Kia Stonic First Edition 1.0 T-GDi ISG £19,695 WE SAY: ANOTHER WORTHY BUT AVERAGE BIJOU CROSSOVER
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’