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Nadal passes on the keys of cars being used at the Australian Open

January 20, 2012 / 1228 /

World No.2 and former Australian Open Champion Rafael Nadal was present to help Kia Motors hand over the key for this years expeditious of courtesy cars to Tennis Australia.

Rafar Nadal the 2009 Australian Open Champion, helped Kia president Choongwoo Kim present Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood with a huge key. The rain threatened to spoil the presentation but Nadal was optimistic that Melbourne’s unseasonal weather would not interrupt next week’s Grand Slam. “Today is not the best weather for Melbourne but hopefully for the next week we’ll have fantastic weather,” Nadal commented.

He lost in the last 8 last year but still asserts that the Australian Open is one of his favorite tournament. “It is the Grand Slam where everything is easier. I love almost everything from here.”

This is the11th year that Kia Motors is the major sponsor of the Australian Open. Mr Kim said Kia Motors were glad to be having such an active role in the tournament. “For more than a decade Kia has been a proud sponsor of the Australian Open, one of the world’s greatest sporting events, and that commitment has not wavered.”

Mr. Steve Wood praised Kia’s commitment and importance to the event, “It’s a huge logistical exercise to move all our players, officials, media and staff around Melbourne during the event and it’s great to know that we can rely on Kia’s support.”

Hyundai-Kia sets global sales target of 7 million for 2012

January 20, 2012 / 1483 /

The Hyundai-Kia empire has set a 2012 sales target of seven million global units. This is an increase of 6.1 per cent from last year. The company aim to achieve this by investing more heavily in research and development and increasing the quality of its products.

Chairman of both companies Chung Mong Koo announced the plans yesterday during a speech to employees. The target is up from last year’s goal of 6.3 million international vehicle sales, a goal that was exceeded by 300,000. Hyundai is believed to have sold 4.05 million while Kia contributed around 2.55 million.

One of the key reasons for Hyundai and Kia exceeded their targets in 2011 was the popular Japanese manufacturers falling short. Both Toyota and Honda suffered from the earthquake devastation last March, while Honda production also suffered significantly due to the recent Thailand floods.

Hyundai-Kia plans to invest $4.3 billion in further research and development for its vehicles, 11 per cent higher than last year’s budget. The result should be increased quality across the range of vehicles from both brands.

On top of this, Kia is also reportedly planning to establish a new China-only brand, which will assist the company reach its future sales targets.

Kia Canada announces official vehicle sponsorship of the 2012 Fulda Challenge

January 19, 2012 / 1278 /
  • Extreme challenge held in the Yukon and Alaska will task both competitors and vehicles
  • Kia Canada will supply 22 vehicles to be used as transportation and in individual events
  • Team Canada is represented by Canadian Rugby player Ryan Smith and Chantal Mackenzie

Kia Canada, in partnership with Kia Deutschland, is proud to announce that they are the official vehicle sponsor of the 2012 Fulda Challenge. Entering into its 12th year, the Fulda Challenge is an annual arctic extreme adventure where competitors from all over the world come together to test their strength, determination and endurance against the harsh arctic landscape.

Spanning six days, between January 12 to 17, 2012, the competition encompasses 10 events designed to challenge athletes in harsh weather conditions. Some of the events consist of 20KM cross-country skiing, helicopter drop, crossing a one-mile canyon on a rope and Ski-Joring behind a Kia Sportage.

Kia Canada will support the Fulda Challenge as the official vehicle sponsor in 2012, which showcases the dynamic, versatile ability of both the award winning Compact Utility Vehicles (CUV) – 2012 Kia Sorento and 2012 Sportage in demanding conditions.  As part of the partnership, Kia Canada will supply ten Sportage EX Luxury with all-wheel drive and twelve Sorento EX Luxury and SX models with all-wheel drive. The vehicles will be used in multiple events to transport athletes, press and supplies from various locations.

“Winters in the Yukon are grueling and Canadians need reliable vehicles that will perform to the highest of standards, even in the harshest of climates,” said Robert Staffieri, Director of Marketing Kia Canada Inc. “The 2012 Fulda Challenge presents a unique opportunity to really showcase our vehicles abilities, specifically the Sportage and Sorento, and we’re confident that they will not only meet and exceed the demands of this extreme decathlon, but also in everyday life.”

