Kia Range

Kia seem to be getting bigger and bigger every year. I used to think of them as a pretty small brand, who I wouldn’t think twice of buying from, not because I thought Kia’s were particularly bad, but probably more because of my own snobbery/ignorance. I just didn’t think that they were very desirable.But a few times now I have been driving down the motorway and noticed a car thinking, that looks nice, only to realise it is a KIA. The one that has caught my eye the most is the Kia Pro Ceed, it kind of looks how I wish the Ford Focus would look. Then it happened again the other day with the KIA Magentis, and at that point I thought, I better check this brand out.

Kia Optima

Before I had a look at the Magentis, the idea of getting a Kia Saloon was never one that accord to me however, that all changed when I took a look at their range and discovered the Kia Optima. To be fair to me, before I saw a Magentis the only frame I had for reference was the Kia Mentor, which may go a certain way in explaining why I had such a negative view of Kia. But anyway, the Optima is a really nice looking car and apparently you get a fair amount for your money, however from what I have read it isn’t the best car to drive and when you consider some of its rivals are cheaper it is slightly off putting, though one thing the Optima does have, which is the case for all Kias is the  7 year warranty! Now that is appealing.

Kia Pro Ceed

This is a car that excites me, it looks fantastic! Again though from doing a bit of reading I’m getting the impression that a lot of Kia’s appeal is in its looks, and not the personality and unfortunately, unlike with women, in this case personality is actually important. Only joking… But ye, I want a car that drives well before I want a car that looks good, preferably I’d like both. Maybe the Kia Pro Ceed looks so good that we expect too much from it, how about that? I guess I will have to give it a test drive, and reach my own verdict. The 7 year warranty isn’t just appealing for those who are getting a new Kia but it is also beneficial for used car buyers, for example, I was tempted by a second hand Kia Pro Ceed from 2013 which means I would still have 5 years cover left on a car that is second hand and much cheaper.

Kia Venga

Ironically the Kia Venga is probably my least favourite looking Kia, yet it seems to have got the best reviews from what I can tell. Maybe this just supports my argument that you expect more from the better looking cars like the Pro Ceed, whilst you take one look at the Venga and assume it would struggle to get itself up a hill. Yet this car gets a lot of praise, to be fair no one says its the best drive ever, again, it’s in other areas that this Kia really impresses, it is championed for being great value and for its practicality. You can get a good 2014 second hand Kia Venga for under £15,000.

Kia Carens

Personally I would never get myself an MPV, I just don’t really understand the core concept behind them, don’t all cars have more than one purpose? Having said that I can appreciae some people would want a car with 7 seats, which is where the Kia Carens would come in hand as it offers exactly that. The Carens is also often said to be one of the better cars in the MPV class. One of the only criticisms of the Carens I could find was one saying that it’s pretty ordinary to drive… If that’s the only negative thing worth mentioning then I can only assume it is a pretty well rounded car. If you have a look at a second hand Kia Carens from 2008, you can see again how far Kia have come in terms of style.

So am I converted? Is the next car I’m going to buy Kia? I’m not entirely sure, but they are most definitely on my radar. After taking a look at the Kia range it seems like one think is for sure, gone are the days of the styling that was apparent on the likes of the Kia Sedona, they are now pushing out very attractive cars that I wouldn’t mind having parked on my drive.

New Kia Prices

Kia Picanto: £7,895
Kia Rio: £10,145
Kia New Soul: £12,800
Kia Soul EV: £24,995
Kia Venga: £10,645
Kia Cee’d: £14,305
Kia Cee’d Sportswagon: £15,650
Kia New Cee’d GT: £20,700
Kia Pro_Cee’d: £14,150
Kia New Pro_Cee’d: £20,200
Kia Optima: £18,995
Kia Carens: £17,295
Kia Sportage: £17,500
Kia Sorento: £24,795
Kia All New Sorento: £28,795

Dudley Drives: CX-7

The Mazda CX-7 is another addition to the crazy crossover sensation that seems to be taking the world by storm. People don’t like to commit anymore, they want the best of both worlds, why put all your eggs in one 4×4 size basket when you could have a 4×4 that is a little easier to park and drives like a sports car… apparently. That is what Mazda claimed when they introduced the Mazda CX-7, apparently it would simultaneously pull of SUV looks with sharp handling that Mazda is know for through cars like the Mazda MX-5 or the RX-8.

