New Kia Sorento

The new KIA Sorento goes on sale nationwide on 1 July 2015.

“The all-new Sorento is a key model for KIA due to our affinity for the SUV class of vehicles,” says David Sieff, Marketing Director, KIA Motors South Africa. “The third generation Sorento is especially exciting to bring to market as we make the next step up the quality and refinement ladder. We realise innovation and technology is expected from KIA but we have again brought key conveniences that make owing the new Sorento a driving pleasure.”

New Kia Sorento

New Kia Sorento


The new Sorento is bigger with an increased length (+95 mm to 4 780 mm), reduced height (down 15 mm to 1 685 mm) and extra width (+5 mm to 1 890 mm.

sorento-22-crdi-sx-awd-86_1800x1800All models come as standard with a Radio / CD / MP3 player, as well as multimedia ports for USB and AUX-in connections, and six speakers around the cabin. In entry-level models, information is displayed on a 3,8-inch display, while higher specification grades feature a 4,3-inch colour touch screen that incorporates the rear-parking camera.

Available in five- or seven-seat versions, the new Sorento features 40/20/40 second row split folding seats for improved versatility, with a higher folding centre armrest. Depending on the model grade, the second-row seats can be ‘remotely’ folded by conveniently located levers in the side of the cargo bay.

Local KIA Sorento models come with a choice between a 2,4-litre multi-point injection petrol engine and the established 2,2-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine.

Kia says the high-specification versions of the all-new Sorento are equipped with KIA’s DYNAMAX™ all-wheel drive system, which delivers a high level of stability and confidence in poor driving conditions and on low-grip surfaces, balancing torque distribution to the front and rear wheels depending on the specific requirement. The system is further enhanced with a ‘4WD Lock’ mode, which splits torque distribution evenly between front and rear wheels and gives greater traction and even more predictable handling in snow, on sand, on other low-traction surfaces, and around bends. Does not look as if a low range option is available.


Manual models are equipped with KIA’s Flex Steer system, allowing the driver to switch between three levels of steering assistance – ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ (which reduces the level of assistance for a more engaging drive), and ‘Comfort’ (which requires less effort to steer).

KIA South Africa will offer the all-new Sorento in four specification grades, ranging from LS and LX at the entry level to the mid-spec EX and top-spec SX.

KIA Sorento 2.4 LS R 379 995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi LX R 499 995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi EX AWD R 599 995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi SX AWD R 634 995

All models ship as standard with KIA’s industry-leading 5-year / 150 000km warranty, as well three years of unlimited roadside assistance. The Sorento 2.4 LS comes as standard with a 4-year / 90 000km service plan, while LX, EX and SX models include a 5-year / 100 000km maintenance plan.

Kia Sportage CRDi AWD review

Kia Sportage CRDi

Kia Sportage CRDi

Kia Sportage CRDi AWD

Kia’s lead designer Peter Schreyer and his team have changed the face of Kia. Not only has the face changed though, everything has been upgraded. The Kia Sportage is the small SUV or station wagon in the model range and it is not only versatile but seems to be just the right size. Big enough for four adults and their kit, small enough to manoeuvre in town.

The facelifted Sportage is more refined than the model it has been developed from and has been  tweaked where it counts.

The interior is very good and has been significantly upgraded. A lot of thought has gone into it. From the leather clad multi-function steering wheel to the multi-adjustable powered leather driver’s seat everything feels just right. The armrest between the seats hides a cubby hole, one of many storage bins.

Kia Sportage CDi

Kia Sportage CDi

Needless to say the car is very well equipped with amongst others a high end sound system, climate control, electric windows, cooling glove box, auto light control and multi-function trip computer. The cabin and boot are both spacious. The boot has a false floor which is useful for keeping small things out of site.

The built-in rear-view camera and RPAS (Rear Parking Assist System) works very well and the touch screen is a nice, er…  touch.

Kia Sportage CRDi

Kia Sportage CRDi

Safety equipment includes downhill brake control, EBD, ABS, electronic stability control, hill start assist, airbags front, side and curtain and iso-fix baby seats.

I really enjoyed driving the Sportage. Acceleration is good and I found the road holding above average for a tall car. This car will be easy to live with.

Expect fuel consumption of around 7 litres/100km for the diesel and a litre more for the petrol models.

The ride is a little stiff, a bit like the Audi Q3, but it is not unpleasant. The very comfortable seats mollycoddle you in any case.


Kia has got it right with the Sportage range. No longer cheap, but solid build quality and good prices. The five year warranty says something about the quality. The dimensions are just right, inside and outside.

