The new Kia e-Soul

Kia e-Soul Arrives In Ireland!

The new Kia e-Soul
The new Kia e-Soul

The all-new Kia e-Soul has arrived in Ireland. This is the third generation of the Kia Soul, which will now be exclusively sold as an all-electric vehicle.

Kia Motors Ireland is offering the e-Soul in two trims, K2 and K3, and both come with a 64 kWh battery that gives a real world range of up to 452km and 204hp.

With the powertrain’s maximum 395 Nm torque available from a standstill, the long-range 64 kWh e-Soul will accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in just 7.9 seconds.

A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard. There are also a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range including an energy efficient heat pump system and a regenerative braking system operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Standard equipment includes a 10.25” touchscreen AV/Nav display, 7” supervision cluster, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Front Collison Avoidance, full leather trim, Harmon Kardon Sound System, Heads Up Display and Blind Spot Detection.

The Kia e-Soul K2 is priced from €35,995, while the K3 is priced from €37,495, including VRT relief and government grants.

“Kia Motors Ireland are delighted to launch both the e-Niro and e-Soul into the Irish market. There is built up demand in the country for a wider range of EV vehicles to choose from and public reaction for these new cars has been tremendous. Already demand for 192 cars has exceeded supply and we are now seeking interest for 2020,“ commented James Brooks, Managing Director, Kia Motors Ireland.

Kia has also just launched the Kia e-Niro, while the new XCeed PHEV crossover is expected by the end of the year.


The new Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro Joins Niro PHEV In Ireland

The new Kia e-Niro
The new Kia e-Niro

The new Kia e-Niro, the first fully electric crossover utility vehicle produced by Kia, has arrived in Ireland. It will join the Kia Niro PHEV in the Niro range.

Kia Motors Ireland is marketing one well-equipped trim level for the new e-Niro with a choice of either mid range or long range variants depending on battery. The mid range (35 kw battery) offers a range of up to 289 km, while the long range (64 kw battery) offers a range of up to 455 km on the WLTP combined cycle.

Models equipped with the long-distance 64 kw battery pack are paired with a 150 kw (204 ps) motor, producing 395 Nm torque, enabling the e-Niro to accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 7.8 seconds.

The standard 35 kw battery pack is matched to a 100 kW (136 ps) motor, also producing 395 Nm torque, and accelerating to 100 kph from a standstill in 9.8 seconds.

The Kia e-Niro 35 kw is available from €33,495, with the e-Niro 64 kw available from €37,495 including VRT relief and government grants.

Standard features include 17” alloys, leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, 7” inch screen featuring Android Auto/Apple Car Play and Tom Tom Navigation, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Forward collision-avoidance assist and Autonomous emergency braking.

“Kia Motors Ireland are delighted to launch both the e-Niro and e-Soul into the Irish market. There is built up demand in the country for a wider range of EV vehicles to choose from and public reaction for these new cars has been tremendous. Already demand for 192 cars has exceeded supply and we are now seeking interest for 2020,“ commented James Brooks, Managing Director, Kia Motors Ireland.


The new Kia ProCeed!

2019 Kia Proceed 1.4 GT Line

The new Kia ProCeed!
The new Kia ProCeed!

Caroline drives the 2019 Kia ProCeed!

Over the last few years, Kia has really put itself on the map as one of the most modern and progressive car manufacturers. Not content with raising standards across their range of hatchbacks, SUVs and saloons in recent years, the ambitious Korean brand has also pushed itself into new segments. Last year it was the stunning Kia Stinger GT stealing all the headlines for its evocative design and high-performance engine. This year it’s the return of the Kia ProCeed. But not as we know it!

The Kia ProCeed entered the market a number of years ago as a sporty, three door hatchback. But there is no longer much of a market for cars like that. So Kia has reimagined the ProCeed as a “shooting brake” to coincide with the new generation of the Kia Ceed family that arrived in Ireland in 2018.

The Kia ProCeed is a prestigious "shooting brake" for the compact class
The Kia ProCeed is a prestigious "shooting brake" for the compact class

The 2019 Kia ProCeed

The new Kia ProCeed is a cross somewhere between an elegant hatchback and a practical estate. It now sits at the top of the Ceed range, with a list price of €28,946. For reference the Ceed hatchback range kicks off at €22,695 and the SW range at €25,295.

