Kia wants to attract more customers to its smaller cars in the range, now that Sportage continues to be a best-seller in Europe. The latest list of updates targets the small Stonic SUV.

Introduced to the European market at the end of 2017, the Stonic has since become Kia’s fourth best-selling model annually in the region (following the Ceed model family, Sportage and Picanto). Total European sales to-date comes to more than 150,000 units.

The upgraded Stonic offers drivers a range of efficient new ‘Smartstream’ powertrains. Among these, the Stonic is now available with Kia’s new petrol 48V mild-hybrid ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain, and is also equipped with the company’s new ‘clutch-by-wire’ Manual Transmission.

The interior and exterior design of the Stonic remain largely unchanged, however owners have even greater scope of colour options than before, with new body and roof colours and combinations, and a new wheel choice. Inside, a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system can be specified with Kia’s new ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics features. Safety and driver support are further enhanced with the adoption of a range of new high-tech advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

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The upgraded Kia Stonic will offer the brand’s new petrol mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain. Pairing a new ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) engine with a 48V MHEV system, 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 new Smartstream engine replaces the Stonic’s earlier ‘Kappa’-generation 1.0-litre T-GDi, 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 – 100 ps or 120 ps – but enables slightly higher peak torque output, depending on transmission. For instance, peak torque output from 120 ps models with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT) is 16 per cent higher, at 200 Nm.

EcoDynamics+ models are also available with Kia’s new intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT). The ‘clutch-by-wire’ system contributes to the MHEV system’s greater fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, while retaining the driver engagement of a conventional manual transmission. Instead of a mechanical linkage, the iMT’s clutch is actuated electronically. It integrates seamlessly with the MHSG to switch off the engine earlier than Kia’s Idle Stop & Go start-stop system when coasting to a halt.

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Both transmissions, iMT and 7DCT, enable periods of engine-off ‘sailing’ to improve fuel efficiency. This operates at speeds of up to 77 mph (125 km/h), and the engine reactivates when the driver pushes the accelerator, brake or clutch pedals.

The Stonic features an upgraded touchscreen navigation system offering Kia’s innovative ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics system, enhancing vehicle connectivity and control.

A larger 8.0-inch touchscreen display is offered as standard, with Display Audio or Satellite Navigation depending on vehicle specification. The new system features Bluetooth multi-connection, enabling users to connect up to two mobile devices at the same time – one for hands-free phone and media use; the other for media use only. The system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on models equipped with the new 8.0-inch Display Audio system, negating the need for many owners to connect their smartphone via a cable.

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On the outside, a new 16-inch aluminium alloy wheel choice is available, as well as two new exterior paint colours – Storm Grey and Azure Blue. The colour palette offers customers a choice of up to nine paint finishes. In addition, the new body and roof colours on offer creates the opportunity for a wider choice of colour contrast paint colours. With the roof now available in a Zest Yellow paint finish, the total number of two-tone colour options has risen to 20, depending on market and vehicle specification. The two-tone roof is popular with Stonic customers, with 33 per cent of all European customers specifying this stand-out option.

Inside, in addition to the new larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, the driver is also rewarded with a new higher-resolution 4.2-inch digital display in the instrument cluster. New interior customisation options are also available for the cabin, with new blue and yellow colour packs bringing the total choice to four, depending on vehicle specification and market. These add a dash of colour and flair to the cabin, with bright colour highlights on the dashboard and centre console.