2021 Kia Stonic Review Philippines

Whenever a manufacturer butters up their product with some catchy tag lines and an earworm of a jingle, that’s usually a recipe for success—at least in the Philippines. The Kia Stonic was launched in the Philippines with the phrase “Style that’s iconic,” and accompanying that was an addictive jingle that stuck with us during the review, and even after. 

Was it because the car was just that good, or was the marketing campaign very effective? It could be a combination of both, but one thing is for sure: the Stonic looks to be one of the most notable models in its segment, and here’s why. 

4.2 / 5
2021 Kia Stonic Review
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics
Ride Comfort
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation
Safety and Technology
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features
Value for Money
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency
What You Will Like
  • Stellar handling
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Standout styling
What You Won't Like
  • Engine performance leaves something to be desired
  • Rear passenger seats are a bit cramped
How We Do Our Reviews

With the tagline “Style that’s iconic,” we thought that the statement was a bit far-fetched at first. How can a subcompact crossover be so iconic or memorable? We’ve seen tons of crossovers already out on the road and tested almost all the subcompact crossovers out in the market, so what makes the Stonic any different?  

Designed by Peter Schreyer, the crossover has an attractive front fascia that has Kia’s signature tiger-nose grille that’s weirdly blocked off. While it’s no dealbreaker, it’s a notable design quirk. We’re not entirely sure why Kia has blocked off this part of the front, but it somehow works design-wise. The front headlights are also pretty good even if it’s just a halogen projector setup, although, the DRLs are a plus. 

Overall, we wouldn’t say that it is an iconic car already. Instead, it feels to be on its way to that status. Practically- speaking, all of the lines on the car are well-placed and well-kept. The Stonic definitely isn’t outlandish, nor is it something that is as striking as the Kia Stinger when you look at it. Instead, it’s an interesting crossover that will stand out because of its very approachable and stylish design. 

Typical of most Kia models, the interior is consistently one of the best in its class. Black plastics are all laid out in a nice neat design. Everything is solid. From the shifter to the dashboard, there is little to no wobble and it’s got these visually and functionally interesting front climate control vents that remind us of a Pokeball or a death star, or something. Either way, it’s a fascinating and practical design, and it can be used by your bored front passenger to play with while stuck in traffic. 

We find that space is a little tight in the Stonic if you were about 6-feet tall. The cramped rear was expected because it shares a platform with the Kia Rio which also isn’t class-leading in terms of rear passenger space. Larger individuals may find themselves in a bit of a squeeze because of this, but 6-footers will still be able to fit, albeit with the front seat moved forward about halfway. Meanwhile, the rear cargo space of the Stonic is standard for its class, coming in at 325 liters in capacity with all of the seats up. It’s not particularly bad, however, there is a loading lip that should be noted. 

Let’s be real, the interior isn’t something out of a Rolls-Royce, nor is it super janky. It’s a well-kept and quality place to be in. Silver accents add a touch of class, however, we would have preferred a leather interior in order to spruce up the cabin a bit, as well as accent stitching to go with the Stonic’s lively selection of colors. 

2021 Kia Stonic EX AT Philippines exterior rolling rear quarter

This is one of the high points of the Stonic. The suspension and chassis of the crossover are some of the best in the segment. It’s soft and pliant enough to go over various bumps and potholes. Going over EDSA isn’t much of an issue for the Stonic, and its added ride height really makes the fear of bottoming out as minimized as possible. 

The wind can also creep on you a little, so too can road noise. However, it’s nothing alarming as the sound deadening is top-notch and world-class. Taking into consideration that the car was designed to be a global model, especially one that would be used on the highways of Europe, the Stonic definitely impresses with its overall build quality which shines while at speed. Even in the turns, the Stonic was well-behaved and the body roll was well-managed. 

In the center of the Kia Stonic is an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system that comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For 2021, this head unit is thoroughly modern, plus it is also mated to a 6-speaker audio system. The speakers are pretty good for a stock set, but nothing too thumpy and bassy which is acceptable given that it is a more budget-friendly car. You also get a reverse camera, but it’s not of the clearest or highest resolution, but at least you have reverse parking sensors to complement the camera. We’re not big fans of the camera’s quality, but it’s there when you need it. 

