See Kia’s first big game commercial, starring the All-New 2011 Sorento, and an unbelievably colorful cast of characters.
‘Fortune favours the bold’ is how the old Latin proverb goes and Kia’s new Cerato Koup is attempting to prove a new relevance for the dated sentiment. The two-door coupe is a body shape that many carmakers have dabbled with in the past but in the current economic climate are weary of. Kia has recognised a gap and seen an opportunity to reinforce the message of its Soul model — that Kia now makes design-focused vehicles. The Koup represents Kia’s first foray into the two-door sports car market and while there is little doubt it’s a ballsy move, is it one that will see fortune follow? Car and SUV got the tyres spinning on the low-slung Koup to find out the bottom line.
Exterior styling is without doubt the Koup’s biggest strength and even the harshest badge snob will admit it’s a handsome machine. The Koup is lower, shorter and lighter than the four-door Cerato sedan on which it’s based and shares a single body panel — a scalloped bonnet. The ascending beltline, high rear deck and low roof give the Koup genuine presence and an athletic stance. The aggressive styling kicks off from the front with Kia’s corporate grille sitting above a gaping lower bumper inlet and fog lamps. Out back, flattened rear lights and a pronounced boot lip draw the eye, with a twin exhaust tip blowing out street cred. The sporty look is finished off with bespoke silver/black 17-inch alloys that highlight the black exterior trim. Overall, the Koup’s styling is boldly unique and works as a rolling billboard to inform the world just how far Kia has developed.
Kia is currently shifting from a bit player to a serious force in the NZ car market with its keenly priced vehicles and a rapidly modernising range. Where Kia got one of its first big breaks was with the Sorento medium-sized SUV. Released in 2002 the first-generation Sorento helped put Kia on the map and went on to sell more than 900,000 units globally. For 2010 Kia has released the new Sorento R and it comes carrying high hopes that it can again fight its way to contention in a very competitive segment. The Ford Territory, Nissan X-Trail, Holden Captiva and close relative Hyundai Santa Fe are all pushing their case. To stand out the Sorento will need sharp looks, strong mechanicals and to offer good value. Car and SUV spent a week with the new Kia Sorento R to find out if it delivers.
Why would you name a motor vehicle the Carnival? Is it because when it parades down main street people stop and watch in awe? Not this Carnival. Or is it because it inspires young women to drink too much and then expose their breasts? Definitely not this Carnival.
It must be called a Carnival because like most Carnivals there are a lot of people in it. Eight people to be exact can fit in this Carnival at a squeeze. It took only one driver, however, to get the party started when Car and SUV road tested Kia’s 2010 Carnival Ltd.
A quick walk around the Carnival quickly reveals a utilitarian vehicle that’s built solely for its people moving purpose rather than any glitz or glamour. There are some clear aesthetic similarities with Chrysler’s Grand Voyager in its slab sides, van-like dimensions and generic front. Practicality is evident through the Carnival’s tinted security glass, large wing mirrors and handy integrated roof rails. Although sharp styling isn’t a major focus for vehicles in the MPV segment the Carnival could still benefit from a freshen-up. But new sheetmetal shouldn’t be too far away with Kia’s range-uniforming tiger-nose grille a likely addition.
For any people mover it’s the inside that counts most and the Carnival has plenty on offer for its numerous occupants with three rows of seats providing for various layouts. The back row can be folded flat into the floor and the middle row can be folded up or completely removed to create an enormous, even loading area. It’s an impressive seating layout and even with all three rows in use there is a small but usable luggage area at the very back. The front seats are wide and flat offering decent comfort and great visibility but little lateral support. Leather comes with the Ltd model as does power adjustment for the driver’s seat and tri-zone air conditioning to keep rear passengers cool. There is no DVD system for the family but an eight-speaker Infinity stereo handles entertainment duties well.
One feature that is surprisingly handy is powered sliding doors on both sides of the Carnival and a powered tailgate at the rear. Controlled by the key fob it’s easy to have the doors open by the time you reach the vehicle carrying your shopping and closed again when you start again. The slow sliding motion also cuts down the chance of little fingers getting jammed and subsequent stress. Other useful kit on the lengthy Carnival Ltd spec sheet includes; reversing camera and warning sensors, steering wheel mounted stereo and cruise controls, rain sensing wipers, a trip computer and 17-inch alloys.
Cabin fit and finish isn’t the Carnival’s strongest suit and there is a plasticky interior atmosphere. That said, many of the surfaces are covered in tough wipe-clean materials which are consistent with the Carnival’s practicality-first ethos and the vehicles budget pricing has to show somewhere. There’s also a range of small storage options, 12V plugs and cup holders throughout.
