|iPhone photo - hence poor resolution.|
I hired a Kia Cerato in Adelaide last week.
This was not the first time I’ve driven a Kia. When the kids were at home, we needed a people carrier for a while, so I bought a new Kia Carnival in 2000. If you have more than three kids, SUVs or people carriers are necessary if you want to travel as a family.
We owned this thing for five years, and it was only after I’d traded it that I began to hear what a lemon it was supposed to be.
This was not our experience. We must have been lucky enough to buy one of the 60% that were OK.
Our Carnival was well-used, carted the sprogs and their friends around without fuss and bother, and made some epic journeys to Far North Queensland loaded to the gunwales.
It only ever let us down once, failing to start because an earth lead had become dislodged.
Anyway, the “Carnivore”, as our kids christened it, was a reliable, roomy and comfortable jigger, and I have a strong respect for the marque based on that experience.
When the hire car turned out to be a Kia Cerato hatchback, I wasn’t dismayed.
After driving it for a week in and around the capital of the Deep South (Adelaide – not Melbourne*), I maintain that respect.
The Cerato was easy to drive, relatively quiet, and comfortable. It seemed to be put together with care, and the quality of the fit-out (base model) was impressive.
It had easy-to-operate Bluetooth, cruise control, and state-of-the-art audio. It was easy to get in and out of, and easy to see out of. (Not best English, I know – but you get my drift).
These things are mechanically very similar to the Hyundai i30, but with better styling and slightly more pizzazz. Kia was bought out by Hyundai years ago. The corporation is so big, that they can afford to develop motors, transmissions and running gear in-house, and buy the best body designers.
The Korean auto industry has made amazing progress in terms of quality and refinement since they came to the local market. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese learn as fast.
* I know Melbourne is South of Adelaide, but it doesn’t fit my definition of “deep”.