The new Kia Stonic Diesel Estate is a stylish, commanding-looking large family car that has lots of road presence. It’s based on the Kia Rio but adds more weight and space, and it’s well equipped.
It’s also more colourful than its sibling and offers plenty of scope for personalisation.
Kia as a brand is really developing, and they’re no longer at the bargain end of things. And while the Stonic is more expensive than Kia’s of old, it’s a bold offering that’s more than a match for its rivals.
Kia was founded in 1944 and has an interesting history. Curious to find out more? Read our brief history of Kia.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Kia Stonic Diesel Estate review.
Overview of the Kia Stonic Diesel Estate
On the Road
This is a pretty hefty car but it’s surprisingly agile. This is down to its firm suspension setup that does a good job of keeping body roll in check as you take on bends.
And while the car is fairly agile, don’t get too excited – this isn’t what you’d call fun to drive. Instead, its driving experience is much better described as “competent.”
A lot of this is due to its steering, which will be too light for most buyers’ liking. It’s also devoid of much feedback. Meanwhile, the Stonic lacks composure and often feels nervy over poorer surfaces.
This is a real shame as it ultimately means that the Stonic is unable to strike a good balance between handling prowess and a comfortable ride.
Another disappointment for some buyers will be that four-wheel-drive is unavailable, although Kia claim this is because just 1 in 13 drivers opt for it in this class.
That said, we can’t be too critical of the Stonic. Although there are cars in this class that strike a better balance between handling and comfort, body lean is nowhere near as bad as a car this tall often is, while the steering – although it may lack feel – is responsive.
Its high driving position also proves handy when it’s time to park.
In terms of its engines, there’s only one diesel available and it’s not going to appeal to you if you don’t like noisy diesels. The 1.6-litre unit here develops 110bhp, has a 0-62 time of 10.9 seconds – and it’s mighty gruff. On the plus side, it’s got lots of punch and provides 260Nm of torque.
Kia Stonic Diesel Estate Interior, Design and Build
The petrol versions of the Stonic are fairly quiet on the move but this diesel variant is troubled by a loud engine. Wind and road noise are well suppressed though.
Ride quality can be a bit jarring at times, and that’s down to Kia’s bid to improve the car’s stability in bends. We don’t think it will be too much of an issue but potholes will be noticeable. It’s well worth upgrading on the 17” alloys, as these smaller ones find it hard to absorb any sudden shocks.
The car’s dashboard is very reminiscent of the Rio, with which it shares its control layout. This layout is neat and tidy and all models come with an easy-to-use central touchscreen.
The Stonic is more colourful than the Rio and there are personalisation options available to help brighten things up.
Fit and finish is good but we’d make the argument that some rivals are able to offer more interior quality. Meanwhile, a low-slung driving position doesn’t seem fitting for this type of car.
Is the Kia Stonic Diesel Estate practical? It’s larger and more spacious than the Rio but it’s not quite as roomy as its key rivals. There are plenty of storage solutions to be found inside here, and Kia have added a number of practical touches, such as shopping bag hooks in the boot.
The front door pockets can easily swallow 1.5-litre bottles, while the glovebox measures 7-litres.
Legroom is fine up front, but because the car’s wheelbase isn’t actually any longer than the Rio’s, rear legroom is a bit tighter.
The boot meanwhile, measures 352-litres when all the seats are up. That’s an upgrade on the Rio’s 325-litre boot, and if you fold the rear seats it extends to 1,155-litres.
Is Kia reliable? Read our honest assessment of the manufacturer.
Equipment and Safety of the Kia Stonic Diesel Estate
There are just two trim levels to choose from and both are well equipped. The entry-level model comes with 17” alloys, a 7” infotainment system, Bluetooth, a digital radio, power-adjustable door mirrors, rear parking sensors, electric windows, roof rails and air conditioning.
The First Edition trim rounds things off with stainless steel pedals, lashings of chrome on the door handles and window trim, heated front seats, tinted windows, LED rear lights, a smart key with a start/stop button and sat-nav.
In terms of how safe the car is, it’s totally brand new and doesn’t yet have a safety rating. Its standard safety kit is sparse and this could have a detrimental effect on its score. If you want the likes of rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure and autonomous emergency braking, you’ll need to go for the First Edition model.
Costs of the Kia Stonic Diesel Estate
Prices for the new car start out from £16,295 and rise to £19,695. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the sole diesel engine is pretty frugal and can manage returns of 67.3mpg economy on a good day. It also emits just 109g/km of CO2 and has a BiK rating of 23%.
Insurance-wise, the Stonic occupies groups 10-14.
Pros and Cons of the Kia Stonic Diesel Estate
Buyers can choose from 4 colour packs for the cabin.
