Sadly I will talk about the Kia Stonic and not the Kia Tonic, which is a different car and which is so fresh that I regret not moving to Mexico to be able to buy one. Although, I think that the rest of the minuses given by life in Mexico are not appetizing enough to be worth a Kia Tonic. So I will stick to the Kia Stonic.

Which is actually a Kia Rio with some added plastics and some extra 2 tone (or tonne??) paint options, sold to those who want a car that looks like a crossover but isn’t really a crossover. Basically, just like the idea of ​​a cross-over started with a car that looks like an SUV but is not really an SUV. Just like the SUV started from a car that looks like a truck but is not really a truck. Just like the truck started from a car that looks like pre-diet Adele but which is not quite pre-diet Adele.

Or you could argue that the Stonic is a koreean Dacia Logan Stepway. Or the Sandero Stepway. Except that a Stepway is 2000 pounds cheaper (at the time I wrote this….thing), pound-for-pound, equipment-for-equipment. Which the Sandero has more of it in standard trim than the Stonic.

So why buy a Stonic instead of a Sandero Stepway?

  • I’m going to one up my own argument and say that instead of paying 16500 pounds for a entry-level Stonic, you would rather buy a 2-3 year old Cee’d, with valid factory warranty.
  • As is the case with the Dacia Sandero Stepway and the regular Sandero, is it really worth paying 2000 pounds extra over the Rio (on which it’s based) just for some plastics?
  • Right, now let’s pick things up abit. If you up the budget and go to the 20-22.000 pounds area, you have a Kia Stonic with almost all the options you could think of. Vertical camera with 360 degrees view, leather memory and heated seats and I think that massage option is available aswell. But again, we are talking about the 20-22.000 pounds area which is abit steep for a slightly taller Rio and almost 5000 pounds steeper than the equivalent Sandero Stepway.

Kia Stonic YB Engines


  • 1.0 Turbo Kappa II and SmartStream of 100 and 120 horsepower – Came to retire the old tarmac-tearing 1.4 naturally aspirated petrol, the  1.0 T-GDI Kia Stonic is a good car in theory, until you see the price. Because that’s when you feel like beer in the sun. It has no specific issues, but the purchase price is abit steep.
  • 1.2 MPI Kappa II and SmartStream of 84 horsepower – Yet it still had the option of 1.2 MPI Kappa II engine. One of the last naturally aspirated engines on the market, and one the last naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engines on the market. It is exactly what you need for city driving because it’s not powerful enough for anywhere else and the rest of the car comes with all the kit you’ll ever need. Most of the options missing are for bragging rights anyway. 
  • 1.4 MPI Kappa II of 100 horsepower – Before the arrival of the 1.0 Turbo, this engine was the Vinnie Jones of the Stonic world. In fact, it made the law since 2005. And it made sure everyone know it by being loud. And chugging down large quantities of petrol. But at least it’s reliable. And it is the only engine with a 6AT automatic transmission available. So it’s pretty much Vinnie Jones’ 4-cylinder cousin.
  • 1.6 MPI Gamma of 128 horsepower –  Like the naturally aspirated Fiesta 1.6 petrol or any naturally aspirated 1.6 compact actually, this thing runs faster than it should. And it only has the downsides that the 1.4 engine has, downsides that are as negligible as my value on the labor market.


1.6 CRDi U II and SmartStream of 110, 116 and 136 horsepower – The old 1.6 CRDi was not completely retired, they only pulled the plug in Europe due to emissions standards. On the roads of South America, on the other hand, it still does its job with dignity, as long as it keeps the particle filtre away from the urban jungle.

Kia Stonic YB Common Issues

  • As with the Rio on which it is based on, the Kia Stonic is a city car and pretty much that’s it. Sure, it could go a long way, but it’s like having erotic moments of self-satisfaction whilst reading poems by Ron. It’s like eating less but arguing that it’s actually fine dining and not because you can’t afford more.
  • The 7DCT 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearbox is a weak point in the Hyundai-Kia kitchen. So if you insist on an automatic gearbox it’s best to look for an older model equipped with the older 6AT 6 speed torque converter, which is slower but reliable.
  • The seats are as rigid as a stubborn girlfriend, who won’t budge no matter what. Overall, the interior materials at Stonic are cheap because it is a cheap car, but the seats are something else. If you install, for example, old wooden seats from a western school instead of the standard seats on the Stonic, the value of the car will increase.

Kia Stonic YB Verdict

It’s pretty much a wheeled sneaker, which looks very, very good as long as you’re willing to pay thousands of pounds extra for a Rio with some extra plastic. Or you can discover the true essence of Stonic, a cheap city car that has some plastics that give ladies behind the wheel extra confidence when they take on the curb or hit a pothole. Like the Rio, it’s an excellent car, but too expensive. But then again, what isn’t too expensive these days?

Which engines do I recommend? Honestly, the whole ideea of the Kia Stonic is to be a cheap city car that looks good, so I will go with the Kappa II 84 horsepower 1.2 MPI. Or the 1.0 Turbo, if you are willing to pay for it.