Automotive

Published on August 6th, 2020 | by Joshua Chin

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New Kia Stonic Has Mild-Hybrid Engines And More Tech

The question is though: Will this compact Kia ever come to Malaysia?

Although conspicuously missing from the Malaysian market, the Kia Stonic has already been on sale elsewhere since the end of 2017. As such, Kia has decided that it is time for this compact crossover to receive a mid-life facelift. Just to keep this popular B-segment SUV competitive in this very cut-throat segment of the car market.  

Actually, calling it a facelift is stretching the truth as the exterior and interior of this Korean crossover remains largely unchanged from the pre-facelift models. The major revision though can be found under the skin of the Kia Stonic. 

The headline news about this facelift would probably be the powertrain. Revised versions of the Stonic is now available with Kia’s new EcoDynamics+ mild-hybrid petrol engine, which essentially equates to Kia’s new Smartstream 1.0 litre T-GDi engine paired to a 48V mild-hybrid system. 

Available in both 100 PS and 120 PS flavours, this new engine produces the same power as the older non-hybrid engine but is slated to have a higher peak torque figure and of course, offer better fuel efficiency than the old engines. 

What is interesting about the EcoDynamics+ powertrain though, is that it could either be paired with the conventional 7-speed DCT gearbox, or Kia’s innovative clutch-by-wire intelligent Manual Transmission. 

This intriguing new gearbox option however will not be available in the non-hybrid variants of this Korean compact crossover, and will have to make do with either the same 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox or a new conventional six speed manual transmission. 

On the subject of the non-hybrid variants, it is worth pointing out that the new Smartstream engine can be had without the complicated hybrid system, thus leaving just the 1.0 T-GDi engine or buyers can opt for a new 1.2 litre naturally aspirated petrol engine instead. 

Apart from the powertrain upgrades, the revised Kia Stonic also includes some new technology. A larger 8-inch touchscreen is now standard in all models of the Stonic, with the obligatory integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto of course. That’s not all however as Kia has also introduced their latest ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics system into the Stonic. Think of it as Google Maps by Kia and you’ll get the gist of it. 

What is perhaps more significant though is the tech upgrades the Stonic receives in the safety department as this revised crossover features Kia’s latest Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS). This means that in addition to the six airbags, Kia has added many safety acronyms to the Stonic as part of the ADAS safety suite. These acronyms include ‘Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), and Lane Following Assist (LFA)’. 

The revised Kia Stonic will hit the European showrooms during the third quarter of 2020. In regards to when this compact crossover will come to Malaysia, three years on we still have no official word from Kia Malaysia yet. 

More information can be found in the press release below: 

Kia Motors has introduced significant upgrades to the Kia Stonic compact crossover, strengthening the car’s position in the European B-SUV segment.

The upgraded Stonic now offers drivers a range of efficient new ‘Smartstream’ powertrains, with innovations that enhance efficiency. Among these, the Stonic now offers Kia’s new gasoline 48V mild-hybrid ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain, and is also equipped with the company’s new ‘clutch-by-wire’ intelligent manual transmission.

The interior and exterior design of the Stonic remain largely unchanged, however owners have even greater scope for customisation than before, with new body and roof colours and colour schemes, and a new wheel choice. Inside, drivers and occupants can now specify a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system 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).

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

The upgraded Kia Stonic goes on-sale in Europe during the third quarter of 2020, with Kia’s industry-leading 7-Year, 150,000-kilometre warranty included as standard on all models.

Powertrains

New EcoDynamics+ gasoline mild-hybrid with new intelligent Manual Transmission

The upgraded Kia Stonic will offer the brand’s new gasoline 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 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 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 double-clutch transmission (7DCT) is 16% higher, at 200 Nm.

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.

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.

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

New Smartstream gasoline powertrains

The upgraded Kia Stonic also features major revisions to its existing range of gasoline engine options, maximising efficiency, lowering CO2 emissions, and improving drivability. As well as EcoDynamics+ models, the line-up is now offered in Europe with a choice of non-hybrid Smartstream gasoline engines – the new 100 ps 1.0-litre T-GDi engine, and a new version of Kia’s naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine, with innovative Dual Port Injection technology and a power output of 84 ps.

The 100 ps 1.0-litre T-GDi engine is also now offered with a choice of six-speed manual transmission, replacing the earlier five-speed manual, and 7DCT.

Official performance and efficiency figures for every new Stonic powertrain – including EcoDynamics+ models – will be announced nearer to the car’s on-sale date.

Technology

Upgraded infotainment with innovative UVO Connect ‘Phase II’ telematics

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 optional 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.

The upgraded Stonic offers Kia’s new ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics features, with a range of On-Board Services including live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest (POIs), fuel prices, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and availability. Online Voice Recognition lets users search for POIs, addresses, weather updates, or send text messages with voice commands. A new ‘Online Navigation’ routing service uses cloud-based real-time and historical traffic data to predict time-efficient routes more accurately than ever before.

The UVO App, compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, also offers a range of new ‘Phase II’ features, including Last Mile Navigation. This helps customers continue navigating to their journey’s final destination, even after they have parked and left the car behind. It helps Kia customers navigate in towns and cities where parking hubs are often some distance away from shops, cafés and restaurants.

A new ‘User Profile Transfer’ feature enables users to back-up their in-vehicle UVO preferences via the cloud and transfer settings from one vehicle to the next. This is designed for customers who often switch between different UVO Connect-equipped Kia cars, such as fleet drivers who use pool cars, or families with more than one UVO Connect-equipped Kia in their household.

Design and customisation

New colour and wheel options for added customisation potential

Inside and out, the design of the upgraded Stonic remains largely unchanged, with the latest model boasting newly designed full LED headlamps with a striking new design. With the car’s compact crossover styling still looking fresh since its launch, Kia is instead giving customers new ways to customise their Stonic.

On the outside, a new 16-inch aluminium alloy wheel choice is available, as well as two new exterior paint colours – Perennial Grey and Sporty 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 Most 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% 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.

Safety

New ADAS safety technologies available

The upgraded Stonic features several of Kia’s latest Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), depending on specification. These include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), and Lane Following Assist (LFA).

LFA in collaboration with SCC controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front and road conditions. Operating at speeds below 180 kph, it uses camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the Stonic in the centre of its lane. Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) and front and rear parking sensors are available, as well as a new Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) system, which alerts the driver if they inadvertently leave a vulnerable passenger or pet in the car.

The upgraded model is fitted with six airbags throughout the cabin, as well as ISOFIX child-seat tether and anchor points.

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About the Author

Amateur automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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