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Kia Stonic Review

Another model has been added to the compact SUV segment, this time from Kia. Can the Stonic edge out its rivals?

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From £16,295

Pros:
  • Super stylish looking compact SUV
  • Plenty of standard equipment and safety features
  • Excellent warranty
Cons:
  • ‘2’ trim has a dull looking interior
  • Only manual transmission available

Introduction

The compact SUV is in a growing class and a lot of the manufacturers are looking to enter their own new models to the segment.

In a busy period Citroen have launched their C3 Aircross, Hyundai have revealed the Kona and Seat have showcased their Arona, Kia haven’t wanted to be left out and have unleashed the Stonic.

With the South Korean brand hoping to shift over 10,000 units of the new model in its first year of sale, can it become as popular as their Sportage?

We took it for a drive in the rolling hills around Hungerford to find out how good it is.

On The Road

  • Performance
  • Ride Handling
  • Refinement

There are just three engines available for the Kia Stonic, two petrol consisting of a 1.0-litre T-GDi with 118bhp and a 1.4-litre MPi 98bhp, while the diesel offering is a 1.6-litre CRDi with 108bhp which comes from the Cee’d.

The 1.0-litre is a nippy engine with 171Nm of torque, getting from 0-62mph in just 9.9 seconds and has a combined economy figure of 56.5mpg, emitting 115g/km of CO2 emissions it will cost £160 for the first year in road tax.

The 1.6-litre diesel has impressive fuel economy figures with a combined 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 109g/km, so costing £150 in road tax, and it delivers 108bhp with 260Nm of torque to play with, so certainly is no slouch. All engines come with a six-speed manual transmission.

The Kia Stonic is a really great drive, it’s not a proper SUV so probably not wise to go off-roading with this, the Citroen C3 Aircross with the optional Grip Control would be a better buy if you want to, but it does ride the road well and it’s well balanced with good levels of grip.

The car comes with their Vehicle Stability Management system as standard so will assist in getting you back on the straight and narrow in any lairy moments, we drove it on some windy B-roads and it was really agile with good handling.

With such an influx of compact SUVs now on the market, manufacturers need to do all they can to stand out.

The Kia Stonic definitely has the looks, its narrow, ‘tiger nose’ front adds almost a futuristic element to it, while it sits on a wheelbase that is shared with the Kia Rio, this new model is 70cm taller though.

In striking colours the top spec ‘First Edition’ has two-tone paintwork, with the roof, wing mirrors and rear spoiler contrasting with the rest of the car. The whole personalisation choice is still really popular among buyers and it works really well on the Kia Stonic.

In The Car

  • Behind the Wheel
  • Space & Practicality

We love the fact Kia have kept it simple with just two trim levels, ‘2’ and ‘First Edition’. The ‘2’ comes with plenty of standard equipment including Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors and body coloured bumpers.

We did prefer the ‘First Edition’ though as the entry level trim just looked a bit basic, while the top spec stands out with its colourful plastic trim in the cabin, which surrounds the 7-inch touchscreen and vents and also the gearstick. There are sporty, stainless steal pedals, the stitching on the leather steering wheel and heated seats is coloured to match the exterior and the simple layout is really enhanced by the added colour.

Smartphone connectivity comes in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there are also USB points at the front and rear too.

The Kia Stonic has decent levels of space but doesn’t feel as large as the C3 Aircross, that might be helped by the panoramic roof making it feel light and airy, but if you’re looking to pile the kids in the back then this is fine, some adults might find it a slight squeeze in the rear though.

There is a dual-height luggage floor in the boot of the ‘First Edition’ and there is 352 litres available, but this falls short of the C3 Aircross at 410 litres. With the 60:40 split rear seats folded this can be increased to 1,155 litres.

Ownership

  • Running Costs
  • Quality & Reliability
  • Safety & Security

So how does the Kia Stonic compare to its competitors in terms of pricing? The entry level ‘2’ with the 1.4 MPi 98hp engine costs £16,295, it’s £2,300 more than the Citroen C3 Aircross and there’s just £100 in difference between it and the Hyundai Kona.

We think it’s worth the extra £3,500 to go for the First Edition as it seems to pack in so much more than the entry level trim and the colourful additions really make it stand out.

Kia is well known for its excellent warranty, so it’s no suprise that the Stonic also comes with a seven-year/100,000 mile warranty.

The interior feels solidly built, there’s some nice soft touch leather, matt plastics and the mix of leather and cloth seats make the Stonic look of a high quality.

As a new model we don’t know how reliable it will be yet, but Kia rank very highly when it comes to this area and in 2016 took the top spot for reliability by JD Power, becoming the first non-luxury brand to do so.

The Kia Stonic hasn’t yet been rated in the EuroNCAP tests but with the amount of safety features on it we would expect it to receive the full five stars.

Driving aids include hill start assist, cornering brake control, electronic stability control, while the ‘First Edition’ trim has extras such as lane departure, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert.  It can't be denied that Kia have produced a very safe car.

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