The Sportage is practical, good value and smart.

The Sportage range has 9 models from the 2.0 Ignite (petrol) at R321 995 to the 2.0 CRDi (diesel) AWD auto at R425 995. We tested the latter. If you don’t need AWD we recommend the 2.0 auto at R360 995.

Also look at the Nissan Qashqai (new model any day now), Ford Kuga (new model), Honda CRV, Toyota RAV and Hyundai ix35.

Sportage 086

The Sportage comes with a very good five year, 150 000km warranty and 5 year or 100 000km service plan.

Sportage crdi  016


Kia Cerato 2.0 EX Auto review

Kia Cerato 2.0 EX Auto

Kia Cerato

Kia Cerato

The latest Cerato, sedan or hatch, delivers on value, style, quality and comfort.
We tested the 2.0 EX Automatic sedan. It is a very pleasant car which is very easy to drive and to live with. It just soaks up bumps and irregularities in the road and goes round corners with assurance.
Standard equipment includes automatic light control, LED daytime running lights, fog lights and electric windows and mirrors. All four wheels have disc brakes, ABS, EBD and all the other safety kit is fitted.

Cerato interior
The Cerato interior is pleasant and a big step up from the previous model, but still quite conservative. This is perhaps a good thing. The car is really comprehensively equipped. It has everything from air conditioning to cruise control to electric chromic mirror to rear view camera on the two top models. The leather steering wheel has remote controls and a matching gear knob.
The boot is big and deep (420litres) and almost matches the Sentra and Jetta.

Kia Cerato EX 2.0 Auto

Kia Cerato EX 2.0 Auto

The exterior styling is a step up from the previous model and is somewhat more Eurocentric. I think it looks great and should age well.
A complaint about previous Kia’s has been the dead steering. The cars felt disconnected from the road. This new generation largely fixes that. Within a day or two you get used to it and don’t notice it. A big improvement. The EX and SX models have a setting to adjust the responsiveness of the steering; soft, normal or sport.
Cerato_noseBuild quality is good, resulting in a five year warranty. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it should keep resale values high.
The in-line 4 cylinder 16 valve dual overhead cam and dual cvvt 2.0 litre engine produces 118kW @ 6 200rpm and 194Nm @ 4 300rpm. Top speed is 205km/h and 0 to 100km/h is 9.3 seconds. Both manual and auto boxes are 6 speed. I think the 1.6 models may be a little lethargic on the Highveld especially with 4 adults onboard, but the 2.0 litre models are just right. Expect fuel consumption of around 7.5 l/100km.
Price of the Cerato EX 2.0 Automatic as tested is R259 995. The range starts at R219 995 for the 1.6 manual. The top model is the 2.0 SX Automatic at R289 995.
Also look at the Nissan Sentra, VW Jetta, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruz, Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. My short list would be Civic, Focus, Sentra and Cerato.
The warranty is 5 years or 150 000km and the service plan is 5 years or 90 000km.


Kia Rio 1.4 Tec review

Kia Rio 1.4 Tec manual


This new “B” class car from Kia was a finalist for car of the year 2013. A Porsche beat it. It is so good, and so much of an improvement on its predecessor.

The Kia Rio 1.4Tec is a little luxury car, fitted as standard with all the goodies you could reasonably want with two omissions, more of later.

The 1.4 normally aspirated multipoint fuel injected petrol engine produces 79kW and torque of 135Nm at 4 200rpm to take you to a top speed of 183km/h and a 0 – 100 sprint in 13.35 seconds. Kia claims a very low consumption of 6.4 litres/100km. I managed to get 6.4litres/100km in combined town and highway driving. My usual route is about 100km a day and includes a stretch on the N2, town driving and parking on the 8th floor of a parking garage.


The interior of the Rio is superb. It comes with all the goodies you can expect as standard and all packaged in a great trim and finish. From leather multifunction steering wheel to climate controls, everything feels right.

This new Kia matches, or beats the  interiors of its direct competition.

Included in the package are luxury big car items like automatic lights, wipers, rear parking sensors electrically operated side mirrors and windows and awesome LED running lights.

The leg room at the back is good and the boot is generous.

The Rio is a great looking car in both hatch and saloon iterations. The nose is more than pretty.

Driving impressions

On the road the Kia feels competent. I would have preferred one size smaller wheels I think, to improve the comfort of the ride.

The steering which was iffy on previous Kias is much improved and is accurate. You do not notice it. That is a compliment.

