Kia Stonic Review
The Kia Stonic is a practical well equipped small crossover but it doesn't tug at the heartstrings
Strengths & weaknesses
- Distinctive design
- High level of standard equipment
- Lengthy seven-year warranty
- Cramped in the back
- Small boot
- Dull to drive
The oddly named Stonic (that’s speedy and tonic put together) is Kia's small crossover - roughly the length of Kia's Rio or a Ford Fiesta, but miuch higher, offering better visibility and more headroom inside.
It's not short of competition, most notably, the Seat Arona and Mini Countryman, but the Stonic has enough good points to fend them off.
Designed in Europe for European customers, it has nicely sculpted but unfussy surfaces, proportions that combine the sturdiness of an SUV with a high-riding urban runabout, and plastic lower body cladding to add a hint of ruggedness.
Its interior isn’t quite so eye-catching. Generally plain with some colourful accents, it’s solid, if unexciting. It’s well thought out, though, and its centrally mounted 7.0-inch display is easy to use (easier still in the touchscreen form found in First Edition models).
Where it really shines is in its list of standard equipment. It really is great value with 17in alloy wheels, air conditioning, all-round electric windows, roof rails and rear parking sensors all thown in. Few rivals can compete.
Compact SUVs like the Stonic have to perform multiple roles, not least that of practical family runabout. A spacious cabin is important and here the new Kia doesn't disappoint. The front is roomy but so, too, is the rear. A couple of adults should be able to make themselves comfortable in the back.
Where the Stonic slips up is in its boot which is just 353 litres. You’ll find yourself having to put shopping overspill on the back seats. The Citroen C3 Aircross’s 410-litre boot is more appealing.
Commuter and occasional long-distance tourer are other roles a compact SUV must perform. It helps if it’s good to drive, not in a sports car way but communicative, composed and predictable. The Stonic is all of these things.
Its steering is light but accurate, and the handling well balanced and agile. There’s plenty of grip and it stays flat in corners meaning young occupants are less likely get travel sick. The trade-off is a ride that’s slightly firmer than usual but not so firm as to be uncomfortable.
There are three engines to choose from. Those who do most of their driving around town should opt for the 1.0-litre petrol which does up to 56.6mpg. For the record, that contrasts with a best of 38.7mpg from sister car, the larger petrol-powered Sportage. If you do more than 12,000 miles a year, consider the 1.6 diesel version, although its economy figure of 67.3mpg is easily beaten by the Renault Captur dCi 90’s 78.5mpg.
Buyers shopping for a compact SUV are spoilt for choice these days but although the Stonic doesn’t lead the field in any particular department, it’s a decent all-rounder, while its attractive design and generous equipment levels might well tip the balance in its favour.
|7 years / 100,000 miles
|£140 to £160 in first year, £140 thereafter