Kia Stonic

Kia Stonic lr
 
By Tim Saunders
 
Increasingly - perhaps it’s old age setting in - I value a sat nav more and more.
In fact the strength of a car can plummet if it is fitted with a substandard device from my point of view.
It’s the first thing I try when I sit in the Kia Stonic. And I am very impressed. It is extremely easy to use and it works. It’s easy to punch the destination details in and then it gets to work guiding you with precision. There are two qualms though, sometimes the instructions can be a little delayed for my liking and the voice sounds suspiciously like Theresa May.
What about that name, too? Was it conjured up by an ever so slightly tipsy marketing team? Did they mean to call it tonic? As a fan of the ‘80s BBC TV drama Howard’s Way, I can just imagine Jack Rolfe calling its name. So it’s already working then, a good name that recalls fond memories; it’s not going to be quickly forgotten.
But then the other day while admiring the rear - where the name can be found - the ‘S’ is larger than the ‘T’ which got me thinking that as the emphasis is on the ‘S’ perhaps this could refer to ‘super’ or ‘special’ – a super or special tonic. A number of options here but whatever it is, it is positive. There is no denying that this is an attractive little estate car; little to look at from the outside and a small car feel when driving. Yet it easily accommodates five occupants and there’s a good size boot that swallows a pushchair and our luggage for a quick jaunt to Cheltenham.
As I sit in the driver’s seat there seems to be a raised ride height but I’m not so sure because when it’s parked alongside our Vauxhall Corsa both cars seem to be the same height. Looking out of the windscreen you instantly appreciate the sculpted bonnet, which certainly gives interest. It’s an estate car with the feel of an SUV. The seats, which are covered in a mix of grey fabrics are comfortable. The door inserts in the rear consist of hardwearing plastic, which is a good choice for mucky children.
As the children still require child seats seatbelt points need to be well spaced to avoid causing me unnecessary aggravation when belting them in. Unfortunately, although the width of the Kia is certainly not slim the belt points don’t allow for the cumbersome child seats meaning that it takes twice as long to strap each child in. Really annoying.
My eldest daughter Harriett (7) must have been in more than 100 cars already and she, like me, is always so excited about the arrival of a new one. The children enjoy spotting the different cars throughout the journey and even Henry spots a number of Kias.
The Stonic provides a comfortable drive for both the driver and their passengers. It is quite a nippy car and the sound of the diesel engine can only really be heard when it starts. With engine stop start it is a pretty efficient vehicle too, delivering around 60mpg over the course of our time together.
The six speed manual gearbox is fairly smooth and the cruise control is easy enough to operate. When we park little Henry (2) enjoys familiarising himself with the car and quickly finds the sunglass holder above the rear view mirror. “I like that,” he says. “Put your sunglasses in there.” Other refinements include air conditioning, all round electric wing mirrors, power folding wing mirrors and a useful reversing camera.
Overall, I like the Stonic. From both outside and in it’s an attractive car with a sensible price tag.
 
Facts at a glance
Kia Stonic 1.6 CRDi 3
Price: £19,300 OTR
Engine: 1.6 diesel
Power: 114bhp
0-60mph: 10.5secs
Top speed: 112mph
Economy: 60mpg
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