Kia Stonic front cornering
  • Kia Stonic front cornering
  • Kia Stonic rear right driving
  • Kia Stonic interior dashboard
  • Kia Stonic interior back seats
  • Kia Stonic interior infotainment
  • Kia Stonic right driving
  • Kia Stonic front right driving
  • Kia Stonic front right static
  • Kia Stonic headlights detail
  • Kia Stonic rear lights detail
  • Kia Stonic alloy wheel detail
  • Kia Stonic interior front seats
  • Kia Stonic boot open
  • Kia Stonic front cornering
  • Kia Stonic rear right driving
  • Kia Stonic interior dashboard
  • Kia Stonic interior back seats
  • Kia Stonic interior infotainment
  • Kia Stonic right driving
  • Kia Stonic front right driving
  • Kia Stonic front right static
  • Kia Stonic headlights detail
  • Kia Stonic rear lights detail
  • Kia Stonic alloy wheel detail
  • Kia Stonic interior front seats
  • Kia Stonic boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Kia Stonic is the South Korean car maker's take on the higher-riding small SUV style that's so irresistible to buyers who once drove handy little hatchbacks. 

Following a familiar formula, the Stonic takes the bones of the Kia Rio hatchback and adds chunky wheels and tyres, a bit more height and tougher styling for a bit of SUV flavour. If you really want to jazz things up, there’s the yellow-highlighted Quantum trim level as well as the option of snazzy two-tone paint.

The Stonic's engine line-up is straightforward. There's no diesel option, just a choice of two 1.0-litre petrol engines with a manual or automatic gearbox. To help you protect your cash, Kia has given the punchier of the two engines mild-hybrid technology to improve emissions and economy.

There’s no four-wheel-drive option, but that’s by no means unusual for the class. If you are looking for some extra traction, we’d point you towards four-wheel-drive versions of the VW T-Roc.

That rival is just the tip of the iceberg in the crowded small SUV category, though. The Stonic also has to go head to head with the Ford Puma, the Nissan Juke, the Peugeot 2008 and the voluminous Skoda Kamiq. In other words, it has a tough fight on its tyres.

To find out how the Kia Stonic stacks up against the best small SUVs in terms of driving experience, interior quality, spaciousness and costs, keep reading this comprehensive review, which covers all that, as well as telling you which trim and engine combination we think makes the most sense.

Then, once you’ve picked your ideal model of car, you can find the lowest prices by searching our free What Car? New Car Deals service. It's a good place to find the best new new small SUV deals.

Overview

The Stonic handles tidily, is well equipped and gets a great warranty, but there are plenty of other areas where it doesn’t shine. Many other small SUVs offer more space in the rear seats and in the boot, and are more refined, too.

  • Punchy turbo petrol engine
  • Plenty of standard kit
  • Agile handling
  • Rivals have more flexible rear seats
  • Firm ride
  • Other small SUVs are more practical

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The cheapest Kia Stonic engine, which is available with the entry-level 2, GT-Line and Quantum trims, is the 99bhp 1.0 T-GDi. It’s a punchy performer that’ll officially get from 0-60mph in 10.7sec (11.7 if you opt for the automatic gearbox). It has a fair amount of shove once you get going, but is weaker at low revs, taking a while to get going.

For that reason, you’ll appreciate the mild-hybrid assistance the 118bhp 1.0 T-GDi receives from low engine speeds. It's slightly quicker from 0-60mph (10.4sec), and if you're tootling through town, you’ll rarely have to pass 1500rpm. Better still, it's happy to rev away if you need a bit more oomph, and getting up to motorway speeds is no chore at all.

If you can afford it, the 118bhp engine is the one to go for, and it’s certainly gutsier than the equivalent Renault Captur. Those looking for even more punch should aim their gaze towards the Ford Puma or the VW T-Roc.

Suspension and ride comfort

Well controlled but on the firm side is a good way to sum up the Stonic’s ride. The firmness means its wheels tend to follow little road undulations, causing the suspension to send a shimmy through the interior as they do so. If you pass over a ridge, there’s a thump – not an overly harsh one, but enough to make you notice.

At motorway speeds, the Stonic fidgets a little on asphalt that looks perfectly flat. It’s not as stiff as the Mini Countryman but you'll experience an altogether smoother ride at all speeds in the Skoda Kamiq and the T-Roc.

Kia Stonic rear right driving

Handling

Despite the fact that the Stonic is essentially a jacked-up Kia Rio its raised ride height hasn't substantially affected its nimbleness. Indeed, it's actually one of the most agile small SUVs you can buy.

It responds surprisingly eagerly to steering inputs and stays upright through corners that would cause the Citroën C3 Aircross to lean over markedly. Even if you’re mid-corner and the road suddenly becomes bumpy, the Stonic remains composed and controlled.

