2021 Kia Stonic: Fresh & Free-spirited Crossover
6 January 2021 / in News
- Kia’s first B-segment SUV
- Puts Kia into one of the fastest growing segments of the market
- Expands Kia line-up to five SUVs in NZ
- Designed in Europe with input from design centre in Korea
- Five-seat, front-wheel-drive, sold in five models in NZ
- Stylish, modern exterior design, with a high quality spacious cabin
- Enjoyable & safe drive
The newly released Kia Stonic brings fresh excitement and a free spirit to the crossover vehicle experience in New Zealand.
Stonic adds a uniquely Kia twist to the newest and fastest-growing market sector, bringing a distinctive look to the multi-award-winning styling that is evident in every vehicle designed by Kia.
With city car agility and striking SUV presence, the Kia Stonic will be a firm favourite in our market, where it joins the Seltos, Sportage, Niro and Sorento to create one of the most impressive SUV ranges offered in New Zealand.
Based on the same platform as the Kia Rio, the new Stonic displays a confident stance through its sleek and muscular proportions. The sporty styling is complemented by crisp handling and excellent performance, while the driver and occupants enjoy an enhanced view of the road thanks to the elevated ground clearance.
It all comes together in an appealing and highly affordable package that makes Stonic stand out from the crowd.
New Zealand is taking the upgraded Kia Stonic that has just been released in Europe, featuring a number of technology, safety and specification improvements.
Subtle changes to the exterior and interior design enhance the styling, while a range of new technology features and other improvements have been introduced for 2021, including Kia’s latest high-efficiency Smartstream engine.
Safety and driver support are further enhanced with the adoption of a range of high-tech Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
For New Zealand, there are five Stonic models; LX, EX and Limited models powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.4-litre petrol engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, and the GT Line and GT Line+, both powered by a turbocharged, 3-cylinder, 1-litre engine and 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
Stylish, fun and desirable
Stonic has been designed to reflect demand for family vehicles with the looks and higher seating position of an SUV, but without the extra weight, cost and higher fuel consumption normally associated with those vehicles.
It is distinguished by the familiar ‘tiger-nose’ grille, which in Stonic gets a new interpretation beneath the beautifully sculpted stepped bonnet and above a wide lower air intake running almost the full width of the vehicle.
The main grille is finished in black and silver paint on the LX, EX and Limited models, while the Stonic GT Line and GT Line+ have a glossy black and dark chrome radiator grille, plus LED fog lights and a distinctive GT Line front bumper.
Sharp, functional lines blend with softer, sculpted surfaces and the stylised C-pillar – another key Kia identifier – is narrower than in some other models, flowing effortlessly from the roofline into the voluminous beltline running above the expansive rear wheel arches and around the tailgate.
A black garnish running around the wheel arches and along the sills and the lower portion of the doors and tailgate emphasises Stonic’s SUV stance, proportions and strength, and is complemented by silver skid plates front and rear. Higher grade Stonic models are distinguished by a chrome window beltline.
All versions of the Stonic are fitted with LED daytime running lights at the front, while the Limited and GT Line+ also gain three-dimensional LED combination lights at the rear, as well as LED headlights. Other models are equipped with bold, bi-function projection headlights with static bending.
The neatly integrated roof rails and rear spoiler are standard, while all but the LX model have privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate. Alloy wheels are standard, ranging from 15-inch for the LX, 16-inch for the EX and different styles of 17-inch wheels for the Limited and two GT Line models. The overall effect is of sportiness and dynamism with practicality – exactly what a crossover should be.
The Stonic comes in refreshingly bold and lively colours, which accentuate its dynamic contours, and can be further accented with a two-tone look by choosing the black roof option to complement the desired body colour.
Spacious, practical and stylish interior
Stonic and Rio share an identical 2,580mm wheelbase, but Stonic is 70mm taller and 35mm wider. Additionally, the rear overhang has been extended by 70mm to maximise passenger and luggage space and add to Stonic’s appearance of SUV robustness.
Stonic is not only one of the smartest-looking Kias to date, but also one of the smartest in terms of packaging.The increase in overall height has been put to good use to raise ground clearance by 42mm compared with Rio, giving the command-post view out and the enhanced feeling of safety, which buyers cite as two of the main reasons for choosing an SUV.
