It would seem the incessant march forward of the compact SUV/crossover is to continue for now at least.
Manufacturers are all clambering to release their compact SUV to grab their share of this rapidly expanding segment of the marketplace.
This completely new segment of vehicles is set to grow by 100% over the next two years as sales of traditional saloons and hatchbacks decline.
Just recently I tested the new Seat Arona, The Hyundai Kona and today the new Kia Stonic.
The Stonic is available in four trim levels named somewhat unimaginatively, K1, K2, K3 and K4, with four engine types, three petrol and one diesel. Prices start at €18,599.
Has It Got Any Street Cred?
The Stonic has clean angular lines and with that roof in a different colour to the body and the neat roof rails as well as those attractive alloy wheel designs the new Stonic most certainly has street cred?
What is it like inside?
The cabin is attractive with everything placed just where it should be for ease of use.
All models get stylish skid plates front and rear, leather gearshift lever and leather covered multifunction steering wheel, a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, privacy glass, space saver spare wheel, cruise control, electric windows, front and rear USB outlets, 15inch alloys and air-conditioning.
Move to K2, K3 and K4 models and the list of standard equipment continues to grow substantially.
Space is pretty good, make no mistake though this is a four seat car and only five at a big squeeze. The boot is adequate but again would house just one standard size holiday suitcase and additional bags so its not huge.
What is under the bonnet?
The Stoic on test here was powered by the 1.4 petrol (a 1.0 TDGI petrol is also available is a 1.6 diesel) which is mated to a nice 6-speed manual transmission. Performance is good with plenty of mid range punch for safe overtaking. Road tax is €270.00 for the year and over my 500km or so test in a variety of driving conditions it consumed 6.6 litres of petrol per 100km.
Will I enjoy driving it?
Whether in town, nipping about town or negotiating country roads the new Stonic comes across as a car that has most definitely been designed for Europe. It rides and handles well and noise levels are commendably low. I don’t think you will ever run out to drive it just for the hell of it, but that apples to its rivals also. In short then it does what it was designed to do.
So what is the verdict?
I for one do not fully get the popularity of this new breed of car.
After all it offers no more in terms of space or practicality than a family hatchback.
However the appeal seems to be in the slightly higher driving position offered and the vast amount of personalisation available with many of these models.
It would seem then that this segment will just continue to grow as is evidenced by the rapid growth in sales of Crossovers and compact SUV’s to the detriment of hatch and saloon sales which are declining.
So the Stonic is Kia’s offering in this increasingly competitive segment and I must say its well up to matching and beating some of the competition. The 7-year warranty, nice styling, great specification, good engine choice and option to personalise will make the new Stonic a winner!
The K2 model tested costs €21,099.