AFTER initially rejecting the pint-sized Stonic SUV for Australia, Kia introduced the model in January 2021 as a competitor to the likes of the Hyundai Venue, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota Yaris Cross.
The Rio-based Stonic range is priced from $21,490 (plus on-road costs) and, in entry-level S format, is powered by a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired to a six-speed manual transmission that drives the front wheels.
The S is one of three trim grades offered in the Stonic line-up, which is available with three different powertrains. The entry model’s engine offers a flexible 74kW/133Nm and combined cycle fuel economy of 6.0 litres per 100km with CO2 emissions of 155 grams per kilometre.
Fuel savings are metered by an idle-stop system and diligent gearshift indicator and assisted by the Stonic’s diminutive dimensions and low tare weight (1157kg).
Despite its compact size and low asking price, the Stonic S offers plenty of standard equipment. Fifteen-inch steel wheels, halogen daytime running lights, dusk-sensing headlights, an 8.0-inch central infotainment array with multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a six-speaker audio system, 4.2-inch TFT driver’s display, cruise control, reversing camera, rear parking sensors and cloth upholstery are all included.
There’s ample seating for four adults, a good assortment of open and lidded storage compartments, split-fold rear seating and a claimed 352 litres of luggage space (or 1155 litres with the rear seats stowed). The front seats and steering wheel offer mechanical adjustment through the usual ranges.
Safety equipment is comprehensive – considering the price of the Stonic S – and extends to six airbags, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian- and cyclist detection, forward-collision warning, driver-attention alert, as well as lane-following assist. Importantly, the Kia’s suspension and chassis tune has been optimised for Australian conditions, and we have to say, it shows.
Like all Kia passenger models, the Stonic is covered by a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty program with included roadside assistance and capped-price servicing. Service intervals are pegged at 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first).
Service pricing for the Stonic S manual (as tested) totals $2866 for the first seven years or 105,000km of ownership. Clear White (pictured) is the only exterior finish to not attract a $520 premium.