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It  must be said that having a vehicle to call your own during these uncertain times can be both a luxury and a necessity. Having one you can afford that provides you with the comfort and features that are worth the money you pay for well, that is just hitting a homerun.

So when KIA Philippines finally unveiled its new small crossover, the Stonic, this past week, many got to thinking that this could be a viable everyday commuter. 

As a small crossover, it combines the best qualities of a normal sedan with that of a pseudo-SUV – car-like handling and comfort with decent ride height. Standing tall with its 185 millimeter ground clearance, the Kia Stonic offers additional space underneath to clear road obstacles and uneven urban ground. With the current state of city roads, driveway approach angles and road patches car owners have to go through each day, having a crossover, small or big, does have its advantages. 

Practicality aside, the Stonic does offer a significant advantage over the immediate competition – its modern-day styling. KIA is known for studying the markets it intends to compete in very thoroughly. And through intense research, it has determined that targeting the younger set can be a profitable proposition. The Stonic does just that. 

As a product of the collaboration between KIA’s European and Korean design studios in Frankfurt, Germany and Namyang, South Korea respectively,  the  European Design Language of the Stonic combines the edgy design trends found in its stablemate, the KIA Rio, with a crossover’s elevated stance. Sharing the same platform helps in the economies of scale and KIA needed only to adapt the Rio’s existing design parameters to the new purpose. Short overhangs, hatchback proportions, and the purposely included roof rack all combine to provide a functional dimension to the already chic external design. 

KIA Philippines’ choice of vibrant colors to bring in for the Stonic such as Prime Red, Clear White, Extreme Blue, and the two-tone Black/Flame Orange, Black/Flash Yellow, and Black/Clear White also target the young and the young at heart. The iF Design and Red Dot Awards-recognized eye-catcher sure does provide a convincing draw when it comes to choosing a car that is right for you.

Fortunately, KIAs have been known to be more than just lookers. Their build quality and reliability have  been proven to withstand the test of time. Inside, sturdy plastics with commendable build quality work together to highlight the functional and industrial feel of the cabin layout. 

The electric motor-driven fat steering wheel is sure to promote confidence and ease of maneuverability in every drive. The generous application of black and silver accents elevate the styling of the chunky cabin and make the Stonic’s interior come across as fresh and hip. Great to look at when you are stuck in traffic. 

There are a decent number of practical and intelligent storage areas that have been raised higher for easier reach. A double-tray storage bin at the center console fits large smartphones, the glove box can accommodate tablet devices, and every door pocket is shaped to accommodate a bottle. All of which goes to show that KIA thought about the drive-thru and carry-all experience that is part and parcel of everyday modern life. And with its wide 325-liter (352-liters in other markets) cargo bay behind the rear seat, which can expand to a bigger space when the back seats are folded down, the Stonic does make a good case when it comes to versatility. 

For entertainment, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is pre-installed with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and feeds off a mobile phone’s Bluetooth connection, keeps passengers hyped. Four standard speakers and two tweeters churn out the tunes. Along with the use of tactile instruments such as buttons and knobs, the Stonic does make operating the main functions of both entertainment and climate control systems easy and intuitive. 

Of course the package would not be complete without a competent engine and transmission combination. Fortunately for the Stonic, the tried and tested 1.4-liter DOHC CVVT Gamma gasoline engine is now paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed conventional automatic. A good step up from its immediate China-branded competition in the subcompact crossover market. This new drivetrain gives hope for potentially decent fuel economy figures in and outside the city. 

The McPherson front struts and the Torsion beam rear suspension layout  that sits on top of the Stonic’s 16-inch wheel and tire combo, are effective ingredients for driving fun. These should all fall into the cute crossover’s intended market demographic who want a car that is as fun to drive as it is to look at. 

Front and passenger airbags, and ABS are standard in all variants while the top of the line EX gets Electronic Stability Control, Hill-start Assist Control and an Anti-Theft Immobilizer system to round up the specs. Parents will take comfort in the fact that the Stonic is equipped with ISOFIX anchor points for baby seats. Something small families can take full advantage of.

But perhaps the KIA Stonic’s pièce de ré·sis·tance is its price. Until the end of  November, buyers will be able to avail of the Stonic’s introductory price of P675,000 for the LX Manual; P785,000 for the LX Automatic; and P875,000 for the EX Automatic. Not that its original SRP numbers were bad to begin with. And with KIA’s 5-year, 160,000-kilometer warranty bundled with a free 5-year, 24/7 roadside assistance coverage, the Stonic does make for an interesting, stylish and affordable proposition for those who need a brand-new vehicle here and now.

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