Kia Stonic



In Drives this month, you’ll fnd the new Seat Arona and Hyundai Kona. Small crossovers with jum­bled names are food­ing the mar­ket quicker than cash-in books by nov­elty Twit­ter ac­counts, chas­ing an ap­par­ently in­sa­tiable de­sire from savvy, fash­ion­able ur­ban­ites who de­sire noth­ing more than spend­ing proper hatch­back money on a fauxu­til­i­tar­ian su­per­mini. About time Kia had one too, then.

If we say that the Stonic is one of the bet­ter small crossovers to drive, that may sound like damn­ing it with praise so faint you’d need an ear trum­pet to hear it. Ac­tu­ally, it’s none too shabby. The steer­ing, as it is in the Rio, is too light to ac­tu­ally have any fun, but around city streets, on the open road and the mo­tor­way, the Stonic feels… fne.

Not ex­cep­tional, not en­gag­ing, but with­out se­ri­ous vice, and with some quite good points. That light steer­ing and the square-edged styling make it feel quite nim­ble through tight gaps and nar­row twists and, while you do need the op­tional park­ing cam­era to help you see past that thick C-pil­lar, it’s easy on the nerves in confned ur­ban spa­ces.

With the stan­dard 17in al­loys, it does feel frm, oc­ca­sion­ally bouncy. It may be that it’s a car that strug­gles to cope fuidly with Bri­tish bumps and lumps. But that would make it far from unique in its class…

Of the en­gines, the 1.0-litre three­cylin­der turbo petrol en­gine is the star. It spools up quickly and smoothly, and has diesel-like econ­omy and emis­sions fgures. It’s not the cheap­est en­gine by any means (the un­der­whelm­ing 100bhp, 1.4-litre petrol flls that role), but it’s the one that feels best suited to the Stonic.

In­side, it’s a Rio cabin. Lots of hard, scratchy plas­tic. Space in the back seats will be ad­e­quate (just about) for kids up to and in­clud­ing tall teenagers, but adults will fnd things a bit cramped. As with al­most ev­ery car in the class, the Stonic’s boot is just too small – 352 litres is not enough for a fam­ily of four on a week­end away, but at least if you fold the back seats down, the 1,155 litres on ofer should make it pass­able for a week­end tip run.

The Stonic slots neatly into the cross­over set, then. Noth­ing much to be es­pe­cially im­pressed by, but in a class of also-rans, there are no glar­ing er­rors. And a silly name? Check.

It’s not that we’re an­gry. Or dis­ap­pointed, re­ally. Just ‘whelmed’

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