Kia’s new Stonic is not an SUV that likes to be upstaged, and so for the 2021 model year, the updated compact sports utility vehicle is available with six even brighter and more colourful hues. For the first time, ‘GT-Line’ variants of the Stonic are available to customers.
But that’s only part of the story, as the upgraded Stonic now features a range of efficient new ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol powertrains, with cutting-edge innovations that boost efficiency, including Kia’s new 48-volt mild-hybrid ‘EcoDynamics+’ technology. It is available with the company’s new ‘clutch-by-wire’ intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) or slick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (7DCT).
Inside, Kia’s new Phase II UVO Connect telematics system is combined with a new, larger 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with a navigation system as standard on ‘GT-Line’, ‘Connect’ and ‘GT-Line S’ editions. UVO Connect’s Phase II system provides customers with several new benefits, such as more accurate journey times and ‘last-mile’ navigation assistance, as well as a range of features to enhance connectivity and usability. These can be accessed through an enhanced UVO smartphone app or via the car’s touchscreen.
New ‘Smartstream’ powertrains, the ‘EcoDynamics+’ mild-hybrid powertrain and new intelligent Manual Transmission
The enhancements to the latest Stonic includes the launch of Kia’s brand-new petrol Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain. It mates a 118bhp 1.0-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) ‘Smartstream’ engine with a 48-volt MHEV system, delivering enhanced efficiency by seamlessly harvesting and later releasing energy recovered during slowing down and when braking. A compact 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack combines with the engine’s torque output with electric power and can extend engine ‘off time’ with a new Mild Hybrid Starter Generator (MHSG) unit.
The MHSG is connected to the engine’s crankshaft by a belt and switches seamlessly between ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. Under acceleration in ‘motor’ mode, the MHSG provides electric power assistance to help reduce the load on the engine and therefore results in lower emissions. As the car decelerates, the MHSG has the ability to switch to ‘generator’ mode in certain conditions, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery.
The new ‘Smartstream’ engine replaces the Stonic’s earlier ‘Kappa’-generation 1.0-litre T-GDi powerplant and is equipped with Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology. CVVD enables the engine to switch seamlessly between different combustion cycles depending on load, maximising efficiency in all driving situations. The Smartstream engine produces the same power as the previous Kappa engine – 99bhp or 118bhp – but enables slightly higher peak torque output, depending on transmission. For instance, the peak torque output from the 118bhp edition with a seven-speed double-clutch transmission (7DCT) is 16 per cent higher at 200Nm.
The sporty ambience is enhanced by a leather D-cut steering wheel with ‘GT-Line’ motif emblazoned upon it and a carbon look crash pad. The black cloth and faux leather seats are embossed with the ‘GT-Line’ logo and feature stitching and piping. The new 8-inch multimedia and navigation system dominates the cabin, and a 4.2-inch colour supervision display is nestled within the instrument cluster.
Safety performance is placed very high on the agenda, with ‘GT-Line’ model featuring Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and High Beam Assist (HBA), Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), with DCT editions also boasting Blind Spot Collision Avoidance for the rear of the car. Other advanced technology features include rear parking sensors and a reversing camera system.
Other equipment highlights include rear privacy glass, electrically folding door mirrors, automatic air conditioning, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with the very latest UVO Connect Phase II telematics software. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard equipment.
‘GT-Line’ edition boast the latest engine technology and comes exclusively powered by the 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol engine featuring brand new 48-volt mild hybrid technology. The 118bhp powerplant is mated to either a six-speed intelligent Manual Transmission or seven-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission and develops 172Nm of torque.
Larger, upgraded infotainment system with UVO Connect ‘Phase II’
UVO Connect’s Phase II features provide customers with several new benefits, such as more accurate journey times, ‘last-mile’ navigation assistance, and a range of features to enhance connectivity and usability. These can be accessed through an enhanced UVO smartphone app or via vehicles’ on-board infotainment systems.
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One of the most useful Phase II features to be offered in UVO Connect-equipped vehicles is ‘Online Navigation’. This service draws on cloud-based real-time and historical traffic data to predict traffic levels more accurately, giving customers a more accurate picture of journey times and estimated time of arrival. This differs from traffic prediction tools found in conventional navigation systems, which only rely on in-car route planning and real-time traffic information to estimate journey times.
Kia’s new ‘Last Mile Navigation’ feature will help customers continue navigating to their final destination, even after they have parked up and left their car behind. This offers Kia customers the ideal solution for navigation in towns and cities where car parking are often some distance away from shops, cafés and restaurants.
Once the vehicle’s ignition has been turned off, this new feature sends a push notification to the UVO app on the user’s smartphone if their destination is between 200 metres and two kilometres away. The app lets users seamlessly access Google Maps navigation to complete their journey on foot. Alternatively, users can engage an augmented reality function, ‘AR Guidance’, which opens the smartphone’s camera and blends the image with AR turn-by-turn directional arrows.
Customers can also use a new ‘User Profile Transfer’ feature on the UVO app. This enables them to check and change their vehicle settings directly from their smartphone, including navigation, radio and Bluetooth preferences, at a time and place convenient for them. When the ignition is turned on, customers are automatically greeted with their preferred settings, saving time and making each journey more enjoyable. It also lets Kia owners back-up their in-vehicle UVO preferences via the cloud, and transfer settings from one vehicle to the next. This system will benefit customers who regularly switch between different UVO Connect-equipped Kia cars, for instance, business users who use pool cars, or families with more than one UVO Connect-equipped Kia in their household.