A few months ago, Kia Motors Philippines introduced a new contender in the subcompact crossover SUV market in the form of the Kia Stonic. A handsome looking little SUV, the Kia Stonic is worthy of a few head turns in stock form. The interior is well appointed for driving day in and day out. All 365 days a year.
The Stonic hides a 1.4 liter engine that puts around 95 to 100hp, depending on the transmission variant you opt for, with the self-shifting transmission offering the slightly higher power output. Power is sufficient to eat up the kilometers without eating up a lot of fuel in the process.
Kia’s recent models have had a nearly European feel cabin design theme. The Stonic follows that no nonsense and no gimmicky feel to its cabin. Ample room to sit four in comfort (five when you can’t say no to that one passenger), with equally ample cargo space in the back. All in all, the stock Kia Stonic is a great platform for your first vehicle or even a second one for the family.
But here at PartsPro, we believe that a great platform can still be improved on. As we always say, stock is a compromise and life is too short to stay stock. So we have started the Sketchpad Project. This where we bust out our creative juices to try and see what we can do to liven things up with bolt-on items and get the most performance without breaking the bank. In this case, we set our sights on the recently released Kia Stonic.
The Changes You Can See
As we all know, the part that makes or breaks a build, whether on paper or the real thing, is the wheels and tires. We have thought of two approaches to this conceptual build that could just be interesting for you. The first approach we will call the IOM or ‘It’s Only Money’ modifications and the other one, the BFB or the ‘Bang for the Buck’ modifications. In both approaches, we are looking to achieve the road rally look but with two different budgets.
In the first approach, the IOM modifications, we choose wheels from OZ Racing. A staple in the World Rally Championship series, OZ Racing has been synonymous with sturdy, robust but lightweight wheels. Their Rally Racing model features a central disc design that is both timeless and aggressive. A throwback to the 90s when OZ Racing was the wheels of choice by the top race teams in the World Rally Championship series. Measurements of the wheels will be 7.5 x 17, offset 45 and PCD 100. The wheels will be finished in graphite to complement most of body colors available on the local production Kia Stonic.
For tires, we opted for the Nitto Invo tires. Measuring 225/45-17, this combination lends that a race ready look to the whole build. With the Invo’s aggressive tread pattern of large inner and outer blocks with a solid center rib ensure that you have dry weather and cornering traction with braking performance and tread stability thrown in for good measure.
On the suspension front, we found out that Eibach has a Pro Kit application for the Kia Stonic. The Eibach Pro Kit features lowering springs that brings the vehicle lower to the ground by a mere 25mm, or 1 inch. Aside from lowering the ride height, it also slightly firms up the suspension for better handling. But unlike most lowering spring, the Pro Kit line of lowering springs do what they do without compromising the stock ride. In some cases, quite a few individuals have been quoted saying that the ride is even better than stock. You could say it is the best of two worlds, handling with comfort.
Taking into account that the local release of the Kia Stonic is not offered with fog lamps on their top spec variant, we decided to include a set of PIAA LP570 auxiliary lamps custom mounted in the lower grille location. The PIAA LP570 are 7” LED long range driving lamps that help shine the way during those dark, late night travels. Featuring PIAA’s advanced Reflector Facing Technology (RFT), the innovative design offers a significant improvement in lighting and beam control when compared to forward-facing conventional LED and halogen counterparts. As a result of this innovation, the drivers gets more visibility at night time. Seeing farther and wider with more of the road side and shoulder visibility.
In our second approach, the BFB (Bang for the Buck) tune, we picked wheels from local wheel manufacturer, Rota Wheels. The Rota Strike model is a 10-spoke wheel design that is aggressive but with a European flair brought about by the multi-spoke design. Figuratively giving you that stiff upper lip look. This set of wheels will have the dimensions of 8 x 17, offset 45 and PCD 100. Finished in Speed Bronze, the wheels exude decadent sportiness when mounted on the Kia Stonic.
For this approach, we went with Giti Radiai’s Control 288 in 225/45-17. Giving the Stonic some great looks with equally great performance. The Control 288 features an asymmetrical thread pattern with four deep circumferential grooves that ensure grip in dry and wet weather conditions. In spite of the race derived DNA of the Control 288, it offers outstanding safety and comfort. Perfect for the daily commute.
Once more we chose the Eibach Pro Kit lowering springs to bring down the ride height and give better overall handling, something the Eibach brand is known for.
