Hooning in Hunua: Kia Carens launch

Hooning in Hunua: Kia Carens launch

Last night Kia put us up in the new Westin Hotel on the Viaduct so that we would be ready early in the morning for the drive program for the launch of the Carens. The night’s activities consisted of a 3-course meal (which I always find difficult because one course is usually fine for me), followed by a pub quiz-style quiz about Kia, NZ motorsport, and lots of other general knowledge that makes my knowledge seem far too specific. On our table was Damian from Driver, Cameron from Top Gear, Mike from a mag I can’t remember, Sam from Automag, Steve from AA and Jason from Kia. We had youth on our side (with some more experienced years being brought to the table by Mike). Damian had worked in a record store, so we aced the music section; Cameron is a film buff so we aced the movie and TV section, and despite not getting Natalie Portman as the bonus question straight away we were in the lead by round 4, overtaking the team with Jaqui Madelin, Robert from Company Vehicle, Rob from Fairfax, and Ross from Kia.

The great thing about these launches is that all the other journalists are great guys (and gal, if you include Jaqui). We had a lot of fun, and I ended up winning an all-expenses-paid trip to the Ozzie Open tennis final in January courtesy of Kia. Good on ’em.

This morning the charter boat took us from the Viaduct across to Pine Harbour where we picked up the Kias and headed out via Kawakawa through to Miranda, hugging the coast. Then we cut inland and headed for Ardmore Aerodrome for the driver training. The driver training consisted of trying a car with and without ABS (by removing the fuse), and doing some slalom trials with and without ESP. It’s amazing the difference the new-style ABS with EBD and EBA (electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist) makes. It’s a good 10m more effective at 80kph. And in the slalom, while I managed to get through both times flat out, by the final turn the understeer meant I had to lift slightly to get back in the cone garage.

All-in-all, a good day’s fun, and the Kia Carens that we tried was a nice car – a bit wallowy through the bends for my liking, but it’s a small, 7-seater SUV/MPV, so it’s perfectly designed for highly fertile couples. We’ll have a full road test in a few weeks.

Last night Kia put us up in the new Westin Hotel on the Viaduct so that we would be ready early in the morning for the drive program for the launch of the Carens. The night’s activities consisted of a 3-course meal (which I always find difficult because one course is usually fine for me), followed by a pub quiz-style quiz about Kia, NZ motorsport, and lots of other general knowledge that makes my knowledge seem far too specific. On our table was Damian from Driver, Cameron from Top Gear, Mike from a mag I can’t remember, Sam from Automag, Steve from AA and Jason from Kia. We had youth on our side (with some more experienced years being brought to the table by Mike). Damian had worked in a record store, so we aced the music section; Cameron is a film buff so we aced the movie and TV section, and despite not getting Natalie Portman as the bonus question straight away we were in the lead by round 4, overtaking the team with Jaqui Madelin, Robert from Company Vehicle, Rob from Fairfax, and Ross from Kia.

The great thing about these launches is that all the other journalists are great guys (and gal, if you include Jaqui). We had a lot of fun, and I ended up winning an all-expenses-paid trip to the Ozzie Open tennis final in January courtesy of Kia. Good on ’em.

This morning the charter boat took us from the Viaduct across to Pine Harbour where we picked up the Kias and headed out via Kawakawa through to Miranda, hugging the coast. Then we cut inland and headed for Ardmore Aerodrome for the driver training. The driver training consisted of trying a car with and without ABS (by removing the fuse), and doing some slalom trials with and without ESP. It’s amazing the difference the new-style ABS with EBD and EBA (electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist) makes. It’s a good 10m more effective at 80kph. And in the slalom, while I managed to get through both times flat out, by the final turn the understeer meant I had to lift slightly to get back in the cone garage.

All-in-all, a good day’s fun, and the Kia Carens that we tried was a nice car – a bit wallowy through the bends for my liking, but it’s a small, 7-seater SUV/MPV, so it’s perfectly designed for highly fertile couples. We’ll have a full road test in a few weeks.

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