Long-term report: Attempting to impress the grandparents with our Kia Stonic
Ted Welford treks up North to see if LF18 NKM can pass the crucial grandparent-approval test
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in our Kia Stonic this month, and I continue to be largely impressed.
There’s certainly a lot to like. It’s decent to drive, practical for its size and comes impressively well kitted-out – particularly for a mid-spec small crossover.
On longer journeys, it performs well on motorways – even more so when you consider that it’s powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine.
However, the next test in store would be one of its fiercest – what do the grandparents think of it?
As much as crossovers, such as the Stonic, are marketed by manufacturers as young people’s cars, aimed at ‘lifestyle’ families, many of them end up in the hands of pensioners. It’s quite easy to see why — they’re practical, a bit higher up which makes them easier to get in and out of and often offer superb value for money.
So, on a recent jaunt up to the sunny Scarborough coast, it was a good opportunity to get the grandparents’ view on the Kia.
As drivers of a Skoda Yeti, they know their way around a crossover, with Grandad still being an able driver at 84.
But don’t be fooled into believing that they’ll think any car is good – they’re tough people to please. The Ford EcoSport was slated for being uncomfortable and slow, a Nissan Qashqai was deemed as “average”, so how did the Stonic fare?
Well, perhaps the highest praise it could get. “This is very pleasant Edward”, was Grandad’s overall thought. Yes only Christian names are used with this generation — he won’t be pleased when he sees that this has been written by ‘Ted’…
It was only Apple CarPlay (it has Android Auto too) which out-foxed them. The prospect of an iPhone is still a struggle, so you can imagine how complex it was for them to have the device projected on the touchscreen display.
The Stonic was certainly a pleasing companion for the 20-mile trip home on a Saturday night after a three-course evening meal. And thankfully the deal works that if I drive, they pay for the meal. Good deal, eh? Even better when it comes to fuel economy. While the Stonic isn’t overly efficient, it’s amazing what wonders can be worked to your driving style when you have two 80-year-olds in a car.
The following day I decided it was about time to get some good pictures of the Stonic. With the family farm to take advantage of, and with harvest just finished, it was a prime opportunity to take advantage of the stubble fields for some good photos.
As with most crossovers, the Stonic is frankly useless away from tarmac, so it’s quite a good thing that the fields were bone dry when these pictures were taken, and luckily a bright evening sun made the Stonic’s Blaze Red paintwork look fantastic.
Rugged styling is all part of the crossover buzz, though. Cars that look like they can go off road, but are purely for show. But they’re rolling out of showrooms at a phenomenal rate, so it’s little surprise that Kia now has five crossovers and SUVs in its model line-up.
LF18 NKM has certainly proven its worth on our fleet, and has been a popular addition. It’ll be a sad day when the Stonic returns to Kia…
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