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Compact Stonic is a cut above rivals

The Kia Stonic.
The Kia Stonic.

The Stonic is the smallest car in Kia’s SUV line up.

Introduced in 2017, it was given a mid-life refresh in 2021. Rivals include the Nissan Juke, Ford Puma and the Hyundai Kona.

Unlike the love-it-or-loathe it Juke, the Stonic is a handsome car with styling that should appeal to everyone.

All models come with a 1.0 litre petrol engine, with entry level versions having 99bhp and the rest of the range boosted to 118bhp by a 48V mild hybrid system.

Prices start at a little over £18,000 for entry level ‘2’ versions. Above them are GT-Line, Connect, and GT-Line S models.

My top of the range GT-Line S with automatic transmission cost £23,950. Anyone expecting a car that will tackle tough off-road conditions should look elsewhere.

The Stonic is offered in front-wheel drive only and is designed very much for on-road driving. The advantages its SUV body shape confer are a higher driving position, greater ground clearance and better headroom.

Economy is excellent, returning a whisker under 50mpg. Given the stratospheric cost of fuel at the moment that’s a pretty good plus point

The 118bhp version of the 1.0 litre engine offers a good amount of punch, with 0-62mph coming up in 10.4 seconds.

It pairs nicely with the seven-speed automatic gearbox and when you’ve reached cruising speed the engine noise settles down to a muted thrum.

Economy is excellent too, with the Stonic returning a whisker under 50mpg. Given the stratospheric cost of fuel at the moment that’s a pretty good plus point.

Kia Stinger has looks to match performance

The Stonic is based on Kia’s Rio supermini, which means there’s a limit to how much space you’ll find inside. That said, there’s plenty of room up front, good rear headroom and decent legroom, and a spacious boot.

Children and average sized adults will be fine in the rear, and the 352 litre boot has a clever false floor with additional storage underneath – perfect for muddy gear.

The interior is well designed too, with deep door pockets, plenty of cup holders and lots of little nooks for storage.

My top spec version came with part-leather seats, keyless entry, heated seats and steering wheel. It also had automated driving systems that help steer the car and beep if you cross the white lines without indicating.

I found these systems a nuisance and switched them off but some people will like them.
The technology extends to safety features, with autonomous emergency braking and a system that detects pedestrians and cyclists.

Above average ride quality

An eight-inch touchscreen operates the infotainment while, blessedly, there are buttons and dials for the heating controls. The Kia Stonic supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, letting you use many of your smartphone’s features while driving the car.

During my week with the car the Stonic took me to Highland Perthshire and the north-east. It doesn’t stand out in any one area but ride quality and refinement are above average and it handles well for an SUV.

On a trip to Glen Doll its compact size made narrow country lanes easy to negotiate, while it took the occasional jounce from a pothole without much complaint.

Unlike most small SUVs, it handles neatly, remaining flat and poised through the bends. Only the excellent Ford Puma offers a similarly fun driving experience.

The Kia Stonic looks good, drives nicely, has a smart interior, reasonable practicality and high levels of kit.

Keenly priced

It’s also keenly priced, undercutting rivals such as the Ford Puma, Renault Captur and Seat Arona. It also benefits from Kia’s class leading seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty.

If I were buying a Kia Stonic I would go for one of the entry level models, which cost up to £5,000 less than the top spec versions yet still come with a more-than-adequate amount of standard equipment.

The Facts

Model: Kia Stonic

Price: £23,950

0-62mph: 10.4 seconds

Top speed: 115mph

Economy: 49.6mpg

CO2 emissions: 129g/km

Heart and Soul: Kia EV hits dream range

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