2021 Kia Stonic: What to expect

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Kia Stonic 2020

Everything to know about the recently facelifted Kia Stonic ahead of its arrival in Australia.

The facelifted Kia Stonic will arrive in Australia soon and offer new competition for rivals such as the Toyota C-HR, Nissan Juke, Ford Puma, Hyundai Venue and Peugeot 2008.

A mild facelift on the model already on sale in Europe, the Stonic’s exterior styling is largely unchanged over the pre-facelift model. The only noticeable differences are a pair of redesigned LED headlamps and a newly designed set of 16-inch wheels. However, buyers now have a choice of two new paint options – Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue – as well as a few extra two-tone colour schemes.

While Kia Australia is yet to announce pricing and specifications, we can look to what’s on offer in Europe as a guide for what we’ll get.

Inside, the new Stonic now gets Kia’s larger eight-inch infotainment screen as standard, along with a higher-resolution 4.2-inch driver information display. There’s also a choice of two new interior colour packs, swapping the crossover’s dashboard and centre console trim for either blue or yellow replacements.

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The new infotainment system offers support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – and it now features a range of additional telematics features. The Stonic’s sat-nav will provide real-time traffic information, as well as up-to-date weather forecasts, information on parking availability and even fuel prices for the nearest service stations.

Kia Europe has separated the Stonic range into four trim-levels – 2, GT-Line, Connect and GT-Line S.

Standard equipment for the base ‘2’ model includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors and roof rails. Inside, buyers get air conditioning, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and fabric upholstery.

The GT-Line model is a new introduction to the Stonic range. Upgrades over the entry-level model include 17-inch alloy wheels, a sporty body kit, LED headlights, privacy glass, gloss black door mirrors and a black roof spoiler. The interior also gets a lift with a sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals.

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There’s a hike in the level of technology, too, with GT-Line buyers getting a reversing camera, automatic air conditioning and Kia’s telematics system for the standard car’s eight-inch infotainment system. The package is completed with a drive mode selector, which offers settings for Eco, Normal and Sport.

The range-topping GT-Line S variant bolsters the GT-Line’s specification with heated seats, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and two-tone paint. The trim-level also swaps out the GT-Line’s black roof spoiler for a body coloured unit

Between these two sporty trim-levels sits the Kia Stonic Connect. Buyers get the same level of technology as the Stonic GT-Line, but the same body panels as the standard crossover. As an added benefit, the Connect model also comes with leather upholstery and keyless go.

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Like the old model, the revised Stonic comes with a host of driver assistance technology. Depending on the trim-level, buyers get lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, a driver attention monitor, an intelligent speed limit warning system and forward collision avoidance assist, which features pedestrian, vehicle and a newly introduced cyclist recognition system.

The revised Stonic will be available with an updated engine range, which features the firm’s new Ecodynamics+ mild-hybrid petrol powertrain. The system pairs the company’s latest turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder Smartstream petrol engine with a starter-generator and a compact battery pack.

Like Kia’s outgoing Kappa-badged MHEV system, buyers have their choice of two power outputs – either 74kW or 88kW – although the maximum torque figure of the range-topping variant has increased by 16 per cent, climbing from 168Nm to 200Nm.

Kia Stonic 2020 2

The Stonic’s MHEV powertrain comes as standard with Kia’s new “clutch-by-wire” manual gearbox. The unconventional transmission does away with the mechanical linkage between the clutch pedal and the master cylinder – swapping it for an electronic system with servos to operate the opening and closing of the clutch.

Kia says the gearbox reduces CO2 emissions by around three per cent in real-world driving conditions, as the car’s ECU can disengage the engine and automatically coast in neutral with the clutch depressed whenever it sees fit – without any assistance from the driver. This system operates at speeds of up 125km/h.

The outgoing Stonic’s 84kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine will not be carried over onto this facelifted model, although Kia is expected to offer its new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit without mild-hybrid assistance. It’ll be fitted with a conventional six-speed manual gearbox as standard and have an output of 74kW.

Luke Wilkinson

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