Backed by their seven-year manufacturer warranty, Kia car models have slowly become some of the most popular in the UK. Having initially built their success on the back of the Sportage and Sorento SUVs, since then the South Korean manufacturer has produced some of the most popular city cars as well as becoming one of the first to bring an affordable EV to market.
A brief history of Kia
Kyungsung Precision Industry founded
Originally a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycle parts, they produced Korea’s first domestic bicycle.
Rebrands as Kia Industries
Kia begins building small Honda-licensed motorcycles (1957) before moving onto Mazda licensed trucks (1962) and cars (1974).
Kia partners with Ford
Following industry consolidation by military dictator Chun Doo-hwan in 1981, Kia rejoined the automobile industry five years later, in partnership with Ford, to sell Mazda-derived budget models in the USA.
Kia launched in the UK
Kia initially only sold the Pride supermini, a rebadged Mazda 121, after launch in the UK. This later expanded with the introduction of the Mentor hatchback and Sportage SUV in 1995.
Hyundai Motor Company purchases Kia
During the Asian financial crisis of 1997, Kia declared bankruptcy. By 1998 an agreement was reached with Hyundai Motor Company to acquire 51% of Kia. That same year Kia’s future in Britain was thrown into serious doubt when it sold less than 3,000 of its whole range – the worst in any full year on the British market.
Increased focus on European market
Following the introduction of the Sedona MPV, Kia doubled its previous year sales. This began to establish Kia as a popular choice in the UK, and by 2009 sales broke the 50,000 barrier for the first time thanks to the Picanto city car.
Kia opens European plant
Following the launch of Kia’s first European plant in Slovakia, popular models such as the Cee’d, Sportage and Venga were produced.
Seven-year warranty introduced
Since 2010, every model sold by Kia in the UK has offered a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty, providing reliability and reassurance to customers.
Kia unveiled a battery electric version of the Niro at the International Vehicle Expo. The e-Niro would be launched in the UK in 2019 and sold out of its allocation near-instantly.
As if proving the point that good things come in small packages, the Kia Picanto remains one of the most important Kia car models available in their range. It’s also one of the most popular city cars available, thanks in part to its drivability and healthy level of standard equipment.
This includes an 8.0-inch ‘floating’ widescreen infotainment with smartphone mirroring and a high-resolution 4.2-inch digital driver display.
Two Smartstream petrol engines are offered across the range, including a 1.0-litre T-GDi engine producing 100ps, and a naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre engine producing 67ps.
I’ve seen the Kia Rio on the beach
And I’ve seen it on TV
Two, of a billion cars
It means so much to me
Like a birthday or a pretty view
But then I’m sure that you know it’s just for you.
So sang Simon Le Bon (maybe), and while the Kia Rio has fallen down the pecking order in the Kia range, the hatchback still retains a cult following. Partly this is down to its superior level of comfort and equipment along with low running costs. Although it has fallen out of favour in recent years due to the–
The Kia Ceed was recently updated with a new front styling incorporating a unique signature tiger nose grille as well as a revised headlight pattern to compliment its sporty stance.
Offered with a choice of either a 1.4-litre petrol engine or 1.6-litre diesel mild-hybrid engine, the Ceed is a sensible and practical choice in the Kia range which offers drivers an assured style and feel to any drive.
Having been recently named ‘Used Mid-Sized Car of the Year’ by Car Dealer magazine, it’s a model that proves Kia’s standing as one of the best choices in the used car market. Check out our used car deals here.
The Kia XCeed is a sport compact crossover that proves Kia is a manufacturer that has something for everyone in their range.
Taking the things that have made SUVs so desirable in recent years (high ride height, road presence, practicality) and combining them with things most people want from their car (cheap to run, a good standard level of equipment) it’s the right car for the right person.
If you like the Ceed but want something a little bit sportier and a little bit roomier, the ProCeed is the car for you.