However, the Proceed range is very simple in Ireland in that Kia Ireland is offering just one model with a high specification – GT Line. The 2019 Kia ProCeed GT Line has a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine under the bonnet putting out 140hp. A six speed manual gearbox comes as standard while there is a 7 speed automatic version available for €30,445.

The interior of the Kia ProCeed
The interior of the 2019 Kia ProCeed

Stylish and practical

The 2019 Kia ProCeed is a design-led concept merging style and practicality. The ProCeed is lower and longer than both the Ceed five-door hatchback and Sportswagon and so carries its own unique identity within the Ceed family. In fact it’s quite unique in the family car segment with a striking raked back silhouette, sharing only its bonnet and front wings with the Ceed five-door.

The ProCeed name is spelled out in capitals across the centre of the tailgate, beneath LED tail-lights which span the width of the tailgate, giving the car a unique light signature. The ‘tiger nose’ front grille is finished in high gloss black with satin chrome, with matching high gloss black door mirrors and side sill mouldings. The air intake has a lower lip with black accent, and the rear spoiler is body coloured with high gloss black trim.

The ProCeed is every bit the head turner especially finished in Infra Red, but it’s also versatile with a 594 litre boot. The boot is bigger than in the Ceed hatchback and just a few litres shy of the SW in that regard. It’s also easy to load and access the space too. The sloping roofline means that in the rear, there is some impact on headroom, but otherwise this is a competively sized car for the compact class.  

Rear seating in the Kia ProCeed
Rear seating in the Kia ProCeed

The interior of the Kia Proceed

The interior is almost a carbon copy of the Ceed on which it is based, though the ProCeed does have a black headliner, special upholstery and a D-shaped sports steering wheel. It’s a comfortable cabin with some stylish brushed chrome and gloss black to add interest. Considering the premium buyers pay for this model, it would be nice to see some more higher quality materials or a more individual design. A small frustration really.

Standard equipment on the ProcCeed GT Line includes 17” alloys, automatic headlights, front projector headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights with a full-width LED brake light, front fog lights, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, rear privacy glass, wireless phone charger, reversing camera with rear parking sensors, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Lane Keeping Assist with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.

The Kia ProCeed is available from €28,946 in Ireland
The Kia ProCeed is available from €28,946 in Ireland

Driving the Kia ProCeed

Kia has made a few changes to the ProCeed under the skin for a sportier and more engaging drive. This has been achieved by using stiffer front and rear springs to increase body control and improve steering inputs, and softer front and rear anti-roll bars to keep its inside wheels in contact with the road, even under hard cornering. 

On the road the ProCeed immediately feels tauter and more engaging with loads of front end grip and minimal body roll making it a very accomplished car to drive. There is a firmer edge to the suspension but it’s by no means uncomfortable. There was quite a lot of audible road noise however on our test drive.

The 1.4-litre engine does perform well in the ProCeed with good power and performance, reaching 100kmh in just 8.8 seconds from a standstill, and smooth power delivery through the six speed manual gearbox. There is no diesel engine available in the ProCeed in Ireland so running costs will be a little higher. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 6.9l/100km and motor tax is €280 per year.

The new ProCeed is design triumph for Kia!
The new ProCeed is a design triumph for Kia!

Verdict

The new Kia ProCeed makes a style statement, while also being practical, so it's a compelling alternative to the family hatchback or SUV. The ProCeed does command more investment over the Ceed hatchback and SW, but it’s a prestigious vehicle and fun to drive also. Another stunning and ambitious car from Kia!

Model tested: Kia ProCeed 1.4 T-GDi GPF Petrol 140 hp 6MT
Price:
€28,946
Engine: 1.4-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
140 hp
Torque: 242 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.8 seconds
Top speed: 209 km/h
Fuel economy:
45.6 mpg
CO2 emissions: 
132g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year


The new Kia Ceed SW

2019 Kia Ceed SW 1.0 Petrol Review

The new Kia Ceed SW
The new Kia Ceed SW

Estate cars have never been big sellers in Ireland but the new Kia Ceed SW (Sportswagon) just might make you fall in love with the estate’s humble practicality. In fact Kia has a decent enough record in the sale of previous generations of the Ceed SW here in Ireland.

