Friday 15 December 2017

The car that asks us where we would like to be in seven years

KIA
C'EED
RATING 81/100
KIA C'EED RATING 81/100

I've never allowed real politics and cars to mix before but I feel compelled to do so this week purely on the basis of a fateful coincidence that presents an opportunity I have no intention of missing.

You see, the car I tested has a seven-year warranty. And it got me thinking about guarantees and futures in the shadow of next Thursday's referendum.

I truly wish I could say our future has a seven-year assured back-up if we listen to the naysayers and Sinn Féiners of this world. I believe their No mantra is as big a threat now to our future as violence was in the Troubles. The only outcome is national disaster.

I don't like saying these things but I'm not sorry to say them either. I feel we are at a crossroads of enormous proportions.

And I'll tell you this: we won't be buying family hatchbacks such as the Kia cee'd if we madly vote No. We won't have the money. Sorry, that is my blunt, possibly naïve, assessment. I shudder at the prospect of a negative outcome.

Anyway, this new cee'd is a smart modern family five-door hatch developed for countries and economies with a future. Maybe it does not have the curves or stylistic looks of its close relation, the Hyundai i30, but it was rock solid and shows what can be done with a bit of vision and a lot of drive.

Kia is South Korean. It was something of an outcast a decade or so ago. It was, in motoring circles, a near-untouchable. Now it is making cars for you and me in Europe. And it is saying it will stick with you for seven years if anything goes wrong over and above normal items of wear and tear (and a few other caveats).

As a potential buyer, that attracts me. I might have a few criticisms of the car itself but I reckon I can live with them if I know those involved in putting it together are going to be around to back me up or bail me out if a wheel comes off (figuratively speaking).

I won't labour the point but I hope you see why I'm sick and tired of people like Gerry Adams and his Sinn Féiners talking bull about voting No, I really am. I want some sort of assuredness for you, me, our children, and the future occupants of cars such as the Kia cee'd.

At least this new arrival has grown up and moved with the times. I think Kia has got a lot of things right in it but most importantly I think it has the right tyres. You can tweak your suspension, get your damping sorted and all that, but if you have the wrong tyres you'll get nothing but complaints of harshness or bounce. I've had a few instances of both over the past while. But Kia got it right on the car I had and it brought me that feeling of a -- dare I say it -- European motor.

They've made a good cabin, though it is not, to my way of thinking, as snazzy as the Hyundai i30 sibling. This has less flair; it's a bit more Germanic.

The seats were solid, comfortable and fitted me really well. The six-speed gear change was as slick and the engine as grumbly betimes as the No campaign can be. But I got around a nice bit in it, with a great mix of city and country driving.

I was a bit disappointed with the engine boom. Nice boot, good rear space, low-key proficiency and plenty of equipment would, in the normal course of events, put this on your shorter shopping list.

It is not as solid as a Volkswagen Golf, nor nearly as sporty a driver as the excellent Ford Focus, or as accomplished as the likes of the Honda Civic.

But with the seven-year warranty, it goes on a much shorter list. At a time like this reassurance is worth its weight in gold. I wonder where we'll all be in seven years. I suppose, really, it's up to ourselves.

ecunningham@independent.ie

Indo Motoring

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