Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • 1.0-litre petrol on offer
  • Available with or without mild hybrid assistance
  • Manual or DCT automatic options

The Stonic’s engine range is fairly limited – while at launch you could have a couple of petrol engines or a diesel, the choice now consists of a single 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with or without mild hybrid assistance.

What engine options are there?

Badged as 1.0 T-GDi, the former offers 100hp and 172Nm. That’s actually plenty for a car this size, and it endows the Stonic with a 10.7 second 0-62mph sprint when fitted with a manual gearbox. While rivals do feel peppier with their entry-level engines, particularly the Ford Puma, the Stonic certainly isn’t particularly slow.

The engine itself isn’t the most pleasant to use, as it’s rather noisy and needs revving to make the most of it. The ultra-light clutch pedal also doesn’t give a great deal of feedback, so modulating your gearchanges can be quite lumpy to begin with.

Opt for the seven-speed automatic and the 0-62mph time increases to 11.7 seconds. Despite this, the automatic Stonic isn’t a bad bet – the gearbox itself is quite smooth, and thanks to its high top gear it’s actually a more relaxed cruiser than the manual car.

The second engine option is the 1.0 T-GDi 48V. The 48V means 48-volt, and refers to its mild hybrid assistance – thanks to a chunkier battery and a starter-generator, there’s a degree of electric power that kicks in every now and then to aid with acceleration and economy. 

It’s not to be confused with a full hybrid system, like you’d find in a Toyota Yaris Cross – nor a plug-in hybrid system like the Renault Captur E-Tech.

It’s this mild hybrid system that allows the engine to be around 20% more powerful – with 120hp – but return very similar fuel economy figures.

Acceleration figures aren’t the massive step-change you’d hope for, though – 0-62mph takes 10.4 seconds for both the manual and the automatic transmissions. What you’re paying for with the mild hybrid is a more muscular-feeling engine, with a more linear power delivery.

However, you don’t actually get that much choice in the matter. Stonic engines are tied to the car’s trim levels – the entry level ‘2’ car comes with the standard 1.0-litre T-GDi, while GT-Line, GT-Line S and Connect models come with the 1.0-litre T-GDi 48V.

Handling

  • Handles quite well for a small SUV
  • Body movement is well controlled
  • Steering too light to be satisfying

It’s fair to say we’re surprised by the Stonic’s handling. It’s based on the Rio hatchback, but rides 42mm higher, so we were expecting the associated extra body movement to be at the detriment of its handling.

However, Kia has done a lot of work under the skin of the Stonic and it handles very well indeed. The steering is sharp and responsive, making the front end of the car feel agile and alert, but it is very light – perhaps too light for an enthusiast.

This does have an impact on comfort, as it’s a bit firm over undulating surfaces, but it keeps bodyroll nicely in check as a result.