Stonic has among the best shoulder room of any vehicle in the B-SUV class, as well as generous head- and legroom front and rear, while the extended rear overhang allows for a boot of 332 litres with the 60:40 rear seats upright, and 1,135 litres with them folded. This is 32 litres more than in the Rio.
The dashboard has been designed around displays for Stonic’s connectivity technologies. There is a new, upgraded 8.0-inch touchscreen for the 6-speaker infotainment system display, which also shows the reversing camera with dynamic guidelines. Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ smartphone connectivity is standard on every model. Satellite navigation is fitted to three of the five models. All models feature a 4.2” TFT LCD colour supervision instrument cluster to provide clear and comprehensive information to the driver.
The horizontal theme evident in the exterior styling is repeated in the cabin, emphasising width and space while separating the upper information and lower control areas. The number of buttons and switches has been kept to a minimum to give a neater look and greater functionality.
The central display screen is at the same height as the main instrument cluster, making it easier for the driver to absorb information quickly while minimising distractions.
Quality – perceived and actual – is evident in the fit and finish and the choice of materials. A leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter are standard, and there are silver or satin chrome interior door handles.
The two GT Line models receive a sportier finish that includes a carbon fibre-style centre fascia, D-shaped steering wheel and aluminium pedals, as well as unique cloth/composite leather seating. All but the LX model have a smart key with an engine start/stop button.
The extensive interior storage areas include a centre console box and cupholders, bottle holders in every door, an illuminated glovebox, an overhead sunglasses case and a front passenger seat-back pocket.
Poise & precision
While the Kia Stonic is based on the platform and running gear of the latest Rio hatchback, engineers have further developed the dynamics of the small SUV to take into account its greater ground clearance, higher centre of gravity and increased weight, and to give it slightly more sporty driving characteristics.
Additionally, the new Stonic benefits from fine tuning of the suspension and steering system especially for our part of the world through the ANZAC development programme.
The suspension features independent McPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam axle at the rear. Stonic’s responsive steering is aided considerably by a stiff body shell, which is composed of 51% lightweight high-strength steels.
Spring and damper settings take advantage of the stiff body, which allows the suspension to do its work without having to compensate for flexing of the car’s structure. The rear dampers are almost vertical, while those at the front benefit from pre-loaded linear valve technology, delivering more consistent handling and suspension response over broken surfaces.
Pre-loaded linear valve technology introduces a completely new piston design, which not only increases driving comfort but also ensures excellent isolation of vibration in the vehicle body. Rapid opening and closing processes in the valve ensure outstanding wheel damping, which adds to safety by improving handling precision. In addition, innovative piston geometries further optimise the damper’s noise emissions.
The gearbox for the motor driven power steering (MDPS) is mounted as far forward as possible, improving feel for the driver, while the number of teeth on the steering’s serration column shaft enhances off-centre feel while contributing towards an improvement in noise, vibration and harshness. This all results in faster steering responses with greater feedback and increased driver confidence.
The column-mounted MDPS requires just 2.52 turns between the extremes of lock for a tight turning circle of 5.2 metres.
Ventilated front disc brakes and solid rear discs are fitted across the range and supported by Anti-lock (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and a Brake Assist System (BAS). Collectively, these allow Stonic to be steered and braked at the same time without risk of going out of control, ensuring that most braking effort goes to the wheels that are best able to take advantage of it and automatically deliver maximum stopping power in emergency braking, regardless of the pressure applied to the pedal by the driver.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
The 2021 Kia Stonic features several of Kia’s latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as standard across the range.
These include Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Alert (DAA) and Lane Follow Assist (LFA).
Kia’s Forward Collision Avoidance Assist system utilises a camera to monitor the distance between the Stonic and other vehicle/s ahead. If the system senses that the distance is becoming excessively short, it will alert the driver audibly and visually to slow down. If the driver fails to respond, the Autonomous Emergency Braking system may intervene by automatically applying the brakes.
Lane Follow Assist identifies the vehicle’s current lane of travel and lane boundaries using its front view camera, then automatically steers the vehicle to keep it in the centre of the lane whenever it detects the vehicle unintentionally veering.
Furthermore, Smart Cruise Control (SCC) is standard on all models excluding the LX, while Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA) and Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA) are fitted to the EX, Limited and GT Line+.