Reminiscent of a bargain-basement Porsche Panamera, the ProCeed is Kia’s attempt at offering something in their range that’s engaging to drive while also offering space and versatility and yet has an aspirational sporty design. Mission accomplished right?
The first of the Kia car models to be engineered on European roads for European drivers, the shooting brake model is available with a 1.5 T-GDi engine in manual or auto as well as a slightly more powerful 1.6 T-GDi.
The EV6 is the newest of the Kia car models to be introduced by the manufacturer. The first car to be based on the company’s dedicated new architecture for battery electric vehicles, it will offer a choice of two powertrains – 226bhp RWD single motor or 321bhp AWD dual motor – and three model grades when it is launched later in 2022.
The RWD EV6 can travel up to 328 miles on a single charge, equivalent to travelling from London to Edinburgh. Ultra-rapid charging can take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in just 18 minutes when using a 350kW charger, and a top-up charge of 62 miles of driving range takes just four and a half minutes.
No wonder it won What Car? Car of the Year this year.
Due to be refreshed imminently, the Kia Niro is available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid form. While it has been overshadowed by it’s all-electric brother, this crossover hybrid offers a compact exterior with the paradox of a roomy and refined interior all under a low emission guise.
The Kia Niro Hybrid switches between petrol and electric power, or uses a combination of both, with a regenerative braking system converting kinetic energy to recharge the battery.
The Kia e-Niro proved to be one of the most popular electric vehicles to launch in recent memory in 2019, selling out its UK allocation in just one month.
With the same crossover styling as the hybrid model, the e-Niro offers 180 miles of zero-emission driving in it standard ‘2’ format, with this increasing to 282 miles further up the range. This range, coupled with its relatively cheap pricing compared to like-for-like models, ensures it has been a big hit and is why it won AM Award for New Car of the Year in 2020.
For those discerning drivers who think the Xceed isn’t crossover-y enough, Kia presents the Stonic: a car which aims to bring fresh excitement and a free spirit to the urban Crossover experience via its chunky wheels, slightly raised height and tougher styling
With its compact dimensions, increased road presence, exceptional handling and outstanding performance, the Stonic offers a choice of two 1.0-litre petrol engines in manual or automatic gearbox. Mild-hybrid technology is also offered in the range to improve emissions and economy.
Kia Soul EV
It’s rare that you see a car that looks like it has been designed with just a ruler and a pencil, so thank god the Kia Soul is still on the market. Available exclusively as an EV now, the Soul was originally aimed at hip urban youths (Kia’s words, not mine) and with the increased focus on the environment we assume that’s still the case.
Offering up to 280 miles on a single charge via its 64 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack, the Soul EV is a surprisingly spacious car with loads of storage throughout and better interior space than the e-Niro making it truly one of a kind.
Kia’s fifth-generation of their infamous Sportage SUV will be arriving imminently and continues the trend of crossover styling with SUV practicality.
Like the ProCeed, the new Sportage has been designed and developed to cater specifically for European tastes and roads. It will be launched with a comprehensive range of powertrains, including state-of-the-art hybrid and plug-in hybrid as well as the very latest petrol and diesel engines.
Kia’s famed seven-seater was one of the models that began to turn fortunes around for the manufacturer. Now in its fourth generation, the Sorento had the misfortune of being revealed and launched in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic and as a result has flown under the radar a bit.
Featuring a larger design and more spacious interior than the previous gen model, three engine options are available including a 1.6 T-GDi petrol hybrid and plug-in hybrid for those who don’t require its legendary towing ability, and 2.2 CRDi diesel for the more traditional Sorento driver.
And now for something completely different. With its 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine, maximum torque of 510 Nm, and 0-62 of just 4.9 seconds, the Kia Stinger is something of an anomaly among other Kia car models.
As Kia’s most driver-focused car, the Stinger offers coupe-styling, quality craftmanship and style to really offer something unique not just to the Kia range but the car market as a whole.
While the Stinger might not have the kerb appeal of the sportier models from the likes of Audi and BMW, it can truly challenge them for on-road performance.