2018 Kia Stonic long-term test review
Kia's new small SUV was styled with European customers in mind, but can it lure them away from the class favourites? We have four months to find out...
- The car Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDi 4
- Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor
- Why it’s here The mini SUV market is expected to double to 2.2 million cars between 2016 and 2020. Kia’s new Stonic mates rugged looks with hatchback convenience, so we have four months to find out if it’s a contender
- Needs to Offer a blend of talents in addition to Kia’s class-leading warranty, if it’s to tempt buyers away from established rivals in a market where style is at least as important as practicality
Price £20,200 Price as tested £20,745 Miles covered 3519 Official economy 51.4mpg Test economy 35.1mpg Options fitted Premium Paint (£545)
30th January 2019 – Leaving the city limits
The Stonic was a rare spot on UK roads when my car first pitched up, but sightings are becoming more and more frequent now, and so cheerful is this little car that I’m almost tempted to go for a classic car-style wave when I see another… although I suspect most will mistake it for an abusive gesture, so I’d better not.
One thing is for certain: two-tone paint – in my car’s case, Clear White with a black roof – is a must. It neatly shows off the styling details that set the Stonic apart from conventional hatchbacks and gives the car real character – a bit too much, perhaps, in the case of some of the more extreme combinations (vomit green over grey, anyone?).
Although an SUV, the Kia feels rather more at home in the urban jungle than the, er, jungle, but it has also proved itself a reasonable motorway companion, and a colleague recently bagged the keys for a few days on the road. I had hoped the lengthy spell outside the city limits would improve the fuel consumption, and it has lifted the average a touch, but it’s still a disappointing figure considering the three-cylinder petrol engine’s tiny capacity.
Being a photographer, said colleague has an awful lot of kit to cart around, and the Stonic’s small boot really wasn’t up to the task, even with the false floor at its lowest level. So I was grateful for the hard-wearing ‘leather-effect’ trim that you get with 4 trim, because it withstood the inevitable loading of the back seat with bags, ladders and all manner of paraphernalia.
In fact, I continue to be delighted by Kia’s spec sheet generosity. After a few days in another car, it was a joy in the recent cold snap to be reunited with the Stonic's toasty heated seats, heated steering wheel and petrol engine, which warms more quickly than a lazy diesel. It’s a shame, however, that the bulging list doesn't extend to a more effective filter for the ventilation system; in traffic I soon find myself flicking it onto ‘recirculate’ as smelly diesel fumes fill the car.
Another small frustration – as pointed out by my kids – is the way that road grime manages to get between the rear doors and the door seals, settling on the exposed wheelarch to give the seat of your pants a neat smudge of mud as you slide aboard.