The Kia Sorento Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) is the first Kia vehicle in Canada to sell over 15,000 units in a year, with 15,105 total units sold in 2011. The demand for Sportage in 2011 contributed to 122.5% growth over 2010, with 7,766 units sold. Additionally, both vehicles have achieved ‘Top Safety Pick’ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) making them one of the safest CUV’s on Canadian roads. Earlier in 2011, the Kia Sportage was awarded ‘Motoring Car of the Year’ from Motoring TV and more recently the 2012 Compact Utility of the Year.

The Sorento is well equipped for Canadian winters with an available full-time AWD system with lockable centre differential for improved performance on slippery and icy surfaces. The Sportage comes with an available Dynamax Intelligent all-wheel drive system (AWD) that can actually anticipate wheel slippage before it occurs and then engage, automatically, to help maintain better traction and control in all kinds of weather.

Selected to represent Team Canada is Ryan Smith and his spouse Chantal Mackenzie. Ryan has representedCanada in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Rugby World cup. In the final game against New Zealand Ryan played his 51stmatch for Team Canada, an accolade held by few, and managed to score a try against France who is currently ranked 2nd in the world. Chantal Mackenzie loves to be outdoors and is no stranger to competitive sports. Previously, Chantal was a competitive equestrian for 10 years and long distance runner. When Chantal is not riding horses or running she spends her time downhill skiing, hiking and snowmobiling. Together the two of them represent a strong competitive team worthy of wearing the Maple Leaf on their jackets.

Kia Canada will be collaborating with Bradford Productions to develop a one-hour documentary, chronicling Team Canada’s training and experience throughout the challenge, which will air on TSN and TSN2 in early 2012.

Kia Fleet Keeps Australian Open on the Move

January 19, 2012 / 1246 /

For the 11th year in a row, Kia Motors’ unwavering support of the Australian Open tennis has continued with the delivery of nearly 100 specially-equipped courtesy vehicles to keep the tournament’s players, officials and guests on the move.

Matt White Kia Ambassador Steve Wood CEO Tennis Australia Rafael Nadal CW Kim President CEO of Kia Motors Australia

In handing over the Kia Courtesy Fleet to Tennis Australia’s CEO Steve Wood, KMAu President and CEO C.W Kim confirmed Kia’s ongoing support for tennis in Australia.

“For more than a decade Kia has been a proud sponsor of the Australian Open, one of the world’s great sporting events, and that commitment has not wavered,” Mr Kim said in Melbourne today. “However, Kia’s commitment to tennis runs much deeper than just the elite level.

“Through the Kia Amateur Australian Open there is an annual opportunity for a young player to share in the excitement of the main event playing against qualifiers from 15 other countries in the second week of the Australian Open.”

In accepting the courtesy fleet, Steve Wood, CEO of Tennis Australia, said: “The Australian Open is the biggest sporting event in the world in January, and I’m pleased to again accept the fleet of Kia Vehicles which will effectively keep the tournament moving over the next few weeks.

“It’s a huge logistical exercise to move all our players, officials, media and staff around Melbourne during the event and it’s great to know we can rely on Kia’s support.”

The majority of the courtesy fleet _ 71 vehicles _ are Australia’s favourite people-mover, the multi-award winning Kia Grand Carnival which can move up to eight people in comfort.

Also on the fleet are Kia’s exciting mid-sized sedan, the Optima, the award-winning Sorento SUV and Kia’s all-new Rio, the recent winner of the Carsguide Car Of The Year..

The Kia courtesy fleet will be driven by 215 volunteer drivers who expect to clock up more than 400,000 kilometres in thousands of journeys during the 2012 Australian Open.

Potent 204kW Optima Turbo still on the Kia Australia wish list

January 18, 2012 / 1433 /

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) still has its fingers crossed that the potent Optima Turbo currently sold only in North America will eventually go into right-hand drive production, making it a contender for local launch.

Packing a WRX-like 204kW of power and 369Nm of torque from its blown 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder engine, the high-performance Optima is a chance for Europe, where the British arm of Kia is likely to put its hand up for a matching RHD version.

KMAu hopes that the pressure from Britain, along with requests from Australia and other RHD markets such as South Africa, will get the engineering program across the line at Kia headquarters.

But there seems to be less hope for an Australian release of the petrol-electric Optima Hybrid that is also sold in North America, as there are no product plans for a RHD version in the foreseeable future.

Launched only weeks ago in the United States, the hybrid combines the 2.4-litre Theta II engine with a 30kW electric motor powered by lightweight lithium polymer batteries.

