Forget the defunct Ford Fiesta, Kia wants you to go super Stonic

The Sonic is value for money, nice to drive and has a seven-year warranty

Kia Stonic
Small cars used to look like the Ford Fiesta. Now they look like the Kia Stonic (Adam Warner)

AS traditional hatchbacks like the Ford Focus continue to fade from view in our new car showrooms, they are being replaced at every turn by SUVs and crossovers.

That means models like this, the Kia Stonic. It is a small crossover based on the bones of Kia’s now-discontinued Rio, which was the company’s direct rival for the Ford Fiesta before it was euthanised to grow Puma sales. I’m not convinced these dinky pseudo-SUVs are an advance over the hatches they’ve displaced.

With its roof bars, chunky styling, slightly lifted ride height and hints of off-road ruggedness such as the plastic trim around the wheel arches and faux skid plates, the Stonic’s look is a pastiche of a full-fat SUV.

It’s a look that people seem to want, however. In truth this class of car is hardly blessed with paragons of style; the Nissan Juke, originator of the sector, is defiantly marmite, while the Volkswagen offering is so forgettable I can neither remember its name nor what it looks like.

Anyway, if the Stonic’s styling has got you interested, the car offers plenty to hold your attention.

Kia Stonic
Buyers love the mini-SUV style of cars like the Kia Stonic (Adam Warner)

Kia’s reassuring seven-year warranty deserves to be highlighted, not least because most of these cars will be bought privately rather than through employer-backed schemes.

The only engine is an eager 1.0-litre three-cylinder, offered in 99bhp and 118bhp mild-hybrid guises. It is paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox.

If the Stonic’s styling has got you interested, the rest of the car offers plenty to hold your attention, including Kia’s reassuring seven-year warranty

Opting for the automatic adds £1,000 to the price. On the basis of my experience with it in a range-topping GT-Line S, I’d be inclined to save the money as it’s not the smoothest-shifting device. That aside, this is a fun car to drive, with rewarding handling.

It’s generously equipped, too, and feels solid enough. Kudos to Kia for its thoroughly sensible and easy to operate controls and comfortable seats. Some competitors offer more space and flexibility in the back seats and boot, though.

The Stonic is also very strong value for money, with prices running between £21,265 and £25,810. For comparison, the cheapest Puma is £25,650 and Juke £23,500.