In the mix
Kia’s hot hatch is a brilliant first effort as Paul Acres discovers the corners of the front bumper, nor the twin sets of reversing lights slashed into the rear. I would have preferred a much simpler arrangement but, overall, I think Kia’s designers have done an excellent job of creating a car that, while strikingly individual, also fulfils the brief for what a hot hatch should look like.
Climb inside and it’s clear that Kia have been working hard on the quality of the materials as well as the fit and finish. There are some hard plastics but they’re mostly reserved for areas that you’ll rarely come into contact with, otherwise there’s lots of soft fabrics, leather and shiny bits to please the eye and the fingertips.
The Recaro seats are snug, supportive and very difficult to climb into or out of while preserving your dignity unless, I imagine, you’re a lot sprightlier than I am. Once you’re firmly ensconced the driving position is excellent.
There’s lots of kit, too, particularly in the GT Tech version that I drove. A large TFT display dominates the instrument binnacle. It can either be used as a standard speedometer or, with a press of the GT button on the steering wheel, display performance data such as turbo boost and torque. Either side is an analogue rev counter and fuel gauge.
The centre console houses a seven-inch touchscreen for the sat nav and audio controls. Pairing my phone using Bluetooth for handsfree calling and music playback was a straightforward and inutuitive process although, disappointingly, the audio playback lacked a little depth and richness.
Dual zone air con and heated seats make for a very cosy driving environment, particularly at this time of the year, and there are lots of steering-wheel mounted controls for audio, handsfree and cruise control. Perhaps too many.
I’m going to put my fussy hat on again because there’s a small, and in my opinion, un-