In Australia, the Optima sedan range has just grown to two, with the new entry-level Optima Si joining the year-old Optima Platinum luxury model.

Both are powered by the Hyundai-Kia group’s 2.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder engine mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The $6500 price gap between the two variants leaves room for a third model, the SLi, to slot in between – a move that KMAu concedes is a possibility.

KMAu national public relations manager Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto that the company would see how the new Si sold in the market place first before committing to another model.

“There is still a hole in the middle for that (SLi), but it is not on the product planning sheet at the moment,” he said. “There may be a place for that in the future, but we are keen to see how the Si is accepted.

“It (Si) is still well specced compared with others in that price range, and we think it will go well.”

But Mr Hepworth indicated KMAu would not be so hesitant about the potential Optima Turbo, saying that if it became available in RHD, “it would be something we would be asking for”.

In the United States, the turbo engine is available on the midrange EX and flagship SX models, and in both cases drives through the front wheels via Kia’s six-speed automatic transmission (no manual gearbox or all-wheel drive are available).

The 18-inch alloy wheel, tyre and brakes package is the same as the wheels on the Australian-spec flagship Platinum model.

While the turbo 2.0-litre engine remains possibility for Australia, a normally aspirated 2.0-litre engine is increasingly unlikely for Optima on the local market.

When the range was launched with the top-shelf 2.4-litre GDI Optima Platinum in January, the company hinted at a future entry level model with the same 121kW/198Nm port-injected four-cylinder engine as the base Hyundai i45, which is built on the same platform as the Optima.

The plan appears to have been discarded in favour of employing the 2.4-litre direct-injection in the new $30,490 Si, with Mr Hepworth telling GoAuto that a combination of good pricing from the factory and a belief that the 2.4-litre GDI engine offered a point of difference over other mid-sized cars on similar pricing had swayed the planners to stick with the bigger and more sophisticated powerplant.

The decision means, however, that Kia misses out on a sub-$30,000 entry level model, to match its South Korean stable-mate and rival.

$6500 price saving as Kia launches Optima Si base model a year on

January 18, 2012 / 1249 /

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) is finally free to step up its assault on the medium car market by launching a more affordable entry-level version of its 2.4-litre Optima sedan, stripped of plush niceties such as leather and wood trim, ventilated and heated seats and premium sound system.

A more liberal supply of the in-demand Optima from Kia’s South Korean manufacturing base has permitted the expansion of the range from one model to two almost a year after the attractive mid-sizer was launched Down Under at the 2011 Australian Tennis Open.

About 30 features have either been either deleted or downgraded on the new Optima Si to bring the price down to $30,490 (plus on-road costs) – a saving of $6500 over the sole current model, the luxury $36,990 Optima Platinum.

The $30,490 pricing of the new Optima Si plonks it directly on top of Toyota’s fleet-car specialist, the Camry Altise, which also has an automatic transmission as standard.

The move gives Kia a model priced $600 below the equivalent Hyundai i45, the $31,090 Active with automatic transmission.

But there is no sign of the 2.0-litre petrol engine that reports earlier this year suggested would go into the base Optima, to match Hyundai’s similarly equipped entry level i45 Active with manual transmission.

The smaller engine and self-shifting transmission bring the Hyundai base model price down to $26,990.

Instead, KMAu has stuck with both the 2.4-litre 148kW/250Nm Theta II GDI (gasoline direct injection) four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission for its range starter, that delivers the same 7.9 litres per 100km combined fuel economy as its upmarket Platinum sibling.

Beset by Optima stock shortages from the outset, KMAu opted to set the bar high with the Optima Platinum, packing it with luxury and convenience features.

Without a volume-selling model to pitch against the i45 and medium-segment leaders such as the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo, Kia sold just 773 Optima Platinums to the end of November.

By comparison, Hyundai shifted 4589 i45s (plus 297 i40 wagons), giving it 9.3 per cent of the medium-car segment, while Kia earned just 1.5 per cent.

That Kia performance should improve somewhat in 2012, with KMAu saying it is expecting “acceptable” volumes of Optima, although it is not predicting specific sales numbers.

The new Optima Si retains alloy wheels, although they move down from the 18-inch alloys of the Platinum grade to 17 inches, with narrower 215/55 tyres.

