Kia has entered Europe’s fastest-growing market sector, that for small B-segment SUVs, with the Stonic, which it describes as an exciting, sporty, confident and smart new model. Diesel prices start at £17,795.
The company says the B-SUV market in Europe is expected to double to more than two million a year by 2020, based on 2016 figures. Kia expects to sell 70,000 versions of Stonic in Europe in 2018, rising steadily to 100,000 a year. The UK will account for between 8,000 and 10,000 sales a year.
Stonic is based on the latest Rio supermini and is powered by petrol and diesel powertrains from Rio and the cee’d family. It was designed in Europe at the company’s Frankfurt studios, with input from the main design centre at Namyang in Korea. Originally intended as a car solely for Europe, it will now also be sold in Korea, such was the reception it got when shown there.
In the UK there is a five-model line-up based on grade 2 and First Edition trim levels. All versions offer an extensive package of connectivity features, including links to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via pre-downloaded smartphone apps, while advanced electronic driver assistance systems such as autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic switching between high and low headlight beams are available.
The Stonic is Kia’s first small SUV. Buyers are moving into B-SUVs from superminis, small MPVs and three-door compact hatchbacks.
The Stonic is slightly longer than the Rio, at 4,140mm. It is also 70mm taller and rides 42mm higher from the ground to give it a clear SUV stance. While the two cars share some mechanical components, Stonic has a bespoke body and interior.
All models are front-wheel drive as the take-up for all-wheel drive in this sector of the market is only 8 per cent.
Kia says key signature design elements such as the ‘tiger-nose’ main front grille, the distinctive C-pillar and the straight lines and smooth surfaces ensure that Stonic is instantly recognisable as a member of the modern Kia family.
The First Edition version stands out thanks to its two-tone paintwork. The roof, wing mirror casings and rear spoiler are picked out in either black, lime green, red or orange, depending on the choice of main body colour, and there are colour accents in the interior on the seats and around the lower centre console and display screen areas.
The horizontal theme evident in the exterior styling is repeated in the cabin, emphasising width and space while separating the upper information and lower control areas. The number of buttons and switches has been kept to a minimum to give a neater look and greater functionality. The First Edition follows the Rio in offering USB ports front and rear so that mobile devices can be charged from any seat.
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 the local street lighting.
The First Edition also has Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to prevent the car from being driven into the path of a vehicle approaching from an angle out of the driver’s eye-line.
There is a 7.0-inch display with a DAB radio and MP3 compatibility in grade 2, and in the First Edition this is upgraded to a 7.0-inch touchscreen navigation and infotainment system featuring Kia Connected Services with TomTom. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration are standard across the range.
All models have 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, all-round electric windows with an automatic function on the driver’s side, roof rails, rear parking sensors, remote locking, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, a 3.5-inch supervision cluster, Bluetooth with music streaming, automatic headlight control, bi-function projection headlamps and cornering lights and LED daytime running lights. There are body-coloured bumpers, door mirror casings and door handles, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, 60:40 split rear seats and a six-speaker audio system.
The First Edition adds a smart key entry system and engine start/stop button, stainless steel pedals, black cloth and grey faux leather upholstery with colour accents, automatic air conditioning, LED rear lights, privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate, heated front seats and D-shaped steering wheel, chrome window trim and interior door handles and a dual-height luggage floor.
The standard paint colour is Sienna Brown, with a black roof on the First Edition. Clear White, Blaze Red, Graphite and Midnight Black are options on grade 2, while First Edition versions can be ordered in Clear White, Blaze Red and Zest Yellow, all with a black roof; Midnight Black with a red roof; Graphite with a lime green roof; and Urban Grey and Satin Silver with an orange roof.
The diesel option is the 108bhp 1.6-litre CRDi turbodiesel from the cee’d range.
ISG, Kia’s engine stop/start system to ensure no fuel is wasted and no emissions are pumped into the air when the car is stationary, is standard. All versions are paired with a six-speed manual transmission and are front-wheel drive.
The fuel economy champion of the Stonic range is the diesel, which has a combined economy figure of 67.3mpg with CO2emissions of 109g/km. There is 192 ft lb of torque stretching from 1,500 to 2,750rpm which produces 10.9-second acceleration from 0 to 60mph.
The Stonic relies on a similar suspension system to the Rio, with independent MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam axle at the rear, but Kia says there has been extensive retuning to take into account the SUV’s higher ground clearance and centre of gravity.
The company says that as a car initially engineered purely for European customers, the Stonic has “the fun-to-drive characteristics expected by them, with immediate steering responses on twisting and often narrow roads, unshakeable stability at high motorway speeds and a smooth ride even on the varied and often neglected surfaces found throughout Europe.”
In common with all Kias, the Stonic has a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty covering all labour and parts except those subject to normal wear and tear. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time/mileage limit expires.
It is also available with Care 3 and Care 3 Plus servicing packages for retail customers. These cover the cost of all routine servicing work for three or five years respectively and, like the warranty, can be passed on if the car is sold before they expire.
Performance and economy:
|Model||Power bhp||Torque ft lb||0-60 sec||Max speed mph
|Stonic 2 1.4 ISG||98||98||12.2||107||51.4||125|
|Stonic 2 1.0 T-GDi ISG||118||126||9.9||115||56.5||115|
|Stonic 2 1.6 CRDi ISG||108||192||10.9||112||67.3||109|
|Stonic First Edition 1.0 T-GDi ISG||118||126||9.9||115||56.5||115|
|Stonic First Edition 1.6 CRDi ISG||108||192||10.9||112||67.3||109|
|Stonic 2 1.4 ISG||£16,295|
|Stonic 2 1.0 T-GDi ISG||£16,995|
|Stonic 2 1.6 CRDi ISG||£17,795|
|Stonic First Edition 1.0 T-GDi ISG||£19,695|
|Stonic First Edition 1.6 CRDi ISG||£20,495|
Optional Paint – £250
Premium Paint – £545
ADAP – £350