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Kia launches Stonic light SUV from $22,990 d/a

Kia takes aim as Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Venue with new Stonic crossover

22 Jan 2021

SEVERAL years after launching in Europe, Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) has finally launched its Stonic light SUV with the Rio-based high-rider checking in from $22,990 driveaway.


Measuring 4140mm long, 1760mm wide and 1520mm tall (including roof rails), the Stonic rides on a 2580mm wheelbase and boasts between 165-183mm of ground clearance.


Pegged by KMAu as a direct rival for the Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Venue, the Stonic will be available in three different trim levels with three different powertrains offered depending on the variant, all featuring 352 litres of boot space (1155L with rear seats stowed).


At the bottom of the range is the S, available with the choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, the latter of which carries a $1000 price premium over the stick shifter ($23,990 d/a).


Both options are paired to a naturally aspirated 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 74kW of power and 133Nm of torque.


In manual guise, KMAu claims this engine will consume between 6.0 and 6.7 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle while emitting 155g of CO2 per km (automatic).


The standard equipment list of the S forms the foundation for the rest of the range to build on, consisting of 15-inch steel wheels, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (both wireless) and multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker stereo system, a 4.2-inch TFT driver’s display, cruise control, automatic headlights, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, cloth upholstery and halogen daytime running lights.


Safety gear on the base model meanwhile consists of autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward collision warning, driver attention alert, lane following assist and six airbags.


On the subject of safety, KMAu is marketing the Stonic as having the same 2017-issued five-star safety rating as its Rio cousin rather than submitting the car for testing under the latest 2020 testing protocols.


When quizzed on the matter by media, KMAu product planning general manager Roland Rivero said it was down to the complexities and expenses of crash testing.


“Where there’s an opportunity to obviously piggyback or carry over a rating we will go that path first and foremost,” he said.


“Crash testing is not something that’s relatively simple to execute, it’s a big job, it’s resource intensive as well as it’s not cheap either, it’s quite expensive and we are at the mid-way point in the life of stock and therefore as much as possible, we’d like to launch it without having to spend another huge portion of dollars to get it through.”


According to Mr Rivero, a similar strategy was employed in Europe by the local arm of Kia Motors.


Moving up the range, the mid-level Sport is available with the same choice of either a manual ($24,990) or automatic ($25,990) transmission as the S and it relies on the same 1.4-litre engine for propulsion.


Standard equipment is naturally improved over the base model with extra niceties including 17-inch alloy wheels, power folding mirrors, premium steering wheel and shifter, push button start, illuminated sun visor and satellite navigation, however the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are downgraded to wired connections only.


At the top of the range meanwhile resides the GT-Line which not only serves as the flagship of the range but is also touted by KMAU managing director Damien Meredith to be the volume seller.


Priced from $29,990 driveaway, the GT-Line adds a wealth of extra goodies compared to the S and the Sport including unique 17-inch alloys, GT-Line body package, stop/start system, LED head-, fog- and daytime running lights, two-tone paint or a sunroof, faux leather trimmed seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain sensing wipers, climate control and privacy glass.


The extra outlay will also net buyers a gutsier engine with power in the flagship coming from a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder mill developing 74kW/172Nm.


Drive is sent to the front wheels just like in the other variants however this time it is via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.


Not only is there an extra 39Nm on tap, KMAu says the force-fed three-banger boasts superior fuel economy and emissions figures of 5.7L/100km and 125g/km respectively.


As usual for KMAU, the Stonic’s suspension and chassis tune has been optimised for Australian road conditions with the bulk of the work reportedly being complete before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.


According to Mr Meredith, the Stonic is launching Down Under at a “very important time of growth” for the brand as it is entering a segment which grew 14.5 per cent last year while the market as a whole fell by 13.5 per cent.


“When Stonic was first mooted we had a close look at it and made the decision that Seltos made a more attractive proposition for the Australian market, a decision backed by the fact that at the time, there was limited Stonic supply available for Australia,” he said.


“With Seltos firmly established and very importantly, a significant increase in Stonic supply to accommodate our sales expectations, there is a much more compelling case for this sporty urban crossover with all the safety, value, style and practicality at the core of Kia’s DNA.”


Mr Meredith also said he was expecting some sales cannibalisation between the Stonic and the Rio given the latter had evolved more into a “fleet-type car” while the bulk of Stonic sales would be private purchases with its driveaway pricing being permanent.


2021 Kia Stonic pricing

  RRP* Driveaway
S $21,490 $22,990
S (a) $22,990 $23,990
Sport $24,490 $24,990
Sport (a) $25,990 $25,990
GT-Line (a) $29,990 $29,990

*Excludes on-road costs

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