Kia has created a buzz in the local automotive scene with their convoy of 4 camouflaged vehicles running along the roads of major cities of Pakistan.
The convoy of 4 camouflaged Kia vehicles running across the country
This is part of the heavily marketed campaign captioned #WeAreUnStoppable, giving us a hint of what Kia might possibly be planning to introduce in Pakistan. Although the vehicles were wrapped in camouflage, it’s always quite easy for enthusiasts to identify them. Let’s have a brief look at these 4 Kia vehicles.
The Stinger is a mid-sized sports sedan by Kia which debuted in 2017 and is globally acclaimed for its stylish appearance, sharp performance, impressive build quality, spacious interior, pleasurable drive and nimble acceleration. The car is available in a variety of engines including 2.0L turbo petrol, 2.5L turbo petrol, 3.3L turbo V6 and 2.2L turbo diesel, all units having an 8-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
The Stinger is able to sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds (3.3L V6) while capable to achieve a top speed of up to 269km/h. The Kia Stinger has recently received a refreshed version that has been introduced in its home market South Korea while destined to reach global markets towards the end of this year.
This isn’t the first time that a performance car is being introduced in Pakistan. During Dewan’s era Hyundai introduced the Tiburon 2-door sports coupe (marketed as Hyundai Coupe) with a 2.0L engine in our market. It remains to be seen whether the Stinger is being used only as an attention grabber or is really going to be introduced in Pakistan. Plus which engine will be offered for our market & whether it’s going to be the pre-facelift model or the recently introduced facelift, we will have to wait to find out.
The Cerato sedan has been in news lately amid its anticipated year-end launch in our market. Equipped with a 1.6 liter engine mated to either 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, the Cerato will primarily compete against the likes of Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 but due to its catchy price will likely create troubles for the Honda Civic naturally aspirated versions as well as the higher-spec variants of Toyota Yaris.
For international markets, the South Korean automaker is currently testing the Cerato facelift that will likely break covers either towards the end of this year or early next year, which most probably means we might be getting the pre-facelift model here.
The Sorento mid-sized crossover SUV is another anticipated model that is set to take on the likes of Toyota Fortuner upon its arrival. Reportedly the Sorento will be much better equipped than the Fortuner and will probably be launched at 15% lesser price of that of its Toyota rival.
Although the Fortuner is a proper 4×4 SUV with ladder frame chassis, the Sorento will have an edge of being an urban SUV with much refined inner-city driving characteristics. However the Sorento in the convoy is the 3rd gen model whereas the company has recently unveiled the 4th gen model globally which has so far reached North American markets & UK where it has won Carbuyer’s 2021 Car of the Year Award.
The 3rd gen Sorento comes in a variety of powertrain options depending on the market, including 2.0L & 2.4L petrol, 3.3L & 3.6L petrol V6 and 2.0L & 2.2L diesel with 6-speed manual, 6-speed auto and 8-speed automatic transmission options. At this stage there is no concrete information regarding which engine configuration will be introduced in Pakistan.
The current auto policy will expire in June 2021 whereas the forthcoming new policy will reportedly have benefits for hybrids & electric vehicles (EVs). That justifies the presence of Niro hybrid crossover in Kia’s convoy, and with an EV version of Niro already available elsewhere, opens the door for Kia to introduce its electrified range of products in our market.
Niro hybrid comes equipped with a 1.6L engine assisted by a lithium-ion battery & a permanent magnet electric motor that aids the engine in hybrid mode and recharges the battery during deceleration. The Niro hybrid also gives Kia an opportunity to place hurdles for upcoming Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid which is expected to be introduced in December. However in late 2019 the Niro too, has received a facelift and it will be interesting to see whether we are going to get the refreshed model or not.
Kia Stinger & Niro were showcased at PAPS 2019
The company had already displayed the Stinger & Niro hybrid at the PAPS 2019 event in Karachi whereas Cerato sedan in its undisguised form has been spotted on various occasions on our roads already. Sorento is something new on our roads and if introduced, will most likely attract military officials, bureaucrats and politicians who are big buyers of SUVs of this size.
Kia has been the most active player among all the newcomers that entered our market as a result of Auto Policy 2016-21. The company is enjoying tremendous success of Sportage crossover SUV whereas the range of products in their 4-vehicle convoy holds a decent chance of getting successful provided if they are priced competitively.
With this Kia looks all set to give goosebumps to its competitors. Do you think the unstoppable will be stoppable?
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com