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Small Is Beautiful Says Kia and Hyundai

Stonic. Kona. Not exactly names that fall easily to speak of but they’re the names to watch from Korea. Aimed squarely at yet another SUV segment, the B-SUV, it’s a segment forecast to see annual sales of two million in Europe by 2020, up from just over 1.1 million now.

Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, comments: “By volume, the B-SUV market is expected to overtake the C-SUV segment by 2020, when more than 1 in 10 new cars sold in Europe will be from the Stonic’s segment. The B-SUV segment attracts buyers from across the spectrum, with 21% of all customers upsizing from a supermini, and another 15% downsizing from their family hatchbacks. Cars like the Stonic also appeal to those looking to replace their compact MPVs. The Kia Stonic will be one of the most compelling new cars in this rapidly-expanding class, backed by Kia’s unique warranty, and the brand’s reputation for reliability, quality and contemporary design. As the segment expands, the Stonic looks set to become one of our best-selling cars.”

Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Company, says: “With the Kona, we have created a stylish and highly functional compact SUV, perfectly suited to the needs of customers who pursue challenging, action-filled lifestyles. We aim to set new standards for the compact SUV segment, with appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class leading safety features.”

Kia will offer a range of lightweight, downsized, turbocharged petrol and diesel engines are available, each paired with a manual transmission, maximising driver engagement and efficiency. Buyers have the choice of Kia’s lightweight 1.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine, producing 120 ps (88kW), as well as 1.25- or 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated MPI (multi-point injection) gasoline engines. An efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine completes the range, offering the lowest emissions in the line up.

Hyundai will present A 2.0-litre MPI Atkinson unit produces 110kW, with a 0-100km/h time of 10 seconds and a top speed of 194km/h. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine delivers maximum torque of 179 Nm at 4500rpm.

The Gamma 1.6T-GDI engine boasts 130kW, a 0-100km/h time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 210km/h. The engine delivers maximum torque of 265Nm from 1,500 to 4,500rpm and is mated to Hyundai’s efficient and responsive seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT).

In addition to the 1.6T-GDI engine, customers in Europe can also opt for Hyundai’s downsized 1.0 T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission. This turbocharged powerplant is optimized for efficiency and produces 88kW, a 0-100km/h time of 12 seconds, top speed of 181km/h and maximum torque of 172Nm from 1,500 to 4000 rpm. Also available will be a 1.6 diesel engine for select markets, including Europe.

Kia has gone European for the Stonic’s cabin places technology and ergonomics at its heart, offering buyers as much potential for customisation as the exterior with a range of vivid colour packs for buyers to choose from. One of the smartest cars in its class, it provides owners with a range of new chassis and infotainment technologies designed to enhance safety, comfort and convenience. The car gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, bringing seamless smartphone functionality to the touchscreen infotainment system. Like other Kia models, it is available with a broad range of technologies to enhance comfort and convenience, including heated front seats, automatic cruise control and keyless entry.

Hyundai has upped the ante. The Kona boasts a suite of sophisticated technologies, paired with user-friendly functionality to ensure driver and passengers can stay informed and entertained. The premium infotainment system offers various advanced connectivity features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay where specified with a 5-, 7- or 8-inch display (offered as standard or option dependent on market). Further options include DAB digital radio (Europe), HD Radio (North America), rear view camera display, and 4G telematics (North America) to ensure absolute connectivity.

A new Head-Up Display (HUD) is fitted to the Kona, projecting a virtual image onto the clear glass panel mounted behind the instrument panel to enable the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. With a projected image size of eight-inches at a two meter distance and class-leading luminance of more than 10,000 candela per square meter, the Kona’s combiner HUD ensures both excellent day- and night-time visibility. Information projected to enhance safety and usability include speed, navigation instructions, Lane Departure Warning messages, and audio information. Deployed vertically by a simple touch of a button beside the steering wheel, the combiner disappears into the dashboard when not in use.

In a first for the segment, the Kona features smartphone wireless charging. Available as an option with all Kona models, customers simply place a compatible smartphone on the wireless charging interface, located in the center console storage, to easily recharge without the need for cables. The system also indicates when the phone has fully charged, reminds occupants to remove their phone when exiting the vehicle, and detects when a foreign object is in the recharging area that could interfere with charging.

The Stonic’s design of the car is one of the brand’s most striking to date, yet it is immediately recognisable as a Kia thanks to key signature design elements, such as the ‘tiger-nose’ grille. Designed in Europe, in collaboration with Kia’s Korean design studio, the body blends sharp horizontal feature lines with softer sculpted surfaces. Customisability is important to many customers in the B-SUV segment, and the Stonic’s ‘Targa’-style roof enables buyers to choose a two-tone paint finish, inspired by the design of the 2013 Kia Provo concept. It will be available in up to 20 two-tone colour combinations, with a choice of five distinctive colours for the roof

The Hyundai Kona is currently due to go on sale in September or October, whilst the Stonic goes on sale in Europe at around the same time.

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