UPDATE, November 17, 2020: The Australian launch for the 2021 Kia Stonic has been postponed until February 2021, rather than December this year. According to Kia's Australian arm, the decision was made to ensure a greater volume of vehicles would be available from launch.
October 8, 2020: The new top-shelf 2021 Kia Stonic GT-Line has been unveiled today, accompanied by news it will headline the local Stonic range from December.
Handily, we also now have basic details on which models will make up the local Stonic range, which will build on the facelifted and technology-boosted range that debuted overseas in August.
We'll walk through the newly revealed GT-Line model first, and then into what we know of the wider Australian range.
Unveiled today: Stonic GT-Line
As with other Kia GT-Line models, this new top-spec variant focuses on sports styling and unique trim rather than any enhancements to power and dynamics (that being the domain of core 'GT' models).
In both GT-Line and GT-Line S form, the Stonic gets a unique grille pattern, and a more sporting design to the front and rear bumpers. GT-Line models also get full LED headlights.
The GT-Line gets a black spoiler at the rear, while the GT-Line S makes that a body-coloured feature.
Exterior styling differences are rounded out by specific 17-inch alloy wheels and GT-Line badging, and the GT-Line S gets the option of a two-tone paint finish with a black or yellow roof – depending on the body colour chosen.
Inside, the GT-Line gets a flat-bottom ('D-cut') steering wheel with GT-Line badging, along with black cloth and artificial leather seats trimmed in sports-style stitching and piping – again embossed with the GT-Line logo.
In Europe, the GT-Line models are powered by the company's 88kW/200Nm EcoDynamics+ system that combines a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.
Importantly, and increasingly rarely, the top-spec Stonic models are available with a six-speed manual transmission alongside the expected seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
However, opting for the manual sees torque reduced to 172Nm – although, interestingly, Kia claims both the manual and automatic variants will hit 97km/h (60mph) in 10.4 seconds.
It's academic, though, because the Australian line-up won't match what you've read above or in our facelift article from August.
2021 Kia Stonic model outline for Australia
The Stonic S and Sport models will be powered by a 74kW/133Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) petrol engine, matched to a six-speed automatic – with the choice of a six-speed manual in the base-level S model.
The GT-Line will get the new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine – without the mild-hybrid tech described above – producing 74kW and 172Nm.
The manual will also not be an option for us (and likely would not have sold in significant numbers anyway), leaving buyers with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission only.
Watch for more details in the weeks to come, ahead of a launch expected to kick off in December.