Now hot on the wheels of the new generation of the Kia Ceed hatchback that arrived in Ireland in summer 2018, the new Kia Ceed SW goes on sale with its ace card being a huge 600 litre boot within a sleek and elegant body.

Let’s not forget that this is still a compact car. The new Ceed SW is lower and wider with a longer rear overhang than the car it replaces but certainly from the driver’s seat, the car proves to be agile and easy to manoeuvre with good visibility all round and a parking camera as standard.

But space of course is a key selling point for estate cars. The Ceed SW had a fantastic practical boot for its size with a wide opening and flat loading sill that makes it excellent for carrying things.

The interior of the Kia Ceed SW
The interior of the Kia Ceed SW

Inside the Kia Ceed SW

The new generation of the Kia Ceed SW also has a new interior. Fit and finish is markedly improved. There are plenty of soft touch materials punctuated with stylish chrome, while the cabin is kept fresh and modern with the latest Kia infotainment system.

The extra width in the new Ceed SW creates more shoulder room for rear passengers and a 15mm-lower seating position in the rear means that there is more knee and leg room too.

Kia Ireland has kept the new Ceed SW range very simple in that there are just two models available: a choice of 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine (from €25,295) or a 1.6-litre diesel (from €27,595).

The Ceed SW is sold in the K3 trim meaning that the car is well specced by default with 16″ alloys, electric windows, rear privacy glass, auto lights, 7″ touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, parking camera, air con, wireless phone charger, cruise control, keyless entry, lane keeping assist, high beam assistant and forward collision avoidance system.

The Kia Ceed SW goes on sale from €25,295
The Kia Ceed SW goes on sale from €25,295

On the road in the Kia Ceed SW

My test car was powered by the 1.0-litre turbo petrol with a list price of €25,295. The 1.0-litre engine has 120hp and a pleasant amount of power for the Ceed SW. It only really runs out of steam in sixth gear, but that’s more of a cruising gear for the motorway anyway, and the Ceed SW does that with aplomb. Motor tax for this model is €200 per year and over two weeks of varied driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.4l/100km.

Elsewhere, the Ceed SW handles well, just like the hatchback version. The SW’s rear suspension has been subtly tuned to accommodate the longer rear overhang of the boot, and the potential for heavier luggage loads. It’s still fun to drive with good body control through corners and nicely weighted steering. Comfort and refinement are also very good for the class.

The Kia Ceed SW has a very practical boot of 600 litres
The Kia Ceed SW has a very practical boot of 600 litres

After spending an extended break with the Kia Ceed SW, this car really endeared itself to me. I love how practical this car is and that boot is just really great for carrying all sorts of cargo. It’s a nicely equipped car and this generation of the Ceed SW has more cabin comfort and fun driving character. While SUVs and even Kia’s own Sportage will seem like trendier and more desirable options, the Kia Ceed SW would make an excellent family car.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Ceed SW 1.0 K3
Price: 
€25,295
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power:
120 hp
Torque: 172 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 187 km/h
Economy: 
5.3l/100km
CO2 emissions:
120 g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year

The Kia Ceed SW makes a great family car!
The Kia Ceed SW makes a great family car!

The 2019 Kia Sportage

2019 Kia Sportage 1.6 Diesel Review

The 2019 Kia Sportage
The 2019 Kia Sportage

Caroline drives the 2019 Kia Sportage!

The Kia Sportage took on a life of its own in Ireland with the launch of the third generation back in 2010. Accessibility and a stylish design ensured its presence on Irish roads in numbers.

The current generation of the Sportage was launched back in 2016, sporting (!) an even more sensuous design that always endeared the car to this reviewer. Coinciding with the Irish buyer's increasing appetite for SUVs, the Sportage is Kia’s bestselling model here and also one of Ireland's ten bestselling cars.

What's new in the 2019 Kia Sportage?

For Sportage fans, there’s now a new facelifted model on sale as we enter 2019, with some mild styling tweaks and changes to equipment and engines. Pricing starts from €29,815.

