Kia has grown to become one of the most recognisable and beloved brands in the world, with the automaker’s demonstrable record of engineering excellence endearing it to car lovers far and wide; so much so that the Kia name is now used by many as a byword for quality. Having produced acclaimed, award-winning vehicles and strikingly popular models such as the Telluride and Seltos in recent years, the manufacturer is virtually synonymous with quality car-making; its haul of accolades over the course of 2020 only burnishing its reputation as it veers ahead of its competitors to establish itself as the industry leader.
Much of this success is owed to Kia’s commitment to producing cars that set the standard for performance, dependability, and safety; and it is this commitment that has seen the brand receive the highest of commendations from awarding bodies, consumer intelligence companies and industry influencers. This year alone, Kia has been awarded four J.D. Power quality awards — for the Kia Soul, Forte, Sorento and Sedona — and two J.D. Power performance awards: for the Telluride and Stinger. With J.D. Power widely respected as the leading authority on car ratings and arbiter of auto quality — the “Voice of the Consumer” — these awards speak to Kia’s flair for creating truly top-notch and best-in-class vehicles that surprise and delight; offering drivers, as the brand promises, “value beyond” expectations.
So what, precisely, underlies this quality? What distinguishes the Kia driving experience as such a pleasurable and satisfying one? Simply put: a lot. Kia’s mastery of the sweet science of car-making encompasses a unique design philosophy, highly involved design thinking, a dedication to human-centricity, a customer-first approach and an enduring fascination with technology. These are all incredibly important components in the Kia auto-making machinery; crucial cogs that spin the wheel of the Korean manufacturer’s success. While each and every single one of these factors come together to elevate the automaker’s inventive creations, it is arguably the brand’s fastidiousness — its drive for performance perfection — that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. This drive is immediately apparent with the company’s commitment to testing.
Kia subjects its upcoming vehicles to extensive testing, with each model put through its paces to ensure it lives up to and reflects the brand’s reputation for performance quality. This is one of the foremost reasons why Kia has been able to consistently introduce such well-reviewed cars to the brand’s respective markets; cars that deliver dynamic performance innovation heightened with optimised balance. These assessments include: durability, marginal and driving tests; the results of each contributing to the design and construction of cars that go above and beyond with regards to performance, comfort and overall drivability.
Interestingly, Kia makes no bones about the fact that it destroys to create. The brand openly acknowledges that it deliberately ruins its cars in various ways; doing so, as scientifically as one would expect, to identify the causes of the resulting damage and find solutions to them to make its cars endure over a long time without fault. This is the thinking behind the brand’s durability tests — a seven step evaluation process (with there being “seven ways to ruin your car”) split over two phases: an analysis of parts durability, and study of real car durability. The former includes two tests: an item durability and modem durability test; while the latter covers fives tests: a Belgian road, high speed, corrosion, P/T, and vehicle test.
Taking these all-important assessments even further, Kia’s marginal tests measure the durability of the company’s cars in different parts of the world. Kia tests its vehicles in extreme weather conditions, including deserts blasted with blazing sunlight, and cold, frosted over expanses of 40 degrees below zero. Specifically, Kia cars are appraised for their durability using urban tests, off road tests, tests under extreme coldness, and tests under extreme heat.
The durability of Kia’s cars is married with a single-minded focus on safety. Kia has long been acutely aware of the fact that the slightest fault in its cars can affect its drivers’ safety. This awareness is at the heart of the brand’s thinking when subjecting its latest models to endurance tests under the most diverse and harshest of conditions that can be encountered. Accordingly, Kia has curated six categories of driving tests: the long hill road, off road, durability test road, universal test road, handling test road, and straight road.
As outlined by Kia, the long hill road is a test road stretching over a long range with a mild grade of 2 to 12 percent. The hill-climbing ability and auto cruise performance of Kia cars are tested here. The universal test road, on the other hand, looks like a fan and hosts steering stability, braking and other R&H-related tests; as well as compliance tests regarding rollover.
These tests — durability, marginal and driving tests — have been and will continue to prove instrumental for Kia; for now and many years to come. They differentiate the brand from its competitors, resulting in unique, one-of-a-kind creations that put smiles on drivers’ faces and Kia on the map as a luxurious and functional force to be reckoned with on the global automotive landscape. They set Kia off on the road to delivering a level of quality the whole industry should aspire to.