Why Kia is the manufacturer of the year 2022 in our opinion

Who still enjoys being a car manufacturer in 2022? You can’t get parts, you probably can’t find staff, your costs keep going up and up, and customers are pissed off about the delivery times they’re facing.

The skeptics insist you got into EVs way too early, the purists cry out why you don’t just make rear-wheel drive lightweight rip-off monsters with punched-out click-clack manual transmissions that are completely immune to depreciation, and environmentalists will prefer that you do nothing at all. build.

Kia just keeps going

Okay, it might be hard to feel sorry for a faceless, billion-dollar global corporation, but would you like to be at the helm of a run-of-the-mill automaker right now? That’s what makes Kia’s latest form so remarkable – and why it won the title Top Gear Producer of the year 2022, so deserve it.

Despite storming headwinds, the upward trend of the once-mocked South Korean guarantee kings seems far from over. In fact, they only get braver. The new Sportage is a better family crossover than the genre-defining car, the Nissan Qashqai, with a more spacious interior and a stronger choice of powertrains.

Kia has found courage

But look how polarizing the design has become in the meantime. It’s a Ford Kuga rival with aliens in its eyes A quiet place and an LED headlight design that burns into your retinas. The average Kia of the past wanted only one thing, and quite desperately: to offend someone. But now that the base has become so solid, the designers can take a little more risk.

Look a little further through the range and you’ll find ‘just act normal but different’ gems everywhere. The new Niro also looks slightly different, and is available in hybrid and fully electric versions. But unlike Ford and VW, Kia hasn’t decided that “mobility for the new times” should also include newfangled problems and annoyances such as buttonless, touch-sensitive interior.

How does Kia do it?

The common sense has remained, the visual ambition has been upgraded. Like the material and finish quality of the interior, right to the point where some once recognized Europeans seem to have started to cut corners.

Sure, the old bum in us would love to see a hot hatch version of the little Kia Rio, and we’d hoped the Koreans had found a way to keep the Stinger in production with the cool V6. But Kia seems to land on both feet when it comes to the ‘transition’.

There’s a GT version of the EV6 with 585 horsepower and a rubber-hating drift mode—that should quiet the caveman part of our brain. And he makes it clear straight away that there is more for the true driving enthusiast in Kia’s electric offering than anything with a Volkswagen ID badge.

The Kia of the future

So what’s next? Well, the ‘two all-new EVs a year until 2027’ claim shows where the R&D budget has been spent, but don’t count on a bunch of ‘more of the same’ designs. The first clue is found in the EV9 concept car, which literally takes a platform shared with Hyundai to new heights with a seven-seat SUV that looks like a cross between a Kia Soul and Robocop.

We don’t get the contra-opening doors in production, but serious off-road skills it seems; Kia is not blind to cars like Rivian and GMC Hummer, and also likes a piece of the cake that says ‘we’re luxurious, cool and can really do anything’.

Producer of the year 2022

The question is how thin Kia will have to spread itself to maintain the fearless-looking EV momentum on the one hand, while staying true to the brand on the other. ‘in the middle of Lidl’image to which it owes everything.

If Ford can irreverently toss the Fiesta into the abyss because it thinks it can make more money elsewhere, no Picanto or Proceed is safe. But this is how things are now: if you were to be chairman of a board somewhere at a car manufacturer, it would be very strange if you chose someone other than Kia’s.

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