Well, the sentiment goes both ways. Safety protocols have rendered this into a non-driving photo shoot, so the car feels more like an artifact than a test unit on this particular day. Still, even at a glance, the Stonic commands a certain presence that borders on audacious.
But first, a bit of background. The Stonic first emerged as a series of renders in 2017, and looking back, the drawings resembled something out of the original Wacky Races cartoons (what’s my age again?), no doubt the result of some artistic liberty. The launch came just weeks later, and while the production car’s proportions weren’t nearly as comical as the renders led us to believe, it did retain its juvenile appeal. We also learned that Stonic is a portmanteau of ‘speedy’ and ‘tonic’, which reminds me of a line from Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ (what’s my age again?).
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Fast-forward to July 2020, when Kia Philippines teased an SUV scheduled for a Q4 release. We quickly surmised from the teaser image that it would be the Stonic making its arrival here, which brings us to the present day. The first thing I notice is that this car lives up to its subcompact billing. Most crossovers sit roughly around my height, but the Stonic is shorter by a fair margin—it stands 1,533mm tall, to be exact. So it’s small, all right, but offsetting this is its 2,570mm wheelbase, which is only 60mm shorter than that of the Seltos. So while the Stonic might be tight in the cabin, we expect the ride to be at least SUV-like.