On the Autobahn with my Kia Rio July 6th, 2009
By Pamela Muñoz, Assistant manager
International PR, Overseas Communication
Having lived in Korea for many years, it now surprises me to visit countries where Kia vehicles are not conspicuously present on everyday roads. In Korea, Kia has about 30% of the domestic market place with its broad range of product line-up, all of which are highly visible with their bold colours and new designs. In Germany, however, competition is much higher with domestic brands like Volkswagen and Audi, and regional brands like Peugeot and Renault, being favoured by local drivers. Kia’s distinctive designs and commitment to quality are slowly being recognized in the region, a fact I was able to witness during a recent trip to Kia Motors Europe (KME) headquarters.
With those ideas in mind, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take a Kia vehicle out for a drive and see what local drivers experience, including the German Autobahn! With the help of our friends at Kia Motors Deutschland and KME, I had the chance to drive the Autobahn for the very first time, where the recommended speed limit is 130 km/h (80 mph), in a Kia Rio. Generally, there is no speed limit on the Autobahn and I wondered how my Rio, with its four-cylinder engine, would stack up.
I realized that Rio is clearly fit for urban driving after driving around the city, with its small size and parking ease. I was now ready to see how it would handle on the Autobahn! I was told that I should stay in the middle lane as much as possible and keep flow with the traffic. My knuckles were white and my palms sweaty, but I headed up the highway, westbound, following the road signs. It was impressive to see the BMW-Audi-VW-laced highway, all of which were going at different speeds. Being a safe and conservative driver, I knew I had to keep with the flow and simply follow the lead of other drivers. It was an exhilarating ride as the smooth ride of the Rio easily accelerated to keep up with the zooming traffic.
At some points, I reached speeds of 150 km/h (93 mph) without even feeling it. The engine was quiet and responsive, and the handling was solid. At no point, did I feel like my Rio couldn’t keep up with the demands of the road. As I slowed down to a more comfortable speed on my way back to Frankfurt, I was pleased to see a Kia Picanto zoom past at even higher speeds. As it turned out, there were a number of Kia vehicles on the road and I believe this number will only increase as more and more people in the region experience our vehicles for themselves. The quality, features, drivability and great designs are bundled in one great package – at a competitive price – and that’s something you just can’t speed past!