The familiar tiger nose grille is still there and the rather avantgarde lighting around the rear. In profile, the 2019 Kia Sportage is all but the same. Yet in fact there is a redesigned front bumper, grille and fog lamp housing. The facelift also introduces new full-LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights on some models, and at the back there’s a new C-shaped LED light signature. The reversing lamp and reflectors are now integrated into the new rear bumper, which is finished with a flash of chrome across its base.

The interior of the 2019 Kia Sportage
The interior of the 2019 Kia Sportage

For all senses and purposes, the Kia Sportage is a very stylish SUV. There are also five new body colours, including the Blue Flame of the test car. The top of the range GT Line model also receives special cosmetic upgrades and 19″ alloys.

Inside the 2019 Kia Sportage

There is no change to dimensions and inside the Kia Sportage will seat five with decent accommodation all round. The Sportage is a very practical family vehicle with plenty of storage, rear seat space and a large square boot of 467 litres.

Inside the general layout of the cabin is retained but there’s a new steering wheel, revised driver instrument cluster, and the option of a new black-and-grey, two-tone upholstery. The ventilation and air conditioning controls have also been revised. Depending on trim level, the Kia Sportage comes equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system or a new ‘frameless’ 8.0-inch system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Material quality is generally good and the interior is easy to navigate and interact with.

The Kia Sportage range is very simple in that there is just one engine available, a new 1.6-litre diesel with 115 hp in manual versions or 136 hp in the automatic. This engine replaces the old 1.7-litre diesel and Kia claims that it is the cleanest diesel engine that they have ever made. There are K2, K3, K4 and GT Line trim levels with prices rising from €29,815 to €36,385 for a top of the range GT Line. Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, roof rails, electric windows, 7″ touchscreen, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, rear parking sensors, air con and cruise control.

The 2019 Kia Sportage has a new 1.6-litre diesel engine
The 2019 Kia Sportage has a new 1.6-litre diesel engine

My test car was in the K4 trim and retails from €33,404. Equipment highlights included dual zone air con, leather upholstery, 19" alloys, wireless phone charger and a parking camera.

What's the Kia Sportage like to drive?

Mechanically nothing has changed under the skin during this update. On the road the Kia Sportage delivers a comfortable ride and competent handling that makes it a pleasant daily driver. The new diesel engine has plenty of torque to move the Sportage efficiently though it's still on the noisy side. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 6.1l/100km.

It’s very easy to see why the Kia Sportage is so popular with Irish buyers. Upgrades to this new model are small, but the new engine brings some improvements and in essence the Sportage is still a great SUV for its space, family friendly cabin and good road manners. In a crowded family SUV segment, the Sportage still manages to be stylish, practical and desirable.

The Kia Sportage is still a practical and desirable family SUV
The Kia Sportage is still a practical and desirable family SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Sportage 1.6-litre CRDi K4
Price: 
€33,404 (Range from €29,815)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
Power:
115 hp
Torque: 280 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.5 seconds
Top speed: 175 km/h
Economy: 
4.8-5.0l/100km
CO2 emissions:
126 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

Rear seating space in the Kia Sportage
Rear seating space in the Kia Sportage

The new Kia ProCeed in Barcelona

All-New Kia ProCeed Makes Its Debut In Barcelona

The new Kia ProCeed in Barcelona
The new Kia ProCeed in Barcelona

Caroline travels to Barcelona for the European premiere of the new Kia Proceed!

The 3 door hatchback is finished. That was the message Peter Schreyer, President of Design and Chief Design Officer at Kia, and Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s European Head of Design, received from the product team when it came to creating the next generation of the Kia ProCeed.

So what did they do? They began to create a new vision for a C-segment niche vehicle. Customer profiling revealed that there were buyers who wanted a stylish and sporty vehicle - but they wanted rear doors and other practical features too.

And so began the process of developing this new generation of the Kia ProCeed. At an event in Barcelona to unveil this new model, Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, spoke about the uniqueness of the ProCeed in the mid-size family car segment. Based on the 2017 Kia ProCeed Concept, the new ProCeed is casually referred to by its designers as a ‘shooting brake’ within the Kia Ceed family.

Really it’s still a hatchback, but with the evocative shape of a coupé and the practicality of an estate model. The ProCeed is lower and longer than the Ceed five-door hatchback and Sportswagon (estate). It shares only its bonnet and front wings with the Ceed five-door and at 594 litres, the ProCeed’s boot is 50% bigger.