Acceleration at the coast is better than brisk.

This new Kia is fun to drive. All the flaws in earlier Kia designs seems to have been fixed. Ride quality is not quite Ford Fiesta yet, but matches VW Polo I think and is better than Toyota’s Etude.

What I did not like

I thought the omission of cruise control and hill start assist is unfortunate. I would have preferred them to for instance, park sensors.

The bottom corners of the dash are quite high and could be a problem for a short person.


Possible competition includes the Suzuki Swift, VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and the Toyota Yaris.

Overall a very good package and hard to beat.

Price of the 1.4 Tec hatch as tested R177 995, which includes park sensors, auto lights and wipers, climate control and audio system.

Its automatic sibling is R187 995. The range starts at R144 995 for the 1.2 manual.

Includes 4 year 60 000km service plan and a 5 year 100 000km warranty.


Kia Rio 1.4 manual review

Kia Rio 1.4 manual

Kia are being very clever with their model line-up. They give you a complete car with all the necessary appliances, a choice of two trim levels , two engines sizes and either manual or automatic. Simple, effective. Just like their cars.

I tested the 1.4 manual Rio in basic trim priced at R157 995. You get a lot of car for your money.


She is beautiful. People take a second look. Kia have got it right with the Rio, whatever “it” means. The lines and dimensions are in balance and are pleasing to the eye.

Viewed head on, new Rio has its own unique interpretation of the Kia corporate grille, which is integrated with the front lights. It works well and is much prettier than the previous car. The new colours are also fresh and appealing. Fresh Beige  really suits this car.

In profile, the 5-door model’s shorter front overhang (reduced by 25 mm), lowered roofline and increased ratio of body-to-glass, combined with the car’s strong wedge form, gives new Rio a dynamic, sporty stance.

Alloy wheels are 15″ as standard but you can get 17″ wheels as an option.

She is an eye turner.


The new Rio’s cabin is more spacious than the previous model and also feels more spacious.

Storage space includes a large, 1.5-litre glove box, a larger centre console with 3-litres capacity and pockets to hold a 1.5-litre bottle in the front doors and a 0.5-litre bottle in the rear doors.

Features include items such as: steering wheel-mounted audio controls, radio CD player with MP3 compatibility plus AUX, iPod and USB connections and hands-free Bluetooth®. Feature highlights on the 1.4 TEC model are; climate-control air-conditioning, a rear park assist system with 4-sensors, rain-sensing wipers, LED daytime running lights and 17-inch alloy wheels (1.4 – optional/1.4 TEC – standard).

The leather steering wheel and leather gear knob feels good in the hand. The cabin looks smart.

Seat and steering adjust enough to find a comfortable driving position. The back seat spilts 40/60 and folds down.

The 1.2 Rio comes standard with 4 speakers, while the 1.4 and 1.4 TEC model is fitted with 6 speakers (4 door and 2 tweeter speakers).


The Rio handles much better than its Hyundai sibling. The brakes lack a bit of feeling, but the steering is very good, light but not dead. It goes where you point it. Handling is good. It feels sporty. With four adults on board you will have to use the gears, but if you are on your own it is a pleasing drive.

The manual gearbox is silky smooth and the clutch action just right.

Acceleration from 80 to 100km/h feels brisk and the Rio cruises with ease at 120km/h in sixth gear. It is an easy car to park.

Overall, a strong yes.


The interior is a bit plastic. You do get used to it though.

Not really a bad thing, but I missed the lack of park assist. On the other hand visibility is good.

Not a lot of power on hand when fully laden.


I really liked the automatic headlights. When you open the car with the remote the headlights come on if its dark. They also stay on for 30 seconds after you lock the car.

For a B-segment car there is a lot of space.

Build quality seems excellent.


Power 79 @ 6300, Torque 135 @ 4200. Consumption I got around 6.5 litres per 100km, combined city and highway. On the open road you should get very close to 6.3.

The Rio comes with a 5 year  or 100 000km warranty and 4 year 0r 60 000km service plan. The rust guarantee is only 3 years.


The new Rio is fun to drive, has the goodies you will want and seems to be well built. Highly recommended, but get a 1.4.


Prices start at R139 995 for the 1.2 manual. The 1.4 Tec Automatic costs R181 995. The car we tested was the 1.4 manual at R157 995.