That’s really just it. Kia took care to equip its car with most of what you need. It doesn’t get cruise control, but at least it has automatic climate control, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a USB port, and a 12-volt socket. The multifunction display in the gauge cluster provides trip information, fuel economy, and other basic read-outs, so there’s nothing to complain about here. Also, it has a push-start system with keyless entry, and at this price point, that’s quite a luxury. It’s not going to drop jaws with its specs, but it is good enough for the average Juan. We will admit that there are other areas where the Stonic shines brighter, and the technology pack found here is good if you’re weighing your purchase heavily on the infotainment system. 

2021 Kia Stonic EX AT Philippines Inteiror Steering Wheel

For the EX models, you get ABS with EBD, dual-front airbags, hill-start assist, electronic stability control, and ISOFIX Tethers. 

While the feature-set seems a bit short, add in the 3-star NCAP rating and you have yourself a fairly safe vehicle. The 3 out of 5-star rating is essentially how we feel about the Stonic in the safety department. Not stellar, but everything you need to cover the basics. 

2021 Kia Stonic EX AT Exterior Rolling

The best trait about the Stonic is its handling characteristics. There is no shortage of sharpness from its steering and chassis. Handling is a high point of the Stonic, and even if it only has a MacPherson strut and torsion beam in the rear, it’s one of the better-handling models out in the market, when taking it up windy and curvy roads. Brakes are very responsive and give nice feedback when actuated. The steering is also precise, and the car is quite fun to drive, allowing you to have a lot of feedback especially when going at a faster pace. At slower speeds, expect a very pliant and easy-driving experience. The steering is light enough that you won’t need herculean strength to turn the corner. You won’t have to worry about clipping either because the car has very compact dimensions. 

2021 Kia Stonic EX AT 1.4-liter engine

However, we found that the power from the 1.4-liter engine was just okay. It’s everything you will need, and 98 hp is enough for most applications, while the 132 Nm of torque doesn’t feel substantial, but adequate. We will say that the 6-speed automatic isn’t that fast, but it is good enough and doesn’t hamper your ability to have fun while driving. It’s not slow, per se, but you might notice that it hesitates a little when you engage manual mode and want to trigger a downshift. 

2021 Kia Stonic Interior Gear Shifter

Overall, it’s a crossover that handles great. Kia has done their work in making it a very good driving experience. The real caveat here is that the engine leaves something to be desired. It will be enough for daily driving, but getting up to highway speeds might take a while. After all, it is only a 1.4-liter engine, so don’t expect the world from it. 

However, where the engine does shine is with regard to fuel economy. Since this is the same engine found in the Kia Soluto, it comes as no surprise that we were able to squeeze out 8 km/L in the traffic of the city. Faster-paced drives in the city at about 50-60 km/h gave us a reading of 11 km/L, while a stint on the highway netted us 18km/L at a speed of 100 km/h. 

We’re seeing that this engine was weighed down quite a bit by the Stonic. Compared to the Soluto with the same motor, we’re seeing about a 4 km/L difference in the city, and a 6 km/L difference on the highway. However, we should note that the speed we were at with the Stonic on the highway during this test was higher than the Soluto’s. 

2021 Kia Stonic EX AT Front Kia Badge

After everything is said and done, the Kia Stonic is definitely a standout model in the lineup. Its price as tested is only P925,000, which is on the more affordable end of the spectrum. Other rivals in its class include the MG ZS, Chery Tiggo 2, and Hyundai Venue. However, we feel that the Stonic trumps the other rivals in terms of style and in terms of handling. 

In reality, Kia has made a great crossover, with our chief complaints being its safety kit, slightly cramped interior, and its only fair engine performance. Other than that, it’s a great performer. For your average driver, it’ll be very comfortable and easy to drive thanks to its compact dimensions and even its backup camera with sensors. It is definitely stylish, but is it iconic? That remains to be seen. That also depends on how good it will do in terms of sales. Kia might just have a winner on their hands with the Stonic. Since it is priced right, and because the platform is one of the nicest we’ve tested, it’s safe to say that even the more affordable models in the lineup will perform exceptionally well. So if you’re on a budget, heavily consider a lower-variant of the Stonic, if not, then the top-of-the-line EX AT is a great choice. 



1.4 L

Fuel Type



98 hp @ 6,000 rpm




Name Kia Stonic 1.4 EX AT
Body Type Crossover
Price ₱990,000
Transmission Category Automatic



Economy & Environment


Safety & Security




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