Kia Stonic is equipped with six airbags throughout the cabin – two for the front passenger and driver, and dual curtain airbags that run the length of the passenger cabin – as well as ISOFIX child-seat tether and anchor points.
Smartstream petrol engines
Stonic is much more than sharp styling. Under the hood lies a masterclass of modern engine technology. The 2021 Stonic features Kia’s latest high-efficiency Smartstream engine, designed for improved efficiency and performance.
In the LX, EX and Limited models, the 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder, four valves per cylinder, DOHC engine is matched to a six-speed automatic that is responsive and smooth, making for effortless driving.
This engine uses Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology to make the most of its 74kW of power and 133Nm of torque to switch seamlessly between different combustion cycles according to load, maximising efficiency in all driving situations.
Exclusive to the GT Line and GT Line+ models, Kia’s acclaimed 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder, four valves per cylinder GDi Turbo engine is paired to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that combine to provide a more spirited drive, together with reduced weight and lower fuel consumption.
The 1.0-litre T-GDi engine, which also features the Smartstream CVVD technology, delivers exceptional power and torque, despite its small capacity, through turbocharging and direct injection. It develops 74kW at 6,000rpm and 171Nm of torque continuously from 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm. Combined fuel consumption is 5.4L/100km, with CO2 emissions of 125g/km.
Key features of the T-GDi engine include laser-drilled injectors with six holes laid out in a pyramid shape so that the fine mist of fuel is spread more evenly throughout the cylinders than if it was being consistently sprayed into certain points. Thanks to a high-pressure pump, injection is up to 200 bar.
The T-GDi engine has a straight intake port that ends in a sharp throat, reducing air resistance at all stages of the process. This improves cylinder tumble flow for faster, more efficient combustion while suppressing engine knocking.
There is a single-scroll turbocharger paired with an electric wastegate motor. This improves turbocharger performance while scavenging clean air for the engine to re-use for combustion. At the same time it allows the wastegate to open to improve the flow of spent exhaust gases. It is an innovative system that allows higher low-end torque, more immediate response at any throttle opening and improved fuel economy at high engine loads.
The engine is fitted with an integrated exhaust manifold, which reduces exhaust gas temperatures, bringing the benefits of higher speeds with greater fuel efficiency. Lower temperatures also result in cleaner emissions by allowing the catalytic converter to operate more effectively. Engine temperatures are closely regulated by a dual-thermostat split cooling system, which allows the block and cylinder heads to be cooled independently. The main thermostat controls the flow of coolant to the cylinder heads above 88º C to reduce knocking, while the engine block thermostat shuts off coolant flow above 105º C to reduce friction and improve efficiency.
A number of factors contribute towards the exemplary driveability and efficiency of the all-aluminium T-GDi unit. There is continuously variable valve timing on both the inlet and exhaust sides, electronic throttle control and light, low-friction moving parts. The crankshaft is offset from the centre-line to aid smoothness.
The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold in a one-piece casting, improving sealing while reducing weight. A number of detailed engineering solutions minimise throttle lag – the delay between the driver pressing the accelerator and the turbocharger delivering boost – and reduce internal friction.
For added durability, the cylinder block has been heat-treated and the crankshaft, pistons and connecting rods have been strengthened.
The T-GDi engine is also equipped with Kia’s Idle Stop & Go system that switches off the engine when stopping at traffic lights or at junctions. In its latest format, the Stop & Go system enables periods of engine-off ‘sailing’ to improve fuel efficiency. This operates at speeds of up to 125 km/h and the engine reactivates when the driver pushes the accelerator or brake pedals.
Both GT Line and GT Line+ models feature a Drive Mode Select system that enables drivers to customise their drive with ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Normal’ modes.
PRODUCTION & QUALITY
Manufactured in Korea
The Kia Stonic is built for New Zealand and other markets at Kia’s Sohari manufacturing facility in Korea.
Kia Stonic 1.4 LX $22,990 + ORC
Kia Stonic 1.4 EX $27,990 + ORC
Kia Stonic 1.4 Limited $29,990 + ORC
Kia Stonic 1.0 TGi GT Line $31,990 + ORC
Kia Stonic 1.0 TGi GT Line+ $33,990 + ORC
^ MRP pricing