2022 Kia Stonic S Manual Review

It may look like a rental car, but the 2022 Kia Stonic S represents strong ownership value and is one of the few lightweight SUVs to offer an affordable price tag.

  • Represents great property value with a strong warranty
  • Reliable infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • One of the few SUVs with a manual gearbox available!
  • Dull interior presentation
  • Expensive maintenance
  • Minimum storage space

After the Drive Car of the Year 2022 tests and the Best Light SUV category, it is surprising to see the list prices of entry-level SUVs. We live and breathe press releases detailing prices every day, and taken in isolation, these price increases seem interesting but not alarming.

But comparing cars in physical form next to each other is another thing. Their prices have risen dramatically across the board, even just a few years ago.

One such car that bucks the trend by staying within a normal price range is the Kia Stonic. Price from $21,990 plus road costs – or $24,690 go away by car – it is significantly more affordable than its main rivals such as the Ford Puma, Volkswagen T-Cross and Toyota Yaris Cross. The range’s flagship model, GT-Line, tops out at around $30,000, while its rivals’ flagship specs touch the $40,000 barrier.

When you add Kia’s promised seven-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and its ability to run on affordable 91-octane fuel, it becomes even more one of the best value offerings in its segment.

The car you see in the photos is the base model 2022 Kia Stonic S. It opens the range at $21,990 before road charges, or $24,690 drive-up nationwide.

In terms of specifications, Kia offers the S variant of the base model with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment screen, rear view camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.

The specs list doesn’t contain much else to get excited about, but let’s see if the 2022 Kia Stonic S manual is more than the sum of its parts.

Key details 2022 Kia Stonic S
Price (MSRP) $21,990 plus road costs
Test car color Clear white
Choice Nothing
Price as tested $24,690 by car
Rivals Ford Puma | Mazda CX-3 | Hyundai Venue

Kia lines the interior of the Stonic S with cloth seats and plastic upholstery throughout. There’s little flair or fancy, though it’s a functional and comfortable space for the most part.

The cabin design is getting a bit old, having remained much the same since the car was released in 2017. As such, the styling is starting to look tired and like a generation behind. That said, the build quality seems up to par.

The seats are plush and well-constructed, with sturdy fabric covering the seats. There are black plastic strips on the door cards that make you feel like you’re driving a rental car, which looks a bit ordinary compared to the ornaments used on entry-level variants of cars such as the Ford Puma.

Although the seats themselves are comfortable, there is minimal lateral support in the corners. There’s good simple adjustability of things like the seats, steering wheel and mirrors to find a comfortable driving position.

There’s a front-row USB-A port for charging devices and running smartphone mirroring, and a 12-volt power outlet. As is normal for the light SUV segment, rear seat space is a no-frills affair. Legroom is decent, as is foot and headroom. It’s a good place to spend some decent time as an adult passenger.

Kia says trunk space is 352L. The cavity has a higher load lip, which can make it difficult to load larger items. Under the boot floor mat is a space-saving spare wheel.

2022 Kia Stonic S
Seats Five
Boot Volume 352L seats up / 1155L seats folded
Length 4140mm
Width 1760mm
Height 1500mm
Wheelbase 2580mm

Infotainment and Connectivity

For all its simplicity, the Stonic S features a neat 8.0-inch infotainment screen that runs a simple infotainment package.

For those who prefer to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, smartphone mirroring can be used by connecting a compatible phone, wirelessly for Apple, or wirelessly or via USB for Android devices. There’s a small multi-function display in the instrument cluster to show key vehicle settings and information, and the screen can display a digital speed readout. Unfortunately, the screen will not show your cruise control speed setting.

The main infotainment screen is easy to use. There are shortcuts at the bottom of the screen for key functions that make it easier to navigate between screens. We’ve rarely had bad experiences with Kia’s infotainment system, which tends to work reliably without malfunctioning or incorrect displays.

Get a great deal today

Interested in this car? Provide your contact details and we’ll connect you with a member of the Drive team.

The Kia Stonic earned five stars in its 2017 Australian New Car Assessment Program test. Interestingly, this test was performed on the Kia Rio hatchback and extrapolated to include the Kia Stonic, which shares much of its structure and safety equipment with the entry-level hatch.

The Stonic’s level of safety equipment may not achieve a full five-star rating if tested under newer and stricter protocols.