A cloth/artificial leather combination seat trim replaces the leather of the Platinum, while the driver’s seat – with its eight-way power adjustment, heating and ventilation on the Platinum – reverts to manual adjustment and loses the warming and cooling functions.

Bodywise, the Si loses the rear-lip spoiler, sunroof, sports bumpers, HID headlamps and LED rear lamps, while swapping a chrome grille for the Platinum’s black chrome item.

Inside, the sound system has been scaled back from the Infinity premium system, losing its six-CD player but retaining a single CD player with MP3 compatibility and six speakers.

Dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and leather-clad steering wheel and gear selector knob also have been retained, but a few small touches such as the colour instrument readout and alloy pedals have bitten the dust.

The Optima Si is available in the same seven exterior colours, which all come with a black interior.

Kia Optima pricing:
Si $30,490
Platinum $36,990

Kia Rio wins 2011 car of the year

December 19, 2011 / 1178 /

It was the closest ever vote in Carsguide Car of the Year history.

And it produced a surprise winner for 2011. It’s the Kia Rio. The Korean compact claims the crown by just one vote over the impressive Volvo S60, with the funky Ford Focus rounding out the top three at the end of a year that is setting all sorts of records.

More than one million cars will again find new homes in 2011, it’s increasingly likely that the Holden Commodore’s 15-year reign as Australia’s favourite car will end, and new brands from China – Geely and Chery – have taken the count in showrooms to more than 60 individual nameplates.

On the COTY front, the Rio becomes the second baby-class member and only the second Korean car to claim the crown, as well as the first from the junior member of the Hyundai-Kia conglomerate.

The Rio scores its success off the back of impressive design and packaging, tweaking by an Australian suspension expert, topped by smart pricing starting from $16,290.

At the end of two intensive and tiring days of back-to-back running, the Rio did best when measured against the COTY judging criteria of value, design, technology and safety.

“It’s a nice, light, easy car to drive. It’s got a feisty engine and some nice little touches like the hill-start system and an upshift indicator light,” says chief judge, Ged Bulmer.

The safety-first Volvo S60 is also a hit with judges, apart from one obvious shortcoming in Australia.

“The only thing I don’t like is the spare tyre. It doesn’t have one,” says Neil Dowling. “For what it is, it drives well. Inside, the design is kinda the anti-Focus.”

The baby Ford is a driving favourite but loses out for its ergonomics and a higher price point than the Rio.

“It’s good value, has a good sound system, and is good value. But the dash layout is ordinary – it looks like someone threw the buttons at the dash,” says Mark Hinchliffe.

The COTY contest in 2011 follows a familiar pattern of recent times, with 10 judges, 10 cars and two days of tough driving on a variety of surfaces to check everything from freeway noise levels and fuel economy to dust sealing and cornering grip. There is also an intensive pre-drive briefing and quality check on all 10 contenders, which range in price from the Nissan Micra at $14,990 as an ST automatic to the heavily-loaded Range Rover Evoque at nearly $100,000.

Action starts at the Ford Proving Group at You Yangs when all the contenders come together for the first time, with the good looking Evoque and the homeground hero – the diesel-powered Ford Territory diesel – sharing the spotlight.

Everyone wants to know how they will compare, which strengths and weaknesses will be revealed, and how the eventual contenders will stack up against the reigning COTY champion, the Volkswagen Polo.

One change for 2011 is an early cull which takes out five hopefuls.

At then end of a rugged first day, with many laps of the right-and-handling course at You Yangs, a gravel-road circuit and road time in and around Geelong, there are a few surprises.

The Evoque is out early because it is poor value, quality and driving failings let the Micra down, while the Volkswagen Scirocco is way too sports focussed – one judge asks for a kidney belt because the ride is almost rock hard – and the Hyundai i40 is nothing special for design or driving. The Territory also goes out because of its basic age, despite the updated front-end styling and diesel for 2011, and shortcomings in a variety of areas.

So day two starts early with five cars – with the Holden Cruze hatch as the only local – and two judges aboard each for a series of real-world road loops and plenty of swapping and changing.

Then it’s time for a sit-down, talk-through and the final voting. Each judge lists their cars from top to bottom and the one with the lowest score wins.

The Cruze looks good but has plenty of shortcomings, from lacklustre rear suspension to reflections on the instruments.

“Back-to-back it with the Focus and you have to go with the Ford,” says Stuart Martin.

The BMW is a driving favourite, but it has a cramped cabin and falls down on value.

