THE rise and rise of the Korean motor industry has been one of the enduring industrial stories of the last decade, right up there with Google, Apple and Facebook and every bit as impressive.
From an embarrassing budget brand base, marques like Kia have in recent years been embarrassing mainstream makers with style and high technology at sensible prices.
It was an evolution that took less than ten years and one that all began with one car - the cee’d family hatchback, launched in 2007, but better established in the much smarter and more sophisticated second generation guise we’re going to look at here. there’s only so much you can do with a total length that tends to be just under four and a half metres, into which you’ve got to slot five people, their gear, an engine and transmission - and then ensure it doesn’t look like an MPV.
In nature, this is known as ‘convergent evolution’; where species evolve separately but end up looking alike. That’s not to say that Kia has produced a bland car. Quite the opposite.
In second generation form, the cee’d has a more contemporary stance that’s both longer and lower than its predecessor, with the rising beltline giving the five-door hatchback a more aggressive, dynamic wedge shape. surveys. Customers have noted that some of the interior finishes can get scratched quite easily and the alloy wheels fitted to top models are quite easy to kerb.
Other than that, it’s a clean bill of health. Kia’s brilliant seven-year warranty arrangement means that these vehicles very rarely fall into premature neglect. Focus, a Golf or some other contender in this class from a conventional mainstream brand without considering its Korean alternative.
But these will largely be uninformed folk yet to fully cotton on to the way that products in this segment have changed. Thanks to the success of this cee’d, there are fewer and fewer customers of this kind around.
Of course, shortlist selection isn’t the same as a sale.
There are family hatch folk who’ll want more powerful engines or more dynamic handling than this car can offer.
But, we’d suggest, many more will enjoy this Kia’s sharp looks, impressive quality, class-leading practicality and low running costs.
True, the asking prices may be a little higher than you might expect from a South Korean brand, but don’t judge them until you’ve tried the product, a confident design from a very confident brand.
We think you might like it.