Kia has added to its burgeoning SUV line-up with the light-sized Stonic arriving in Australia.
It will slot in below the Seltos in Kia’s range and do battle against the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke and Hyundai Venue.
Though it’s new to our shores, the Stonic has been available for a couple of years already and has had a mid-life refresh — which is the version which will be in local showrooms.
The Stonic is based on the same platform as the Rio light hatch and Kia has opted for the same trim level line-up for its new SUV.
As with the Rio, the Stonic is available in S, Sport or GT Line trim, all with drive-away pricing Kia says will be permanent.
Ranging from $22,990-$29,990, the Stonic is on par with the CX-3 and Venue on price, but also has some goodies up its sleeve to make it an appealing value proposition.
The S and Sport have a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine offering 74kW and 133Nm, with the option of a six-speed manual or, for an extra $1000 on the drive-away price, an automatic.
Standard gear on the S includes an 8-inch touch screen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
As with other recent Kia models, a dispute with a tech company means variants without built-in sat nav have wireless smartphone integration, while higher-spec models with sat nav require a cord.
Other features include 15-inch steel wheels, auto headlights, rear camera with sensors, lane follow assist, roof racks and more.
Standard safety kit includes lane keep assist, driver attention alert and lane following assist.
An extra $2000 for the Sport brings 17-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, premium steering wheel and more, but the jump to the GT Line brings more substantial additions.
It has a 1.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol offering the same power as the 1.4, but an extra 39Nm available from a low 1500rpm.
All variants are front-wheel-drive.
It also stands out with its own more aggressive body kit, LED headlamps and daytime running lights, climate control, cloth and artificial leather seats and more.
Kia expects an even spread of buyers among the three variants, but the GT Line will likely be the top seller.
Unlike the recent Carnival people mover, Kia was able to test and implement a local steering and suspension tune for the Stonic prior to the COVID outbreak.
It aimed for the S and Sport to be softer and more compliant, while giving the GT Line a sportier, more handling biased set up.
Kia admits it would be “splitting hairs” when comparing the interior space to the Rio, though the Stonic has a 352-litre cargo space compared to the Rio’s 325.
The Stonic also has the CX-3 and Venue covered for front leg room, but has the least rear legroom of the three.
Given the CX-3 and Venue are already tight in the back, adults face a squeeze in the Stonic.
Interestingly, the S and Sport were able to piggyback off the Rio’s 2017 five-star ANCAP safety score, with Kia successfully arguing the Stonic to be considered a Rio variant, at least for crash test purposes.
However, the GT Line is still considered unrated.
Check back soon for our first impressions on the Stonic.
2021 KIA STONIC AUSTRALIAN SPECIFICATIONS
- Variants S; Sport; GT Line
- Price (drive-away) $22,990 (man), $23,990 (auto); $24,990 (man), $25,990 (auto); $29,990
- Engines 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol; 1.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
- Outputs 74kW/133Nm; 74kW/172Nm
- Transmission Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic (S and Sport); Seven-speed automatic (GT Line)
- Fuel economy 6.0L/100km, 6.7L/100km; 5.4L/100km