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The Kia Stonic gets new mild hybrid technology, expanding the already wide breadth of ability the compact crossover has to offer.

12 Jul 2021


Compact crossovers are often expected to meet a rather wide brief. Normally marketed towards young and adventurous family types, they have to be big enough on the inside to sit four, yet small enough on the out to put new drivers at ease when driving in the city.

They also need to deliver on power and fun for when their owners get hit with a bout of wanderlust, yet stay frugal enough to fit within the combined budget of two junior executives. And let's not forget how they are expected to retain all the visual ruggedness of an SUV, while still staying adorable enough to tug at the heartstrings of the fairer sex.

1.0-litre three-cylinder is assisted by a 48V mild hybrid system, giving the Kia Stonic quite some pep on the road
Thankfully, the Kia Stonic has a new drivetrain that increases the sheer breadth of ability this compact crossover can already deliver.

Fun yet frugal

For a start, the new mild hybrid tech gives the Kia Stonic a decent power boost. Total output is now at 118bhp, as compared to the 99bhp the petrol-only variant offers. Torque is also up from the original 172Nm to a healthy 200Nm. Both these improvements bring the zero to 100km/h sprint time down from the original 11.7 seconds for the non-electrified variant to just 10.4 instead.

Get behind the wheel and you'll find that the new tech does not just deliver in numbers, but works well in practice as well.

Regenerative braking and engine start/stop system aid the Stonic in reaching a remarkable 14.9km/L as tested
For the standards of the segment, this mildly electrified Kia Stonic is remarkably refined. You are well shielded away from engine vibrations, whether it's going through its start/stop cycles, idling at the lights, or charging right through traffic.

The latter of which, the new engine is also willing to do. Set into its 'Sport' mode, the seven-speed dual-clutch keeps the revs well up in the mid-ranges, and the engine will pull the car along with some gusto.

But where the mild hybrid technology really shines is when it is driven in its 'Eco' mode.

The cabin is dominated by black plastic, but all surfaces on the dashboard and centre console feel solidly put together
Those that want to save on their fuel bill will be glad to see the car readily turning its engine off as you come to a stop in this mode, while lifting off the accelerator pedal when on the move will also readily induce the car to 'sail'. This essentially turns off and disconnects the engine from the rest of the drivetrain, so you can coast along without any resistance or noise from the three-cylinder unit.

Sure, the air-conditioning fans will automatically turn down while the engine isn't running, which some may find irritating, but it was never enough for the cabin to even approach a balmy state, even though the hot afternoon that I had the car.

All these features also add up to an impressive tested fuel economy of 14.9km/L.

Small, yet spacious

Indents on the headliner give rear passengers a bit more head room
And while we are on the topic of the cabin, those looking to ferry a small family in the Stonic will also not be disappointed.

Space at the front and back in the Kia Stonic is decent for the segment, and if you opt for the car in the 'SX' trim we tested here, you get a sunroof that makes the cabin feel airy enough, despite the prevalence of black plastics throughout.

Those at the back will also get bonus headroom, thanks to clever little cutouts in the headliner, and your luggage even further back yet will have 352 litres of space to move around in. That's a significant bonus over the 240 litres you get in the Mazda CX-3, which also happens to now be available here with a more frugal engine.

Opt for the 'SX' trim and you get nice touches such as those 16-inch rims, roof rack, and LED rear combination lamps
Hollow-sounding door cards here in the Kia Stonic are also countered with a solid feeling centre console and dashboard, while the 8.0-inch infotainment system is intuitive to use. You get physical buttons for your major volume, media selection, and air-conditioning adjustments as well, exactly as it should be.

But despite all this, the Kia Stonic is still small enough so you can easily drive it on the road. If you're looking at this crossover as your first start into the world of motoring, then you'll want to note that this 'SX' trim car comes with additional parking sensors up front, a Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning system, as well as a blindspot monitoring system, handy for keeping you safe on the road.

Rugged, yet cute

For $94,999 (as of 10 July 2021), this 'SX' Kia Stonic mild hybrid is only asking for a $4,000 premium over the lower 'EX' trim, and just $7,000 over the non-electrified variant.

Considering that you also get a roof rack, fog lamps, and LED rear combination lamps that aid in boosting the car's rugged looks, on top of the aforementioned safety features, I think that's quite a steal for a compact crossover that can do it all.

Car Information

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Promotion
There's a promotion for Kia Stonic Mild Hybrid

Price

: $105,999

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder in-line 12-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

998cc

Horsepower

:

-

Torque

:

200 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DCT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

10.4sec

Top Speed

:

185km/h

Fuel consumption

:

21.3km/L

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