Automotive

Car Review: Kia Stonic – Bold and bright but Stonic settles the nerves swiftly

While it is the smallest SUV in Kia’s range, it isn’t too tight for comfort. The cabin is spacious with good elbow, shoulder and headroom up front while the seats are wide.

I often tackle bouts of anxiety… so you can well imagine my initial response to the bright yellow, somewhat small looking Kia Stonic as it drove up to the kerbside.

Yellow, experts say, increases anxiety and I’m also not big on confined spaces or ridicule from my peers.

Given I was about to drive this compact SUV in all its brilliant tone of “Mighty Yellow” straight into the middle of a farm field day, this would test my resilience.

But worry I need not. Because the Stonic soon showed it had plenty to promote to compensate for that stunning colour and seemingly small stature.

For starters, Kia does of course promote the Stonic for what it is, the Korean car maker’s smallest SUV.

And a colour certainly does not define a car.

Now I did have the range topping GT-Line, which comes in at $29,990 driveaway, to put to the test…. So it wasn’t going to be all embarrassment from the outset, I thought.

It brings a tough-looking body kit, idle stop-and-go fuel-saving tech, LED headlights and DRLs, the choice of two-tone roof or sunroof, cloth and artificial leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, climate control and rear privacy glass.

And, in what is something that’s probably only useful if you’re not left to fend for yourself with a bunch of farmers, the media system allows two phones to connect via Bluetooth at the same time. Means appropriate pop music …. I mean good Aussie rock and roll…. Can be played from your phone while a passenger can take a call.

Now I wasn’t the only bright yellow set of wheels in the campsite for the farm field day, the other being a nicely converted ex school bus which kinda put my set up of a swag rolled out at the back of the Kia Stonic to shame.

But I did get some comments about the look of the car, with punters able to look past the bright colour even if I was struggling to do so.

The GT-Line comes standard with that angry-looking body kit, fog lights, a chrome-look grille insert, striking LED headlights and a rear bumper with a look of integrated exhaust tips.

The entry point into the Stonic range is the S which, with a manual gearbox, you can drive away for $22,990. Then it is the Sport at $24,990 for the manual option – add $1000 to each for the auto option.

Standard features on the S include 15-inch steel wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six-speaker stereo, cloth seats, reversing camera, auto headlights, cruise control, rear parking sensors, heated side mirrors and roof racks.

The Sport adds 17-inch alloys wheels, electric folding mirrors with indicators, sat nav, premium steering wheel and shifter, push-button start and a proximity key.

And while it might look pretty small, particularly when you put an oversized swag on the back seat, it actually is quite roomy.

End to end the Stonic is 4140mm long, 1760mm wide and 1520mm tall with the roof racks.

And while it is the smallest SUV in Kia’s range, it isn’t too tight for comfort. The cabin is spacious with good elbow, shoulder and headroom up front while the seats are wide.

And the boot space is good with a cargo capacity of 352 litres…. Enough to fit in a large swag and a bunch of audio equipment for my reporting duties from the farm fair.

And the range of double-decker shelves, big front door pockets and large bottle holders in the rear doors along with USB ports in the front and second row, all make for a handy little, easy to use package.

The S and Sport grades are powered by a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, making 74kW and 133Nm while the GT-Line has the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol, producing 74kW and 172Nm producing plenty of power for this lightweight and very nimble set of wheels.

And with the range of seven colours available, including Silky Silver, Perennial Grey and Aurora Black, I do have to question why I got a tester in anxiety building Mighty Yellow.

Secretly though…. I didn’t mind standing out in such a cool little number.

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