Kia Motors has introduced significant upgrades to the Kia Stonic compact SUV. The updated Stonic offers drivers a range of new ‘Smartstream’ powertrains, with innovations that enhance efficiency. Among these, the Stonic is now available with Kia’s new petrol 48V mild-hybrid ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain, and is also equipped with the company’s new ‘clutch-by-wire’ intelligent Manual Transmission.
The interior and exterior design of the Stonic remain largely unchanged but owners have greater scope of colour options than before, with new body and roof colours and combinations, and a new wheel choice. Inside, a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system can be specified with Kia’s new ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics features. Safety and driver support are further enhanced with the adoption of a range of new high-tech advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
New EcoDynamics+ petrol mild-hybrid with new intelligent Manual Transmission
The upgraded Kia Stonic will offer the brand’s new petrol mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain. Pairing a new ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) engine with a 48V MHEV system, the EcoDynamics+ powertrain delivers greater efficiency by seamlessly deploying and recuperating electric power. A compact 48-volt lithium-ion polymer battery supplements the engine’s torque output with electric power, and extends engine ‘off time’ with a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit.
The MHSG is connected by belt to the engine’s crankshaft, and switches seamlessly between ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. In ‘motor’ mode, under acceleration, the MHSG provides electric power assistance to reduce engine load and emissions. As the car decelerates, the MHSG has the ability under certain conditions to switch to ‘generator’ mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery.
The new Smartstream engine replaces the Stonic’s earlier ‘Kappa’-generation 1.0-litre T-GDi, and is equipped with Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology. CVVD enables the engine to switch seamlessly between different combustion cycles depending on load, maximising efficiency in all driving situations. The Smartstream engine produces the same power as the previous Kappa engine – 100 ps or 120 ps – but enables slightly higher peak torque output, depending on transmission. For instance, peak torque output from 120 ps models with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT) is 16 per cent higher, at 200 Nm.
The new EcoDynamics+ powertrain is offered on both 99 bhp and 118 bhp versions of the new engine, with a Drive Mode Select system letting drivers of each version customise their drive with ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Normal’ modes.
EcoDynamics+ models are also available with Kia’s new intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT). The ‘clutch-by-wire’ system contributes to the MHEV system’s greater fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, while retaining the driver engagement of a conventional manual transmission. Instead of a mechanical linkage, the iMT’s clutch is actuated electronically. It integrates seamlessly with the MHSG to switch off the engine earlier than Kia’s Idle Stop & Go start-stop system when coasting to a halt.
Both transmissions, iMT and 7DCT, enable periods of engine-off ‘sailing’ to improve fuel efficiency. This operates at speeds of up to 77 mph (125 km/h), and the engine reactivates when the driver pushes the accelerator, brake or clutch pedals.
The new Stonic in the UK
Each market in Europe will specify their Stonic line-up according national market requirements and consumer preferences. The new Stonic will come to the UK in Q4 of 2020, UK specification, line-up, pricing, engine options and colour choices will be announced at this time.