The new Kia Stonic Estate is stylish, spacious and efficient, and it’s a further example of how far Kia have come as a brand.
The biggest problem Kia has with the Stonic is that it’s playing catch up with more established rivals. For buyers who are always looking to set trends, however, this youthful crossover could be just the ticket.
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 Estate review.
Overview of the Kia Stonic Estate
On the Road
The Stonic is based on the Kia Rio, but rather than keep its siblings’ Macpherson strut front, torsion beam and rear axle suspension setup the exact same, Kia have tweaked it so that it’s better able to cope with this cars elevated centre of gravity. As a result, the Stonic is more agile than the Rio and body lean isn’t an issue.
And while its steering lacks feel, it’s light and works well in the towns and cities.
The suspension setup isn’t free from problems, though. The issue is that it feels nervous over poorer surfaces, and this causes the car to fidget. It never feels settled enough, which ultimately means that the Stonic is never going to feel as comfortable as its key rivals.
Still, the car is armed with lots of grip and – as mentioned – body roll is minimal.
In terms of its engines, a 1.0-litre petrol engine sits at the bottom of the range. It develops 98bhp and has a 0-62 time of 12.2 seconds. For most buyers, it won’t be able to offer them the power and performance they need from a car like this. It’s also unavailable with the highest spec model.
A bigger 1.0-litre petrol engine benefits from turbochargers, and it’s also more efficient than the smaller petrol. It develops a reasonable 118bhp and has a 0-62 time of 9.9 seconds.
It’s a relatively quiet engine that’s also responsive. When you first start it up you’ll hear a bit of noise, but it settles down nicely once you’re cruising. It’s paired up with a 6-speed gearbox that’s slick and easy to live with.
Kia Stonic Estate Interior, Design and Build
Kia are definitely creating cars that are more stylish these days, and the Stonic does have a bit of panache. On the whole, though, while it’s more colourful than the Rio, its cabin doesn’t stand out as much as its rivals.
However, there’s a lot to like about it and some buyers will appreciate its bright if low-key interior. It’s not as audacious as some rivals, but neither is it frumpy or plain. Its design is attractive enough and fit and finish is good. Build quality is also good but our biggest complaint lies with the overuse of darker plastics.
Moreover, buyers would surely have appreciated it had Kia added some more soft-touch materials. That said, you can choose from colour-coded interior packs to liven things up.
We have no issues with the 7” touchscreen infotainment system – it’s one of the best in any class. Its screen is clear and it’s easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both compatible.
Is the Kia Stonic Estate practical? Seat height will cause some frustration here because it’s nowhere near as commanding as it should be. Instead, you’re sat down low. Hardly becoming of a crossover like this.
Storage solutions are good and include a massive 7-litre glovebox, and while the Stonic’s wheelbase is the same size as the Rio, the Stonic is bigger and more practical inside. Rear head and legroom is good if not fantastic, but a dark interior will likely mean that your backseat passengers feel more cramped than necessary,
The boot meanwhile, measures 352-litres. That’s bigger than the Rio but average for this class. Fold the rear seats and it extends to 1,155-litres.
Is Kia reliable? Read our honest assessment of the manufacturer.
Equipment and Safety of the Kia Stonic Estate
With just two trim levels to choose from, standard kit is good across the range. The entry-level model gets a 7” infotainment system, 17” alloys, Bluetooth, power-adjustable door mirrors, rear parking sensors, electric windows, roof rails, air conditioning and digital radio.
Rounding things off is the First Edition trim with lashings of chrome on the door handles and window trim, stainless steel pedals, heated front seats, LED rear lights, tinted windows, a smart key with a start/stop button and sat-nav.
Safety wise, Euro NCAP have yet to put the car through its crash test paces. As such, it has no safety rating. Standard safety kit is sparse, and you’ll need to upgrade to the First Edition model if you want rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure.
Costs of the Kia Stonic 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 1.4-litre petrol engine is the smallest in the line-up and it can return as much as 51.4mpg on a good day. Emissions are pegged at 125g/km of CO2, and this qualifies it for a BiK rating of 24%,
The 1.0-litre petrol engine offers more power, but because it’s got turbochargers it’s actually more efficient. It can return 56.5mpg at best and emits 115g/km of CO2. This gives it an impressive BiK rating of 22%.
Insurance-wise, the Stonic occupies groups 10-14.
Pros and Cons of the Kia Stonic Estate
Excellent infotainment system
All models come with the 7” system that’s one of the best of its type.
Easy to drive
It especially works well in the towns and cities, where its light steering will prove handy.
Affordable to run
The most powerful petrol engine impresses us with its returns of 56.5mpg economy.
Low slung driving position
It’s just not becoming of such a big car.
Question marks over safety
It still has no safety rating, while standard safety kit for the entry-level model is sparse.
