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Confident looking Stonic from Kia

Created on 16/04/2018 @ 16:51


Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Every manufacturer needs to be in the small SUV sector so it’s no surprise to see the Kia Stonic arriving on the roads of the UK.

Experts predict that B-SUV sector sales will double to over two million in Europe by 2020 and Kia expects to sell 70,000 Stonics this year with up to 10,000 of them in the UK.

It’s a bold prediction for a first-time entry into the sector but Stonic does come with a certain air of confidence around it based on the latest Rio supermini and powered by efficient petrol and diesel powertrains from the Rio and cee’d families.

The model arrives with five versions based on two trim lines and three powertrains featuring all the usual connectivity and electronic driving assistance systems we have come to expect – but it comes in front-wheel drive only so you won’t be taking to the fields in a Stonic. 

You will instantly recognise the Stonic as a member of the Kia family thanks to the “tiger-nose” front grille, distinctive C-pillar, straight lines and smooth surfaces but the 1.6CRDi First Edition Eco on test stood out thanks to two-tone colouring to roof, mirrors, rear spoiler and interior trim.

It’s typically Kia inside too with control buttons kept to a minimum and everything just where you would expect to find it but finding a comfortable driving position proved a little difficult with low seating for a car which stands so high on the road – a slightly strange sensation.

All versions are generously equipped, with an extensive range of active safety features and up-to-the-minute connectivity in First Edition versions.

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. 

You also get High Beam Assist, which automatically switches the car between dipped and full beam according to the traffic around it and the local street lighting along with 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.

The First Edition comes with a 7inch touchscreen navigation and infotainment system featuring Kia Connected Services with TomTom, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration 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 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.

There’s enough space up-front but it’s a bit too cosy in the back to claim it to be a five-seater and Stonic is a bit short on storage compartments. Rear seats do split 60/40 but there’s not enough boot space for the golf clubs.

The CRDi version on test claimed a combined economy figure of 67.3mpg with CO2emissions of 109g/km. Yet with 260Nm of torque stretching from 1,500 to 2,750rpm it was certainly not lacking in pace, delivering a brisk 10.9-second acceleration from 0 to 60mph.

Prices for the Stonic start at £16,295 and rise to just over £21,000 for the range-topping 1.6 CRDi so Kia has been careful to make the new model competitive.

Will Kia hit target sales this year? I suspect so.

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