The world is mad about SUVs
right now, and Kia has several to choose from. The smallest is the Stonic
, which is a rival to cars like the Renault Captur
and Nissan Juke
. All versions are well stocked with kit, and its looks make it stand out from the crowd. The Stonic was introduced as a replacement for the very unusual-looking Soul
, although Kia continues to sell its distinctive little runabout in several versions, including an all-electric car called the Soul EV. If an all-electric car
doesn’t suit, then the hybrid Niro
might. It’s almost more of a hatchback than an SUV, and comes as standard with an automatic gearbox, which for some will be a big plus. Then there’s the petrol-engine-plus-electric-motor drivetrain, which keeps official CO2 emissions well down. For larger SUVs, look at the Sportage
, which has been a big-seller for Kia and for good reason. With several versions and different price points to choose from, it mixes decent equipment levels, comfort for five passengers and decent space inside, for a very reasonable price. The biggest SUV that Kia sells is the Sorento
, a big seven-seater with a good interior, lots of equipment and a relaxing driving experience. If you’ve got a big family and the Carens isn’t quite what you’re after, this is well worth checking out.
The Stinger is Kia’s sporty offering, and something that has more of a premium edge to it than the rest of the range. Targeting cars like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Audi’s A5 Sportback, it comes with a selection of potent petrol engines or a diesel option, and is loaded with equipment. If you’re after a more luxurious sportys saloon, it’s a genuine alternative to some of the big German names.
Many car manufacturers can go a bit mad with marketing speak when talking about the features in their cars. Kia is actually pretty straightforward, but here are a few terms that you might come across.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB): A radar unit and camera in the windscreen detected an impending collision, and will activate the brakes if you don’t respond.
High Beam Assist: A system that automatically switches between dipped and main beam on the headlights. A sensor on the rear view mirror can spot oncoming headlights, and will dip the lights accordingly.
Kia Connected Services: A system that connects your infotainment system and sat-nav to the internet, using your smartphone’s wifi hotspot. Using this, you can access traffic information, weather updates and points of interest.
Lane Departure Warning System: a camera mounted in the windscreen scans the lane markings on the road, and will alert you if you inadvertently drift out of your lane without indicating.
Smart Key with Engine Start/Stop Button: Fed up of clicking the key fob every time you want to open the car, and of putting the key into the ignition? A smart key sits in your pocket or bag, and the car will detect when it’s nearby. It’ll then let you just open the door, and start and stop the car with the press of a button. Much easier.
Smart Park Assist System (SPAS): A system that lets the car parallel or bay park itself, using a system of cameras and sensors. Simply press a button, drive next to a space, and the car will steer itself in.
Speed Limited Information Function (SLIF): A camera in the windscreen reads speed limit signs and displays them next to the speedometer, to help you stop speeding inadvertently.