Millennial bait Stonic crossover laces up to add some zest to the Kia lineup

Like its rivals, Kia wants to fill every gap in its portfolio of high-riding crossovers and SUVs. The South Korean company has just introduced a small, city-friendly model named Stonic that’s positioned near the bottom of its model hierarchy.

If you’re thinking “that’s a Kia?” you’re not alone. The brand’s design language has evolved considerably over the past few years, and the Stonic is one of the bolder-looking cars that’s come out of the studio in recent memory. It stands out with a sharp, confident design accented by sharp lights, an angular grille, and sculpted sheet metal. The two-tone paint is borrowed from the Provo concept, which Kia unveiled at the 2013 edition of the Geneva Auto Show.

The Stonic is aimed at millennial buyers, a demographic that’s seemingly allergic to buttons. Most of the switches, knobs, and buttons typically found in the cabin are grouped in a small cluster on the center stack, while the car’s connectivity, navigation, and entertainment functions are grouped on a touch screen placed within the driver’s reach. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility comes standard for drivers who don’t like the built-in infotainment interface.

Kia’s smallest soft-roader is built on familiar bones. It shares its platform with the Hyundai Kona, which takes an even bolder approach to design. That means front-wheel drive is the default configuration, and all-wheel drive is available at an extra cost. Expect to find a four-cylinder engine bolted to an automatic transmission under the hood, according to Autoblog.

The Kia Stonic will make its public debut this fall at the Frankfurt Auto Show, and it will go on sale in Europe — as well as in an array of other overseas markets — before the end of the year. Product planners haven’t decided whether to sell the model in the United States. “All we have announced is that the car will be sold in markets outside of the U.S.,” a spokesperson told Digital Trends.

The segment the Stonic competes in is steadily growing on our shores, and several new entrants will join the tussle in the coming months. They include the aforementioned Kona, which will roll into Hyundai showrooms early next year, the Volkswagen T-Roc, and possibly a new Nissan that will replace the Juke. With that in mind, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see an American-spec Stonic within the next year.