Lots of storage solutions
They’re literally everywhere – and they’re big.
Affordable to run
Insurance is the biggest thing here. The highest group it sits in is 14, which compares very favourably to the Peugeot 2008, for example, which occupies group 22 in its highest spec.
Lack of four-wheel drive
This could be a deal breaker for some buyers, especially when most of its rivals do offer four-wheel drive.
Even two adults might feel cramped back there.
Kia Stonic Diesel Estate vs Suzuki Vitara vs Citroen C3 Aircross
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Kia Stonic Diesel Estate review.
Kia Stonic Diesel Estate vs Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is just like meeting up with an old friend. It’s been around for years and continues to get better and better.
On the road, the Vitara is easy enough to drive in the towns and cities, where its light steering proves to be an ally. On the other hand, its sheer weight is a foe that makes it hard for you to change direction with any kind of speed.
The Vitara leans more in bends than the Kia but it holds its own fairly well at speed.
In terms of its engines, there are no diesels available which means buyers get to choose between a 1.6-litre and a 1.4-litre petrol engine. The latter is the only one that’s turbocharged. It develops 138bhp and has a 0-62 time of 10.2 seconds. It feels nice and lively and comes with four-wheel drive as standard.
The 1.6-litre engine isn’t turbocharged, comes with two-wheel-drive and develops a smaller 118bhp. It struggles to cope with the car on a full load and makes a lot of noise when you push it. As such, it’s hard to recommend over the Kia. However, unlike the Kia, it can be specified with four-wheel-drive.
Running costs? The 1.6-litre petrol engine is able to return 53.3mpg on a good day, and its emissions are pegged at 123g/km of CO2. That qualifies it for a BiK rating of 25%.
The bigger and smoother 1.4-litre petrol engine manages 52.3mpg economy and emits 127g/km.
Inside, the Vitara is comfortable and quiet, and build quality is good. There are some nice soft-touch plastics here and there but there are also plenty of hard plastics and these can be off-putting.
Worse still, the higher spec models don’t remove these harder plastics.
Is the Suzuki Vitara practical? It’s designed to be useful for families. Its doors are nice and light and make access easy, and the steering wheel and driver’s seat offer lots of adjustability.
Headroom is good all round but rear legroom will be tight for taller adults. There are a number of storage solutions available but they’re not as big as the Stonic. The glovebox, for example, is underwhelming.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 375-litres. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,160-litres.
Kia – £16,295 – £19,695
Suzuki – £15,305 +
Kia Stonic Diesel Estate vs Citroen C3 Aircross
The new Citroen C3 Aircross is another striking, modern offering from Citroen that’s got lots to love about it.
It all starts with a terrific driving experience. Although we wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Aircross is sporty, its steering is light but accurate, body lean is mostly kept in check, and the car is as easy to drive as a supermini.
Ride quality is good too, thanks to its height.
In terms of its engines, there’s just the one diesel available, but you get to choose between two power outputs. It’s a 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit that develops 98bhp in entry-level guise, and which has a 0-62 time of 12.8 seconds.
Most buyers will overlook it in favour of a 118bhp variant that accelerates with a bit more conviction. It’s smooth, has a 0-62 time of 10.7 seconds, but its gearbox does frustrate with its awkward shape.
Running costs? The smallest diesel might be underpowered but it can return as much as 70.6mpg on a good day. The bigger 118bhp variant is hardly any more economical and can return 68.9mpg at best. It has a BiK rating of 23%.
Inside, Citroen want you to feel as though you’re sitting in a lounge and we have to say that this is a really relaxed cabin. Ride quality is good, as is insulation, while the wide seats are comfortable and very “lounge-like”.
Like Kia, Citroen offer some scope for personalisation here so that you can brighten up the interior. As well as that, the dashboard is clean, comes with soft-touch materials and there’s not much to fault with the cabin.
Is the Citroen C3 Aircross practical? It’s compact but spacious, and four adults should be able to sit in relative comfort.
Knee room will be a bit tight in the rear for taller passengers but we can’t see there being too many complaints. It’s the same with headroom back there.
The boot, meanwhile, is the biggest in this review and measures 410-litres. Fold the rear seats and it extends to 1,289-litres.
Citroen – £14,350 – £19,325
Verdict of our 2018 Kia Stonic Diesel Estate Review
It won’t be easy for the Stonic to steal customers from under the noses of the likes of the Vitara, but Kia have armed it with all the right tools. It’s got an odd name but it’s another solid offering from a brand that’s getting better all the time. The Kia Stonic Diesel Estate might lack a bit of character but if you want a stable, competent and capable modern family car it’s at least worth a test drive.
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