“It’s not what you expect for that sort of money. The packaging is compromised,” says Neil Dowling.

So the final three emerge, at the end of a tight contest with no truly standout car. The Toyota Camry might have been The One, and Ford also has the four-cylinder Falcon coming soon, but both arrived too late for the COTY cutoff.

Eventually, the Rio emerges as the judges’ choice and a surprising favourite despite its compact size and value-first pricing. It’s definitely helped by the suspension work by Graeme Gambold, as well as a six-speed gearbox and feisty engine.

“It looks good and it’s value for money. All the audio stuff is there. It’s got cruise control and a spare,” says Karla Pincott. “Is it better than the best cars in the class? Yes.”

And there it is, the Carsguide Car of the Year for 2011.

FINISHING ORDER

1. Kia Rio
2. Volvo S60
3. Ford Focus
4. BMW 118
5. Holden Cruze
6. Range Rover Evoque
7. Ford Territory
8. Volkwagen Scirocco
9. Hyundai i40
10. Nissan Micra.

For more information on the Kia Rio contact our sales team using the contact form.

Source: https://www.carsguide.com.au/caroftheyear/2011_carsguide_car_of_the_year_winners

Kia Optima Awarded 5 Stars by ANCAP

December 5, 2011 / 1076 /

The tested model of Kia Optima was introduced in Australia and New Zealand during 2011. Dual front airbags, side airbags and head-protecting side curtains are standard equipment. Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC) and a reversing camera are also standard. Advanced seat belt reminders are fitted to all seats. Pretensioners are fitted to the front seat belts to reduce slack in the event of a crash.

5 stars. The Optima scored 14.58 out of 16 in the offset crash test. The passenger compartment held its shape well. There was a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver. The vehicle scored 16 out of 16 in the side impact crash test and a further two points in the pole test.

Results

Occupant Protection Score 35.58 out of 37

FRONTAL OFFSET CRASH TEST

Body region scores out of 4 points each: Head/neck 4 pts, chest 3.47 pts, upper legs 4 pts, lower legs 3.11 pts.

The passenger compartment held its shape well in the offset crash test. The brake pedal moved rearwards by 69 mm and upwards 4 mm. The steering wheel hub moved 4mm forward, 4mm downward and 16 mm sideways. The front (“A”) pillar moved 46 mm rearwards. All doors remained closed during the crash. After the crash the all door could be opened with normal effort.

The airbag cushioned the head of the driver and contact was stable. The passenger’s head was cushioned by the airbag. There were no knee hazards.

SIDE IMPACT CRASH TEST

Body region scores out of 4 points each: Head 4 pts, chest 4 pts, abdomen 4 pts, pelvis 4 pts.

The vehicle was eligible for an optional pole impact test, since it had head-protecting side airbags. The vehicle earned the maximum two points in this test.

PEDESTRIAN PROTECTION: Pending

Variant: Si
Kerb mass: 1500 kg Vehicles built: 2011

Eng: 2.4 petrol
Category: CAR – MEDIUM

Model History and Safety Features

The tested model of Kia Optima was introduced in Australia and New Zealand during 2011.

Dual front airbags, side airbags and head-protecting side curtains are standard equipment. Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC) and a reversing camera are also standard. Advanced seat belt reminders are fitted to all seats.

Pretensioners are fitted to the front seat belts to reduce slack in the event of a crash.

OCCUPANT PROTECTION: 5 Stars

The Optima scored 14.58 out of 16 in the offset crash test. The passenger compartment held its shape well. There was a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver.

The vehicle scored 16 out of 16 in the side impact crash test and a further two points in the pole test..

New Kia Rio ANCAP Safety Results -5 Stars

December 5, 2011 / 1451 /

The 1.2 petrol left-hand-drive European model was tested by Euro NCAP. ANCAP was provided with technical information which showed that all Australasian variants have comparable occupant protection.

The tested model of Kia Rio was introduced in Australia during 2011. Dual front airbags, side airbags and head-protecting side curtains are standard equipment. Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and electronic stability control (ESC) are also standard. Intelligent seat belt reminders are fitted to all seats. Pretensioners are fitted to the front seat belts to reduce slack in the event of a crash.

5 stars. The Kia Rio scored 14.99 out of 16 in the offset crash test. The passenger compartment held its shape well. There was a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver. The vehicle scored 15 out of 16 in the side impact crash test and a further two points in the pole test.

