Review: Kia Stonic

Review: Kia Stonic
Review: Kia Stonic

It’s not very charismatic but it does handle nicely

Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDi 2

Kia Stonic

Price: £18,500 (est)
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Power: 118bhp
Torque: 171lb ft
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Kerbweight: 1185kg
Top speed: 115mph
0-60mph: 9.9sec
Fuel economy: 56.5mpg
CO2 rating: 115g/km

Mash up the words ‘speedy’ and ‘tonic’, and what do you have? A new car, apparently: meet the Kia Stonic, a car with a name that’s meant to evoke youthful fun, and which has also evoked plenty more reactions on top. Not all of them quite what Kia had in mind, we imagine.

What is it? Why, yet another small SUV, a crossover-style alternative to the Nissan Juke, Seat Arona and its sister firm Hyundai’s upcoming Kona. To date, these haven’t exactly been blessed with dynamic talent, selling mainly on their looks. So can Kia make a good-looking car that’s just as good to drive, and which sells at the right price?

Well, it certainly looks good. There’s none of the Juke’s divisiveness here; the most standout aspects are the colour-contrast roof and a selection of 17-inch alloy wheels. It has strong road presence and even the cheap ones look expensive.

Pity the interior still feels cheap in places, with a few too many hard materials where you’d expect to find soft ones. Even so, it’s still more solid than a Suzuki Vitara, and is better quality overall than the Juke. If only it were a bit more exciting in there: about the most exciting aspect is the generic Kia touchscreen infotainment system.

Kia Stonic interior

Rear space is average for the sector; there’s enough headroom, but only just, and taller adults really wouldn’t say no to a bit more space. Even so, sitting within it makes occupants feel a bit more secure and safe than the similarly-sized Kia Rio it’s based upon. That’s the power of a higher-up SUV-style stance.

It perhaps inevitably drives like a Rio, carrying over that car’s jiggly ride and reasonable if slightly dull handling. The ride is actually worse in the 1.6-litre diesel than the likeable (and predicted best-selling) 1.0-litre turbo petrol, flagging every single road surface change through to the driver. At least body roll is well contained.

The rather vocal diesel engine has more pull on open roads, but in town, the pleasingly pootley 1.0-litre petrol will be the preferred choice – it’s simply better suited to the cut-and-thrust of city centre life. Pity Kia’s been a bit mean and not included autonomous emergency braking as standard, though.

Overall, apart from the name, Kia hasn’t exactly wowed us with the Stonic but it has delivered a car that helps further improve what to date has been a pretty middling sector of talent. As things stand, the new Stonic is one of the best out there.

Kia Stonic

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