Kia Stonic Estate vs Nissan Juke vs Hyundai KONA
Let’s see how the car compares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Kia Stonic Estate review.
Kia Stonic Estate vs Nissan Juke
The new Nissan Juke has been around for a while now but it continues to look fresh.
On the road, it’s not the most fun car you’ll ever drive, but it’s capable enough. Its steering is nice and responsive, its suspension setup means you’ll be comfortable most of the time and it handles tidily.
Body lean in bends is also fairly well kept in check, but we think buyers might grow frustrated with the overly light steering. Light steering works well in the towns and cities, but it prevents you from ever getting too involved in the driving experience.
In terms of its engines, a 1.6-litre 93bhp petrol unit sits at the bottom of the range. It’s only available with the entry-level model but you can top it up by 20bhp if you specify the automatic gearbox. This gives it a 0-62 time of 11.5 seconds.
It’s not especially fast and specifying the automatic ‘box makes it feel even slower.
Most buyers will instead turn to a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine that adds more power but actually costs less to run. It also suits the car’s character better.
That said, it’s also on the expensive side. If you’ve got a modest budget, a 187bhp variant of the 1.6-litre engine is available. If you stick to front wheel drive, it can get you from rest to 62mph in 8.0 seconds, while adding four-wheel drive adds .4 seconds onto that time.
Running costs? The 1.6-litre engine can return 47.1mpg on a good day, but it’s the bigger 1.2-litre engine that’s the most frugal. It manages returns of almost 50mpg at best.
Insurance wise, most variants of the Juke occupy group 13.
Inside, the Juke stands out in this class with its funky, colourful cabin. You can choose from an array of centre console colours and there are lots of stylish touches here and there.
Moreover, a raised driving position gives the car a clear advantage over the Kia.
However, for all the good things about this cabin, there are also some negatives. The quality of the materials used just isn’t good enough, with a hard plastic making up the dashboard. Tap the door panels, meanwhile, and you’ll be greeted by an unpleasant hollow sound.
Then there’s the dated looking CD player and radio that the smallest spec models are saddled with.
Is the Nissan Juke practical? This is the chance for the car to redeem itself and its boot is bigger than last time. Overall, though, it’s not as practical as rivals.
A badly sloping roofline means that rear headroom is compromised, and there aren’t enough storage solutions on offer.
Legroom is okay front and back, but three adults in the rear will soon feel claustrophobic.
And while the 354-litre boot is a big improvement on its predecessor, it measures just 251-litres if you specify four-wheel drive. Fold the rear seats and it can extend to 1,189-litres.
Kia – £16,295 – £19,695
Nissan – £15,080 – £21,340
Kia Stonic Estate vs Hyundai KONA
The new Hyundai KONA is a gorgeous looking car – but it looks more exciting than it actually is.
On the road, it’s more sensible than fun, and this will come as a real disappointment to buyers who took its sporty looks like a suggestion that it would have a sporty personality. It hasn’t. In fact, in many respects, this is a rather dull drive that’s focused on comfort and safety.
It makes for a good cruiser, though, and it’s nice and quiet. Moreover, while it’s hardly a sports car, at least it kinda looks like one, right?
In terms of its engines, there are two petrols to choose from. A 1.0-litre 118bhp unit sits at the bottom of the range and can get you from a standstill to 62mph in 12.0 seconds. That sounds a bit slow but it feels faster and it excels in most day to day scenarios.
Rounding off the range is a 1.6-litre petrol model that develops 175bhp, and which can get you from rest to 62mph a whole four seconds faster. Four-wheel-drive is available and it’s a strong – if expensive – engine.
Running costs? If you stick to the entry-level trim, the 1.0-litre engine can return 54.3mpg economy at best. It emits 117g/km of CO2 and has a BiK rating of 24%.
The bigger petrol engine adds 18” alloys and returns 42.2mpg at best.
Inside, the KONA’s cabin is a bit of a disappointment because it’s just not as exciting as the cars outside. The quality of the materials used is mostly good, but some buyers will be put off by the amount of grey plastics that create a rather gloomy atmosphere. Ride quality isn’t the best but insulation is excellent.
The dashboard, meanwhile, is logically arranged but ultimately lacks imagination.
Is the Hyundai KONA practical? It’s roomier than it looks and can offer lots of headroom, upfront and in the back. It’s not the most spacious car in the world, but four average-sized adults should be perfectly okay.
The boot measures 361-litres and extends to 1,143-litres by folding the rear seats.
Hyundai – £16,445 – £25,245
Verdict of our 2018 Kia Stonic Estate Review
Looks can be deceiving because the Stonic isn’t as tough as it looks. It might look tall but you sit down low, and four-wheel-drive is unavailable.
On the other hand, if you just want a largely town-based family car that’s practical, fit for four people, affordable and bigger than the Rio, the Kia Stonic Estate is a good fit.