The B SUV segment is growing at a rapid pace, and Kia’s latest entry into this market is the Kia Stonic. With the SUV segments growing quickly, buyers seem to want this type of build, and over the coming years we will see a lot more in the segment. At the moment, the Kia Stonic is up against the likes of the Nissan Juke, the new Citroen C3 Aircross, the VW T Roc, the Toyota C-HR, The Peugeot 2008, the SEAT Arona, and the Mazda CX-3. That’s a lot, but there’s no doubting that many more competitors will come to market soon.
At launch, there are three petrol and one diesel engines. A 1.0 turbo (120hp), 1.2MPI (84hp), 1.4MPI (100hp) and a 1.6CRDi (110hp), respectively. Kia expects the 1.4MPI to be its biggest seller. While the 1.4 may be the biggest seller, the 1.0 model certainly feels punchier and superior. Be warned though, while this engine is the most fun, it can be noisy at idle and while under pressure - it's quiet while cruising.
This KIA is built using the Rio platform, but with some tweaks. For example, because of the bulkier body, the KIA Stonic is made stiffer by using very high tensile steel and 98 metres of bond adhesive. This, coupled with a retuned front suspension, new rear shocks and a new hydraulic rebound stopper, the body of the Stonic holds well and this results in good handling, a nice ride and a comfortable drive - however, gear changes can be slightly notchy.
In terms of road noise, the cabin does pick some up, this would be common within this segment of car. The noise is not overly-intrusive though. As previously mentioned, the fun 1.0 engine can be loud, and this can be heard from the engine. With that said though, we’d still opt for that engine.
Each car will receive a 7" display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. The plastics in row two are slightly cheaper and scratchier to the touch, but I was happy to see a USB charge point in the rear. None of our test models had a central armrest in row two, and one of the front seats had a storage pocket to the back of it. The seats are comfortable and adjustable so easy to get comfy for longer journeys.
Higher trims will have plenty of Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) available. These systems include; Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Emergency Brake, Blind Spot Monitoring (level K4 only), and more. This is all great. However, I think that all manufacturers should build safer cars and make all ADAS technology available as standard with all future cars. After all, consumers spend huge money on cars, and manufacturers should make all of them as safe as possible as a rule. At the time of writing, the Kia Stonic is yet to undergo the Euro NCAP.
There is good shoulder, leg and head room to the front. Row two offers good enough legroom, but at just under six feet tall, I would prefer to sit in the front. Head room is excellent in row two, and while three adults could squeeze in there, try to keep it to just two! The boot offers 352-litres of space and has a split-level floor. When the boot floor is at the highest level, the 60/40 split second-row seatbacks can lie flat. Every KIA Stonic will come with a spare wheel.