A different choice in auxiliary lamps was chosen though. PIAA LP270 auxiliary lamps got our nod. The 270 Ion Yellow driving lamps features a beam pattern that enhances not only distance illumination but also the road side and shoulder illumination. The LP270 is also LED equipped and also features PIAA’s Reflector Facing Technology (RFT), all in compact 2-3/4” housing that offers a wide variety of mounting options. In this case, we opted to mount it again in the lower grille for that stealthy OEM look.
The Bits You Don’t See.
In every build we all make, there a hidden modifications that only reveal themselves under close scrutiny. So in this category of modification, we also have choices for the IOM and BFB approaches of the build. Remember how the saying goes? “The devil is in the details.”
Continuing the IOM approach, we rummage through the PIAA catalog and find ourselves picking these items to all to the IOM list of modifications. We choose the PIAA Superior Bass horn and the PIAA Si-Tech (Silicone Technology) Flat Wiper Blades.
Our vehicle’s horns are an integral part of getting noticed on the road. PIAA’s Superior Bass Horn doesn’t just go ‘beep, beep’. It goes ‘beep, beep’ with a powerful, attention grabbing 112 decibel output that you cannot ignore. It simply announces your presence with style, loudly.
The PIAA Si-Tech Flat Wiper Blades give that modern frameless look that we strive for. The frameless design also applies equal pressure across the entire length of the blade that virtually eliminates skipping across the windscreen for a better wiping performance. The silicone rubber is heat and ozone resistant, and the silicone coating of the rubber continually reapplies an active silicone coating that assures streak-free and quiet operation.
Still on the IOM side of our list, we have to be realistic in driving in our tropical weather. So windown films is a must to stay comfortable inside the vehicle. SunBloc offers a cabon ceramic window film that has excellent UV rejection, claimed to be 100%, and heat rejection properties as much as 83%. All without blocking electronic devices in the process.
Now let us move to the BFB side of things. Our search comes up with FIAMM Horns with their AM80S. The AM80S are snail shaped horns that produces a loud piecing 110 decibels of sound that catches anyone’s attention. The lightweight and compact size belies the output it can produce, no wonder vehicle manufactures the likes of BMW, Audi, FIAT and even Ferrari come with these fitted from the factory.
NBW is an OEM supplier to several automotive manufacturers, they could even be the stock brand used on the Kia Stonic. But NWB produces a different wiper blade line that not only looks good but also performs better than the stock wiper blades. NWB’s Aero Rain Wipers have a shell that fully covers the wiper blade with an aerodynamic form factor. The aerodynamic shape acts something like an airfoil that pushes down on the blade, thus keeping the blade in constant contact throughout the arc of the wiper arm. Then the rubber that is used in the wiper blade is impregnated with graphite ensuring a smooth travel across the windscreen. Overall result is a smooth, streak-free wipe of the windscreen every time, all the time.
Tackling window films in this BFB approach, we protect the occupants with Stek carbon ceramic window films. Stek’s Action series automotive window films offer as much as 99% UV protection and maximum heat rejection. Two things that are important in tropical countries like the Philippines. A plus for Stek Action films is that if offers 0% interference for your electronic devices.
Engine Tweaks for Both Approaches
For these last two modifications, we believe that it benefits both the IOM and BFB approaches of this conceptual build. We are talking about engine modifications that will bring slightly more power and better drivability to the Kia Stonic. The air filters from K&N and also throttle controllers from DTE.
K&N has been around for more than half a decade. And their development of their drop-in air filter adds a slight bump in power and reusability. K&N uses an oiled cotton filter design that captures contaminants in the air coming into the engine. The oiled cotton design also had a benefit of being reusable by washing the contaminants off the filter and re-oiling to be used again as fresh as it was brand new. K&N Drop-in filters simply replaces the stock air filter in the Kia Stonic with same-sized filter with K&N’s reusable goodness.
Talking about the intake, related to the topic is throttle response. Most of us know the throttle nowadays are controlled thru wires and electrical pulses than a direct mechanical link to the ‘go’ pedal. It basically simplifies incorporating traction control, cruise control and other operations that can help keep us from getting ourselves in trouble. Most systems of this ‘drive by wire’ systems suffer with a less than ideal throttle response. They have this ‘laggy’ feel. To help solve this, we found throttle controllers from a German manufacturer, DTE, to help in this department. By using their Pedalbox throttle controller, you can dial out the ‘laggy’ bits of the throttle response. You are left with a snappy throttle response that you will be happy with and very satisfied.
There you have it, two approaches to building a Kia Stonic that will have to grinning with satisfaction.