A Stonic drive down south

Kia has just added a brand-new compact crossover to its lineup: the extrovertly styled Stonic. Kia has a “5S Formula,” which refers to five characteristics that supposedly embody the Stonic: Style, Space, Shift, Sounds and Service.

Fortunately, I was given the chance to see if this vehicle indeed delivers on those five characteristics. From the Kia showroom in BGC, we took a six-vehicle convoy up to Tagaytay, which included other media who were also test driving the Stonic, for a socially distant lunch at Don Limone Napa Grill. On the way to Tagaytay and back, we were able to get to know the Stonic quite well.

The Stonic has a unique exterior that differentiates it from other vehicles of the ilk. I like how the car’s front looks, with its tiger nose grille, projector-type headlamps (sadly halogen) and boomerang-like LED daytime running lights that all give off a stylish impression. Atop the Stonic are roof rails as well as a fin-type antenna. The car has a perky, convex rear end, with good-looking taillamps, back-up lamps with rear reflectors, and a rear spoiler that add more flavor to the Stonic’s overall look. Its crossover styling adds height (185mm ground clearance, to be precise), so even if the car may seem relatively low and small, it has decent height when you’re actually behind the wheel.

The Stonic has a rather simple interior that keeps it modest and pleasing to the eyes. Its uncomplicated dashboard has its infotainment system centered in the middle, with the AC controls located beneath it, while a USB port and 12V socket are situated at the bottom. The Stonic offers a decent amount of space all around. However, I feel like those that are on the taller end of the spectrum and/or have long legs might not share the same sentiments as I do, especially if they were occupying the back seats. The Stonic has a fairly generous amount of trunk space for a compact vehicle, while its 60:40 full-fold-flat rear seats add even more cargo space.

The only minor issue I saw was that there was no door lock/unlock button per se, as you would need to manually control the driver’s door locks if you were to lock or unlock all doors. Additionally, the driver’s side window is only automatic when opening the window down, but not when closing it. Other than that, all other features are functional and enjoyable.

A 1.4-liter 132Nm Kappa Dual-CVVT engine powers the Stonic. Its engine is more on the economical side, hence it isn’t the quickest or most powerful—but it’s more than good enough to power the vehicle and its load. On the way up to Tagaytay, we passed through the mountainous and steep areas of Nasugbu where you could notice there was a slight struggle traveling uphill. However, its 6-speed transmission can help in that manner in some way. On the way back to Manila, on the other hand, I passed through the CALAX and SLEX expressways where I found it to be a smooth and pleasant drive overall.

I found the brakes to be very responsive which took some time to get accustomed to, while the steering wheel proved very light and smooth.

The Stonic is equipped with a number of features that elevate the car’s usefulness and versatility. Hill Start Assist, Rear Park Distance Warning, and Electronic Stability Control all help to achieve a safer and more relaxed driving experience. I found the quality of video displayed from the rear cameras when reversing to not quite be the clearest I’ve seen, but the dynamic gridlines sure help in overshadowing that. Its eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system is sized and positioned just right, while possessing the necessary standard features that are easy to work with.

As previously mentioned, one of the five S’s attributed to the Stonic is Sound. Equipped with six speakers plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Stonic is great for sound tripping. The relatively long drive to and from Tagaytay was made a thousand times more enjoyable given the quality of music that blessed my ears.

The Stonic is a great, compact, and fuel-efficient vehicle which, I believe, is best suited for college students looking to get their first car or young on-the-go professionals. Given its performance, ease-of-use, features, stylishness and affordability, I don’t think that these young adults (such as myself) could go wrong with the Kia Stonic and all it has to offer.

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