The steering isn’t exactly feelsome, but it’s precise and well-weighted around the straight-ahead position, making it easy to stay in your lane on a motorway. The Puma is even more enjoyable to drive, with better steering and more front-end grip. If you’re dead set on having four-wheel drive, you’ll want to take a look at the T-Roc or the Suzuki Ignis or Suzuki Vitara.

Noise and vibration

Both the Stonic’s petrol engine options are decently refined. Sure, you still hear them thrumming away when you rev them, but they emit a pleasant rasp rather than an intrusive clatter. All Stonics suffer from wind and road noise at motorway speeds – if you’re after an even quieter life, the T-Roc 1.5 TSI is worth a look.

The Stonic’s standard six-speed manual gearbox is slick and easy to operate, if not quite as enjoyable to use as a Puma’s. The seven-speed automatic, on the other hand, isn’t all that slick and you’ll certainly know when it’s changing through the gears.

The mild-hybrid system fitted to the T-GDi 118 makes for smooth engine restarts when the stop-start system is working, and a clever clutch system allows the car to coast when left in gear to save fuel. It can make slowing down tricky to judge, though, because you don't know whether the regenerative braking system will cut in to charge the battery. When it does, the car slows far more quickly than at other times.

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

The Kia Stonic’s driving position feels a little odd at first but you quickly get used to it. You sit low down with your legs stretched out, which feels natural in a small hatchback, but might disappoint SUV fans who prefer to be higher up.

Still, there’s no doubt that you’ll find a comfortable posture because there’s standard seat-height adjustment and plenty of in-and-out steering wheel adjustment to suit drivers of most sizes.

There are other commendable aspects of the Stonic’s interior, such as its sliding front centre armrest and the sensible positioning of all the physical buttons and switches on the dashboard. Indeed, everything is placed just where you'd want it to be.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

The Stonic's relatively slim windscreen pillars make it pretty easy to see what’s in front of you from behind the wheel. The view backwards isn’t too bad, either – the rear pillars are a bit wide, but the rear screen is quite deep.

To make parking even easier, every Stonic comes with rear parking sensors as standard. If you go for GT-Line trim or above, you'll get a rear-view camera, while GT-Line S adds front parking sensors. All Stonics get automatic headlights but you’ll need Quantum or above to get auto wipers. If you want bright LED headlights, you’ll need GT-Line, 3 or GT-Line S trim.

Kia Stonic interior dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

The Stonic’s infotainment system is really rather good, and compares well with the ones in rival cars. For a start, you get a sharp 8.0in touchscreen display, plus there's a DAB radio, Bluetooth,  and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring as standard.

That system allows you to connect your phone and use Google Maps and other apps on the infotainment screen. That's good news if you go for entry-level 2 trim because it doesn't have built-in sat nav.

The touchscreen is positioned high on the dashboard and is easy to see, with large icons that are simple to hit on the move. It’s responsive to commands, although the Seat Arona gives you menus that are easier to navigate.

Quality

The Stonic feels solidly made inside. When you press and prod the dashboard, nothing wobbles, and all the switches and buttons feel nicely damped.

There is a ‘but’ here, though. As in the Arona and the vast majority of other small SUVs in this price bracket, most surfaces are made from unyieldingly hard plastics, including the upper door trims.

As you might expect, premium-badge wearing rivals including the Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman have the nicest interiors in the class, but you’ll pay more for the privilege. Indeed, even the entry-level Countryman costs more than the top-spec Stonic.

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

You won’t be short of space in the front of the Kia Stonic – there's plenty of head and leg room, even for taller occupants. Interior width is generous for a small SUV too, so the driver and front passenger won’t be clanging elbows. 

It’s quite a comfortable place to be and you shouldn’t find yourself struggling for space. Even so, if having loads of space up front is important, the Skoda Kamiq and VW T-Roc are even larger.

Storage space is respectable. There's a usefully sized glovebox and a tray to store your phone in front of the gear lever, plus two cupholders and a cubbyhole under the centre armrest.

Rear space

The Stonic's rear space is below par by class standards. Head room is fine, but leg room is tight compared with that offered by the Seat Arona or the much larger Kamiq, especially if there’s someone tall sitting up front. 

While the interior width is fine up front, it doesn’t translate to the rear, and trying to seat three adults in the back is a bit of a squeeze. 

There’s not a lot of room for odds and ends in the rear, either. You get a couple of small door bins and map pockets on the backs of the front seats but that's about your lot.

Kia Stonic interior back seats

Seat folding and flexibility

The Stonic is average in this respect, with no height adjustment for the front passenger seat unless you opt for top-tier GT-Line S trim.

While you get 60/40 split folding rear seats for those occasional trips to the tip, the Stonic does without the flexibility of sliding or reclining rear seats, which are offered by its Citroën C3 Aircross and Renault Captur rivals.

