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2020 Kia Stonic SUV upgraded with mild-hybrid power & new safety tech

In a nutshell:

  • Facelifted Kia Stonic will feature petrol mild-hybrid powertrain, with ‘clutch-by-wire’ intelligent manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, for first time.
  • More scope for customisation with new paint colours for body and roof.
  • Stonic now offers new ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics features and larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
  • New high-tech driver assistance and safety features include Lane Following Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with cyclist detection, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist
  • Further details to be announced later this year.

You can enjoy more tech while spending less on fuel with the facelifted new Kia Stonic.

Because not only has Kia improved the entertainment system, the firm’s smallest SUV now also comes as an attractive mild hybrid.

The good-looking ‘urban crossover’ Kia Stonic was first introduced in the UK back in 2018 and quickly won fans for its quirky looks, high ride height and practicality. It also acted as the perfect rival to the similarly-styled Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Skoda Kamiq and Citroen C3 Aircross.

The Stonic is currently only available with a choice of naturally-aspirated engines - a 1.4 litre petrol, a turbocharged three cylinder 1.0 T-GDi petrol, and a 1.6 litre CRDi diesel.

But now Kia has confirmed that when the new Stonic hits dealerships later this year, a mild hybrid drivetrain will be added to the mix, as the manufacturer continues its commitment to electrification.

In case you’re not down with the electric lingo, a so-called ‘mild hybrid’ is one that doesn’t actually need charging - and one which can’t be driven on battery power alone.

Instead an electric motor provides an extra boost of power to improve efficiencies, allowing the engine to be turned off whenever the car is coasting, braking, or stopped, yet to also restart quickly. Meanwhile the battery charges itself through clever regenerative braking.

The system at play in the new Kia Stonic is called ‘EcoDynamics ’, which pairs a new ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi engine with a 48V MHEV system.

A Kia spokesperson says: “The EcoDynamics powertrain delivers greater efficiency by seamlessly deploying and recuperating electric power. A compact 48-volt lithium-ion polymer battery supplements the engine’s torque output with electric power, and extends engine ‘off time’ with a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit.

“The MHSG is connected by belt to the engine’s crankshaft, and switches seamlessly between ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. In ‘motor’ mode, under acceleration, the MHSG provides electric power assistance to reduce engine load and emissions. As the car decelerates, the MHSG has the ability under certain conditions to switch to ‘generator’ mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery.”

The new EcoDynamics powertrain is offered on both 100 ps and 120 ps versions of the new engine, with a Drive Mode Select system letting drivers of each version customise their drive with ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Normal’ modes.

While the interior and exterior design of the Stonic remains largely unchanged from the old version, more colour options are promised - as well as new body and roof colour combos.

There’s a larger new 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen display offered as standard, with Display Audio or Satellite Navigation depending on vehicle specification. You also get access to Kia’s ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics features, which include things like live traffic information, weather forecasts, fuel prices and parking spots.

What’s more, the boffins at Kia want to keep you safe, too.

The Stonic now comes, depending on which options you choose, with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), and Lane Following Assist (LFA).

There are still some details being kept under wraps - including those all important fuel efficiency figures - but UK specification, line-up, pricing, engine options and colour choices will be announced later this year.

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Tuesday, 10/05/2022