Kia Picanto 1.0 Auto review

Kia Picanto 1.0  Auto

Every new Kia is streets ahead of car it replaces. This is also the case with the new Picanto. It is a very competent little city car, with some strange quirks. I found the steering a little odd and took some getting used to, but after 5 days I got the hang of it. The steering is electronic and has a built in inertia at the dead ahead point which is quite disconcerting at first. You do get used to it. Another quirk is the rather large cubby hole at the back. I never quite found the boot. Unless the cubby hole is the boot. Mmmm. It’s possible.

When I took delivery the average fuel consumption was an alarming 8.9 litre/100km. By the time I gave it back it had dropped to 6.6 litre/100km, which included city driving, going up 8 flights in a parking garage daily and about 35km of highway driving, and back, at around 120 km/h every day. Not too shabby. You should be able to achieve around 6 litre/100km.

Good points

The Picanto is very well put together and everything is where you would expect it to be. All the switches and controls are easy to use and do what they are supposed to. The MP3/CD/radio is good and can take iPod, AUX/USB inputs. It is a simple well put together car best suited to urban driving.

Visibility is excellent and the driving position is comfortable. It is an easy car to drive once you master the steering feel.

The body of the Picanto is stylish, with smooth lines and a look of its own. From the front its quite commanding. a bit like a Chihuahua. Small, but thinks its big. The side view is almost sporty.

I get the impression that it will last well and not give problems. Easy to drive and easy to own.

Weak points

There are a number of things I needed getting used to.

The interior uses a lot of hard plastic. The design of the top of the dash causes a quite bad reflection in the windscreen, especially for short drivers. The seats feel a little thin for long roads but are fine in town and the passenger does not get an airbag unless you get the LX. Legroom in the back is on more than cramped, but fine for children.

The boot is… small. OK for shopping, but not more than a trolley full at a time.

The fuel gauge is inconsistent. It drops rather quickly when near empty.

Apart from the top of the range EX, ABS is sadly missing.


If all you want is a simple, reliable city car then the Picanto checks all the right boxes. The LX models add electric windows in front, front fog lamps and a rear wiper. The EX models add ABS, leather steering wheel with remote controls, rear electric windows and Bluetooth.

The Picanto starts at R99 995 for the 1,0 manual, the 1.0 Auto as tested is R109 995. The top of the range 1.2 EX Auto is R125 995. The best value is probably the 1,0 LX Auto at R117 995.

Picanto comes with a 5 Year/100 000km warranty, a 3 Year/100 000km anti-corrosion warranty and 15 000km service intervals.

KIA Cerato Hatch 1.6 EX Manual Review

KIA Cerato Hatch 1.6 EX Manual Review

The new 2011 Cerato hatch breaks new ground for the KIA brand, which with this car establishes itself as a serious aspirational, sporty automotive brand alternative to the same old marques and announces itself as the BMW or Alfa of Korea. It’s that good. And very affordable for the package you get. The competition is going to battle to match this.

We tested the 1.6 manual in basic trim. In truth you don’t need more at sea level. It goes well, it’s nippy, a pleasure to drive and does everything it should, ticking all the right boxes on the way. I was pleasantly surprised with this car. The 2.0 litre models must be quite sporty with their extra 15% power.

Initially the electric (motor driven) power-assisted rack and pinion steering seems too light, almost unpleasantly so, and has a mid or centre spot which feels dead, until you get used to it. The steering becomes progressively stiffer the faster you go. You quickly become accustomed to it. The gears, clutch and handling are just right. It’s fun to drive and very responsive.

The interior has been well thought out. The controls for the aircon and fans feels a bit flimsy compared to the rest of the switchgear, but is much like other cars in its segment. The rest of the interior has a smart, sporty (but not boy racer) feel to it. Legroom at the back is surprisingly good. The cloth seats are comfortable and adjust easily.

Cerato Hatch comes standard with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), as well as dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags. Active headrests are also standard on all models.

The 0 – 100 km/h sprint takes 10.3 seconds, average fuel economy is a claimed 6.6 L/100km and CO2 emissions are 158 g/km. I got just over 7 L/100km and the acceleration felt quick.

Standard equipment includes aircon, iPod and USB connectivity, MP3 compatible CD/radio with 6 speakers, electric mirrors and windows, immobiliser and full size spare wheel.

Nice touches are keyless entry, speed sensing auto door lock, Electric Chromic rearview mirror and three spoke leather steering wheel and gear knob.

The 1.6 we tested produces 91.2kW @ 6 300 and torque of 156 Nm @ 4 200.

Price is R185 995, the top of the line 2.0 Auto costs R215 995. Warranty is 5 year / 100 000km, Service plan 4 year / 90 000km and service intervals 15 000km.