Juke it out
HERE’S LESS brand loyalty in the compact crossover world than in any other sector of the market. Design can make a huge dierence. So it’s puzzling the neat wraparound C-pillar on the new Stonic is only visible on top-spec First Edition cars with their contrasting roof. In this crowded corner of the market, makers need something special – like that C-pillar – to stand out against the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke.
Luckily the new family face – dubbed 3D Tiger Nose – comes on all Stonics, and the handling’s decent, albeit in an oddly sporty way. The chassis’s derived from the Rio’s, with MacPherson struts up front and a twistbeam rear axle, but with a new hydraulic rebound stopper to counteract the extra body movement from the 42mm taller ride height.
The Stonic remains composed over most surfaces, but the ride is seriously irm, and that seems at odds with its jacked-up SUV looks. Like the steering, the ride feels close to hot hatch territory. But that’s where the similarities end. You can’t have a Stonic that’ll hit 62mph in under 10 seconds. We’re driving the quickest of the trio here: a blown triple that doesn’t produce anything meaningful until you’ve passed 2500rpm, at which point it warbles its way up the rev range without much urgency.
The driving position is relatively low-slung, with a good range of easy adjustment. The cockpit layout’s traditional, with a seven-inch touchscreen as standard but no nav – you’ll need a First Edition for that too. The boot’s small for the class, but the cabin has room for four big adults, relecting the sort of buyer Kia’s hoping to attract: the 25¡45 up-and-at-‘em set.
Stonic is front-drive only, despite SUV-lite looks. Choice of small-cc petrols and diesels