The Kia ProCeed combines the style of a coupé with the space of an estate
The Kia ProCeed combines the style of a coupé with the space of an estate

Niche models within segments are typically more common with premium brands but the ProCeed is yet another embodiment of the ethos of Kia – it’s the brand with ‘the Power to Surprise’! So as such the ProCeed doesn’t have any direct rivals. It’s fair to say that it’s a brave and aspirational move from Kia but hardly surprising judging from their recent form in the shape of the stunning new Stinger GT and a slew of stylish models like the Optima and Ceed.

Sitting alongside the recently launched Ceed hatchback and SW (estate), the new ProCeed will be positioned as a more high-end, prestigious vehicle. To that end, it will be exclusively available in more salubrious GT-line and GT trims.

The cabin is similar to the Ceed with soft touch materials, stylish metallic trim and Kia’s 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system sits at the centre of the dashboard. But there are a few changes designed to introduce a sportier ambience to the cabin, including a black headliner and D-shaped steering wheel.

Engines for this new model include a 1.0-litre T-GDi (120 ps), 1.4-litre T-GDi (140 ps) and a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine, though we don’t know what will make it to Ireland yet when the car goes on sale here in early 2019.

The interior of the new Kia ProCeed
The interior of the new Kia ProCeed

The ProCeed has been designed and developed exclusively for Europe. According to Kia, it has been engineered to be engaging to drive. Though built on the same ‘K2’ platform as other Ceed models, Kia says that they have fine tuned the suspension geometry to give the ProCeed its own unique agile and responsive character within the Ceed range, along with the comfort that owners would expect of the 'grand touring' shooting brake body.

There will also be a ProCeed GT, a more high performance model powered by a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine producing 204 ps and 265 Nm and uniquely tuned to be the sportiest variant in the range.

The new Kia ProCeed will make its public premiere at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Kia Ireland expects the car to go on sale here in early 2019. Further information and detail on pricing and specifications will be available closer to launch.

Caroline Kidd

The new Kia ProCeed is expected in Ireland early in 2019
The new Kia ProCeed is expected in Ireland early in 2019

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Review

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Caroline reviews the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid.

Kia Ireland has expanded the Niro Hybrid range with the new Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV). The new version of Kia’s low emission crossover has the ability to be driven as an electric vehicle for about 40km and plugged in to recharge the battery. This means Niro buyers can now enjoy making even more savings on running costs.

Under the skin, there’s a simple concept: a 1.6-litre petrol engine with the support of an electric motor. Emissions are just 29g CO2 per 100kms meaning the Niro Plug-In Hybrid qualifies for motor tax of just €170 per year.

I drove the Kia Niro Hybrid in December 2016 when the Niro was a new model for Kia in Ireland. The Niro offers buyers interested in a petrol electric hybrid the package of a very fashionable crossover. The car itself is nicely finished and spacious inside with a higher ride height that is very popular at the moment.

The Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid has a list price of €35,995 that includes the €2,500 VRT reduction. However, a further €5,000 reduction is available as the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) also qualifies for an SEAI grant.

Kia has done well to soften the blow on price with a vehicle that comes across well with generous space for occupants, lots of equipment and a premium finish to the cabin. There’s one trim level and leather seats come as standard as do heated front seats and steering wheel, dual zone air con, reversing camera, and Apple Car Play/Android Auto. There’s also a host of safety equipment on board including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and driver attention warning.

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
The interior of the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Niro Plug-In Hybrid Is An Efficient Family Crossover

The cabin finish is very nice, one of the most premium in the Kia range with lots of soft touch materials. The Plug-in Hybrid is upholstered in grey leather and finished with blue stitching. There’s a two-tone dashboard with a new blue air vent surround. The layout is also good and easy to navigate. There are three individual seats in the rear and the footwells are deep while the middle passenger gets a flat place to put their feet.

However, the boot space is compromised with the larger battery. There is 324 litres but this is down on the 427 litres in the standard Niro hybrid. A flat loading area makes it practical.

