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The Top Gear car review:Kia Stonic
For:Stylish to look at and agile around town
Against:Kia sells more practical cars for less money
What is it?
What’s a Stonic? Well, Kia says that it’s a portmanteau word, meant to mix and match the vocal elements of speedy and tonic. Which sounds just a mite daft to these ears, but if Volkswagen can get away with combining Tiger and Iguana for Tiguan, well, anything goes.
Aside from the phonic jumble, a Stonic is Kia’s new compact crossover, a rival to the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke. It’s easy to be a bit sniffy about cars from this class, mostly because they tend to be a bit style over substance; pricier than their supermini base and no better at family duties thanks to small rear seats and small boots. Yet the so-called B-SUV market already accounts for 1.1 million sales across Europe, and it’s expected to be the biggest segment of the car market by 2020.
The Stonic is based on the same platform and engines as the recently launched Kia Rio supermini, and while that means it wasn’t at the front of the queue when they were handing out personality, at least from a mechanical point of view it has some provenance. In an attempt to give it some funky, urban character Kia has created a chunky, square-ish body for the Stonic.
It’s a largely successful job, slightly reminiscent of a Skoda Yeti, making good use of Kia’s family ‘Tiger’ grille and slim lights, with the bulk and height of the front end rather well disguised. The back is quite tidy too, with a neat detail in that the C-pillar seems to wrap over the back of the roof. That’s more obvious when you have a contrasting roof colour, but choose carefully as some colour options (there’s a particularly bright yellow) will look better in the brochure than on the street. White looks too plain, but there are nice metallic grey and red options.