Wednesday 22 January 2020

Surging forecasts as KIA's new Stonic joins SUV ranks; High on speed; 5,000 JLR jobs

Kia Stonic
Kia Stonic

Some of the projected sales figures around the unveiling of KIA's new small SUV, the Stonic (pictured), are mind-boggling.

The striking-looking new car is due here the end of October and like so many of its ilk is designed to meet seemingly never-ending demand for the genre.

The Stonic, based on the new Rio hatch, will have 2WD and 4WD versions, lots of personalisation and up-to-the-minute infotainment and safety systems.

Right now the small SUV segment accounts for 1.1m new car sales in Europe. But that is forecast to expand to more than two million by 2020. In other words, one in 10 new cars sold in Europe will be small SUVs. Obviously the Irish market will mirror that - at least. Extraordinary.

The Stonic is described as the "most customisable Kia ever". A 'Targa'-style roof means you can have a two-tone paint finish. There are 20 two-tone colour combinations.

Engines will include a turbo 1-litre T-GDI petrol (120PS), a 1.25-litre turbo and a 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated petrol, as well as a 1.6l diesel.

Steering and suspension are European-tuned and the standard infotainment works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

* I'm not in the least bit surprised to hear that seven in 10 motorists see others speeding on a regular basis. The findings emerged from an AA survey.

The point I'd emphasise is that if you see someone speeding, they are really moving - such as passing you/out at a rate of knots.

Otherwise how do you know they are speeding?

The survey highlighted many of the 'old reliables' - using the phone at the wheel, not indicating when changing lanes. It makes you think, why do we take such risks when we know how dangerous they can be?

* According to reports, Jaguar Land Rover is planning to take on an additional 5,000 electronic and software engineers as part of its build up towards developing and producing more autonomous vehicles.

* A second Hyundai N performance model is being forecast for next year, following in the footsteps of the i30N hot hatch. According to reports, there is likelihood in the future of hybrid and electric powertrains.

* Expect Peugeot's new 508 next year to look radically different. Instead of the current 4dr profile, there will be a fastback, more sporty look. It will have the marque's second-generation i-Cockpit system.

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