This means you get a spacious car however it isn’t quite as spacious as some of its rivals like the Audi Q5, maybe that is part of the reason for the Audi Q5s price tag, however if you compare the Q5 and the CX-7 in other areas, such as equipment and spec, you would have to spend a great deal more to get the same level in the Q5. The Mazda CX-7 will eventually get left behind however, as it ceased production in 2012. Therefore you can now only get a second hand Mazda CX-7, but if you are interested in something similar from Mazda, the Mazda CX-5 was its successor which is priced anywhere between £21,895 and £28,695. Anyway how far did the Mazda CX-7 go when it comes to replicating its famous handling in the MX-5 or the RX-8? To be honest, it actually does a pretty good job. From looking at it you may well expect a ride that is sluggish and dull. But the CX-7 is real good fun to drive.

Basically it comes down to how much space you need, and are you fussed about having the latest tech in your car? If you don’t need loads of space, and aren’t really fussed about being able to play your music through bluetooth etc, then it is worth considering, especially if you enjoy your driving. Other rivals include the Renault Koleos, Peugeot 4007, and the Lexus RX.

Supermini Face Off

Superminis make sense for a hell of a lot of today’s drivers. They are small, suited to city driving, agile, economical, cheap and excellent value for money. There is also a lot of scope for different specs with superminis, for example a new Vauxhall Corsa can cost you anywhere between £8,995 and £16,235 which is a pretty wide range. I drove a second hand Mazda 2 for a number of years, so consider myself pretty well acquainted with superminis. In this article we will look at some of our favourite superminis and how they compare in terms of price and drive experience.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Corsa is a very popular car in the UK, a second hand Vauxhall Corsa is one of the most purchased cars in the country and is the 4th most popular used car. And it is popular for a reason. It arrived in the country as the Vauxhall Nova back in 1983 before being replaced/re-branded as the Corsa, which is now in its fourth generation. The only cars that beat Corsa’s 2014 sales were the Ford Fiesta and the Ford Focus. It does exactly what you would expect from a supermini; it’s affordable, cheap to run, good engine and the interior feels stylish and classy. The only downsides we can think of is that it seems a little bit bland to look at, and the steering could be a little more responsive, especially for such a small car.

Price: £8,995 – £16,235

Kia Rio

We found the Kia Rio to be very similar to the Corsa in certain ways, it is cheap to run and affordable, the interior makes that car feel bigger than it actually is and again the steering could be better. One thing the Rio has over it’s competition is the long warranty that Kia give, the warranty covers your car for 7 years or 100,000 miles! This shows just how much faith Kia have in their cars. You can take your pick between a 3-door or a 5-door Kia Rio, you can get a great deal on the 5 door model if you get the second hand Kia Rio. And then you get your pick of the engines, including diesel and petrol options. If you go petrol you have the choice between a 84bhp 1.25 litre, or a 107bhp 1.4 litre engine, if you opt for diesel you will get a choice between a 1.1 litre or a 1.4 litre CRDi. Whilst the diesels are more economical, they aren’t very powerful at all.

Price: £10,345 – £17,445

Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo is another classic on UK roads, and whilst it is classed as a lesser Golf by many, but it is not that far off the Golf to be honest, sure it is smaller, but when it comes to actually driving the Polo, its not that easy to differentiate between the two. Again you can get excellent economy out of the Polo, particularly the 1.4 litre diesel which is capable of 83.1mpg, however the BlueGT model may be favorable if you are willing to compromise some fuel economy for a better performance. You can get a decent second hand Volkswagen Polo for under £10,000 whilst the cheapest new Polo is £11,250.

Price: £11,250 – £19,865