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Focus on Kia

We reflect on Kia’s latest models we’ve tested this year: Pro_cee'd, Pro_cee'd GT, Soul and Rio
It’s actually how well the car does the boring stuff that really counts If it entertains credibly on the odd track day as well then hey, job done. And this one does, so it’s a matter of Have Cake, Will Eat

The Kia pro_cee’d

The all-new second generation pro-cee’d (sold only in Europe) has replaced Kia’s entire European designed and European made small family car segment this year. Certainly the most dynamic of Kia’s designs, its Coupe styling sets to emphasise ‘performance and dynamism’, coming in two trim levels, S and SE, powered by direct injection diesel and petrol engines.


Every model has a six speed gearbox via either manual operation or Kia’s DCT double-clutch transmission, and all new models have what Kia refer to as Intelligent Stop & Go, engine stop/start system.Average fuel consumption varies across the range from 46.3 from the 6 speed DCT 1.6 GDi SE (140 CO2 g/km) to 74.3 mpg (100 CO2 g/km) for the 6 speed manual 1.6 CRDi diesel.

The Kia Pro_Cee'd 1.6 CRDi SE ISG

0-60 mph: 10.5 seconds. Top Speed: 122 mph. Average Consumption: 65.7 mpg. C02: 112 g/km. Engine: 4 cyl 1600 cc. Power: 126 bhp. Price: £20,995.


The Kia Pro_Cee’d GT

We were originally introduced to the new Kia pro_cee’d GT by being given the keys by Kia without any PR promotional blurb; we were just told to simply go out and enjoy the car on some very challenging roads. Our Kia hosts made the point that the car wasn’t designed to be a hard core GT but it is Kia’s first entry into the performance GT sector, and they hope we enjoyed the drive.

Quite frankly that’s the best way Kia could have chosen to make its mark with this car. We probably wouldn’t have listened to the PR blurb anyway. It was actually the car that did the talking, and it actually proved an enjoyable bonus to be out in a quick, fun, good looking and amazingly well equipped car that wasn’t out to prove itself as a B-Road King. Odd that, because to us mostly average drivers it still felt ‘quite the business’ and for real-world high performance driving it delivered so much fun per mile.

With endless equipment, premium cabin quality, and good spacious accommodation for four, you can understandably conclude that Kia had little reason to worry. For some odd reason we are encouraged to think these days that a performance car must earn its credits by being thrashed around the Nurbergring which, to many of us could just as well be a German name for a jam doughnut. Much as we love it, ‘the ‘ring’ is pretty much irrelevant to what the law lets us do 99% of the time. It’s actually how well the car does the boring stuff that really counts. If it entertains credibly on the odd track day as well then hey, job done. And this one does, so it’s a matter of Have Cake, Will Eat.

It’s a real eye catcher too with several admirers actually asking us what model it is; they had no idea it was a Kia. Arguably, our bright ‘techno-orange’ test car may have helped, but if it didn’t then an on-the-road price of £22,500 certainly did. Our feeling is that if Kia are to enter this segment they have pitched this car exactly right – it’s a surprisingly capable GT that simply says ‘relax and enjoy’. Maybe that’s why it’s so popular – it just delivers with keen sprightly handling and performance car urge, yet is a highly refined and comfortable day to day commuter. Very clever.

0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds. Top Speed: 143 mph. Average Consumption: 38.2 mpg. CO2: 171 g/km. Engine: 4 cyl 1600 cc. Power: 126 bhp. Price: £22,500.


The Kia Soul

With this car Kia are out to show the world that they have the brand confidence to be different – a welcoming dismissal of conformity; instead, in the Kia Soul we have a bold quirky car appealing to the emotions (and pocket) of the young. Interior refinement and quality has been notably improved, and for upwards of £12,600 you can have the peace of mind of Kia’s confidence inspiring seven year/100,000 mile mechanical warranty, twelve year anti corrosion warranty, five year paintwork warranty and a year’s Europe-wide roadside assistance, and…bring some soul into your life.

The Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi

0-60 mph: 10.8 seconds. Top Speed: 112 mph. Average Consumption: 56.5 mpg. CO2: 132 g/km. Engine: 4 cyl 1600 cc. Power: 126 bhp.


The Kia Rio

When the highly acclaimed Kia designer Peter Schreyer created this new eye catching Kia Rio, competitors in the supermini sector such as Ford (the Fiesta) and Volkswagen (the Polo) now had some serious competition on their hands. The Kia Rio is now right up there with the best in the sector with the seduction of that industry leading Kia warranty. It’s eye catching and well finished with highly credible performance, especially from the 1.4 litre petrol engine. You have to dig deep for the power but this little car proves exceptionally spritely when pushed on maybe all but motorways. There’s a 1.2 petrol and 1.1 and 1.4 diesel engine options too, and our 1.4 petrol engined test car achieved a highly credible 53 mpg after a week of pretty demanding driving – an achievement certainly assisted in busy London traffic by the fitting of new ‘stop-start’ technology. An enticing alternative not only to Ford and VW, but it now levels as a competitor to the Mazda 2, Hyundai i20, and Nissan Micra.

The Kia Rio 1.4 Petrol

0-60 mph: 11.1 seconds. Top Speed: 114 mph. CO2: 124 g/km. Engine: 4 cyl 1400 cc. Power: 107 bhp. Price: £13,295.

- Kevin Haggarthy