Kia’s small stylish SUV can be had for $69,999 with COE* in Singapore and that bodes well for its potential in a super-packed segment *If you buy it with Kia’s in-house financing that is
UPDATE: We’ve driven the Kia Stonic. Click here to see if it’s worth the money
SINGAPORE —In a bid to avoid being lost in the furore of January’s Singapore Motorshow, Kia has slipped a final model launch in for 2018: The Stonic small sport utility vehicle (SUV)/crossover goes on sale tomorrow.
Not that it needs the stage to itself much: The car’s price makes it pretty much the least expensive small crossover right now.
Two variants are on sale, in accordance with Kia’s usual naming scheme, the EX is the base version and retails for $71,999 with COE, while the SX is the upscale variant, and goes for $76,999 with COE.
What’ll tweak car buyers’ interest even more is the fact that Kia says the price dips below $70k with COE, or $69,999 with COE, thanks to an interest rebate of $2,000 as laid out in its December pricelist.
That makes the car the least expensive small crossover – or indeed any crossover – on authorised dealers’ price lists. Sub-$70k with COE would otherwise get you the least expensive cars of all, like compact hatches and superminis.
Like the Hyundai Kona, the Stonic has the 1.0-litre Hyundai-Kia group three-cylinder turbocharged engine: The 998cc unit makes the same 120hp at 6,000rpm, and 171Nm of torque at 1,500 to 4,000rpm.
With a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Stonic does 0-100km/h in 10.6 seconds, has a top speed of 185km/h, consumes 5.4L/100km of petrol, and emits 124g/km of CO2.
In classic Kia fashion, there is a tremendous amount of car here for the money.
As a funky crossover, there are nine basic colours, but different roof colour options raise the number of colour combinations to a healthy 29 choices – you can click through all of them in our gallery below.
There are also three interior colour options, black being the basic choice, but if you chose the orange or green contrast roof colour, it comes with a matching two-tone leather interior.
The two-tone option is a $1,000 extra for both SX and EX variants, but if you opt for it on the SX model, it removes the sunroof. In our opinion that’s no loss since sunroofs are one of the most useless features for a car in Singapore. But hey, to each their own.
The base EX model comes with 15-inch wheels, halogen projectors with LED DRLs, keyless go,, six-speaker sound system, steering wheel controls. The Stonic also packs the usual five-year warranty and 10-year engine warranty from Cycle & Carriage.
There’s also a healthy amount of safety features onboard: Brake-based torque vectoring, hill start assist, six airbags, tyre pressure warning system, and a reverse camera with park distance control
A 7.0-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system is Apple CarPlay capable, like the unit seen on Kia’s last big seller, the rather impressive new Cerato sedan.
Typical of Kia’s pricing strategy, the additional $5k for the SX makes the upgrade a no-brainer.
The SX piles on the goodies: 17-inch wheels, LED rear lamps, more chrome, a roof rack, sunroof, leather steering wheel and gearshifter, chrome pedals, piano black fascia, auto climate control, cruise control, and auto wipers.
Take a look at Kia’s official brochure for the full rundown.
At 4.14-metres long, with a 2.58-metre wheelbase, the Stonic is squarely in the small crossover segment, one that’s already chock-full of competition from every quarter.
The Japanese offer the strong Honda HR-V, the Toyota C-HR, Nissan Qashqai, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, while Hyundai has the already-mentioned Kona, but even Europe isn’t missing out on the fun with the very unique Citroen Cactus also not far off, plus the Seat Arona too.
How does the Stonic compare to its Korean brother, the Kona, in a head-to-head?
That makes it firmly cheaper than its key rival, the Hyundai Kona 1.0, at $80,900 with COE. That’s made possible by the fact that the Stonic has a Vehicular Emission Scheme (VES) rating of A2, or a $10k rebate.
On paper the Stonic is considerably slower, but also more efficient than the Kona 1.0, which is offered here with a manual gearbox only – the Kona 1.0 does 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds, with a 205km/h top speed, fuel consumption being 6.7L/100km.
There is a higher spec, 1.6-litre variant of the Kona, but VES penalties make it rather expensive for a Korean crossover, or more than $100k.
In fact the Stonic is a sort-of replacement for the larger Sportage. Despite being much better than it ever has, it having been dropped quietly from price lists earlier this year – Kia says it became simply too expensive to be viable.
Oh and about that name dude, it like, doesn’t have anything to do with like, you know, stoners and weed. What a dude told us is that its name is really deep, like, a combination of ‘speedy’ and ‘tonic’. I’m like DUDE, whatever you’re smoking, I want some too!
But on a more serious note, it’s no weirder than Volkswagen’s Tiguan, whose name is a portmanteau of ‘tiger’ and ‘iguana’. But at least the Stonic’s pricing proves Kia is dead serious about making waves in the toughest segment of them all.