Kia Stonic Review
The Kia Stonic is simple to use, well equipped and comes with a class-leading seven-year warranty but alternatives have better interior quality and offer more rear seat space
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Seven-year warranty
- Simple interior layout
- Easy to drive in town
What's not so good
- Noisy 1.6-litre diesel engine
- Interior feels cut price
- Tight in the back for passengers
Kia Stonic: what would you like to read next?
Sorting out Brexit looks easy peasy when compared with choosing a small SUV – there’s a simply staggering choice these days, including this, the Kia Stonic. There isn’t enough internet in the world to list all of its alternatives, but if you’re in the market, the best of the bunch that should be on your list are the Seat Arona, Citroen C3 Aircross and Volkswagen T-Cross.
On the outside, the Kia Stonic doesn’t really stand out unless you go for one of the two-tone paint models with different body and roof colours. Inside, the Stonic’s dashboard is logically laid out and easy to use, and splashes of coloured trim brighten it up. It’s just a shame that the plastics are hard and scratchy.
Another downside is the limited rear legroom. If your passengers are taller than six foot they won’t have enough knee room sitting behind a similarly tall person in the front. The Stonic’s rear seats also don’t recline or slide backwards like they do in the C3 Aircross, while a VW T-Cross is bigger inside than either.
On the upside, even the infotainment system in entry-level models can mirror your Apple or Android phone’s screen for sat-nav. Choose a high-spec model and you get built-in sat-nav that’s very easy to use with logical menus, simple postcode input and quick calculation times.
The Stonic looks quite serious despite the colorful accents – it’s for people who think that rainbow-coloured socks are the most outrageous thing they can wear
The high-end infotainment system also gets a reversing camera, but it’s not really needed because rearward visibility is pretty good and entry-level models come with rear parking sensors to make reversing easy.
The excellent visibility helps when you’re driving the Kia Stonic through tight city streets and the controls are light for easy parking. Out on the motorway, there is quite a bit of road noise in the cabin that is prominent but not overly annoying. Wind noise, at 70mph, is well suppressed.
You can choose from three engines – 1.0 and 1.4-litre petrols and a 1.6-litre diesel. The 1.0-litre petrol is the best bet for most people – it’s nippy, quite quiet and will be cheap to run. Go for the diesel if you do the majority of your driving on the motorway or regularly load your car to the gunwales.
So, ultimately you’ll get more space buying a VW T-Cross and you’ll stand out from the crowd better in a Citroen C3 Aircross, but if you like the way the Kia Stonic looks and love the idea of its long seven-year warranty, then head to our deals pages for the best prices.
The Kia Stonic’s interior is easy to use, but alternatives offer more space and a more interesting design
You get the high driving position that is one of the main attractions of a car like this, but it’s hard to get comfy at the wheel and space is tight for taller passengers in the rear seats
It's great to see so many hooks and tether points in the boot, but it's a real shame that the adjustable floor is only standard on the top-spec models
All versions of the Kia Stonic have manual adjustment to the seats but the levers are light and easy to use. However, a perfect driving position is hard to achieve because making minor adjustments is tricky. At least the seats are height adjustable so you can get a great view out whether you’re tall or small.
The back seat isn’t so great. It’s fine for short journeys and the Isofix points are easy to locate but anyone tall will find it a tight squeeze for legroom. What’s missing is a rear seat that slides backward and forward like you get in the Citroen C3 Aircross.
The Kia Stonic is well prepared for storing all the nick nacks that come part and parcel with small children.
The glovebox isn’t huge but just big enough to hold the car’s manual and a small bottle of water. The front door pockets are larger and can fit a 1.5-litre bottle as well as a 0.5-litre, each. The rear ones are a tad smaller but still pretty large.
There’s also a deep central cubby, a couple of cupholders up front and a place to put your wallet under the climate controls. Top-spec models also get a USB port for the rear seats and a 12V socket up front as well.
Despite the limited space in the rear seats, the Kia Stonic’s boot is also on the small side – its 352 litres capacity is behind the likes of the Citroen C3 Aircross (520 litres).
Top-spec models come with an adjustable boot that halves the load lip but doesn’t eliminate it and there’s enough space under the cover for a soft bag. What’s better for practicality is the multiple tethering points – there are six in total and a curry hook on the bottom of the parcel shelf.
The rear seats split 60:40 from the boot so you can carry something long and still have space for a passenger in the back. With the seats folded the space increases to 1,155 litres. The floor is almost completely flat making it easier to load bulky items.
The Kia Stonic is easy to drive around town and quiet at a cruise but the diesel model sounds grumpy when accelerating heavily. However, the turbo petrol will suit most people
The Kia Stonic feels best navigating tight city streets but it’s also pretty relaxing out on the open road – just don’t expect much excitement
There is a choice of three engines available for the Kia Stonic – two petrols and a diesel with power ranging from 99-120hp.
Your best bet is the 120hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol that’s quicker and cheaper to run than the 99hp 1.4-litre petrol. It feels nippy around town and can zip in and out of openings in traffic. It also gets pretty close to its advertised fuel economy of 55mpg – expect around 45mpg in the real world. However, load it up with passengers and it soon starts to struggle especially on steep hills.
If you do plan to carry people and/or luggage regularly in the Kia Stonic, the 1.6-litre diesel pulls strong and rarely feels out of puff. It’s also the engine to go for if you do lot’s of motorway miles because, if driven carefully, it can get pretty close to it’s advertised fuel consumption of 67mpg.
The Kia Stonic feels great around town. The raised seating position helps with visibility and standard rear parking sensors make fitting into a tight spot pretty easy. Big mirrors and small blind spots also help with manoeuvring. Top-spec cars also come with a reversing camera that is clear and has guidelines to help squeeze into really tight spaces.
The Kia’s light and progressive clutch means even after hours in traffic your left foot won’t get tired out. But if you simply want an automatic, you’ll have to go for the Hyundai Kona that’s available with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic.
The Kia Stonic’s light steering is great around town but out on the motorway you need to make a multitude of tiny corrections to keep it going straight, and you also have to deal with some road and (in the diesel) engine noise.
The Kia Stonic is a very relaxing way to travel the countryside, provided you keep your speed to reasonable levels. The suspension soaks up bumps well but there is quite a bit of body lean. Try to pick up the pace and the front loses grip, so it’s best to enjoy the scenery and drive the Stonic at a relaxed pace.
For the most peace of mind choose a 3 or 4 model which get automatic emergency braking as standard. It slams on the brakes hard if it senses an imminent collision. However, the Stonic only scored a pretty poor three stars out of five in its crash tests with Euro NCAP, partly because this feature should be standard across the range these days.