Kia has just launched their new Stonic compact crossover. It’s an eye-catching all-new model with real stylish European design flair. And in-line with trends in this fast growing segment, it is the most customisable Kia ever, inside and out.
Prices here will start at €18,599 for the entry-level K1 spec level, and with the 1.2 litre engine.
There will four spec levels on offer from K1 to K4, with the latter top-of-range version available with the new lightweight 1.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged petrol direct injection) engine. The 1.4 litre petrol engine is expected to be the biggest Stonic seller in K2 specification.
It is being offered with a range of lightweight petrol and diesel engines, paired with manual transmissions, keeping emissions low and efficiency high. The car’s ride and handling are tuned to maximise driving excitement, with steering and suspension engineered for European tastes. The car’s high-strength steel platform and bodyshell help deliver high levels of drivability and passenger comfort in varied driving conditions.
After testing several versions recently, I found that the Kia Stonic is not only one of the smartest cars in its class, but it also offers a range of technologies designed to enhance handling, safety, comfort, and convenience. The car’s intelligent packaging results in a spacious cabin and enables a high level of storage versatility.
The Stonic will be manufactured in South Korea. The car is backed by Kia’s quality promise and is sold as standard with the company’s unique 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty. It goes on sale here in October, in a segment that is due to become one of Europe’s largest in the coming years.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe say: “This will be one of the most compelling new cars in this rapidly-expanding class, aided by Kia’s unique warranty, and the brand’s reputation for reliability, quality and contemporary design. As the segment expands, the Stonic looks set to become one of our best-selling cars.”
He told us that the designers’ brief was to create an ultra-compact crossover, inspired by SUV design. The compact dimensions and low centre of gravity allow for a sleek, lithe body, inspired by the form, function and confidence-inspiring appearance of Kia’s larger SUVs. With short overhangs at front and rear, combined with a long bonnet and low roof-line, the Stonic boasts a sporty and confident on-road posture – without compromising the elevated seated position drivers expect of a compact SUV. Black body cladding around the base of the car, and skidplates at the front and rear, add a further element of purpose to the car’s design. A roof rack boosts functionality further.
Customisability is important to many buyers in the B-SUV segment, and this is the most customisable Kia yet. The car’s unique ‘Targa’-style C-pillar creates a natural division in the roof and bodywork – and represents the perfect canvas for the optional customisable two-tone paint finish.
The Stonic offers a lively and confident dynamic character to the B-SUV segment, with Kia saying that ride and handling characteristics having been honed on a variety of European roads to match local preferences. The aim of the development team was to combine sporty and precise handling with straight-line stability and a smooth ride at higher speeds.
Kia claims that more than any other production Kia model to date, the company’s engineers have given greater priority to sporty, confidence-inspiring dynamics, with direct and immediate responses. The Stonic has higher ground clearance than the Rio with which it shares a platform but it features new front and rear suspension set-ups which are unique to the car, resulting in a fun-to-drive character.
Kia says that their suspension engineers sought a natural, linear build-up of body roll, with relatively firm suspension compared to many rivals, to minimise roll. The Stonic’s steering has also been tuned to be quicker and offer a more precise turn-in than rivals and existing Kia models. And it adds that the Stonic’s short front overhangs also ensure the engines are packaged in such a way as to minimise front axle inertia under cornering.
Technology will play a role in enhancing driver enjoyment, as well as safety. The front-wheel drive Stonic features Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system as standard. A range of additional electronic driver support technologies also make the car more enjoyable and confidence-inspiring to drive on all roads, in all conditions.
The Stonic is powered by a number of Kia’s most advanced petrol and diesel engines. Kia Ireland expect to sell more petrol than Diesel engined versions.
Kia’s new lightweight 1.0-litre three-cylinder T-GDI turbocharged petrol direct injection engine offers immediate acceleration and high fuel efficiency, while reducing front axle weight (compared to larger engines) for more immediate handling responses. The lightweight 1.0-litre T-GDI engine produces 120 ps and 172 Nm torque. A 100 ps version of the engine will also be available to buyers from mid-2018.
Also available from launch are a pair of naturally-aspirated gasoline MPI (multi-point injection) engines: the 1.25-litre engine produces 84 ps and 122 Nm torque, while the 1.4-litre unit produces 100 ps and 133 Nm. The most efficient engine in the Stonic range is Kia’s 1.6-litre diesel engine, producing 110 ps and torque of 260 Nm.
All engines in the Stonic range is paired as standard with a manual transmission that is designed to maximise efficiency and gearshift feel. Kia is currently re-engineering its seven-speed double-clutch transmission for the Stonic, due for introduction in 2018 on certain 1.0-litre T-GDI models.
Within its compact exterior dimensions, the Stonic’s smart packaging maximises interior space for all occupants. And the Stonic’s cabin echoes the appearance of the exterior, combining straight lines and smooth surfaces. The interior brings together sculpted shapes with geometric forms, and the surface of the dashboard itself is inspired by the clearly-defined lines of the Stonic’s exterior. The painted dashboard panel in front of the passenger seat bears the same ‘tiger-nose’ detail as the grille, while vents at the outer edges of the dashboard even echo the shape of the headlamps.
The large 7.0-inch touchscreen at the centre of dashboard provides the control panel for the Stonic. The system is sold as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, offering full access to smartphone functionality and allowing users to access their apps and stream music on-the-go.
The interior also offers buyers as much potential for customisation as the exterior, with a choice of four colour packs.
Other elements of the Stonic’s cabin are designed to provide practical and intelligent storage areas. Kia interior designers have sought to elevate storage areas so they are higher than those found in many rival models, ensuring they fall within easier reach of occupants. A double-tray storage area at the base of the centre console accommodates the latest large smartphones (such as the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note). Every door pocket is shaped to accommodate a bottle, and there are a pair of double cupholders in the front. The glove box is designed to accommodate iPads and other tablet devices. Drivers can also stow their sunglasses in the Stonic’s overhead compartment, while the sliding armrest lifts to reveal another storage area.
The Stonic’s versatile 352-litre (VDA) luggage bay features a two-step boot floor. This enables owners to expand or shrink the boot as required, and create a flat floor with the rear seats folded down. The new Kia crossover offers the widest boot opening in the B-SUV class to accommodate larger items, and a spare wheel is standard and stored beneath the boot floor. A pair of hooks are integrated into the sides of the boot, to stop contents of stowed bags from spilling out. With the rear seats folded down, the Stonic offers owners 1,155 litres of cargo capacity.
Like all Kia models, the Stonic is fitted with VSM and ESC as standard, ensuring stability under braking and cornering if the car detects a loss of traction. Other handling technologies also assist the driver: Torque Vectoring by Braking, Cornering Brake Control, Straight-Line Stability, and Hill Start Assist (see ‘Ride and handling’).
If you are in the market for a car in this class, you should check-out the all-new Kia Stonic.