Boot space

The Stonic’s boot is nothing to get excited about. While there’s enough space for a decent weekly shop or five carry-on suitcases, having only 352 litres of storage space means it has one of the smallest boots in the class. 

That becomes more apparent when you put the Stonic up against its rivals, with the Ford Puma swallowing six carry-on cases, and the Arona and Kamiq managing seven.

There’s no ski hatch, which would be handy for when you’re loading long items, but at least you have more space once you’ve folded the rear seats. Unfortunately, though, they don’t fold flat with the boot floor, so you’ll have to contend with a fair step up to the seatbacks.

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The entry-level version of the Kia Stonic is only slightly more expensive as a cash buy than the Citroën C3 Aircross but manages to undercut the Ford Puma, the Renault Captur and the Seat Arona.

While we’ve yet to put the mild-hybrid petrol through our True MPG test our test car regularly managed to achieve more than 40mpg (if the trip computer is to be believed). That said, it’s worth remembering that the Puma will be even more efficient while offering more power.

The Stonic is predicted to hold on to its value as well as the C3 Aircross and Puma. Low expected depreciation doesn’t always translate into attractive finance rates, but hold out for a Kia offer if you want a good deal. If you want the best price, have a look at our New Car Deals pages.

Equipment, options and extras

We’d suggest keeping the cost down and sticking with the Stonic's still relatively well-equipped entry-level 2 trim level. It gives you plenty of goodies, including 16in alloy wheels, cruise control and air conditioning.

You get a few useful niceties by jumping up to GT-Line, including sportier styling and 17in alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, aluminium pedals, privacy glass and infotainment additions, such as built-in sat-nav. Quantum trim sits almost alongside GT-Line but as a less sporty alternative, building on 2 trim with much of the same equipment but without the sportier styling.

Meanwhile, 3 trim gives you access to the hybrid engine but doesn’t add any equipment, other than black faux-leather seats and drive mode select. At the top of the range is GT-Line S. Over GT-Line it gets two-tone paint, heated seats and a heated steering wheel, but it’s pricey.

Kia Stonic interior infotainment

Reliability

Kia as a brand came a respectable seventh out of 32 manufacturers in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey. That’s below Mini (third) but above all of its other rivals, including Citroën (11th), Skoda (13th), Seat (14th) and Ford (27th).

Meanwhile, the Stonic as a model performed well in the small SUV category of the survey. Out of 25 cars in the class, the Stonic sat in the top 10, above all its rivals, including the Puma and Captur, which were both near the bottom of the table.

If something does go wrong, there's always Kia's seven-year warranty to fall back on. UK and European roadside assistance is free for a year and available at a reasonable cost after that.

Safety and security

All Stonics come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assist, helping to give it a five-star Euro NCAP safety test result. While that's good, it was tested back in 2017 and can’t be compared to rivals tested in later years, including the Puma and Arona (both tested in 2022), because the testing criteria become more stringent every year.

If you want more safety kit, you’ll need GT-Line S trim. It adds blind-spot warning and, on models with an automatic gearbox, adaptive cruise control.

Every Stonic has a standard alarm and immobiliser, along with deadlocking on all doors. Mind you, the C3 Aircross proved harder to break into and steal in Thatcham Research's security tests.

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FAQs

  • Kia came a respectable seventh out of 32 brands rated overall in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey and the Stonic itself within the top 10 small SUVs. It also gets Kia’s standard seven-year warranty, providing peace of mind if anything does go wrong.

  • The Stonic is not available as an electric car but there is a mild-hybrid (MHEV) petrol version, which has a small battery that can help improve efficiency. If you want a fully electric model, there’s the Kia EV6, the Kia Niro EV and the Kia Soul EV to choose from.

  • Our favourite Stonic is powered by the 1.0T GDi 118 MHEV engine, which is a one-litre petrol engine that uses a mild-hybrid system for small efficiency gains. It’s powerful enough, and economical. We think the best-value trims are either GT-Line or Quantum.

  • Very good. The Stonic has a sharp 8.0in touchscreen as standard plus DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. Bear in mind, though, that the entry-level trim level, called 2, doesn’t include sat-nav.

  • The Stonic was given a full five-star rating from safety experts Euro NCAP and is fitted with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keep assist as standard across the range. Some rival small SUVs did better for adult occupant and pedestrian protection.

  • The Stonic has 352 litres of boot space – enough room for five carry-on suitcases. That’s small compared with several small SUV rivals, so if practicality is a priority, the Stonic is unlikely to be the best choice.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £1,802
Target Price from £19,958
Save up to £1,802
or from £208pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £17,260
Leasing deals
From £286pm
RRP price range £21,225 - £25,770
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)2
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 47.1 - 55.4
Available doors options 5
Warranty 7 years / 100000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,174 / £1,480
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,348 / £2,960
Available colours