New mod­els ar­rive for Kia an­niver­sary

LO­CAL LAUNCH/ Fol­low­ing the ex­cit­ing new Stinger GT, the up­graded Sorento and Grand Se­dona are added to the line-up, writes De­nis Droppa

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

For what started out as a “cheap and cheer­ful” brand at the bar­gain­base­ment end of the South African mar­ket two decades ago, Kia has come a long way.

When the Korean mar­que launched here in 1998 with the hum­ble Pride hatch­back, it sold only 310 units in its first year. To­day Kia Mo­tors SA sells that amount in a week.

The brand was ini­tially con­sid­ered some­thing of a poor cousin to Hyundai, which has a 33.88% stake in Kia, and for a while it trot­ted out well-priced but stylis­ti­cally chal­lenged ve­hi­cles like the Spec­tra, Sportage and Pi­canto.

But the tide turned in 2006 with the ap­point­ment of Peter Schreyer as chief de­sign of­fi­cer. The Ger­man, fa­mous for styling cars like the Audi TT and new­gen­er­a­tion VW Bee­tle, turned Kia into a more as­pi­ra­tional brand al­most overnight.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of the now iconic “tiger nose” grille and swoopy new curves, the new­gen­er­a­tion Kia Sportage and Rio shed their for­merly dreary clothes and adopted eye-catch­ing de­signs that could share the spot­light with their debonair Euro­pean ri­vals. The fresh new de­sign theme, which co­in­cided with bet­ter-equipped and more glam­orous in­te­ri­ors, was adopted through­out the range on ve­hi­cles such as the Pi­canto, Cer­ato, Grand Se­dona and Sorento. Kia also rein­vented it­self as a maker of bet­ter qual­ity cars, and from 1999 to 2016 it im­proved from last to first non­premium brand of the 37 name­plates ranked in the JD Power and As­so­ci­ates Ini­tial Qual­ity study in the US.

Co­in­cid­ing with Kia’s 20th an­niver­sary in SA the brand has in­tro­duced its fastest and most ex­cit­ing car yet, the Stinger GT, a 270km/h grand tourer that com­petes against Ger­man sports sedans like the Audi S5 and BMW 440i Gran Coupe. We re­cently road-tested the car and you can read the on­line re­port at https://goo.gl/j93mnx.

Kia has also launched re­freshed ver­sions of the Grand Se­dona MPV and the Sorento mid-sized SUV in SA.

SORENTO

The Sorento’s an un­der­rated SUV com­pet­ing in the same seg­ment as the Toy­ota For­tuner and Ford Ever­est, and Kia is hop­ing to gain some mar­ket share by facelift­ing the ve­hi­cle along with an up­dated cabin and up­graded stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els.

The re­vised front end fea­tures a new bumper de­sign and new pro­jec­tion head­lamps and re­vised LED day­time running lights on higher spec­i­fi­ca­tion mod­els. At the rear are a new bumper and sleeker tail lamps, and all mod­els ride on newly de­signed 18-inch al­loy wheels shod with 235/60 R18 rub­ber. All mod­els have a full-sized spare wheel.

In­te­rior up­dates in­clude a new steer­ing wheel and gearshift lever, and a re­vised in­stru­ment clus­ter, while leather up­hol­stery and a soft-touch dash­board help to cre­ate an up­mar­ket am­bi­ence. Stan­dard spec in­cludes cruise con­trol, six airbags and ABS brakes.

All de­riv­a­tives of­fer seat­ing for up to seven pas­sen­gers, and with the third row seats folded away flat there’s a roomy 605l of lug­gage space.

Kia has ditched the 2.4 petrol, and en­try-level and high-end mod­els, and the Sorento range now com­prises a mid-spec LX and a mid-high-spec EX de­riv­a­tive, both avail­able with a 147kW/440Nm 2.2l tur­bod­iesel en­gine, ei­ther with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. An eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box with four driv­ing modes re­places the old six-speeder.

MODEL RANGE

Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX — R569,995 Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX AWD — R609,995 Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX — R599,995 Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX AWD — R639,995

GRAND SE­DONA

For the 2019 model, the Grand Se­dona peo­ple-car­rier re­ceives up­dates in­clud­ing re­vised bumpers and new re­con­fig­ured head­lamps, with LED day­time running lights on higher spec­i­fi­ca­tion mod­els. Sub­tle in­te­rior up­grades in­clude a re­designed fascia and new graphic clus­ter.

The petrol 3.3l V6 model falls away and only the 2.2 tur­bod­iesel re­mains, paired with an eight-speed auto gear­box and front wheel drive.

Three trim grades are avail­able, with the higher mod­els var­i­ously lay­ing on treats like park dis­tance con­trol, leather up­hol­stery, a larger touch­screen, a wire­less smart­phone charger and elec­tri­callyad­justable front seats.

All ver­sions have six airbags and ABS brakes, sta­bil­ity con­trol and hill-start as­sist. De­pend­ing on de­riv­a­tive you ei­ther get seven or eight adult-sized seats with plenty of boot space in­cluded, while a 11-seater bus with min­i­mal lug­gage room can be im­ported on spe­cial or­der.

MODEL RANGE

Kia Grand Se­dona 2.2 CRDI EX 7-Seater — R599,995 Kia Grand Se­dona 2.2 CRDI EX 11-Seater — R615,995 (spe­cial or­der only) Kia Grand Se­dona 2.2 CRDI EX+ 8-Seater — R629,995 Kia Grand Se­dona 2.2 CRDI SXL 7-Seater — R782,995

Prices in­clude an un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre/five-year war­ranty and five-year/100,000km main­te­nance plan and five-year road­side as­sis­tance. * Kia Mo­tors SA is cel­e­brat­ing its 20th an­niver­sary in SA with a spe­cial pro­mo­tion that will see a hand­ful of Kia own­ers be­ing able to trade in their old ve­hi­cle for a new one at no cost. By vis­it­ing the www.up­grade­mykia.co.za web­site, con­tes­tants can en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion by say­ing why they de­serve a new Kia.

Kia’s up­dated Grand Se­dona bus com­petes against the likes of the Hyundai H1 and VW Kombi. Be­low: The Sorento SUV is dolled up with new bumpers and sleeker tail lamps.

The Grand Se­dona has stretch-out space for up to 11 pas­sen­gers.

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