Based on the Rio hatch, Kia’s new Stonic is the company’s smallest and cheapest SUV to date — priced from $22,990 driveaway.

The name is apparently a combination of the words “speedy” and “tonic” — a bit like a gin fizz with a mix of sweet and sour perhaps?

Kia says Stonic offers are all the touch points people find so desirable in an SUV-style vehicle in a practical, urban-sized package which is both affordable and easy to live with.

It’s been available overseas for some time, but Kia has only now been able to get supply of the car.

Stonic is available with a 1.4-litre multipoint four cylinder engine that produces 74kW of power and 133Nm of torque, or a 1.0-litre turbocharged direct injection three cylinder engine that kicks out 74kW and 172Nm which is confined to the GT-Line.

Drive is to the front wheels through choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto with the 1.4, or a sporty single 7-speed DCT twin clutch style auto with the turbo GT-Line.

The three cylinder turbo is the better choice because it produces its torque in a much more useable range — from 1500-4000 rpm

Despite the severe restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stonic has still benefited from local ride and handling refinements.

Prices start from $22,990 driveaway for the S manual ($1000 extra for 6-speed auto) with six airbags, autonomous emergency braking (car/pedestrian/cyclist detection), Lane Following Assist, rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, rear parking sensors, driver attention alert, cruise control, auto headlights. wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto (S trim only), multi-connection Bluetooth, 8.0-inch Multimedia touchscreen, 6-speaker audio, 4.2-inch driver info panel and rides on 15-inch steel wheels.

READ:  Kia Rio GT-Line: Doing the DCT shuffle

Stepping up to the Sport at $24,990 driveaway for the manual ($1000 extra for auto) adds 17-inch alloys, smart key with push button start, satellite navigation with 10-year Mapcare updates and SUNA Traffic updates, plus electric folding mirrors and premium steering wheel and shifter.

Top of the range GT-Line ($29,990 drive away) gets sports suspension, bespoke 17-inch alloys, idle-stop-and-go (also on manual S and Sport), an sports body kit.

There’s also LED headlights, two tone colour or sunroof, cloth and artificial leather seats, climate control air conditioning, privacy glass and auto dimming rear view mirror.

The two-tone treatment is available in the following combinations: Clear white with Aurora Black Pearl roof, Mighty Yellow and Aurora Black Pearl roof, Sporty Blue with Aura Black Pearl Roof and Signal Red with Aurora Black Pearl Roof.

S Manual$21,490$22,990
S Auto$22,990$23,990
Sport Manual$24,490$24,990
Sport Auto$25,990$25,990
Premium paint$520


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Some fizz and tonic from Stonic


Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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