Archive | KIA

New Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi 3 EcoDynamics 3-door road test review by Oliver Hammond

The new Rio marks the fourth generation in the lineage of this popular model from Korean firm Kia. For the first time in the Rio’s history, a 3-door is available. The all-new Rio faces stiff opposition from the Fiesta, Clio, Corsa, 208 and Polo. We duly tested one for a week to see what it’s made of.

New Kia Rio 3 3-door 1-4 CRDi EcoDynamics diesel road test review by Oliver Hammond - photo - front grille


I’ve always viewed the design of previous generations of Kia as pedestrian and slightly bland. Not so the all-new Rio, which I think looks fantastic in both 5-door and 3-door guises. It looks conservatively sporty from every angle, which is a good start. Kia’s tiger nose family grille has now been given to the Rio and slightly reworked to flow nicely with the funky LED daytime running lights. The light clusters look suitably mean and the new Rio’s face is finished off nicely by the bumper and spoiler design, along with the fog lights.

Moving round to the side, which is one of the all-new Rio 3-door’s best angles in my view, and it strongly reminds me of the second generation Audi A3 3-door. Funny, that, as the latest Kia cars have all been designed under the jurisdiction of Peter Schreyer, who used to work at Audi. The sleek creases and coupe-like roofline flow really nicely into the solid-looking rear of the car, and the VAG-esque 17” alloy wheels look fabulous too. The all-new Rio 3-door looks poised and ready for action.

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The rear three-quarters and flat-on angles look equally as attractive, with gorgeous LED brake lights and a generally very robust-looking, high quality appearance. My car came in handsome and discrete Graphite Metallic paint, but if you want something extra special, consider a Kia Rio in Electric Blue, which looks fantastic.

So on the outside, the brand new Kia Rio 3-door gets a thumbs-up from me. It might not be an obvious contender when it comes to a sporty supermini, but Continue Reading →


The Huge & Ever-Growing Un-Official SMMT Test Day 2012 Millbrook Photo Gallery


Feast your eyes on our veritable banquet of photos from the 2012 SMMT Test Day at Millbrook Proving Ground, taken by Messrs Oliver & David Hammond – the latter enthusiastically assuming photographer duty for the day, as well as co-driving the Peugeot 3008 review car we travelled down from Manchester in. Our photo gallery album is not in any way officially associated with SMMT. It comprises photos of the SLS AMG, Twizy, Maloo, Panamera, Chevrolet Volt, Simon Harris, Keith Jones, Scott Brownlee and countless other cars and names from the motoring industry. You can also see some of the wonderful stands run by manufacturers and their PR teams such as Skoda, Kia and Peugeot, as well as the Hill Route, High Speed Circuit and interesting number plates like ‘1 BMW’ and Vauxhall’s DE51RED. Enjoy!


2012 Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX-2 AWD Road Test Review by Oliver Hammond

What have the original Audi TT and the new Kia Sportage got in common? Answer – they share the same designer, Peter Schreyer, whose modern and stylish work is considerably responsible for Kia’s current surge in popularity. We’ve recently given the Kia Optima a massive thumbs-up and quite liked the Kia Soul. This time it’s the Kia Sportage which gets a going-over.

Let’s start with the exterior…

Kia Sportage 2-0 CRDi KX-2 AWD road test review - front 34d

If you can picture what the original Kia Sportage looks like, saying that the new one is leaps and bounds more attractive is an understatement. The new Sportage (which is wider, lower and longer than its predecessor and has 23mm less ground clearance, showing its mainly urban intentions) has a big job on its hands, competing with the ever-swelling number of mainstream crossover 4x4s out there like the Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Freelander 2 and more recently the Hyundai ix35, which is built in the same Slovakian factory as the Sportage. Kia purposed the new Sportage to be a car people would desire, not just buy begrudgingly or without much thought. LED daytime running lights are all the rage these days (and soon to be a legal requirement in the UK) and are a prominent hallmark feature of the Sportage. Herr Schreyer’s ‘tiger nose’ grille is present on all Kia cars and the Sportage’s face generally looks very sleek, sporting and modern – but stare for any prolonged period and Continue Reading →


2012 Kia Soul Hunter 1.6 GDi – Road Test Review by Oliver Hammond

Believe it or not, the funky little Kia Soul is now four years old, so Kia decided to give it a bit of a fettle and tweak for 2012. Living with a Kia Soul in ‘Hunter’ spec from their ‘Originals’ range for a week, was Oliver able to see why the Soul has become such a common sight on Britain’s roads?

Kia Soul Hunter 1-6 GDi petrol - Road Test Review by Oliver Hammond - side 06

Looking somewhat like a cross between an alien, a robot and an insect from the front, with a boxy and utilitarian but equally funky back and sides, the Kia Soul urban crossover definitely looks the part. For 2012, Kia have improved it on the inside and out, from the engine, gearbox and styling, to the interior trim specifications and quality. When they launched the Soul in 2008, Kia were ambitiously trying to combine the desirability and appeal of cars like the FIAT 500 and MINI with a bit of ‘can do’ SUV image and ability. And I think they succeeded to a large extent.

Kia Soul Hunter 1-6 GDi petrol - Road Test Review by Oliver Hammond - rear back 34

The Kia I tested for the week featured their new 138bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine which uses direct injection and is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Kia Souls have become a bit of an urban fashion statement for buyers of all ages and Kia know this, so they Continue Reading →


Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi 2 Tech – Road Test Review by Oliver Hammond

As the Kia Press Office and many on Twitter are aware, a Kia Optima was responsible for making me miss my motorway junction one night! As a car reviewer and motor industry chap, my eyes always hone in on newly-launched or rare cars. So you guessed it, when I spotted this, my first Optima out in the wild, I followed behind it to weigh up its rear looks, inadvertently missing my junction in the process. I knew I had a Kia Optima on its way in a month’s time to review, so it had better be good! Read on to find out if it was worth it…

KIA Optima 1-7 CRDI 2 Tech – Road Test Review by Oliver Hammond - front tiger nose grille - lead

Kia, and the actual Optima I drove (if it had feelings, of course), will  be delighted to know that I loved the Optima, so I have more than forgiven ‘that’ one for making me miss a junction. In my view, the Kia Optima looks pretty darn good indeed. Other folk seem to appreciate the Optima’s design too, as I got plenty of double-takes during my week with it.

It’s a large car, make no bones about it – which is likely one of the reasons why my eye latched onto the infamous one that evening. Kia’s family ‘tiger nose’ grille is inevitably present and I think it looks at its very best on the Optima. The wide, imposing face, complete with its front LED DRLs (daytime running lights), easily makes it stand out from the crowd in a very positive way. It makes many of the ubiquitous ‘Euro boxes’ look very plain in comparison. One fellow I spoke to Continue Reading →


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