I know what you’re thinking – or at least what I think you’re thinking, and what I am actually thinking myself – and that is that we are supposed to be Car Geeks, enthusiasts, motorheads, whatever, and we’re writing about a new Kia. Seriously? A FREAKING Kia? Isn’t “Kia” Korean for “the biggest turd on four wheels”? Honestly I used to think so. In fact, back in my carpooling days one of the drivers had a 2002 Kia that he bought new and we ridiculed him and the car mercilessly. It never left us stranded, however, and the 100K warranty was still working at last check. They even installed a new transmission in the thing gratis, but unfortunately gave him the same nondescript car back in the end.
Kia has entered a new space. In the last couple of years their reliability ratings have shot way up, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high for them, and they’re starting to make attractive cars that people actually want. A few weeks ago in a fit of “I’m bored with my car and I want something different” I went and test drove a Kia Hybrid, and was pleasantly surprised.