2017 Kia Stonic first drive: a middling small SUV

The Kia Stonic is a small, tall(ish) car that attempts to mimic the style of an SUV with the handling characteristics and running costs of a more conventional hatchback. It’s what is known in the trade as a compact crossover, what market analysts describe as the B-SUV segment and what a lot you might be considering as your next set of wheels.

Apparently, the market for these jacked-up runabouts is about to go bananas - in fact, the success of rivals like the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur show that it's already pretty fruity - which is why every car maker from Kia to Volkswagen is getting in on the act.

Kia Stonic 2017

First impressions

While the Stonic may look like a junior Kia Sportage SUV, it is in fact based on the Ford Fiesta-sized Kia Rio, using the same engines and basic underpinnings. For a segment that prioritises style over all else, the design is more cautious than creative, but at least it doesn’t divide opinion like the Nissan Juke. The cabin is well finished, albeit similarly straight-laced.

In a refreshing turn, Kia has pared back the complexity of the Stonic’s range by offering just two trim levels, both generous enough to require no further upgrades. The entry-level ‘2’ trim includes 17-inch alloys, daytime-running headlights, reverse parking sensors and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, digital radio and smartphone integration for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ‘First Edition’ trim level adds keyless go, navigation and a very sharp-looki...