Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDi First Edition

Kia Stonic First Edition with two-tone grey and red paintwork.

Although it may not be far off, we have not yet reached the point where manufacturers routinely develop compact SUVs from scratch rather than basing them on existing hatchbacks. Kia’s Stonic is an example of the latter procedure. It’s a very close relative of the current Rio, which arrived on the UK market about a year ago. A great deal of what can be said about the Rio can therefore also be said of the Stonic. Both are smart-looking cars, but both also suffer from very low-rent interiors made of…

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Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi 3 Eco

White Kia Rio 3 directly facing the camera.

The Rio has a long and not always happy history stretching right back to the turn of the 21st century. The original 2000 model dates from a time when the most significant feature of any Kia was that it was cheap. It was both ridiculed and stoutly defended, but it’s not unreasonable to say that it wasn’t much of a car by the standards of its time, and certainly not by those of today. Later Rios, introduced at roughly five-year intervals, were better, but I had issues with all of…

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Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 2

Front end shot of Kia Sportage showing "challenging" looks.

I can see why manufacturers like to give their SUVs an aggressive appearance, and I’m aware of market research suggesting that customers are in favour of it too, but sometimes one can go too far. Surely no one could deny that the latest Kia Sportage is very distinctive and unlikely to be mistaken for anything else, certainly if viewed from the front; surely also there can be few people who consider it delightful. No car you can buy at the moment seems to me to be uglier. If the Sportage…

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Kia Optima Sportswagon 1.7 CRDi 3

Blue Kia Optima Sportswagon at speed on a twisty road.

Kia has been offering cars in a wide variety of market sectors for quite some time now, but it was only in 2016 that it got round to producing a large estate. The Optima Sportswagon is, naturally enough, based on the Optima saloon, and Kia has clearly designed it on the basis that what estate owners want most of all is lots of space to put things in. The practicality is indeed impressive. There is slightly more luggage capacity than you’ll find in a Ford Mondeo estate, accessible through a…

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Kia Niro 2

Frontal close-up of red Kia Niro 2.

It took Kia a long time to start selling hybrid cars in the UK, but when it did there was no question of the company messing about. The Niro, introduced in the summer of 2016, is less closely related to other Kias than it looks, and based on a platform intended only to be used for hybrids (including, from next year, a plug-in version). The Niro tested here happens to be a mid-range model with the straightforward trim level name of 2, but technically they’re all the same. The 1.6…

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Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX-2

Rear side view of Kia Sportage parked in front of a rocky hillside.

The single-track road winds out along the windy hillside. High to the right are the heather-covered crags, fading into the underside of the cloud blanket. Low to the left is the North Atlantic, pounding at the rocky shore. This is what I believe to be the natural habitat of the Kia Sportage, even though the majority of them are more likely to be found in suburban drives and motorway service stations. I’m in the newest version of the Korean company’s small SUV just a few weeks after it went on…

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