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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.”