2018 Kia Stonic Review +VIDEO
A new kind of Kia for a rapidly expanding market
Kia expects to sell 70,000 units across Europe in 2018, rising steadily to 100,000 a year during the car's lifetime. The UK will contribute at least 10 per cent of the total. In the UK, B-CUV/SUV sales have risen by 50 per cent since 2014 and are expected to increase by another 40 per cent by 2020.
Buyers are moving into B-CUV/SUVs from superminis, small MPVs and three-door compact hatchbacks, which are now completely out of favour. Stonic, like the larger Sportage, which has been a phenomenal success, will attract customers from other brands and not expected to cannibalise sales from existing Kia models.
Stonic is based on the new Rio supermini and will be built on the same production line at Sohari in South Korea. Production capacity at the plant has been steadily ramped up to accommodate the new model.
Stonic is slightly longer than Rio, at 4,140mm. It is also 70mm taller and rides 42mm higher from the ground. While the two cars share some mechanical components, Stonic has a bespoke body and interior.
All models will be front-wheel drive as the take-up for all-wheel drive in this sector of the market is only 8 per cent.
The Stonic line-up in the UK
Kia's decision to offer only mid- and high-grade versions of Stonic in the UK is in line with demand from both retail and fleet customers. The grade ‘2’ Stonic will be available with all three engines, while First Edition is being offered with the efficient 1.0-litre T-GDi and 1.6-litre CRDi units.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) are standard. VSM is linked to Torque Vectoring, Straight Line Stability and Cornering Brake Control. All versions also have Hill-start Assist to prevent the car from rolling backwards when setting off on steep inclines.
Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning System are standard in the ‘First Edition’ and optional on grade ‘2’. Autonomous Emergency Braking is linked to
Driver Attention Warning, which can alert a drowsy or distracted driver that it is time to take a break, and High Beam Assist, which automatically switches the car between dipped and full beam according to the traffic around it and the local street lighting.
The ‘First Edition’ also has Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to prevent the car from being driven into the path of a vehicle approaching from an angle out of the driver's eyesight.
There is a 7.0-inch display with a DAB radio and MP3 compatibility in grade ‘2’, and in the ‘First Edition’ this is upgraded to a 7.0-inch touchscreen navigation and infotainment system featuring Kia Connected Services with TomTom. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration are standard across the range.
All models have 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, all-round electric windows with an automatic function on the driver's side, roof rails, rear parking sensors, remote locking, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, a 3.5-inch supervision cluster, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, automatic light control, bi-function projection headlamps and cornering lights and LED daytime running lights. There are body-colored bumpers, door mirror casings and door handles, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, 60:40 split rear seats and a six-speaker audio system.
The ‘First Edition’ adds a smart key entry system and engine start/stop button, stainless steel pedals, black cloth and grey faux leather upholstery with colour accents, automatic air conditioning, LED rear lights, privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate, heated front seats and D-shaped steering wheel, chrome window trim and interior door handles and a dual-height luggage floor.
The standard paint colour is Sienna Brown, with a black roof on the ‘First Edition’. Clear White, Blaze Red, Graphite and Midnight Black are options on grade ‘2’, while ‘First Edition’ versions can be ordered in Clear White, Blaze Red and Zest Yellow, all with a black roof; Midnight Black with a red roof; Graphite with a lime green roof; and Urban Grey and Satin Silver with an orange roof.