|Model tested:||Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDi 2|
|Economy / CO2:||47mpg/130g/km|
Kia Stonic: Overall rating (4/5)
Kia’s range of cars has mushroomed in recent years, leading to some confusion as to what’s what. The neatly styled Stonic is a B-segment SUV that’s pitched against solid competition from the likes of the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 – think of it as a Kia Rio on stilts. While the Stonic isn’t as high-profile as some of those more established rivals (it first arrived towards the end of 2017), it’s every bit as good as most of them, if not quite a class leader. But in terms of value, quality and user-friendliness, the Kia is definitely a winner.
Kia crossed a cabin quality threshold several years ago too, putting its finishes and switchgear on a par with semi-premium brands such as Volkswagen. Even better, Kia has also taken the VW route of function over form, so it’s generally very user-friendly, with a dashboard and instrumentation that are very clear, although the multi-function steering wheel (as with many new cars) can be initially confusing. The hi-fi sounds good, pairing a phone is simplicity itself, the seats are comfy (with plenty of adjustment) and there’s ample rear-seat head and leg room. With a decent array of cubby holes, a class-competitive boot capacity (352 litres seats up, 1,155 with them down), the Stonic’s cabin is also very user-friendly. The only possible black mark is the rear three-quarter visibility; the C-pillar is thick and on our test car there was no reversing camera to make manoeuvres easier. Also, as with most rivals, there’s no spare wheel provided.
Virtually all Stonics come with the three-cylinder turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine tested here. A 1.6 CRDi diesel is available, but with a manual gearbox only and in just one trim level (Stonic 3, for £19,985). The petrol engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but a seven-speed dual-clutch auto is available for an extra £1,000. The 1.0-litre engine is perky enough and reasonably flexible, but it only really gets going with 2,000 revs on the clock. A sticky clutch on our test car made smooth starts a challenge, but once on the move the handling is tidy and the ride is comfortable, with impressive high-speed refinement and stability. The lane departure warning is quite aggressive (although not necessarily any worse than many rivals), but this is easy to switch off via a button on the dash. Throw in light controls for everything and the Stonic really is a breeze to drive.
The good news continues here, because while the Stonic isn’t bargain-basement as such, with a starting price of £17,775, it is very good value. That buys an entry-level Stonic 1.0 T-GDi 2 as tested here, which comes with 17-inch alloys, electrically adjustable, heated, folding door mirrors, air-con, cruise control and speed limiter, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and a seven-inch touch-screen display. Frankly it’s all you need, although for £19,255 you can have a Stonic 3 that adds a SatNav, reversing camera, AEB, climate control and automatic windsceen wipers. The £20,755 Stonic 4 comes with blind spot warning, faux leather trim, heated front seats and steering wheel plus keyless go.
The entry-level Stonic 2 sits in insurance group 14 as it doesn’t have AEB; the Stonic 3 gets this tech to drop three insurance groups, while the Stonic 4 is in group 12.