Kia have been having a good run over the past few years in terms of having a product line-up with good-looking models, however things seem to be changing especially when you look at the new Kia Niro. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it outright ugly, but it’s still not really a car that you would buy based on its looks alone. So, with two weeks to use it as my daily runabout, I had more than enough time to find out what other good qualities it has, and if other well-established hybrids such as the Toyota Prius deserve to be overlooked in favour of this new offering.
It’s hard to believe that it has already been two years since I reviewed the last Kia Sorento, but the new one is here now and is promising to be better than the car it replaces. It looks like it’s off to a good start – it definitely looks good from the front, and its new grille is aggressive-yet-subtle, something even premium-brand SUVs have a hard time pulling off. Its side profile is not bad either, with the roof sloping downwards at the rear to give a sportier look. The rear lights did leave me scratching my head though, to my eyes they strongly resemble those of the 2011-2013 Dodge Durango. It’s got less of a butch look than the previous Sorento but it’s still a well-executed design.
There was a time in Europe when sedans used to be the default choice when it came to choosing an everyday car. But with crossover SUVs and hatchbacks being as popular as they are today, affordable-brand sedans are often overlooked. But that hasn’t stopped Kia from putting the Optima on sale, giving a much-needed extra choice to the segment. But while having an extra choice is a good thing, the question is whether the Optima has what it takes to sway buyers away from the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, Toyota Avensis or Mazda 6.
The Kia Soul never struck me as a standout car when it came out in 2008, and after six years of being in the market it has received a facelift. On first impressions, the Kia Soul is meant to be a stylish alternative to a hatchback or small MPV, but to be honest I never was smitten by the looks of the previous Soul. The interior wasn’t that nice either, what with low-rent materials scattered throughout. However, going with Kia’s new-found mojo of designing good-looking cars, things look a lot better for the new Soul, which might just make my job of convincing you that it’s a good car that bit easier.
When the current Kia Sportage made its first appearance in 2010, it struck me as one of the best-looking crossover SUVs I’ve seen in a long time. Fast forward to this mildly facelifted 2014 version, and things are much the same. Competitors such as the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Kuga have since been newly released, but despite them being a bit younger, I personally think the Sportage still beats them in the looks department. The only car I can think of that’s in the same segment that looks better is the rather more expensive Range Rover Evoque. Apart from looks though, my two weeks with the Sportage revealed other reasons for why it’s a rather good car to live with.
The new Cee’d GT is Kia’s very first attempt at producing a hot hatch, which was enough reason for me to travel nearly 260km to Zurich to get a hold of a test car. But apart from being keen to know what it’s like as a first attempt, I also wanted to know how it compares to the already established big names of the hot hatch world. In other words, will it give Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI owners nightmares? Or will they laugh at the poor fools who ended up buying one? I had two weeks to find out.
Making a station wagon exciting will always be a hard task. Cars like the Audi RS4, Mercedes Benz C63 AMG, or Cadillac CTS-V are a few examples of exciting station wagons. But they do cost a lot of money, and if you remove their high-performing engines and suspension you’re left with regular family station wagons. The Kia Cee’d Sportswagon is yet another example of an inconspicuous station wagon, and while there’s nothing exciting about the way it looks, it has proved to be a rather nice car to live with.
There is no shortage of choice for SUVs these days, in fact you would be forgiven for thinking that the SUV market is overcrowded. With such a competitive market segment, this new facelifted Sorento will have to offer something special indeed for buyers to be persuaded to have one in their daily lives. Also, having driven the pre-facelift version on a Geneva-Paris-Geneva road trip, I was also keen to see what improvements Kia have made as well.
The 2012 Paris Motor Show is currently the place to be if you want you to see how exciting the future of motoring is going to be. You have the usual mix of concept cars, new car debuts, etc. But after looking at what the show has to offer, SOC has come up with a list of cars that stand out more than others.
Test driving the new Kia Cee'd shows just how much progress the hatchback sector has made in recent years. But, does the Cee'd succeed in luring customers away from its competitors?