Hear, hear for Kia!
PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 November 2014
It's a week of wonder for ANDY COOPER as he takes delivery of some surprising and special cars to try out
Confident. That’s a word I’d always associated with Kia cars. They must be if they are shouting from the rooftops about their now legendary seven-year warranty. It made something of a statement to the motor buying public which breathed assurance and quality. But, does the driving experience live up to the star billing which accompanies the warranty pledge?
To find out, I spent a week driving three vehicles from the extensive range kindly loaned to me by Marsh Kia, the South West specialists. And what a treat the threesome were: all different in their own way, but with a common thread running through them of comfort, ease of driving and technical simplicity.
Firstly, the Kia Optima 3.1 7D AT. The marque’s saloon star performer has undergone a facelift for 2014 and it not only looks better for it, by golly it drives well too. Sleek, stylish and a truly comfortable driving experience, this saloon goes way beyond standard and is likely to have others in this highly competitive class asking how Kia do it for the money.
With a clear eye on the business community, this is a vehicle which has seen plenty of high end features added for the upgrade. My own personal favourite was the blind spot detection system on both mirrors – a simple yet effective idea.
One minor gripe was the fact that driver/passenger heat controls seem the wrong way round on the display, perhaps a nod to the car’s origins, but this would be churlish to dwell on when the rest of the vehicle was ease itself to drive.
Next it was the Cee’d SW 1.6D 3 MT – the sassy sportswagon with the somewhat strange name. However, any reference in one’s mind to the name is forgotten as soon as you ease into the driver’s seat.
Following on from the new look Cee’d hatchback, this SW completes the upgrade of the model. A clear nod to the popularity which SWs are now enjoying across all types of driver, not just the ‘home’ user, this is a fabulously stylish and economical vehicle which was a delight to drive.
Finally to the star of my show on the road with Kia, the Sportage KX3 SN AT. Phew, what a vehicle. Tall and proud, elegant and dynamic, spacious and stylish…it had everything one would expect from a car in this class. And then some.
The automatic version I had purred its away around town and then opened its shoulders in style on the open road. The lovely, comfortable, elevated driving position made one feel safe and the interior and layout added the stylish touches one would expect at this level of drive. No wonder this vehicle accounts for a quarter of Kia’s UK sales…it is the star in their firmament and a pleasure to be at the wheel of.
All too soon, my Kia week was at an end and I was waving goodbye to a smart, stylish and, for me, surprising, range of cars. Now, if only it had been a Kia year! n
Marsh Kia Exeter, Hennock Road, Marsh Barton, Exeter, EX2 8NJ; Tel: 01392 338030. Marsh Kia Taunton, Priorswood Road, Taunton, TA2 8DN; 01823