Review - Kia Stonic

By Alexi Falson on 14 Dec 2021
image for Review - Kia Stonic It’s no secret that Kia has been on a roll for a significant amount of time here in Australia, often forcing Australian buyers - and its competitors - to reassess how much value can be packed into a single vehicle.

From adding a number of key features, upgrading their safety technology suite and offering some of the leading warranties and ownership programs in Australia, Kia is making its intentions clear to dominate the affordable car segment with cars like the Rio, and today’s entrant, the Stonic. 

The Stonic has the unenviable task of going up against cars like the Toyota Yaris Cross, Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Venue and the Nissan Juke to win over the hearts and minds of Australia’s fierce compact city-car loving buyers. With competition this tough, though, the Stonic needs to offer buyers something truly special to win them over, so let’s jump straight into it and see how well the Kia Stonic performs against its major rivals and how convincing the Stonic’s value for money proposition really is in the compact crossover segment. 

Starting Price: $22,990

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Kia Stonic (GT LINE) Specifications

Model Date 2021
Make KIA
Series YB MY21
Variant GT LINE
Transmission 7 SP AUTO DUAL CLUTC
Drive FWD
Engine TGDi
Engine capacity 998
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 12 valves
Engine RPM 4500 / 1500
Cylinders T3
Torque 172
KW 74
Fuel tank size 45.0
Fuel usage specs 5.4 / 0.0
CO2 125
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Kia Stonic car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Kia Stonic lineup kicks off from $22,990 for the entry-level Stonic S with a manual transmission, while opting for an automatic gearbox brings the price up to $23,990 for the Stonic S auto. From here, the range moves to the Stonic Sport, which is priced at $24,990 for the manual variant and $25,990 for the Stonic Sport automatic. Finally, Kia’s range-topping Stonic comes in the form of the Stonic GT-Line, which is priced at $29,990. 

Keep in mind that while these prices are subject to change, they do include on-road costs.  

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You? 

You could save by hiring one of OnlineAuto’s car buying experts to assist you in finding the best value model for you.

What Features Does the Kia Stonic Have?

The entry-level Kia Stonic S comes riding on a set of 15-inch steel wheels, and receives features like a rear-view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, rear parking sensors, cruise control, heated mirrors, power windows, automatic headlights, a 4.2-inch digital information display, as well as an 8.0-inch infotainment system packed with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, paired with a six-speaker sound system. 

Moving to the Stonic Sport adds a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, push-button start, powered, folding side mirrors as well as smartphone mirroring, DAB+ radio and satellite navigation for the infotainment system. 

Finally, the range-topping Kia Stonic GT-Line receives an engine upgrade, trading the 1.4-litre four-cylinder for a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit, as well as receiving a GT-Line styling package for the exterior, LED headlights with LED daytime running lamps and fog lights up front, single-zone climate control, premium seats, a choice of a two-tone roof or panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers and a sporty steering wheel. 

Range Features: 

  • 15-inch steel wheels 

  • Cruise control

  • Automatic headlights 

  • Heated mirrors 

  • Rear view camera with rear parking sensors 

  • 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto 

  • Six-speaker audio system 

  • 17-inch alloy wheels (Stonic S) 

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever (Stonic S) 

  • Push-button start (Stonic S) 

  • DAB+ and smartphone mirroring (Stonic S) 

  • Turbocharged 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine (GT-Line)

  • GT-Line exterior styling package (GT-Line)

  • LED headlights with LED daytime running lamps and fog lights (GT-Line)

  • Two-tone roof (GT-Line)

  • Panoramic sunroof (Certain GT-Line variants) 

  • Premium seats (GT-Line)

  • Metal pedals (GT-Line)

  • Sport steering wheel (GT-Line)

Kia Stonic Colours

Clear White Perennial Grey
Aurora Black Pearl Signal Red
Sporty Blue Mighty Yellow

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

The Kia Stonic is available with two engines, depending on which variant you’re opting for. The entry and mid-level Stonic variants are powered by a 1.4-litre four-cylinder unit producing 74kW/133Nm of torque, while the range-topping GT-Line receives a turbocharged three-cylinder unit producing the same 74kW but an upgraded 172Nm of torque. Translated to English, this means that in its top-spec form, even with a smaller engine with one less cylinder, the Stonic offers more power and torque than its sibling, while reducing fuel economy; which we’ll cover later in this review. 

In terms of the Stonic as an everyday drive and commuting companion, it performs admirably. While there’s nothing to necessarily get excited about, all the important boxes of driving comfort have been comprehensively ticked by Kia’s engineers. The four-cylinder engine in the base and mid-level Stonic offers enough power to get up to speed in a relatively quick manner, and while the engine can thrash while pushed, it remains subdued when you’re just cruising around town. 

Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, depending on your variant, with the automatic perfectly suited to stop-start traffic and low-speed bursts of acceleration, making the Stonic and incredibly easy car to pilot on your work commute or a daily drive away from the confines of the city. The GT-Line receives a dual-clutch transmission which offers sharp shifts in a relatively smooth manner, but it can be slow to respond at times. Overall, though, the engine and transmission combinations for the Stonic are perfectly suited to its purpose, and offer trouble-free motoring. 

This user-friendly nature continues when you take into account the Stonic’s lightweight steering rack, which makes it easy to manoeuvre in traffic and into tight car spaces, as well as the suspension hardware that is surprisingly well-suited to Australian road conditions. These days, Kia refines its road cars specifically for Australian roads, which means the Stonic benefits from a platform that is soft and accommodating, while being able to eat up larger bumps and irregular road surfaces on long journeys. 

All up, then, and as a complete package, the Stonic retains all the user-friendly elements that Kia has become renowned for. While it doesn’t necessarily excite, one of the most important hallmarks of a compact urban crossover is a relatively refined and understated driving experience for the attractive sticker price, which is an area that the Stonic no doubt excels. 

Is it Practical and Spacious? 

While it might be one of the smaller compact crossover SUVs in Kia’s range, the Stonic is surprisingly adept when it comes to accommodating people and their belongings. This is largely thanks to clever interior packaging design that makes the most of the limited size available in the Stonic platform. Up front, the driver and front passenger are treated to a relatively straight-forward cockpit design that emphasises practicality more than anything. 

This means that the front of the cabin plays host to a large set of door bins either side, as well as two layers of storage at the base of the centre console for smartphones and larger loose items, a set of cup holders in the central tunnel, as well as a sizeable amount of storage under the folding armrest. Cabin comfort for the driver and front passenger is faultless, with a comfortable and adjustable driving position offering ample shoulder and headroom for taller drivers. 

In the rear of the cabin, you’ll find a comfortable bench seat that has no problem accommodating growing teenagers, however, full-sized adults might struggle to get comfortable behind a taller driver. Considering the Stonic is based on the Kia Rio, there’s only so much that Kia’s engineers have been able to do about the legroom on offer, which is suitable for short journeys, however, longer trips for adults will prove a problem over time. Headroom in the rear of the Stonic’s cabin isn’t much of an issue, even for taller passengers, but persistent knees against the front seats will be a reminder of its shortfall in accommodating growing families. 

In terms of cargo storing potential, the Stonic has a boot rated at 352L, which makes it perfectly suited for a large errand or supermarket run, or a short trip out of the city, with 60:40 folding seats that can accommodate up to 1,155L of cargo. For the parents out there, you’ll be glad to know that the rear bench seats feature easily-accessible ISOFIX anchor and top tether mounts, although the process of installing large child seats can be a squeeze through the tight rear doors. 

Is it Safe?

The Kia Stonic has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum five-star safety rating, scoring 14.52 out of 16 for front impacts, 16 out of 16 for side impacts and an overall score of 35.52 out of a possible 37. As standard, all Stonic models receive autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assistance, driver attention monitoring, anti-lock brakes and a host of airbags, including curtain airbags for occupants. 

Is it Fuel Efficient?

With two engines available in the Stonic range, fuel economy depends on which Stonic variant you’re opting for. The entry and mid-level Stonic variants, powered by the 1.4-litre, four-cylinder engine return combined cycle fuel economy figures of 6.7L per 100km, while the GT-Line’s turbocharged engine is rated at 5.4L per 100km. 

Overall, then, while the Stonic may not be the most fuel efficient vehicle in the compact crossover SUV segment, it remains a highly fuel-efficient addition to the market with fairly impressive fuel economy figures. 

Our Verdict: Is the Kia Stonic Worth it?

As a value for money proposition, there are few cars on the market that are able to tick as many boxes as the Stonic, and even fewer that manage to do so with the confidence that the Stonic displays. While it might not be the most exciting vehicle on the market, in reality, it was never designed to be. Instead, it offers drivers an extremely user-friendly and comfortable driving experience that is perfectly suited to both the urban jungle and the open road, making it an adaptable and versatile addition to the segment. 

If you haven’t already, ensure that the Kia Stonic is on your shortlist for affordable compact crossovers and, on that note,  if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925 

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Five star ANCAP safety rating 

  2. Seven-year, unlimited KM warranty 

  3. Seven-year capped price servicing available from $421

  4. 12-month/15,000km service intervals; 10,000km for GT-Line 

  5. 352L boot space; expands to 1,155L with rear-seats folded 


  • Impeccable value for money 

  • Impressive power and economy from turbocharged three-cylinder engine 

  • Comfortable, user-friendly driving experience 

  • Attractive ownership program


  • Cramped rear seats for adults 

  • Unimpressive fuel economy for base and mid-level engine 

  • Uninspiring cabin in base S and mid-level Sport variants 

OnlineAuto Rating: 8/10

Kia Stonic Competition

Kia Stonic

Nissan Juke
Mazda CX-3
Renault Captur
Fiat 500X
Toyota C-HR
Hyundai Venue
Toyota Yaris Cross


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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