Working behind the scenes on the Carnival is Kia’s 2.9L CRDi Turbo diesel unit producing 134kW of power and a healthy 343Nm of torque. It’s not a performance motor but does allow for reasonable progress. A 9.0l/100km fuel economy is achievable on the combined cycle. One issue with the engine is its power delivery that can be erratic, starting off sluggish and then coming on in a sudden burst as the turbo spools up. It also never feels comfortable when used hard and becomes quite loud and unrefined. It will get around town without issue but on the open road fully laden, plenty of room will be required for safe overtaking.
The diesel engine is mated to a 5 speed automatic transmission, which is a competent unit and goes about its work with minimal fuss. Manual gear changes are available through a sequential shift capability on the gear stick. This is a handy option for holding the motor in gear to draw out all available power.
Dynamically the Kia is best suited to a leisurely pace. Soft suspension gives it a generally comfortable ride but rough uneven roads can unsettle it. The Carnival holds the road well with enough grip to stay safe but there is a liberal dose of body roll. There’s a high feel to its movement and must be handled accordingly. It’s firmly at the van end of the people-mover-scale while a competitor like the Honda Odyssey has much more of a station wagon dynamic but lacks the Carnival’s space.
Being a family vehicle safety is always going to attract scrutiny and the Carnival has the features buyers are seeking. An electronic stability programme, ABS, brakes, six-airbags, kiddie door locks, ISOFIX points, and seatbelt pretensioners are all standard fare.
The strongest virtue of the Carnival like most Kia models is in its price and at $53,990 you get a lot of equipment, comfort and class-leading space for the money. The entry-level EX Carnival has most of the Ltd’s more useful features and priced at $46,990 is also worth a look. Both vehicles come with Kia’s excellent 5-year/100,000km warranty and 1500km first service.
The Carnival is caught a bit short in power and handling ability but that won’t concern many buyers in the mini-van segment. What I respect about the Carnival is that it makes no attempt to masquerade as something it’s not. It’s a vehicle intensely focused on practicality down to the smallest detail with limited thought for aesthetics and gimmickry. What it gives buyers is comfortable, safe and spacious travel for the driver and 7 others. If you need the extra seats, don’t care about going fast and you want peace of mind motoring for the next 100,000km then take a long look at the Kia Carnival.
Price: 53,990 (EX diesel $46,990)
What we like:
- General practicality
- Very spacious
- Price and warranty
What we don’t like:
- Bland design
- Weak driving dynamics
- Erratic power delivery
Words and Photos: Adam Mamo
Other reviews of interest:
Kia Carnival Ltd (2010) – Specifications
Engine type 2.9L DOHC CRDi Turbo Diesel
Displacement (cc) 2902 cc
Compression ratio 17 : 3
Max. power 134 kW @ 3800 rpm
Max. torque 343 Nm @ 1750 – 3500 rpm
Fuel economy (combined cycle) 9.0L / 100 km
CO2 emissions (g/km) 224
Gear box 5 speed automatic with sport shift
Front suspension McPherson strut
Rear suspension Multi link
Tyres 225/70 R16 235/60 R17
Overall length 5130 mm
Overall width 1985 mm
Overall height 1830 mm
Wheelbase 3020 mm
Min. ground clearance 167 mm
Kerb weight min./max 2009 / 2141 kg
Interior volume (1st/2nd/3rd) 1770 / 1530 / 1390 litres
Fuel tank capacity 80 litres
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 750
Towing capacity – braked (kg) 2000
When the Geneva Motor Show opens up next month, the third-generation Kia Sportage will be revealed and is looking to bring the SUV to the top of the class in looks.
Resembling a scaled down version of the recently introduced Sorento R, the new Sportage incorporates the Peter Schreyer-penned Kia design language in an an aggressive looking package that should stand out among competitors. The new model is longer, lower and wider, with the now signature Tiger front grille.
The Sportage is expected to use the same 2.4-litre inline-four found in the new Hyundai Tucson when it arrives later this year, although their may be a range of gas and diesel power options from which to choose.
Check back as we bring you more vehicles from the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.
Travelling on a budget can bring its own rewards, you get to see all the same sights and your experiences often have an earthy richness that wealthier travelers may miss. There’s a truer sense of adventure and a raw appeal that motivates backpackers the world over.
Could this concept of beneficial budget travel be applied to a passenger vehicle? Kia believes so and since 2000 it has produced the Magentis for those who want the practicalities of a mid-size sedan for hatchback prices. The Magentis entered its second generation in 2006 and has now received a facelift to better align it with the remainder of Kia’s product range.
So what’s new?
