy that interest in the small, medium and large SUV segments. Just like Seltos, Stonic might be a little late to the party, but what it offers as a light SUV will work very well – for the owner and for Kia.”

The upgraded Kia Stonic in Europe follows in the tyre tracks of the related Rio – subtle design revisions, upgraded infotainment and driver assistance technologies, as well as Kia’s latest-generation ‘Smartstream’ powertrains including the availability of 48V mild-hybrid power.

New full-LED headlights are distinguishing feature of the new model, as are a new 16-inch alloy wheel design, and two new paint colours: Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue, just like the Rio.

Buyers in Europe now have the option of a Most Yellow contrasting roof, bringing the two-tone finish count to 20 combinations. Kia Europe says 33 per cent of all customers in the region specify a contrasting roof.

In addition to the aforementioned upgrades to the infotainment and driver’s displays, the new Stonic gets the option of new blue and yellow colour packs bringing a splash of colour to the interior.

Under the bonnet, there’s a new EcoDynamics+ 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 48V mild-hybrid technology.

Like the Rio before it, the electrified three-cylinder engine is married to a starter-generator unit and a lithium-ion battery pack, supplementing the petrol engine’s torque output and extends the engine’s ‘off time’ when using the idle stop/start system.

The mild-hybrid version of the 1.0 T-GDi three-cylinder engines retains the outgoing model’s available 74kW and 88kW tunes, available with both six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmissions.

Models fitted with the 88kW engine and DCT benefit from a 16 per cent torque boost, too, now rated at 200Nm.

The MHEV-equipped Stonic is fitted as standard with Kia’s new iMT intelligent manual transmission, featuring clutch-by-wire technology to better integrate with the 48V system – allowing the Stonic to cut out the petrol engine earlier and coast to a stop.

Regardless of transmission, the EcoDynamics+ models can ‘coast’ by deactivating the petrol engine under low load to further enhance efficiency, operating at speeds of up to 125km/h.

In addition to the mild-hybrid powertrains, Kia Europe has added a number of new ‘Smartstream‘ petrol and diesel engines, including a revised 74kW 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol sans 48V tech as well as a new version of the 62kW 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with dual-port injection.

The non-MHEV 1.0-litre engine gets a six-speed manual as standard – replacing the old model’s five-speed – with the seven-speed DCT available as an option.

Performance and efficiency figures for the Stonic’s new powertrains will be announced closer to the model’s European launch in the third quarter.

Rounding out the upgrades in Europe are new and enhanced driver assistance technologies which again mirror the changes seen on overseas versions of the related Rio hatch.

The autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system now features cyclist detection, in addition to the existing vehicle and pedestrian sensing, and there’s a new adaptive cruise control with Lane Following Assist feature available.

Lane Following Assist (LFA) combines the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping functions to control acceleration, braking and steering depending on lead vehicles and road conditions.

The system is essentially Level 2 autonomous driving ability, keeping the vehicle in the centre of its lane and maintaining a set distance behind a lead vehicle at speeds up to 180km/h, using fitted radar and camera sensors.

There’s also blind-spot assist with rear cross-traffic assists, intervening with steering and brake inputs respectively to avoid collisions with vehicles approaching from a blind spot.

Kia is also offering the Stonic with a new Rear Occupant Alert system which lets the driver know if they’ve left a vulnerable passenger or pet in the cabin.

Six airbags are standard fit across the range, as are ISOFIX tether and anchor points.

The Kia Stonic was first introduced to the European market at the end of 2017, and is currently the company’s fourth best-selling model in the region.

According to Kia Europe, total sales have now eclipsed 150,000 units since its introduction.

Stay tuned to CarExpert for details of the Australian-market Kia Stonic in the lead up to its late-2020 local launch.

James Wong

James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

Buy and Lease
Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
Also on CarExpert