By Ian Strachan
Kia’s latest SUV – the compact Stonic – is pitched into the fiercely competitive European compact SUV sector. So it needs to be good, writes motoring editor Ian Strachan.
Fortunately it is. This is a brisk, comfortable and well-specified car which was originally meant for the European market, but will now be sold in Korea as well.
The European SUV sector is forecast to grow rapidly over the next few years despite the decline in diesel sales, so the Kia Stonic’s arrival is well timed.
I test drove the Stonic in 1.6 CRDi 2 specification. The 1.6 diesel unit gives you 108 ps of horsepower, has a top speed of 112 mph and will get you from 0-60 in a little under 11 seconds.
Like most Kia’s the Stonic is very competitive. Pitched against some well-established competition, the range starts at not much more than £16,000. But despite its price it has high build quality, good interior trim materials, high levels of safety, a good specification and a roomy interior.
The Stonic has a quality feel to it inside and out, and it is certainly a good looker. It has a strong side-on presence, with a gently sloping roofline and roof rails, big windows, a high waist and neatly sculpted side panels. Handsome 17 inch alloys add to its side-on style. It also looks sharp and purposeful from the front with Kia’s black gloss radiator grille.
Inside the car has a lot of class about it. My test vehicle had black cloth upholstery of a surprisingly high quality. The dash is simple and attractive, with a central touchscreen DAB radio and media system, with controls mounted on the leather steering wheel.
Interior space is very good with plenty of cargo space which can be increased by lowering the fold-flat rear split seats. Interior specification on the ‘2’ spec which I tested includes heated, electrically adjustable, folding door mirrors, automatic headlight control, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, rear parking sensors, hill-start assist and tyre pressure monitoring.
Other standard features include all-round airbags, a six speaker sound system with Bluetooth, music streaming and Apple CarPlay, automatic stop/start and electronic stability control.
The diesel engine is lnked to a smooth six-speed manual gearbox, This combination offers plenty of power with little noise or fuss. Acceleration is pleasingly brisk.
Fuel consumption is excellent at 67.3 miles to the gallon in mixed driving, with CO2 at 109g/km. This specification comes at £17,795 on the road, which is very competitive for such a reasonable spec. You get a lot of car for your money. You also get Kia’s industry-leading seven year 100,000 mile warranty
It’s difficult to fault this offering from Kia which is based on the Korean maker’s Rio supermini. It’s a welcome addition to a competitive sector with a very keen price which will keep other manufacturers on their toes.