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A handful of tasty Kias: Multi-testing is every motoring writer’s dream

YOU could say it’s the motoring equivalent of a restaurant’s tasting menu – a day that offers the chance to sample cars from a manufacturer’s range. And Kia did just that, with an event for motoring writers in Skipton, Yorkshire.

The South Korean maker has a tasty line-up of motors and I tried five of them during the day, starting with the Stinger the company’s large, sleek, coupe-style hatchback that is big on power and pace.

The Stinger (main pic) has presence with a capital ‘P’. Poised on 19in alloy wheels, its dynamic lines give the five-door car immediate eye-appeal. Slipping into the driver’s seat, the cabin is just as stylish as the exterior, resplendent in leather upholstery and pleasingly tactile finishes. And the car is loaded with yummy kit.

Here is just a flavour of the equipment – auto headlight control, rain sensing wipers, power-adjustable driver’s seat, powered tailgate, heated front seats and outer-rear seats, wireless phone charger, 360-degree around-view monitor, connectivity suite, and welcome and follow-me-home light functionality.

The driving experience proved glorious, with bags of effortless power from the mighty engine – a six-cylinder, 3.3-litre petrol unit, delivering 361bhp via a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, with 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 167mph while returning a combined fuel figure of 28mpg with 229g/km CO2 (manufacturer’s figures).

A delicious, but not obtrusive, note from the quad exhaust tailpipes provided a soundtrack to savour on a drive through delightful countryside. Model: 3.3 T-GDi V6 GT S. Price: £43,330 OTR.

ProCeed

NEXT up was the ProCeed, another looker from Kia’s line-up. It’s a sporting take on the estate car, with sweeping lines and a sporting air about it. The car brings extra style to the family car sector.

Again – as is Kia’s way – the motor majors on kit, with features including auto headlight control, LED full-width brake light, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, electronic parking brake, heated front seats and heated steering wheel, dual auto air conditioning, a timer for the heated rear window, rear parking sensors and a suite of audio, communication and information tech.

Sitting on 17in alloy wheels the five-door car has some great exterior details and sports privacy glass for the rear and tailgate windows.

Roomy and comfortable, the ProCeed drives as well as it looks – our car’s 158bhp, 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, paired with a slick six-speed manual gearbox gave 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, with a combined fuel consumption of 48.7mpg and 131g/km CO2 (manufacturer’s figures). Ride and handling ticked the box marked confidence-inspiring. Model: 1.5 T-GDi GT-Line. Price: £25,080 OTR

The Stonic

THE Stonic was my next choice, a stylish compact SUV, giving the convenience of a fairly high driver’s seat, and the improved visibility that grants. My verdict after a stint in the handsome five-door car is that this is a strong contender in a popular sector.

It may be smaller than the previous two cars I tried, but the Stonic doesn’t stint on equipment. You will find features including automatic headlight control, welcome and follo-me-home light functionality, heated and power-folding door mirrors, a roof-coloured rear spoiler with high-mounted brake light, heated front seats and steering wheel, smart cruise control, cabin 12-volt power socket, reversing camera system and a connectivity suite.

With an eager single-litre, three-cylinder 118bhp petrol engine and seven speed auto (DCT) gearbox, the Stonic acquits itself well on the road. My driving took in steep, twisting climbs, winding country routes and A-roads, and the car felt at ease throughout. Performance figures are 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds and a top speed of 115 mph with a combined fuel figure of 49.6mpg and 129g/km CO2 (manufacturer’s figures). Model: GT-Line S 1.0 T-GDi. Price: £23,500 OTR

Sorento

I DECIDED it was time to get behind the wheel of the Sorento, a large and comfortable SUV with winning looks.

The cabin is a welcoming place to be, and the generous level of equipment enhanced the driving experience. Among a wealth of features you will find a panoramic sunroof with automatic electrically-operated roll-blinds, rain sensing windscreen wipers, smart cruise control, heated front seats and outer-rear seats, heated steering wheel, smart powered tailgate, dual auto air conditioning, ambient lighting (front centre console), front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, blind-spot monitor camera and 360-degree around view monitor.

With its impressive lines, this luxurious, roomy, five-door motor has lots of presence and its elevated driving position gave great visibility – something I found advantageous on the country roads I took.

Cossetted by leather upholstery, progress was smooth thanks to a six-speed automatic transmission, and the 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine belied its size, the all-wheel-drive car feeling more like it had a two-litre unit under the bonnet.

This hybrid HEV model combines the turbocharged petrol engine with a small battery pack and electric motor.

Performance figures are 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds and a top speed of 119mph with a combined fuel figure of 38.2mpg and 169g/km CO2 (manufacturer’s figures). Model: 1.6 HEV T-GDi Auto AWD. Price: £47,210 OTR

Ceed

SADLY I didn’t have time to try every model at the event, so I decided to wind up my driving day with a spell in the Ceed, a family hatchback I have driven in each of its iterations since it was launched in 2006.

The latest Ceed is a truly accomplished motor. It’s stylish too, with more defined exterior lines than the cars that have gone before, and a pleasing, comfortable interior with a feeling of high quality about it.

There’s plenty of kit, with heated seats and heated steering wheel, dual auto air conditioning, cruise control and speed limiter, and kerbside lights for the power-folding, heated door mirrors just a few among a lengthy list of features.

On the practicality front, you will find features including a USB fast-charger in the front centre-console (which has a storage box and cupholders), cupholders in the rear armrest, a 12-volt power socket in the luggage area, which has a light and luggage hooks, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera system.

On the road, the car feels sure-footed, with well-judged ride and handling and there is smooth power from the 1.5-litre, 158bhp, four-cylinder petrol engine, channelled by a six-speed manual gearbox with well-chosen ratios. Performance figures are 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, with a combined fuel figure of 49.6mpg and 129g/km CO2 (manufacturer’s figures). Model: 1.5T-GDi GT-Line. Price: £24,225 OTR

Stylish, well-equipped and with a seven-year warranty, Kia’s motors on my ‘tasting menu’ proved very satisfying.

Frank Turner
Frank is a respected journalist who has specialised for many years in writing car reviews and motoring industry news for national and regional newspapers.

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