Results

Variant: GLS LHD Kerb mass 1150 kg Vehicles built: 2011

Eng: 1.2 litre

Category: CAR – SMALL Tested by Euro NCAP

Important note: The 1.2 petrol left-hand-drive European model was tested by Euro NCAP. ANCAP was provided with technical information which showed that all Australasian variants have comparable occupant protection.

Model History and Safety Features

The tested model of Kia Rio was introduced in Australia during 2011.

Dual front airbags, side airbags and head-protecting side curtains are standard equipment. Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and electronic stability control (ESC) are also standard. Intelligent seat belt reminders are fitted to all seats.

Pretensioners are fitted to the front seat belts to reduce slack in the event of a crash.

OCCUPANT PROTECTION: 5 Stars

The Kia Rio scored 14.99 out of 16 in the offset crash test. The passenger compartment held its shape well. There was a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver.

The vehicle scored 15 out of 16 in the side impact crash test and a further two points in the pole test.

FRONTAL OFFSET CRASH TEST

Body region scores out of 4 points each: Head/neck 4 pts, chest 3.63 pts, upper legs 4 pts, lower legs 3.36 pts.

The passenger compartment held its shape well in the offset crash test. The brake pedal moved rearwards by 45 mm and upwards 23 mm. The steering wheel hub moved 26mm forward, 6mm downward and 6 mm sideways. The front (“A”) pillar moved 15 mm rearwards. All doors remained closed during the crash. After the crash the driver’s door could be opened with high manual effort.

The airbag cushioned the head of the driver and contact was stable. The passenger’s head was cushioned by the airbag. There were no knee hazards.

SIDE IMPACT CRASH TEST

Body region scores out of 4 points each: Head 4 pts, chest 4 pts, abdomen 4 pts, pelvis 4 pts.

Euro NCAP found that the rear door was not fully latched after the test and a “door open” modifier was applied.

The vehicle was eligible for an optional pole impact test, since it had head-protecting side airbags. The vehicle earned the maximum two points in this test.

PEDESTRIAN PROTECTION: Marginal

The protection provided by the bumper to pedestrians’ legs was predominantly good. However, the front edge of the bonnet was poor in all areas tested and scored no points. Poor protection was also provided by the bonnet in most areas where an adult’s head might strike. In the areas where a child’s head might strike the bonnet, protection was mixed, some areas offering good protection and others poor.

Kia raises the bar again with Australia’s Best Cars double.

December 5, 2011 / 995 /

Kia’s award-winning model line-up received an emphatic stamp of approval from Australia’s leading motoring clubs with a double dip of wins in the annual Australia’s Best Cars awards.

The Sorento SLi diesel AWD backed up from its success last year to record back-to-back wins in the Best SUV Over $40,000 category while Kia’s all-new baby Rio Si hit the ground running to win the judges’ hearts in the Best Light Car Under $20,000 section.

“The Kia Rio delivers well beyond its price point and diminutive small car origins,” the judging panel said. “The feeling of quality fit and finish is evident even over nasty, uneven road surfaces where you would expect a small car to develop any number of rattles and squeaks. There are none in the Kia.”

The judges also praised the little Rio’s on-road performance, pointing out that it equalled or bettered all-comers for performance, ride, handling and braking, “most certainly benefitting from a concerted local effort to tune and recalibrate the suspension to suit Australian conditions and Australian roads.”

The Sorento won praise for its all-round ability, strong diesel engine and impressive build quality which the judges believed would lead to improved resale values over the coming years.

Kia Motors Australia President and CEO, Mr Chong Woo (Charlie) Kim, said the recognition of the motoring clubs was a wonderful endorsement for Kia’s continuing quest to provide better and safer cars.

“It is very pleasing and humbling to have industry leaders prepared to tell the market about the strength of your products,” Mr Kim said. “It is even more so when the awards are so strongly based on functionality, safety and engineering excellence.”

Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow, said the significance of the ABC awards went far beyond recognition of the individual models.

“I think it is fair to say that while the trophies are a specific recognition of a certain model, there is also an enormous fillip to the brand in these very important awards,” Mr Barlow said.

“Kia’s journey over the past three years has been significant and this sort of recognition from an organisation that exists to serve people who actually buy and own these cars is particularly pleasing.

“To have two cars on the winner’s dais _ and another three (Optima, Grand Carnival and Sportage) as finalists _ is reason to believe we are going in the right direction.”

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