Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDI

4

Kia Stonic, front action
Kia Stonic, front
Kia Stonic, front static 2
Kia Stonic, front
Kia Stonic, front static
Kia Stonic, rear static
Kia Stonic, rear
Kia Stonic, dashboard
Kia Stonic, boot 2

THE Kia Stonic - armed with a shed-load of trinkets and an industry-leading warranty - recently joined the hurly-burly of the SUV market.

Based on the same platform and engines as the Korean-company's Rio supermini, it is designed to tap into the cunningly named B-SUV market that already hoovers up 1.1 million annual sales around Europe.

The sector is expected to be the largest segment of the car market by the end of 2020 as the demand for compact dimensions and efficient engines combined with practicality and plenty of personality continues to soar.

If you're wondering where the moniker came from, Kia got it by mixing and matching the vocal elements of speedy and tonic. I prefer to mix gin with my tonic but that's another matter.

What you do get is a muscular, stylish exterior boasting Kia's ‘tiger' grille and nifty lights with a contrasting roof colour and tidy rear giving a good first impression. Privacy glass, black gloss trim and 17-inch alloys give that rock-star vibe.

This is emphatically built upon when you climb into the cabin and realise just how much Kia have included for your £20,000.

The range-topping Stonic ‘4' is a veritable Aladdin's cave of hi-tech gizmos.

The cabin's atmosphere is controlled via the automatic air conditioning while comfortable front seats and the multi-function D-shaped steering wheel with perforated leather trim can be heated when it's chilly.

The driver has a full range of adjustment to get the perfect, slightly elevated, seating position.

Home for your music is provided by a six-speaker sound system with DAB radio and Bluetooth also included. Smartphone compatibility is good with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto providing the necessary bridge between your mobile and the car.

A seven-inch touchscreen is nicely sited in the centre of the dashboard at a height that makes it easy for the driver to see and use. It is home to Kia's sat nav system and a reversing camera which - together with parking sensors, a tight turning circle and light steering - make manoeuvring into tricky spots a cinch.

The interior is also easy on the eye thanks to splashes of satin chrome on the door handles plus black cloth and grey faux leather upholstery with colour accents. Stainless steel pedals and an auto dimming rear-view mirror also make their presence felt.

There is space for two adults in the back but things get a little tight for leg room if there are a couple of six-footers up front.

Boot capacity comes in at 352 litres - expanding to 1,155 litres when the rear seats are folded over creating a flat floor. Luggage nets and hooks are provided and the height of the boot floor can be altered.

Cubby holes are numerous with cup holders, centre armrest storage box, spacious glovebox and overhead sunglasses holder all making an appearance.

Power on the car I drove is provided by a peppy turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine which uses its three cylinders and 118bhp to propel the Stonic to 60mph from a standing start in a respectable 9.9 seconds.

The three-pot unit - aided and abetted by a slick six-speed manual gearbox - gives a pleasing rasp under acceleration while being a refined individual at motorway speeds. It is reasonably easy on juice usage with average fuel consumption coming in at around 46mpg with emissions of 130g/km.

The handling is agile and the Stonic corners well with body roll well contained, while the suspension manages to mitigate the effects of all but the largest craters now inhabiting our road network.

A raft of safety features includes a lane departure warning system - which isn't slow in letting you know if the car is starting to drift - as well as automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning plus blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert.

FAST FACTS

Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDI 4

Price: £20,475

Mechanical: 118bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 114mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 46.3

Insurance Group: 12

C02 emissions: 130g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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