The Stonic is Kia’s entry-model into the compact B-segment SUV sector and it boasts striking good looks, lots of personalisation options with two-tone paintwork, plus a host of on-board techno treats. There is a choice of three powertrains and two richly-equipped trim levels. Plus, all models benefit from Kia’s excellent seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
The goodFun, funky and fashionable compact SUV that's packed with techno treats
The badCompeting against fierce rivals especially from Renault and Nissan
Kia Stonic – first UK drive (2017)
SUV-fever continues to spread across the UK strengthening its grip on the UK motoring scene and now Kia has launched yet another cracker into the mix.
It’s called the Stonic and is available in two generously-equipped trim levels called ‘2’ and ‘First Edition’ along with a choice of three highly-efficient powertrains.
The Stonic is a five-door hatchback, which is front-wheel-drive only and priced from £16,295. It is built on the same platform as the all-new Kia Rio which launched earlier this year, but offers extra space and improved practicality.
With so many B-segment SUVs competing for sales, it’s nice to be able to stand out from the crowd and the Stonic does just that with higher grade First Edition models boasting snazzy two-tone colour schemes with the roof, mirror casings and rear spoiler in either orange, red or lime green depending on the main bodywork colour. And that bright and cheerful styling is carried on through to the interior with bright flashes of colour on the seats, steering wheel, across the dashboard and around the centre console.
Thankfully, all cars sit on 17-inch wheels – I say that because some manufactures insist on fitting over-sized wheels to their test cars which admittedly look the business, but generally have a detrimental effect on both the economy and performance, especially the ride.
Approach the Stonic from any angle and it looks gorgeous thanks to a sporty, muscular design with sharp lines to accentuate its width. There is the signature ‘tiger nose’ front grille, short front and rear overhangs, LED daytime running lights, a sporty lower intake grille, roof rails and plenty more besides to attract attention from onlookers.
Move inside and the cabin is beautifully presented with a modern, clutter-free yet feature-rich layout. All the dials, controls and read-outs are perfectly positioned for ease of use. For example, controlling the temperature means ‘simply’ turning a dial, adjusting the air flow is also accomplished by ‘simply’ turning a dial and altering the direction of the air con is achieved at the ‘simple’ press of a button. This may sound like common sense, but too many vehicles are over-complicated and an everyday event like cooling the car means accessing a touchscreen menu, scrolling down, then trying to steady your finger as the car bounces along the bumpy road surface – all of which is a distraction from looking at the road. So simple really can be the best option.
The Stonic is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across the range. In addition, the grade ‘2’ models have a seven-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker sound system, DAB radio, MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, rear parking sensors, all-round electric windows, air conditioning, automatic headlights, remote locking and electrically-adjustable heated door mirrors.
Step up to First Edition and you will see the introduction a touchscreen navigation and infotainment system, black cloth and grey faux leather upholstery with colour accents, heated front seats, LED rear lights, privacy glass, smart key entry system and engine start/stop button, stainless steel pedals, a D-shaped steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, additional chrome window trim and a dual-height luggage floor.
Customers can select between three powertrains that each have their own individual appeal. The entry model has a 1.4-litre 98bhp petrol engine. Then there is a 1.0-litre 118bhp three-cylinder petrol engine or a 1.6-litre 108bhp diesel option – the latter of which can deliver combined fuel economy of 67.3mpg with carbon emissions of 109g/km. At launch, the Stonic is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, but a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission will be made available next year.
We decided to focus on the all-singing First Edition cars for our test drives as they looked so striking with their two-tone colour schemes. We tried the 1.0-litre petrol and the 1.6-litre diesel versions and they were completely different in every way apart from styling.
The tiny three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol model was full of fizz as it belted along the country lanes, firing through the gears at quite a pace. This car, priced at £19,695, can sprint from 0 to 60mph in 9.9 seconds and tops out at 115mph. It can achieve combined fuel efficiency of 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 109g/km.
And don’t be put off by the smaller engine because it has ample power and gusto to fire the Stonic and it makes very light work of overtaking slower moving vehicles. It’s lively, energetic and a pure delight to drive.
Next up was the 1.6-litre diesel model priced at £20,495. This car reaches 60mph from a standing start in 10.9 seconds and maxes out at 112mph. Once again, this is a vehicle that will appeal to the masses. It wasn’t quite so exhilarating to drive as the little three-pot, but the running costs are more impressive.
Acceleration was smooth through the six gears and it seemed a little more sensible and composed than its petrol sibling, making it the ideal choice for owners who will cover longer distances.
The cabin on both cars was very well insulated against outside noise and the vehicle was confident into bends with impressive road-holding and very little sign of any body roll.
Comfort levels within the cabin are also first rate and there is ample space for adults of the taller variety to sit in the back without feeling cramped. The boot has a 352-litre capacity which is increased to 1,115 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere, there is a decent-sized glovebox, cup holders, a convenient tray in front of the gear stick, a drop-down sunglasses compartment, along with door pockets front and back that can accommodate a water bottle. And the First Edition car does get the extra storage space under the boot floor.
Safety systems are comprehensive too and although the Stonic has not yet been tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating, Kia is confident of achieving a high score.
All in all, the Kia Stonic, complete with the company’s amazing 7-year/100,000-mile warranty, is another top contender for sales in the compact SUV sector. And after a few hours behind the wheel, Kia’s target of 8,000 to 10,000 sales each year seems very achievable.
