The Road Ahead : February March 2014
KEY STATS MLP: $30,190^ (auto). SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags, electronic stability/traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution. MAIN FEATURES: Airconditioning, 18" alloys (5), paddle shifters (auto), cruise control, bluetooth, MP3 compatible CD with My Music function and media inputs, 4.3" colour touch screen display, auto-dim mirror, faux leather/fabric trim, front/ rear park sensors, reverse camera, proximity entry/keyless start, front/ rear fog lights, alarm, hill-start assist. ENGINE: 1.6-litre, T-GDI turbo direct petrol injection, 4-cyl. MAX. POWER: 150kW @ 6000rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 265Nm @ 1750-4500rpm. 0-100 KM/H: 7.4 seconds (claimed). 80 KM/H-STOP: N/A. FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 7.7 litres/100km. ANCAP CRASH RATING: N/A. EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Price, warranty, styling, performance and handling. AGAINST: Boot hinges intrude, limited rear leg and head room. kia cerato koup turbo ^MANUFACTURER'S LIST PRICE. REVIEWS BY JOHN EWING. KEY STATS RRP: $49,900^. SAFETY: Dual front/front and rear side/curtain/driver's knee airbags, electronic stability/traction control, anti-lock brakes, blind spot monitoring, collision prevention assist, attention assist. KEY FEATURES: Dual climate control, 18" alloys, sports seats, 7-speed dual-clutch auto, paddle shifters, active parking assist, cruise control, bluetooth, MP3 compatible CD/DVD with media inputs, navigation, faux leather, park sensors, reverse camera. ENGINE: 1.6-litre, turbo direct petrol injection, 4-cyl. MAX. POWER: 115kW @ 5300rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 250Nm @ 1250-4000rpm. 0-100 KM/H: 8.5 sec (claimed). 80 KM/H-STOP: N/A. FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 5.7 litres/100km. ANCAP CRASH RATING: EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Price and equipment, styling, performance, dynamics. AGAINST: Gearshift position, limited rear leg and head room, low speed ride harshness. mercedes- benz cla200 ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 54 IT'S THE SECOND-GENERATION of the Koup, and buyers can pick from the 2.0-litre, naturally aspirated or 1.6-litre, twin-scroll turbo-petrol engines. This is the first time Kia Australia has offered customers a turbo-petrol engine. The lively, new forced-induction engine, mated to an optional six-speed auto ($2200) in our test car, delivered solid and responsive performance, thanks to generous torque spread thickly across the rev range. The Koup's ride, tuned locally for our conditions, is quite firm but generally comfortable. There's willingness and confidence in the way it tracks through twists and turns, and the steering response is nicely linear. The electric power steering incorporates TAKE AN A200, re-skin with an attractively curvaceous sedan body, add nine grand to the price and throw in a couple of extra trinkets and, hey presto, it's the CLA200, the entry point into the CLA range. It's still a relatively affordable and well equipped Mercedes, though, with pricing pretty much midway between the A-Class it's based on and the more expensive, but popular, C Class sedan. Let's get what we didn't like over and done with. That slinky body and swooping roof line means rear head space is very limited. Rear leg space is restricted too, though many buyers won't really care about such practicalities. Common to other Benz models, the CLA is ergonomically blighted by a THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2014 Kia's Flexsteer system with three driver- selected settings, comfort, normal and sport, to alter steering weighting. None of the settings offered sufficient 'road feel' in our view. Other quibbles include old-fashioned 'goose-neck' boot hinges that intrude into boot space and limited rear head and leg room. Those points aside, the new Koup impressed, including its generally high standard of finish inside and out. Kia admits Koup is more the 'grand tourer' than out-and- out sports model (wait for the pro_cee'd GT, they say). Certainly it's no Golf GTi, but it's way cheaper, comes with a long warranty and capped price servicing, is easy to live with and still offers sportier than average driving enjoyment. MOTORING | NEW CAR REVIEW column-mounted gearshift that's easily mistaken for an indicator stalk, usually at the most inconvenient moment, knocking the gearbox into neutral. You shouldn't need to 'get used to it'. On the up side, we liked the CLA's responsive steering and nimble front-drive chassis. It takes a flat stance through corners, feels nicely balanced, and the 40 series rubber grips well. The firmly tied down suspension can feel a little harsh at lower speeds. Apart from some slight lag off the line, the turbo engine surprises, cranking out stronger performance than might be expected for its capacity. Buyers will also get strong brakes, advanced driver assistance and safety features, and a five-star crash rating.