South Korean carmaker Kia will one day offer a seven-year warranty on all new vehicles in New Zealand, a step up from the current five-year cover.
The new guarantee will come sooner rather than later and fall into line with Kia’s policy in the UK. In the United States Kia offers a 10-year warranty. In Australia it’s five years.
A seven-year warranty has been on Kia’s agenda for New Zealand for some time. Asked if he was talking to the factory about it, Kia NZ general manager Todd McDonald said: “No, they have been talking to me.”
McDonald says a seven-year contract for NZ is “highly likely”. That would mean that the new Kia Cerato Koup (coupe) would be covered by the carmaker until 2020, instead of 2018.
The second-generation two-door goes on sale this week, priced from $42,490. It is Kia’s first turbocharged petrol offering and follows the launch this year of the third-generation Cerato sedan and hatchback.
Whereas the sedan and hatchback offer 1.8- and 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines, the Koup gets a boosted 1.6-litre unit from the Hyundai-Kia group that delivers 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm between 1700 and 4500rpm.
That gets the Koup from 0-100km/h in just over seven seconds and on to a top speed of 222km/h. For the money, nothing else in NZ comes as quick.
The Koup is certainly a stylish offering, penned at Kia’s US design centre in California under the direction of acclaimed design boss Peter Schreyer, the former VW Group whizzkid.
Every exterior panel is new, says the carmaker, except for the bonnet and front bumper. The new Koup is bigger overall than the old model but it carries over its predecessor’s high-boot line, frameless windows and ‘tiger’ family face, although the grille is smaller.
It is 50mm longer, 15mm wider, 10mm higher than the old Koup. The result is more leg, shoulder and head room inside. Boot space has been boosted to 433 litres, up there with the best in class.
The nifty exterior design is carried over inside the car, where there is nothing out of place, no glitzy bits, just a selection of quality soft-touch finishes for a mix of function and form. The scalloped dash finish on the passenger’s side is a clever touch.
So what’s it like to drive? A 170km run west and north of Auckland revealed there is nothing singularly outstanding about the front-drive Koup, it just does everything well, in a modest, Kia-style sort of way but with a character all its own.
The automatic transmission, a six-speeder with torque converter, makes the best of the engine’s flat torque delivery, at its best hustling along in manual mode via the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Kia claims town-and-around fuel use of 8 litres/100km. A manual six-speed ‘box is available on order.
In a nutshell, the Koup is a mix of composed/predictable/fun. It’s sure-footed and sits on a suspension set-up tailored for New Zealand and Australian road conditions, where engineers went with softer springs but stiffer roll bars to provide a softish ride but with little body roll.
There was some intrusive road noise on anything other than the smoothest surfaces, despite Kia claiming reduced levels. A better tyre choice for the 18-inch alloys might help. New Zealand’s coarse chip keeps such claims honest.