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has 141hp and 265Nm of torque. But even though it can accelerate from 0-to-100 kmh in 10.8 seconds, the throttle pedal never feels particularly lively. The car does encourage you to drive economically and over a week of driving with some driving in electric mode, my consumption was 4.7l/100km, which I rarely see on a trip computer these days.

There is a sport mode which livens up the throttle and is useful for overtaking. Elsewhere, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid is a quiet, relaxing drive. There’s no real dynamic appeal to the car but it takes on corners resolutely enough.

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is an efficient family crossover

Intuitive and easy to drive

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid is to be commended for the ease of moving between EV and hybrid modes. The driver information displays on the hybrid system are also some of the best and most intuitive I’ve seen. The central touchscreen will also show you where the nearest EV charging stations are.

I really enjoyed my time with the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid. It’s a very cleverly packaged hybrid in the desirable shape of a crossover giving it a lot of mainstream appeal. It’s a pity that boot space is a bit below par for a family car but the interior space is still good. The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is not cheap to buy but Kia bounces back with a great specification and a well-finished interior. Best of all, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid is properly efficient and with the battery kept topped up real savings can be made on running costs.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
Price: 
€35,995 (Eligible for further €5000 reduction SEAI grant)
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol with electric motor
Power: 
141hp
Torque: 265Nm
0-100km/h:  
10.8 seconds
Top speed: 172km/h
Claimed Economy: 
1.3/100km
CO2 emissions:  
29g/km
Motor tax: 
€170 per year


Kia has launched a new 'Baile Átha Kia' campaign

Kia Motors Ireland Launches ‘Baile Átha Kia’ Campaign

Kia Motors Ireland has launched a new 'Baile Átha Kia’ campaign designed to further enhance the brand's profile in Dublin.

Kia has booked all of Dublin Bus’s inventory of Capital T sites for a 10 week period to promote the new 'Baile Átha Kia’ campaign.

The OOH campaign will be accompanied by a social media video campaign shot at different locations around the city encouraging Dublin families to “Make the most of ‘Baile  Átha Kia’ over the weekend.

The ‘Baile Átha Kia’ concept was created by Focus Advertising and the media campaign was managed by Havas Media.


Kia Stinger GT First Drive Review

The Kia Stinger is a very exciting new model from Kia. The brand is more associated with SUVs and small hatchbacks, but the Stinger looks set to change all that. The Kia Stinger is a flagship for the brand, a high-performance luxury sports saloon packing 370hp in V6 form with a classic, sporty, rear wheel drive layout.

Styling

The Kia Stinger is a beautiful evolution of Kia styling from Kia’s more, ahem, bread and butter models. The tiger nose grille is here, albeit more stretched than usual to accommodate the larger proportions of a flagship saloon. In silhouette the Stinger is elegant and sporty. It looks fast and luxurious and a little like a Maserati around the back where two sets of double exhaust add menace, along with air vents on the bonnet and behind the front wheels.

Interior

Inside, this is the most luxurious Kia we’ve seen. The quality and finish is a big step up from the Kia Optima. There is lots of stylish aluminium, leather and elegant circular air vents. The roof and pillars have a suede material finish.

Practicality

The Kia Stinger offers plenty of interior accommodation and rear seat passengers will find deep footwells, though things are tighter for the middle seat passenger because of the transmission tunnel that eats into legroom, similar to other rear wheel drive saloons. The hatchback style boot reveals 406 litres of space.

Engines

The Stinger will be available with a choice of two engines in Ireland: a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 (370hp), and a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine (200hp). At the Irish launch of this model in Kildare I drove the V6 and the engine feels suitably meaty for a gran turismo like the Stinger. The car rockets forward when the accelerator is pressed hard with 510Nm torque available. My only complaint is that it could be noisier!

2018 Kia Stinger GT
The interior of the 2018 Kia Stinger GT

On the road

The Kia Stinger has a low-slung, performance-oriented driving position. An eight speed automatic comes as standard and it’s a smooth operator. The car has a number of driving modes. I left it in Sport for a bit more engine note, more throttle response and quicker shifts. The car has a stable, comfortable ride and deals with Ireland’s changeable road surfaces very well. The Kia Stinger has a classic rear wheel drive layout for greater handling balance, which is certainly apparent in the way it corners. It still feels like a large, heavy car but it’s dynamically a huge step up from what we’ve driven from Kia previously.  On the motorway there is some road noise but the overarching impression is one of refinement and excellent ‘grand cruise’ ability.

