The Kia Stonic is a brand new addition to Kia’s range in Ireland and is Kia’s answer to the burgeoning compact crossover segment. Kia already does well with the Kia Sportage SUV in Ireland, while the Niro is an option for buyers looking for a crossover but with an alternative powertrain (the Niro Plug-in Hybrid has just gone on sale).
But the Kia Stonic plugs a gap just above the Rio supermini for a compact SUV, and comes with a choice of petrol or diesel. The new Stonic is based on the Rio and is not much bigger in size but these two are so distinct from eachother, there won’t be any confusion in the dealer showroom. The Stonic bears all the hallmarks of a mini SUV: raised ride height, more aggressive styling, roof rails and extra cladding, but all packaged in a compact frame with a list price kicking off at €18,599.
Granted the Kia Stonic does carry a price premium over the Rio supermini and while it will seat five, don’t be expecting oceans of space inside. Shoulder room up front is adequate and headroom is very generous all round. In the rear there is not much more legroom than in a Rio so a tall passenger seated behind a tall driver will suffer a bit. The boot is 352 litres versus about 325 in the Rio and has a flat loading area.
Inside hard plastics prevail like in most of the rivals but Kia has made the interior a little more interesting with some other materials and a two tone black and grey look. In terms of equipment, the car looks modern with my 1.4-litre K3 spec car (from €22,599) featuring a number of safety features like lane departure warning, and there’s also Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility with the 7” touchscreen infotainment system.
In Ireland the Kia Stonic is offered with a 1.2-litre petrol (84hp), a 1.4-litre petrol (100hp), a new 1.0-litre turbo petrol (120hp) and a 1.6-litre diesel (110hp).
My test car had the 1.4-litre petrol engine. It’s a naturally aspirated petrol engine so lacks the in gear punch of a turbo unit but it keeps the Stonic more affordable and offers adequate power for town, city, motorway and rural road driving. It’s quiet on the move and the Stonic holds the road well with good grip and steering that weights up in corners for greater reassurance behind the wheel. The ride comfort is patchy with a firm note to the suspension being noted over anything other than smooth roads. The little Kia is light and agile to drive, with good refinement at speed.
The Kia Stonic fills a gap in Kia’s range for a compact crossover and arrives with smart styling and a good equipment/pricing position. There’s a of competition in this segment at this time, but with Kia’s track record for selling SUVs, the Stonic should find a very accepting new fanbase.
Model tested: Kia Stonic 1.4 K3
Price: €22,599 (Range from €18,599)
Engine: 1.4-litre petrol
0-100km/h: 12.6 seconds
Top speed: 172km/h
CO2 emissions: 125g/km
Motor tax: €270 per year