Kia Australia says its acceptance of the four-year-old five-star ANCAP safety rating given to its new Stonic light SUV does not suggest the Stonic would not have performed as well under more stringent safety testing introduced last year.
ANCAP announced that the 2021 Kia Stonic, which first launched overseas in 2017 and has since had a mid-life facelift, would share the five-star rating given to the Kia Rio on which it’s based as it is technically a variant of the hatchback and has the same Identification Plate Approval.
The 2017 testing of the then-new fourth-generation Rio applied to all 1.4-litre versions meaning that it transfers across to the Stonic S and Sport variants, that share the same engine, performance, safety equipment and internal structure, but not the range-topping 1.0-litre turbo Stonic GT-Line.
Kia Australia’s general manager for product planning Roland Rivera said carry-over ratings weren’t unusual and were not an admission the new arrival would not have done as well under the 2020 testing regime.
“No I wouldn’t say it’s an admission ... it was what we decided to do from a launch perspective and a resource perspective and a cost perspective,” he said during the Stonic’s online launch on Monday.
“Where there’s an opportunity to piggyback or carry over a rating we will go that path first and foremost. Crash testing is not something that’s relatively simple to execute. It’s a big job, it’s resources intensive, and it’s not cheap either. It’s quite expensive.
“We are at the midway point in the life of Stonic and as much as possible we’d like to launch it without having to spend a huge portion of dollars to get it through. It’s no different to what Europe did, they carried over the Rio rating and we’re doing the same thing."
When asked if he thought the Stonic would pass 2020 ANCAP testing Rivera said he wouldn't want to speculate.
“I couldn’t answer that because we don’t have a test result under the current protocols,” he said.
“We always won’t speculate on how it would perform under 2020 protocols because their guess and our guess is as good as anyone else’s.”
He believed buyers will accept the ANCAP rating and that the Stonic will raise Kia's profile in the light SUV segment.