Kia Stonic Review 2023

Kia Stonic At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Kia Stonic is a highly likeable crossover which, in isolation, is easy to recommend. It’s just that cars like the SEAT Arona, Citroen C3 Aircross and Hyundai Kona are more convincing.

+Impressive petrol and diesel engines. Low running costs. Decent handling. Seven-year-warranty.

-Dreary cabin. Cramped rear seats. Bumpy ride quality on larger wheels.

New prices start from £22,950
Insurance Groups are between 10–14
On average it achieves 74% of the official MPG figure

The Kia Stonic is one of a seemingly endless range of small SUVs hoping to catch your eye. Introduced in 2017, the Stonic is based on the Kia Rio, but it offers a little more practicality than its showroom sibling. If we had to pick three highlights, we’d say that it offers excellent value for money, a good level of standard equipment and the reassurance of an excellent seven-year warranty. It’s up to you to decide if that’s enough to choose the Stonic over rivals like the Hyundai Kona, SEAT Arona, Renault Captur or Nissan Juke. Discover more in our Kia Stonic review.

The Kia Stonic: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This is yet another fish swimming in an increasingly crowded pond of small SUVs. The name, in case you were wondering, is a portmanteau of ‘speed’ and ‘tonic’.

Make of that what you will. What’s more important is the fact that Kia Stonic is a rival to the Hyundai Kona, Seat Arona, Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Skoda Karoq, Suzuki Vitara and… well, the list goes on.

Why should you choose the Stonic over any of its rivals? The seven-year warranty is a good place to start, but this will be of little interest if you’re considering a three- or four-year PCP deal. Maybe the long list of standard equipment will help, or the fact that the Stonic boasts a classy if sombre cabin. It’s best to think of it as a slightly more practical and chunkier version of the Kia Rio.

There are four trim levels: 2, Maxx, 3 and 4. Even the Stonic 2 boasts an impressive array of features, including 17-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen media display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, air-conditioning, all-round electric windows, roof rails, rear parking sensors and cruise control. That’s comprehensive for a car costing around £18,000.

What it lacks is the standard safety equipment required for a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. For this, you’ll need the Stonic 3 or 4, which come with an enviable list of standard equipment that wouldn’t look out of place on a premium rival. Subjectively, we also think the Kia Stonic cuts a fine figure in a crowded segment.

The Stonic 3 offers the best value for money, adding sat-nav, a reversing camera, LED rear lights, rain-sensing wipers, cloth/faux leather upholstery, forward collision avoidance and lane keeping assist to the mix. You also get the option of a 1.6-litre diesel engine, although we’d shun this in favour of the excellent 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol.

It might be small, but the three-cylinder unit packs quite a punch, which makes it ideal for use in the city. Not that it feels out of its depth when you exit the urban sprawl. If you’re after a car for short runs into the city and the occasional long trip, the Stonic 1.0 is a capable contender.

Don’t approach the Kia Stonic expecting a traditional crossover experience. The low-slung driving position is at odds with the lofty position offered by many of its rivals, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you’re after.

The driving position is matched by an experience that’s more supermini than crossover. The firm ride and sharp steering should enable the Stonic to live up to the ‘sporty’ part of its name, but the car is strangely devoid of fun.

Ask Honest John

Downsizing to one car, what should we buy?

"I have a Kia Sorento 2.2 KX-3, which was bought as a tow car, but we have now gone out of caravanning. My wife has a three-door Kia Picanto, which is easy for her to drive and more importantly, park. We want to go to one car between us – something she can park, and with a few bells and whistles for me. We have had a Sportage and a Kuga, both of which I like, but are a tad big for her parking. Our mileage is low and in short trips, so we need a petrol. We have seriously looked at a Stonic, but the passenger seat is crazy low, and it has few refinements. Our budget is £12,000 – any suggestions?"
A small crossover SUV like the Stonic sounds like the ideal compromise. We'd recommend a SEAT Arona - your budget will get an SE Technology model from 2019 with a few desirable toys. Also consider a Suzuki Vitara - its interior won't be as plush as the SEAT's but it'll be a very reliable little car.
Answered by Andrew Brady

More reliable than a Mini Countryman?

"I’m in my 30s, work in investment management and use my own car for commuting and business. I currently have a 2016 Mini One Countryman 1.6-litre petrol, which has proven really unreliable with poor build quality (failed engine seal, clutch contaminated by an oil leak from the engine, broken water pump, gearbox issues etc). I’m keen to ditch it and replace it with something more reliable, ideally with a long warranty, and suitable for navigating country lanes (which are often icy or flooded) on my 20 mile daily commute. It also needs to be comfy for fortnightly longer motorway drives whilst visiting clients with a tall seating position and plenty of headroom. It needs to be big enough for a Labrador, car seat and boot full of shopping, while being cost-effective to run, too. I could spend around £20k outright or would consider 0% finance. I have no idea where to start so any guidance much appreciated."
Take a look at the latest Ford Puma or Peugeot 2008. Both are really fashionable little crossover SUVs with enough space for your Lab. £20k will get you an as-new pre-registered model of either. Alternatively, if you want to prioritise a long warranty, consider a Kia Stonic or Toyota C-HR.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Which crossover should I buy?

"I need a car for a round trip commute of 90 miles, mostly on the motorway. I have been looking at a SEAT Arona, Skoda Kamiq or Kia Stonic as I like the style of those. Which would you recommend and engine type, trim level etc - or is there a better choice? I am not wedded to any brand and just view a car as a tool to get to work. It needs cruise control and air con which is fairly standard these days. Thanks."
You won't go wrong with any of the three you've mentioned but the Skoda Kamiq is probably the best all-rounder. It's available with a 1.6 TDI diesel engine which would be a frugal choice for your commute. Also look at the Volkswagen T-Cross or T-Roc.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best economical compact SUV?

"What's the best compact SUV that has a good real mpg, yet punchy (say 10 seconds 0-60mph or less) yet over 39mpg city drive. Also that as a nearly new, so no older than 2018 and would cost no more than £12000? kind regards"
A Suzuki Vitara might be a good option. It's got a usefully big boot and your budget will get a high-spec example from 2019 with the 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine. This should give an idea of real-world fuel economy: Also consider a Kia Stonic.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Kia Stonic cost?