I first caught a glimpse of the Stonic at the Phoenix Kia showroom in Paisley (when my Dad was picking up his new Sportage) and my first impression was just what a well-styled car it really is. Fair enough, it’s entering a segment where it’s more about quirky personalities than looks, but even so, it’s a head-turner.
Fast forward two weeks later and I’m back at Phoenix to collect the Stonic to test drive over a long weekend and I’m really looking forward to it……it looks such fun. The fact that my demo is bright canary yellow doesn’t dumb down the joie de vivre aspect any either. It’s the “First Edition” model, which comes equipped with a host of goodies including 17″ alloy wheels, touchscreen navigation, heated front seats and reversing camera (I could go on) and their new 1.0 T GDI petrol engine with six-speed transmission. I’ve got a wide variety of driving to do this particular weekend, so it should be a good opportunity to see just what the sporty little Kia can do – off we go.
First impressions on sitting in the car is that it feels much bigger than it looks and the driving position is great (I like to feel elevated so I always favour SUV’s anyway). It’s clear from the media Kia Motors have created for this car, (all carefree trendy hipsters driving around the city and partying until dawn) it’s aimed at the younger market and that vibe is very much echoed in the both the layout of the interior and the materials used. It is much more “sporty-utility” than it is “luxe” and although this might not please every reviewer; I think it works really well for this car. It helps keep things fresh and the car being something that might get your gran all hot and bothered. And like all Kia’s, the dash is well-laid out, uncluttered and easy on the eye.
My first port of call was to Glasgow Airport to pick up friends and understandably they were fascinated by the sunny coloured Stonic. Everyone was in agreement that it’s a good looking car (apparently Kia’s designers wanted to create something more globally appealing looks-wise than its Marmite-like competitors) and although the boot space isn’t exactly huge; three adults were perfectly comfortable on a half hour journey back to Ayrshire. This is not a car that will suit more than two adults going on long journeys – like all cars in the segment rear leg room is a little restrictive for taller people – but then that’s not where it’s pitched anyway. However, it would still be a great car for a young family and with the back seats folded down, there’s plenty of space.
So how does it drive? Well, it’s been a long time since I drove a petrol engined car- let’s face it turbo diesels have become omnipresent and due to the low down torque, they’re just so damn easy to drive – but I LOVED this unit. Unlike my previous experience of petrol cars where you’re constantly having to change gear and actually – god forbid – drive the car (this is what I mean about turbo diesels being so easy), the Stonic had plenty of power at lower revs and did not remotely feel lacklustre. In fact, I had to keep mentally pinching myself that I was in a 1.0L car. The only time I noticed any limitation in the power, was on the motorway at a higher speed when trying to accelerate in sixth gear. But let’s be honest if that’s your only gripe…….
The latter half of our journey took us on country lanes and this is where you notice that the ride is quite firm on this car. Although this might not be suited to everyone; this is a sporty model and therefore you’d expect the suspension to be firmer – it pretty much goes with the turf. It’s certainly not uncomfortable though and I had great fun zipping around the countryside because this is a car that just puts a smile on your face. Whether you are young or just young at heart, the Stonic is definitely worth a look.
Suffice to say, at the end of my weekend I felt like I was dropping my fun friend back home.
Specifications and engines
Right now, the Stonic is available in two specifications – the all singing “First Edition” that I drove and the “2” (which comes with air conditioning, all-round electric windows and rear parking sensors), although it’s likely over time that Kia will expand upon this, in line with their other models.
There’s three engines: two petrol derivatives – the 1.0 that I drove (delivering an average of 56.5 mpg on the combined cycle) and a 1.4 MPI. Then there’s the 1.6 CRDI diesel, which according to Kia’s official stats, will deliver you an impressive 67.3 mpg on the combined cycle.
What will it cost?
The range starts at £16,295 (the 1.4 MPI 2) and goes to £20,495 for the First Edition 1.6 CRDI.
If it’s cheap monthly motoring you’re after you might want to look at Personal Contract Hire. As an example the Stonic 1.0T- GDI Petrol 2 model would cost you £226.92 per month based on 8k per annum and including road tax, servicing and VAT. Alternatively – and if it’s for business – the 1.6 CRDI 2 version might suit you better and is £232.21 per month plus VAT on a 15k per annum contract.
Like all Kia’s the Stonic comes with 12 months RAC “Kia Assist” roadside cover and their amazing 7 year warranty.