Australia will get the freshly updated version of the Kia Stonic SUV by the end of this year.
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The facelifted 2021 Kia Stonic compact SUV has been unveiled in Europe – ahead of its Australian showroom arrival in late 2020.

While the Kia Stonic has been on sale in Europe since 2017, its Australian debut was timed to coincide with this mid-life styling and technology update.

The Kia Stonic will sit below the popular Kia Seltos, as the Korean brand aims to fill every niche in the hotly-contested sub-$40,000 SUV segment.

Major updates include a 4.2-inch driver information display and a larger 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with satellite navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – all of which will be available on the 2021 Kia Rio hatchback due in the coming weeks.

There is also a pair of new blue and yellow interior customisation packs for European buyers, though it is unclear if these options will be available in Australia.

Exterior design upgrades for the 2021 Kia Stonic consist of restyled LED headlights, a new 16-inch alloy wheel design, and two new paint colours shared with the updated Rio: Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue. The option of a Most Yellow contrasting roof colour increases the number of two-tone colour combinations to 20.

Reflecting changes to its hatchback sibling, Kia has bolstered the refreshed Stonic’s available range of active safety technology – mirroring a lot of what buyers will find in the related Rio hatch.

New additions include cyclist detection for the autonomous emergency braking system, rear cross-traffic alert capable of braking for objects approaching in a blind spot and Rear Occupant Alert, which notifies drivers if a ‘vulnerable’ pet or passenger is left in the car.

There’s also a revised adaptive cruise control system with Lane Following Assist, which can accelerate, brake and center the vehicle within its lane on motorways at speeds up to 180km/h.

An updated suite of Kia’s ‘UVO Connect’ connected services also feature, allowing owners to access more accurate live traffic information and weather forecasts, use voice recognition to search for points-of-interest or addresses and connect to their car via the UVO smartphone app. However, it’s unlikely the UVO suite will make the trip Down Under, as it is not currently available on any other model within the local range.

European customers benefit from a revised range of petrol engines for 2021, headlined by a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder mated to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system encompassing a small lithium-ion battery and a belt-integrated starter-generator. Available in 74kW or 88kW/200Nm tunes, the ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain is available with a choice of seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or six-speed manual transmissions, the latter featuring Kia’s new fuel-saving ‘clutch-by-wire’ technology.

Further engine line-up additions include a 74kW non-hybrid 1.0-litre ‘Smartstream’ turbo-petrol three-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual – up from five speeds – or seven-speed dual-clutch, plus a revised 62kW 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with dual port injection.

While Australian powertrain specifications for the new Kia Stonic have yet to be confirmed, a petrol-only line-up resembling that of the facelifted Rio hatch is expected, consisting of 74kW/133Nm 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder and 74kW/172Nm 1.0-litre turbo-triple options.

Given slipping demand for manuals and the comfort-oriented focus associated with the SUV bodystyle, we’d wager automatic transmissions will be standard across the Australian range.

The 2021 Kia Stonic will launch in Europe in the third quarter, with Australia to follow in “late 2020”. Full local pricing and specifications will be announced closer to launch.