Stonic’ sounds as if it should mean something – I am feeling Stonic? No, that’s silly. It was a Stonic buy? Nope. I went out on Friday and got rather Stonic-ed? Nah. Surely, it is a verb with some significance – I checked my search engine of choice but all I could see was Kia imagery. In my book, if it has a weird name it has to be good otherwise it has been a complete waste of time.
Thankfully, Kia doesn’t do rubbish any more. For a small car, it has a real feel of quality and space about it. It is a supermini-sized crossover, or to anybody over 40 it is a slightly-raised hatchback. It has no pretensions of being an off-roader or something exclusively for smiley, perma-tanned young people clearly on their way to meet similar people to spend the evening staring at their mobile phones mumbling about followers.
Kia have considerable momentum, at the moment, with designing good-looking quality vehicles also great to drive. I sat in it and wanted to find fault but could only be impressed with the way the switches click, the way the storage cubby box between the seats closes and the general feeling of solidity. My only grumbles were a noddy horn which I would resist using in virtually any circumstance, and a radio that switches itself off after a few minutes while I am sat waiting in a car park .
Not that I frequent car parks to just sit in, but as I am the proud parent of a teenage daughter, my life seems to consist of opening my wallet and pulling a sad (why don’t you have a Saturday job?) face and/or being taxi-driver with the obligatory waiting by the roadside/car park/Ikea/friends’ drive etc.
The Stonic had a great sounding three-cylinder one -litre petrol engine which, because the car doesn’t weigh much, goes very well, and takes on a twist in the road as if glue is involved. You can have a 1.6 (whisper it) diesel, but as the petrol version achieves more than 50 to the gallon, I cannot see the point really. As it is not a particularly powerful car, it has no option of all-wheel drive, which probably explains why the overall styling of the car is a little bit tougher than the norm but not giving the illusion that it will canter across a field in the manner of, say, a Fiat Panda 4×4.
The Stonic’s styling and its 1.0-litre turbocharged engine are a great combination, and value-for-money counts in the car’s favour too, even in the lower-of-two trim levels available at launch, where you will find a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment set-up as standard with Apple and Android smartphone mirroring (I will ask my daughter what this means and explain later) DAB radio, six airbags and plenty else – for a price that beats a lot of competitors. And check out the soft- opening doors – I kept thinking I must have previously left them slightly ajar.
A weird name – but a sensible car.