Sue Cooke Tests out the New Kia Stonic

I recently read a quote from ‘Antiques Roadshow’ expert Paul Atterbury who when asked about antiques of the future, states ‘although it may sound ridiculous, people are going to start collecting interesting diesel cars’.  Which firmly places diesel cars in the realms of not easily available. Some car manufacturers have already said that they won’t be making them after 2020.

But there are some excellent diesel-powered cars on the market, it’s the older versions that are polluting the atmosphere.  When I have undertaken off-roading, I have always preferred descending 90-degree slopes in partnership with a powerful diesel sitting under the bonnet. And the newer models are extremely fuel efficient with low CO2 emissions, so you pay less road tax.

The new Kia Stonic is a compact SUV with a 1.6 litre diesel engine with very low emissions of 109g/km.  It is Kia’s first entry into the B-segment SUV market which is expected to double to 2.2 million sales a year in Europe by 2020.

The Stonic is based on the latest Rio supermini and is powered by three high-efficiency, high-technology petrol and diesel powertrains from the Rio and the cee’d family.  It is 70mm taller than the Rio and rides 42mm higher from the ground which gives it a clear SUV stance and a commanding view of the road ahead.  I also road tested the 1 litre petrol engine which considering it was powering a larger than normal car, has surprising power just when I needed it for quick overtaking and getting on to a roundabout.

I found the Stonic to be compact enough to park easily in an ancient multi-storey car park with tiny bays, ideal for cars built in the 1960s, but not ideal for today’s larger cars.  The First Edition model has Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which prevents the car from being driven into the path of a vehicle approaching from an angle out of the driver’s eye-line.  I had to merge into car park traffic from alongside a huge parked van so this really helped. All cars should have this technology.

Other standard features include links to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via pre-downloaded smartphone apps, while advanced electronic driver assistance systems such as autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic switching between high and low headlight beams are available.

Kia says the Stonic will account for between 8,000 and 10,000 sales a year in the UK and with our worsening weather conditions, it’s understandable that buyers are moving towards the advantages of SUVs.  The Stonic has Cornering Brake Control to help the driver maintain control in bad weather or on poorly surfaced roads. All versions also have Hill-start Assist to prevent the car from rolling backwards when setting off on steep inclines.

StonicThe interior is spacious with comfortable seats and easy to use audio, air-con and sat nav systems and starting from £16,295, the Kia Stonic provides value for money for safe driving.

With the huge advantages of diesel powered cars, particularly on hilly roads I think they are a long way from becoming a collectable item.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Kia Stonic

Price: £16,995otr

Engine: 1 litre petrol T-GDi 118bhp 6 speed manual ISG

Performance: 0-60mph in 9.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 115 mph

CO2 emissions: 115g/km

Combined fuel consumption: 56.5mpg