Kia Stonic – first European drive (2017)
There seems to be no let-up in the demand for compact SUVs with sales on a constant upward trend and now Kia has increased the options even further by launching the all-new Stonic.
The five-door hatchback, which is priced from £16,295 to £20,495, is available in two generously-equipped trim levels called ‘2’ and ‘First Edition’ and buyers can select from three engines – two petrol and one diesel.
The Stonic is built on the same platform as the latest Rio in South Korea, but it offers extra space for customers wanting to step up a notch. It is longer, taller and boasts higher ground clearance than the Rio and, as is tradition with Kia, all cars are well equipped as standard so there are no additional costs to worry about.
Boasting a muscular design with broad shoulders and sharp lines to accentuate its width, the Stonic features a sporty lower intake grille, short front and rear overhangs along with 17-inch alloys, roof rails, sleek headlight clusters with LED daytime running lights and plenty more eye-catching design cues.
First Edition models step up a gear with the addition of two-tone paintwork with the roof, mirror casings and rear spoiler in either lime green, red or orange depending on the main bodywork colour.
Move inside the bright and spacious Stonic and there is a wealth of on-board technology to explore, including a 7-inch display with DAB and MP3 compatibility in grade ‘2’ which is upgraded to a touchscreen navigation and infotainment system on ‘First Edition’ models. All vehicles feature excellent connectivity capabilities via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay which, once again, is standard across the range.
Other creature comforts that can be found on all models are air conditioning, rear parking sensors, remote locking, electrically-adjustable heated door mirrors, all-round electric windows, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, automatic headlights, 60:40 split-folding rear seats and a six-speaker sound system.
The ‘First Edition’ cars add a smart key entry system and engine start/stop button, stainless steel pedals, black cloth and grey faux leather upholstery with colour accents, LED rear lights, privacy glass, automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, a D-shaped steering wheel, additional chrome window trim and a dual-height luggage floor.
When it comes to practicality, the Stonic has all bases covered with a boot capacity that ranges from 352 to 1,115 litres with the rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere throughout the cabin, there is a good-sized glovebox, cup holders, a drop-down sunglasses compartment, a convenient tray in front of the gear stick, plus door pockets front and back that can accommodate a water bottle.
Safety is a vital factor on any family car and the Stonic stands up on that count too with electronic stability programme, vehicle stability management and hill-start assist just a few of the features. Autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning are standard on the ‘First Edition’ cars and offered as an option on ‘2’ models. This system is linked to a driver fatigue warning function along with high beam assist. The range-topping cars also come equipped with blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert. Although the Stonic has not yet been tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating, Kia is aiming for a high rating.
Customers can choose between three powertrains that each have their own appeal. There is a 1.4-litre 98bhp petrol engine, a 1.0-litre 118bhp three-cylinder petrol engine or a 1.6-litre 108bhp diesel option. All models are front-wheel-drive as the take up in the segment for all-wheel drive cars is particularly low at just eight per cent. At launch, the Stonic is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, but a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission will be made available next year.
We had the opportunity to test drive a selection of models in and around Berlin starting with the 1.6 diesel-powered Stonic in ‘2’ grade. This car could reach from 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds and topped out at 112mph. It can deliver fuel economy of 67.3mpg with carbon emissions of 109g/km on a combined run. Official prices are yet to be signed off, but this particular vehicle is in the middle of the pricing range.
First impressions are vital to attract buyers in such a fiercely competitive sector and the Stonic doesn’t disappoint with its modern, stylish and funky good looks. The interior is spacious, clutter-free and all controls, dials and readouts are perfectly positioned for driver-usability.
Despite its low power output of just 108bhp, the diesel powertrain delivered all the zip and gusto required from a compact SUV and cruised effortlessly alongside the faster-moving traffic on the German autobahns where speed limits are virtually non-existent. The six-speed gearbox proved beautifully slick as it accelerated through the gears and there was a constant supply of power on tap to make light work of overtaking.
The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and there is certainly enough room for a couple of adults to stretch out in the back seats with ample leg, head and elbow space.
Next up was the 1.0-litre three-pot model in trim level ‘2’ which Kia believes will be the biggest seller. And after a few minutes behind the wheel it’s easy to see why. It really is the pick of the bunch and is a little fire-cracker of a car that’s bursting with life and whizzes through the gears as it fizzes along at speeds of up to 115mph. It can accelerate to 60mph from a standing start in 9.9 seconds (it feels faster) and has combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg with carbon emissions of 115g/km. This model has a lively, exciting character and the raspy engine note perfectly summed up its fun-loving performance, handling and driving dynamics. The road holding was confident and assured and it is a car that can be pushed enthusiastically into tight bends.
The Stonic has been given a revised suspension system over the Rio and it is noticeable as it makes light work of bumpy road surfaces and unexpected potholes. The cabin is also well-insulated against road surface, engine or wind noise.
We also had a short run-out in the 1.4-petrol model which is only expected to account for about eight per cent of sales and although we had no complaints, it certainly wasn’t as exciting to drive as the 1.0-litre petrol car or as efficient fuel-wise as the diesel variant. It will, however, be the cheapest option.
The UK is proving a huge sales success story for Kia. In fact, it enjoys the best figures in Europe and is now proudly sitting in fifth place globally behind China, the US, Russia and Korea. With that in mind, the company quite rightly has high hopes that the all-new Stonic will be a triumph and offer some stiff opposition to the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.