For Model Year 2021, Kia has added a mild-hybrid powertrain, as well as an iMT, to the Malaysia-spec Kia Stonic
The Kia Stonic is a subcompact crossover SUV, built by the South Korean carmaker for many international markets. In Malaysia, Kia has recently updated the car with new a mild-hybrid powertrain, along with an intelligent manual transmission (iMT). This iMT isn’t the same two-pedal manual system that we get in India though, rather it is a three-pedal system, much like a traditional manual gearbox.
The smart-hybrid system on the Kia Stonic has been added on to the 1.0-litre, inline-3, turbocharged ‘T-GDI’ engine, which is available in two states of tune – 100 PS and 120 PS. The torque output is same for both, at 171 Nm, except for the 7-speed DCT version of the 120 PS variant, which is rated at 200 Nm. Other transmission options for this engine include the 6-speed iMT.
Apart from that, the Stonic is also available with a 1.2-litre, naturally aspirated, inline-4 petrol engine, which comes paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox. This motor generates a maximum power of 84 PS and a peak torque of 114 Nm. The other powerplant option is the non-smart-hybrid version of the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, which is paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DCT.
It should be noted that only the smart-hybrid models of the Stonic are available with an iMT. That’s because both the systems have been designed to work in synchronisation with each other. The iMT essentially uses a clutch-by-wire technology, wherein a sensor on the clutch pedal communicates with the TCU (transmission control unit), which then decides how much clutch action is needed. The Stonic also offers traffic stop/start feature, just like a normal mild-hybrid.
Using the clutch pedal on the iMT is purely optional, as the TCU is capable of working the clutch on its own, without driver’s input. In case the engine rpm falls too low for the selected gear, the mild-hybrid system fills in the gap in power, thus preventing the engine from stalling. If not, then the transmission will decide to disengage the gear and wait till the driver selects a lower gear to move.
Other than that, the MY2021 Stonic also gets Kia’s ‘Phase 2’ UVO Connected Car technology, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay), and a 4.2-inch MID in the instrument console, flanked by traditional dials for the speedo and tacho. The Kia Stonic is expected to go on sale in Malaysia during the end of this year, followed by the European market as well.