Visually, Kia has concentrated the new look where all good facelifts begin, the face. Kia’s new tiger grille is set to uniform its vehicle range and offer a visual branding clue, with the Magentis being the latest vehicle to receive treatment. The exterior upgrades don’t stop with the new grille and wrap around headlights. Design changes also feature in the vehicle’s profile with new indicator repeaters and at the rear with revamped tail lamps, boot lid and bumper. Clever use of contrasting silver trim and 16-inch alloys as standard give the refreshed Magentis a smart but ultimately generic look. While the Magentis looks much sharper than its predecessor there is little to distinguish it from other vehicles in the segment.
Inside, the Magentis appears slightly dated despite a new sports-styled instrument cluster and new centre console with gear selector gate. That said, switchgear is logically laid out and it’s an easy vehicle to control and get used to. Everything feels well screwed together but cabin plastics are inconsistent with some feeling tough but others lightweight and flimsy.
The dark cloth interior provides wide comfortable seats, with handy height adjustment on the driver’s chair. Space is ample and well maximized, there’s decent headroom and the rear pew can accommodate three adults without issue. What’s most impressive about the Magentis cabin is the equipment level, the leather steering wheel houses cruise and audio control buttons, the 6-speaker stereo has excellent iPod connectivity and a trip computer provides various info. Other standard kit includes air conditioning, electric heated mirrors, reversing sensors and a full size spare wheel. Luggage is stowed away in a capacious 500-litre boot with a 60:40 split folding rear sear for longer items.
When cleared for take off the Magentis fires up its 2.4-litre 4-cylinder power plant and while it’s no jet plane, power output has been increased to 126kW with 229Nm of torque. It won’t blast occupants off the line but it’s a keen engine that can show decent mid-range torque and is suitably relaxed when speed limit cruising. Fuel consumption is 8.3l/100km combined, a reasonable figure considering the Magentis’ 1490kg kerb weight and engine size. Power is transferred to the front wheels through a traditional 5-speed automatic transmission with a tiptronic sportshift available. Overall, the drivetrain functions well, albeit with an unrefined edge.
In terms of handling dynamics the Magentis changes direction fairly well under regular conditions. Push harder and it becomes clear that it doesn’t have a large appetite for rapid progress being held back by a chassis and suspension tune unsuited for sporty driving. So the Magentis is a cruiser and that’s something it does well with light steering, well-damped suspension and a cabin that lets in little engine or road noise.
Kia has put serious effort into putting modern safety features into a budget vehicle and the results are notable. Hiding under the surface is a full Electronic Stability Programme, ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, seatbelt pretensioners and six airbags.
One thing that hasn’t changed with the refreshed Magentis is that its most attractive feature remains its price. Costing $35,990 the Magentis is 10% – 15% cheaper than Japanese competition within the class. The price will help it appeal to those looking for budget travel and a 5-year, 100,000km factory warranty is a tempting cherry on top.
What you get for the money is a spacious, competent car that has solid safety credentials and equipment levels. The downside is that the Magentis has little to offer in terms of sporty dynamics, and may prove prone to the punishing depreciation that’s plagued larger Korean cars in the past.
Ultimately, the gap between the Magentis and its rivals has been narrowed, but a gap does still exist. Leaving quality competition like the Ford Mondeo, Nissan Maxima and Honda Accord with a convincing case in justifying the extra money.
What we like:
- Plenty of equipment
- Settled cruiser
- Good space for occupants and luggage
What we don’t like:
- Mediocre handling
- Inconsistent interior plastics
- Generic styling
Words and Photos: Adam Mamo
Kia Magentis (2009) – Specifcations
Engine type 2.4L DOHC CVVT
Petrol Displacement (cc) 2359 cc
Compression ratio 10.5
Max. power 126 kW @ 6000 rpm
Max. torque 229 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel economy (combined cycle) 8.3 / 100km
Co2 emissions (g/km) 196
Gear Box 5 speed automatic with sportshift
Front suspension MacPherson Strut
Rear suspension Multi Link
Tyres 205/60 R16
Braking system Ventilated front discs, solid rear discs
Alloy wheels 16″
Full size spare wheel and tyre
Steering system Power assisted rack & pinion
Minimum turning radius kerb to kerb (m) 5.4
Overall length 4800 mm
Overall width 1805 mm
Overall height 1480 mm
Wheelbase 2720 mm
Min ground clearance 160 mm
Luggage capacity (VDA) 500 litres
Kerb weight min. / max 1430 / 1490 kg
Fuel tank capacity 62 litres
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 650
Towing capacity – braked (kg) 1700
The official 2010 Kia Soul hamster commercial with music by Marz featuring Pack & Mumiez! The Soul. A new way to roll.
World class premium Sorento R, a promotional video