What is it?
The Stonic is Kia’s first entry into the B-Segment small SUV market, and they describe it as an exciting, sporty, confident and smart new model, priced from £16,295. Although slightly bigger in physical dimensions, the Stonic is based on the companies latest Rio, and is powered by high-efficiency, high-technology petrol and diesel engines from Rio and the Cee'd family.
In the UK we have a five model line up based on grade 2 and up to the First Edition model, which I decided to borrow.
Incidentally, the First Edition version stands out even more thanks to its two-tone paintwork. The roof, wing mirrors and rear spoiler are either lime green, black, red or orange, depending on the choice of main body colour. The funky colour scheme is carried into the interior and and onto the seats and around the lower centre console and display screen.
On the road
I wasn’t around when the Stonic was delivered, so the Muddy Madam took the delivery driver to the train station. She enjoyed it so much that she commandeered it for the first couple of days; I just couldn’t prise the Stonic’s key away from her. ('I really liked it. It was fun to drive; small enough for nipping around town, but big enough to feel that I was driving a roomy, solid car. I also loved the funky colour flashes too.' - by Muddy Madam)
I shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore, but the Stonic felt quite light when I first began driving it, I couldn’t decide whether it was incredibly lightweight, or very stiff and sporty. You can feel the bumps in the road, but not in an obtrusive or Subaru WRX kind of way, it’s firm, yes, but comfortable.
My first real drive was a mooch down from Lancashire to Llandudno along the M56 and A55. It was quiet, smooth and quite refined; I wouldn’t hesitate taking the Stonic on longer jaunts.
The Stonic comes with a host of driving aids, like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) are standard. VSM is linked to Torque Vectoring, Straight Line Stability and Cornering Brake Control to help the driver maintain control in bad weather or on poorly surfaced roads. All versions also have Hill-start Assist to prevent the car from rolling backwards when setting off on steep inclines.
Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning are standard in the First Edition, and optional on grade 2, as part of an Advanced Driving Assistance Pack (ADAP). The Lane Departure Warning System is linked to Driver Attention Warning, which can alert a drowsy or distracted driver that it is time to take a break, and High Beam Assist, which automatically switches the car, between dipped and full beam, according to the traffic around it, and local street lighting.
It’s funny, when I originally asked to borrow the Stonic the PR team were quick to point out that it wasn’t a 4x4. Not certain if I have a reputation for these things!
Of course, for journalistic purposes I had to venture from the beaten path, and dawdling along a local green lane I was pleasantly surprised that the Stonic’s suspension did extremely well at damping the harsh bumps.
The extra ground clearance and traction control worked well when I ‘had to’ traverse a water channel in the lane, and as the Stonic lifted a rear wheel there wasn’t even a hint of wheel-spin. So although not an SUV in the true sense, the Stonic should cope well with whatever a ‘normal’ owner can throw at it.
These days car manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to produce vehicles that are not only safe, but economical and planet friendly, so weight saving is a priority. Consequently the Stonic’s dashboard is made from plastic, and Kia have done a really nice job of styling it with a splash of colour. I’ve said it before, how often do you sit at a set of traffic lights and decide you want to caress your leather trimmed dashboard? You don’t.
The number of buttons and switches have been kept to a minimum to give a neater look. In the First Edition there's USB ports front and rear which should help eliminate arguments on who should charge their mobile up first!
The front seats are very comfy, supportive and adjust well. The rear seats are comfy too, but they aren’t built for passengers with long legs, especially if the front seats are set for people 6ft or over.
You do get a fair bit of storage space up front with handy nooks and cranies, and the boot capacity is decent at 352 litres and 1,155 litres with the seats down.
Engines ’n’ transmissions
With their latest range of engines, Kia have managed to achieve staggeringly high fuel efficiencies without compromising on performance or reliability, they say.
The new Kia Stonic is available with three different engines:
1ltr T-GDI - 118bhp - 0-60 = 10.9 seconds - 115mph - combined 56.5mpg - CO2 = 115g/km
1.4ltr MPI - 98bhp - 0-60 = 12.2 seconds - 107mph - combined 51.4mpg - CO2 = 125g/km
1.6ltr CRDi - 108bhp - 0-60 = 10.9 seconds - 112mph - combined 67.3mpg - CO2 = 109g/km
I haven’t yet driven a Kia which I haven’t enjoyed, and the Stonic is no exception. It’s a fun, yet practical car that, like all Kia’s, offers great value for money, and, of course, their industry leading, transferable 7 year, 100,000 warranty.
Priced from £16,295