All models come standard with a suite of safety technologies, including Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Recognition, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Follow Assist, Alert driver attention alert, main vehicle departure alert, hill start assist, speed-sensing automatic door locks, dual ISOFIX mounts, plus front, side and curtain airbags.

As noted, prices for light SUVs are higher than expected. The Kia Stonic is one of the few that stays in the $20,000-$30,000 range, with the manual Stonic S in test costing $24,690 drive-away.

That’s better than the $30,340 to $35,890 (plus road charges) you’d pay for a Ford Puma, and is more affordable than the $26,990 to $37,990 Toyota Yaris Cross.

In terms of maintenance, Kia charges you $1047 for three years or $1958 for five years. Intervals occur every 12 months or 15,000 km.

In one look 2022 Kia Stonic S
guarantee Seven years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000 km
Maintenance fees $1047 (3 years), $1958 (5 years)

Although maintenance costs can be high, Kia offers one of the best warranties in the new-car market with seven-year coverage (and no distance limit for private buyers).

You can fuel the Stonic with 91 octane regular unleaded gasoline. Kia says it will return a rating of 6.0 L/100 km on a combined cycle, while our tests indicated a 7.3L/100km figure around town.

Fuel consumption Fuel Stats
Disadvantages of fuel. (claims) 6.0L/100km
Disadvantages of fuel. (for testing) 7.3L/100km
Fuel type 91 octane unleaded
Fuel tank size 45L

The entry-level Stonic S comes with a naturally aspirated 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine who sends 74kW/133Nm through the front wheels. Curiously for the new car market, where there are fewer and fewer manual gearboxes, Kia offers the Stonic with a six-speed manual transmission.

While the outings look ordinary when rolled out on the tarmac, it’s a fun car to pedal using the now-new manual gearbox. You have to time the overruns accordingly, given the lack of torque available in the gears, but you can easily time this yourself using the manual gearbox.

The engine remains silent for the most part, but a roar of the road can be heard in the cabin, especially on coarse-chip tarmac.

At just over 4m long (4140mm to be exact), the Stonic is the right size for getting around town. It’s nimble, maneuverable, and the vision out of the wagon-shaped greenhouse is excellent.

The Australian-tuned suspension tuning is comfortable for commuter service and more than capable of blunting sharp road joints and the biggest potholes.

The Stonic is even competent when heading further afield. It stays calm and flat in tight corners, and the front end is nimble and easy to handle. You wouldn’t go so far as to call it an engaging experience, but it can be a smooth and fun thing to navigate through a small set of twisty turns.

Key details 2022 Kia Stonic S
Engine 1.4 liter four-cylinder petrol
Able 74 kW at 6000 rpm
Couple 133 Nm at 4000 rpm
Reader type Front-wheel Drive
Transmission Six-speed manual
Power to weight ratio 64.0kW/t
Weight (tare) 1157kg
Turning circle 10.2m

It was a late entrant into the light SUV category, but given that it comes in a price range of its own, the Kia Stonic is a worthy addition to a hotly contested space.

It’s a handy little thing to run around, stores enough tech to keep you happy, and will cater to you and your friends without too many complaints. Don’t expect them to be too impressed with the Stonic’s spartan interior.

All in all, though, add Kia’s renowned after-sales warranty and servicing arrangement, and it starts to look like a very attractive ownership proposition.

Rating distribution

2022 Kia Stonic S Wagon

7.6/ ten

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment and Connectivity

Tom started out in the automotive industry exploiting his talents as a photographer, but quickly learned that journalists got the best out of the business. He started with CarAdvice in 2014, left in 2017 to join Bauer Media titles including Wheels and WhichCar, then returned to CarAdvice in early 2021 as it transitioned to Drive. As part of the Drive content team, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, tips and has a particular interest in feature films. He understands that every car shopper is unique and has different requirements when it comes to buying a new car, but there’s also a loyal subset of the Drive audience who enjoy entertaining enthusiast content. Tom has a deep respect for all things automotive, regardless of model, priding himself on noticing the subtle things that make every car tick. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t learn something new in an ever-changing industry, which then gets passed on to the Drive reader base.

Learn more about Tom Fraser IconLink

About Irene J. O'Donnell

Check Also

Why the Experts Say You Need to Go Wine on Barrel

Cask wine has become more mainstream than ever and there are many reasons to support …