Equipment

The Kia Stinger is available as a GT Line or a GT and comes well equipped with 18” alloys, sunroof, LED lights fronts and back, heated steering wheel, leather seats, heated seats front and rear, navigation, harmon kardon sound system, touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, push button start, automatic cruise control, blind spot detection, lane keep assist,  speed limit information, front and rear park assist and camera, heads up display, dual zone air con, power tailgate, wireless phone charger, electric parking brake and autonomous emergency braking,

The GT model adds 19” alloys, dual muffler, Nappa leather and Brembo brakes.

2018 Kia Stinger GT
The Kia Stinger GT is a powerful sports saloon

Pricing

The 3.3 litre V6 GT model is priced at €66,895 and the 2.2 litre diesel GT Line model is priced around €53,000 (TBC). Both will be available in Ireland in March 2018.

Verdict

The Kia Stinger is a fantastic halo car for the Korean brand. It’s drop dead gorgeous to look at and the quality is excellent for a brand who is having a first go at making a real luxury motor. Dynamically the car is a huge improvement and step forward for the brand. This is a large spacious car with kerb appeal that can hold its head high.

Caroline Kidd


2017 Kia Rio review Ireland

Kia Rio 1.2 Review

The Kia Rio supermini has been bit of a slow burn on the Irish market, but with a new generation of the car just landed here, it feels like a car that is finally coming into its own.

Style and sophistication were words missing from Kia for a long time but in recent years the Korean brand has been firing out some really good designs, and this new generation of the Kia Rio just builds on the previous generation’s compact silhouette.

This is a good-looking car in the metal, and the distinct tiger nose grille makes it look more mean than cute. Around the rear it looks sharper too and with the LED daytime running lights and alloys on LX and above, the Rio has a touch of class.

Inside, the latest generation interior stacks up well against the competition in terms of quality and it’s very easy to navigate, if not particularly exciting to look at.  The Rio range starts from €15,950 for an ‘L’ model with 1.25 litre petrol engine, but the EX model with same engine (€18,150) has a nice mix of equipment including 16″ alloys, electric heated, folding mirrors, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, cruise control and air con.

2017 Kia Rio review Ireland
The interior of the new Kia Rio

The EX ADAS adds more safety equipment: Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian recognition and lane departure warning,

There’s also a 1.4 litre diesel (77 or 90hp) priced from €17,750.

It’s fair to say that the Kia Rio is reasonably priced for a small car and it feels spacious enough inside too for this class of car. The new Kia Rio is a bit lower, wider and longer than the car it replaces , while the boot capacity is up by 37 litres to a very competitive 325 litres.

My test car was powered by the 1.25-litre petrol engine, which makes a lot of sense in a car like this. It’s nippy around town where you want it to be but out of town it’s not enthusiastic about picking up speed quickly. It does the job without getting too noisy in the cabin when revved and a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 100hp is to join the range soon. It should have a fair bit more oomph if you’re looking for perkier performance.

2017 Kia Rio review Ireland
The Kia Rio is available in Ireland from €15,950

Elsewhere, the Kia Rio is pleasant to drive with light steering and agile handling. To improve refinement, there are new soundproofing materials around the dashboard, and a stiffer front subframe minimises vibrations from poor road surfaces. There is lean in the corners and it’s not the sportiest of superminis, but it’s comfortable, refined and generally a pleasant little car to drive.

And that’s the Kia Rio in a nutshell. The Kia Rio is not the most fun to drive of its competitors but it's maturing nicely with improvements to comfort and refinement. There is not much razzle dazzle to this car, but the Kia Rio will make a polite and discreet small car companion.

Model tested: Kia Rio 1.25 EX ADAS
Price: 
€19,450 (Range starts at €15,950)
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Power: 
85hp
Torque: 122Nm
0-100km/h:  
13 seconds
Top speed: 170km/h
Economy: 
59mpg
CO2 emissions:  
109g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year

2017 Kia Rio review Ireland
The Kia Rio is discreet and pleasant to drive

If you are looking for a good value supermini, you might also like this review of the Honda Jazz.

Caroline Kidd