We drive Kia's new B-SUV in Ireland for the first time...
Pros: Good cabin space, fun to drive, low running costs
Cons: Ride quality, engines lack oomph, endless rivals
2018 is shaping up to be the year of the small compact SUV as a host of new models will go on sale in the segment for the first time including the all-new Kia Stonic. The Stonic mixes practical hatchback dimensions with chunky off-road looks, and it goes on sale in Ireland at the same time as new rivals models such as the SEAT Arona, Volkswagen T-Roc, Citroen C3 Aircross and the Hyundai Kona. With so many new models to consider, competition in the B-SUV segment is incredibly high. We spent a week driving the Stonic on Irish roads to see if it can become one of the leading options.
What is it like?
The Stonic shares styling traits with the Kia Rio supermini which it is based on and also the Kia Sportage which has been particularly successful SUV here in Ireland. The Stonic’s raised stance, rear skid plate and roof rails suggest that it is suited to off road driving, but it isn’t, faring better with urban commuting. The Stonic is generously-equipped from the outside with alloy wheels featured as standard, bi-projection headlights and LED cornering fog lights too. Those who like to stand out from the crowd can also customise the Stonic with a selection of twenty different two-tone colour combinations.
Inside, the Stonic is surprisingly roomy for a small crossover car, with enough room for four adults and a decent range of adjustment available in the front seats. The dashboard clearly laid out with plenty of areas to stow away items in the centre console and door bins, and our test car has an optional seven-inch touch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features. The cabin materials feel well-constructed and durable, but not to the same standard as the Audi Q2 or Volkswagen T-Roc. The Stonic’s boot offers 352 litres of space, which is on par with most of its rivals, and when the rear seats are folded, this grows to a reasonable 1155 litres.
In Ireland, the Stonic is available with naturally-aspirated 1.25-litre petrol (84hp) and 1.4-litre petrol (100hp) engines, and turbocharged 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol (120hp) and 1.6-litre CRDi diesel (110hp) engines. We drove the 1.4-litre petrol Stonic, and while it’s frugal around town and quiet on the move, it lacks character with 0-100km/h taking well over 12 seconds. For this reason, we’d consider the more powerful turbocharged petrol and diesel units. All engines in the range are paired to a manual gearbox, and during our time with the 1.4-litre Stonic, we averaged seven litres per 100 kilometres of driving in fuel economy (40 MPG) with annual motor tax working of €270.
Despite having a raised stance, the Stonic is firm on the road and tackles corners with responsive steering and less body roll than we expected. We were pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is to drive thanks to its firm suspension setup, but ride quality suffers somewhat on bumpy back roads as a result. The Stonic packs lots of safety tech with hill start assist and electronic stability control both featured as standard, while higher specification models gain lane departure warning and autonomous Emergency braking systems.
Prices for the new Kia Stonic start from €18,599 for the base ‘K1’ specification model which has 15-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry, auto cruise control and lots more as standard. At this price point it undercuts rivals like the Volkswagen T-Roc and Nissan Juke, though the higher specification K3 model that we tested costs €22,599 and gains 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen system, cloth and leather upholstery inside and rain sensing wipers, which are all worthy additions.
Carzone verdict: 3.5/5
The Kia Stonic builds on the successful Kia Rio supermini and it enters the crossover class at a time when it is becoming increasingly competitive. The Stonic has a lot going for it, including distinctive looks, low running costs, enough space for four passengers and it’s attractively-priced too. The ride can be firm on bumpy roads however and some of the materials lack quality, while the least powerful engines in the range aren’t fun to drive. As a small crossover package however, the Stonic is an accomplished contender and it should prove as one of the most popular choices in the class.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Kia Stonic K3 1.4 Petrol
Prices from: €18,599
Price as tested: €22,599
Annual Road Tax: €270
Engine: 1400cc four-cylinder petrol
Top Speed: tbc
0-100km/h: 12.2 seconds
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Body style: B-SUV
Boot Space: 352 litres