Archive for the ‘Kia’ Category

Time for a Carnival

Posted: April 3, 2016 in All, Kia, New Car Reviews

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People movers, as they are commonly called, are hated by many but have become more popular than Donald Trump photo shopped meme’s. The reason is that they are, as I put it, stupidly practical. I caved a few years ago after our second born came into this crazy mixed up world and brought a people mover. Must have been a weak moment to get talked into buying one of these over-grown station wagons. But, haven’t looked back. What other vehicle can offer comfort and space for a tour of the South Island for 5 people and all the luggage needed for two weeks on the road? None.

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We have recently tested the Kia Rio 1.4 Automatic and a wee bit later we tested the Kia Picanto 1.2 Manual ISG. Now, it would seem, these two cars have been heading along the highway towards each other, crossed the centre-line and smashed themselves into one machine, the Kia Rio 1.4 Manual ISG. The standard Rio auto is a great car and economical enough although I felt it did lack a little something. That something, it would appear, is the manual gearbox. Kia have imported the ISG technology into the Rio with rather surprisingly pleasant results, whereas the original Rio achieves great fuel economy (6.4 litres per 100k) the fitment of a manual shifter and the Instant Stop & Go wizardry have reduced the economy to a frugal 5.3 litre/100k.

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…but that depends on who you are. The facelift 2012 Kia Soul certainly isn’t my cup of green tea latte, yep, that’s the name of the test cars colour, and will be the same for others but there is no doubt people that like funky, out of the ordinary, stand out cars will buy these in droves. In the same class as the horrid Nissan Cube, Toyota bB, Sicon xB (Toyota) and Daihatsu Materia, it sure would be a no brainer to choose the Kia Soul. Its ‘chic-ness’ should appeal to the townie types, hairdressers, café owners and Ponsonby regulars. While some of my work colleagues seemed to think I looked gay in it (not the old and true meaning of the word), there is no denying it turns heads. I do like the bold 4×4 looks, the rear end I found especially nice.

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…wear it. While testing the all-new 2012 Kia Picanto someone said to me that it looked like a shoebox, I had to correct them as the size of this cute little package is more akin to the contents of a shoebox. Not the pair of the contents, just the one. I have never been a fan of small cars and a small car certainly won’t fit my lifestyle at present with two little ankle biters that need conveying around to various activities, but if I was a little further along in my years and the little money gobblers had long left home this is certainly one small car I would lust after. There’s certainly plenty of comfortable space in the rear seats for them it’s just that the boot space isn’t big enough for all the other bits and pieces that need to tag along with them. If I was down to one child it would be a different story thanks to the split rear seats adding more luggage space.

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Most of you might remember the ads for Rio underwear from years gone, “You can get away with anything in Rio” or “It costs less to live in Rio”. Well the same rings true for the 2011 Kia Rio. Although many might consider it just a typical shopping cart like most other hatchbacks, that couldn’t be further from the truth. On looks alone the Rio stands out from the rest following on with Kia’s aggressive styling seen in their other models with its mean looking grill and smart alloy wheels the Rio looks as though it would be more at home going sideways on a back country gravel road than trundling through a shopping mall car park. Unfortunately the performance doesn’t quite match those stunning looks, don’t get me wrong here, it’s no slouch around town and can keep up with, and surpass, most similar hatches on the open road but with such aggressive styling one can’t help but wonder if there should be a hot version for the boy racer buried deep inside of go fast freaks like myself. I can just picture one of these loaded up with advertising decals and a dust cloud tail wagging behind.

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Optima Prime

Posted: September 28, 2011 in All, Kia, New Car Reviews

Well this was a test drive with a difference. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to complete a thorough test as per usual along a typical ‘B’ road out to some fantastic Auckland location with a scenic back drop that’ll help create photo’s that compliment how good the 2011 Kia Optima is. Pretty much the extent of this test drive consisted of heavy motorway traffic after picking the car up, constant trips between home and the hospital thanks to our seven week young son coming down with bronchiolitis, with the odd trip to the day job for good measure, and more motorway traffic taking the car back. The photo’s themselves were a rush job on the way to drop the car off.

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