Kia Range Day Delights
Every now and then car manufacturers kindly stage range days. They are a chance for busy motoring journalists to catch up on cars they have yet to drive, or indeed refresh the memory banks.
The good folk at Kia have done just that, and I was delighted to take full advantage of the opportunity. So, an early morning alarm and a brisk two-hour drive to Crathorne Hall Hotel near Yarm was the order of the day.
Kia Sportage PHEV
First car to come under my scrutiny was the new Kia Sportage, a car I have already sampled, but not in its most interesting PHEV guise. For those uninitiated, this plug-in variant will allow up to 48 miles of city driving on battery power alone. This will suit the urban driver,especially if they have the ability to charge the car at home or work.
For information, when I tested the hybrid Sportage last month, I recorded around 45mpg over 400 miles.
My hour or so in the plug-in, driving on mixed roads, saw the trip computer read 150mpg, the engine having little need to fire up, even at higher speeds. To be fair, the battery was almost depleted when I returned the car to base, but it does show the ability of a PHEV to yield impressive results if the battery can be regularly topped up.
The latest Sportage is a highly recommended vehicle. It boasts all the very latest technology, most of which is easy to use, and all of this is wrapped up in a stylish new body. The range of drivetrains is impressive too.
Kia Sportage PHEV
Priced from £38,395 to £43,795
4 trim levels
13.8kWh lithium-ion battery
0-60 in 7.9 seconds
Top speed 119mph
Up to 252mpg
Emissions 25g/km CO2
Whoever said Kia don’t make exciting cars? The Stinger is a rare sight on British roads and has perhaps struggled to make inroads into a market dominated by uber fast German saloons. However, a quick test drive might well be enough to follow a path less driven.
Honed by Kia to suit our unique (i.e. poorly surfaced) roads, this is one mighty quick car which always catches me unawares on reacquaintance.
Setting off from the venue something was amiss. The previous driver had selected ‘Eco’ mode and the Stinger felt merely swift. Once the ‘Sport’ mode was selected, it was business as usual. Even in the dry care needs to be taken as the 360bhp twin-turbo V6 spools up with alacrity. From rest to 60mph can be accomplished in a smidgen over 4.5 seconds.
There is a ‘Sport +’ mode which I believe turns off the traction control – not for me thanks!
An hour or so passed quickly and soon it was time to return to base. I got stung once again and it was great!
361bhp twin turbo V6 engine
8-speed automatic gearbox
0-60 in 4.7 seconds
Emissions 229g/km CO2
For a family looking for a large SUV the Sorento takes some beating. Room aplenty for seven to travel in comfort, the big Kia is another easy car to recommend.
The rearmost pews are best suited for children or adults of diminutive stature, but most rivals offer around the same space.
All models are four-wheel drive, so no struggling in the winter or off road, and there is a range of drivetrains to suit.
Don’t dismiss the diesel engine which can offer up to 42mpg on the combined cycle, as its considerable torque suits the big, boxy Sorento. It will also suit those who need to tow, with a braked trailer weight of 2,500kg. Most will select a self-charging hybrid petrol engine, though a PHEV is now offered.
Equipment count is high, the quality of the flexible interior top-notch and the driving experience is relaxed. Yes, the Sorento can be hustled along a back lane with alacrity, but it does its best work driven a tad more gently, not my forte.
Price from £43,020 to £55,355
All models 0-60mph in around 9 seconds
Combined economy 42.2 (diesel) 38/40 (petrol hybrid)
With time running short, my last drive of the day was in the Kia Stonic. Feeling a little old school with a proper handbrake and manual gears, this junior SUV still has plenty going for it.
A range of high efficiency petrol engines are offered, and all are front-wheel drive. Prices start at a little under £20,000 which seems like a bit of a bargain these days.
To drive, the Stonic feels like a conventional hatch, but the seating position is raised ever so slightly and there is a tad more space on offer.
Perhaps not Kia’s best seller, with buyers I guess tending to graduate to the larger Sportage or sticking with a conventional Ceed hatch. Worth a look though in my opinion.
It should also be born in mind that Kia offers a seven year/100,000 miles warranty on all its cars and has done so for quite some time. This is a testament to the reliability and build quality of all its vehicles. Friendly dealers ease the buying process too.
All in all an enjoyable and useful day for which I offer grateful thanks to Kia’s lovely PR team.