I have always enjoyed driving … it is one of those moments where I get to collect my thoughts, experiencing a sense of peace and serenity as the country side zooms by. And to be given a K5 to go outstation with fills me with anticipation. Having won the car for a week’s drive, I now have better bonding time with it, getting to know its characteristics and quirks better. What I have learned so far that I missed in my earlier test drive:-
1) automatic repositioning of the driver’s seat when the engine is turned off and on. When turned off, the car seat moves backwards for easy egress whereas pushing the car’s Start button would reward you with the front seats moving into its last saved position. I don’t know about the rest but each time this happens, I feel like I’m in Batman’s Tumbler where his seat moves from one point to another in drive mode and weapons active mode.
2) the HID Xenon lights at night is seriously bright. Coupled with its Static Bending Lights, every road imperfection when cornering can be seen with clarity. It’s a pity that this feature cannot be properly demonstrated during short test drives because such drives only happen during daytime office hours. However, if the showroom has a basement nearby, it might be worthwhile to showcase this useful (and safe) feature. I appreciate every moment of it when I drive at night.
3) The Infinity sound system sounds like any loudspeaker. Take out the badge and you would never have guessed it’s from such a prestigious company. Having said that, I have to admit I have not had the proper time to try to tune the system. Hopefully more to report on this later.
4) This car is HUGE! I mean, I know it’s a D segment but seriously when parked next to other D segment vehicles such as the Camry/Accord/Teana, the road presence of the K5 beats the rest senseless.
K5 badge …. merely having this badge at the rear of your car adds 5hp and 10Nm to your output.
But …. having a Kia On Tour sticker takes away 10hp. Seriously, wherever I go with the car, I felt like a Kia salesman and people just stare at me wondering if they should just come up and ask me about the company car. Not allowed to tamper with the stickers, I am told. Sigh.
Coming back to my trip. The mission: To test maximum fuel consumption efficiency by heading south from 1 Utama to Pontian, Johor before running on B roads to Johor Bahru then coming up north to Seremban for some food before returning home. All in all, the journey consists of approximately
– 650km of highway
– 80km of B roads
– 10km of city drive
Like most journeys, I prefer to travel in the morning. Cold, fresh air, the mild lightening of the horizon by the morning sun and the occasional morning fog makes for a surreal driving experience. On a practical side, driving in a cold(er) environment increases engine efficiency as the outside air helps to keep things chill in the engine bay and in the cabin, negating further unnecessary wastage of energy for air conditioning.
A good start of the day … fresh RON95 from Dengkil R&R; Southbound. Trip meter shows range of about 780km.
Now, I have always refrained from commenting much about FC on cars mainly because some manufacturers cheat by manipulating the method to measure fuel used, others drive at unrealistically slow speeds of 80-90kph on 110kph highways which no one does. I’ve seen some even go as far as pitting 3 units of the same make very closely back to back so that the front car breaks wind resistance, creating slipstream for rear cars. In a Nissan fuel efficiency contest, the winner inflates his tires to about 50PSi to reduce tire resistance and trails behind a lorry in the journey to Malacca. Most of these methods do not reflect actual scenario that is reasonable to expect from a normal drive.
So my methodology is simple: Use auto cruise at the maximum legal speed limit whenever possible and drive in the most efficient manner possible by not flooring it whenever I have the chance. Some might call it driving like a wussy but I’d like to see it as enjoying the ride while not getting into trouble with the law.
Upon reaching Ayer Keroh rest area for breakfast, my Korean boss who was with me explained the meaning of Kia. The name “Kia” derives from the Hanja ki (起) meaning arise or come up out of or rising up and the a (亞) stands for Asia. So Kia (起亞) is roughly translated as arise or come up out of Asia or Rising out of Asia.The K5, like the Forte has definitely risen Kia’s regard in the Malaysian market with sales figures continuing to do well month after month.
Driving the K5 on a highway at 110kph can be pretty boring. This is because you feel as though you’re travelling slower thanks to the illusion created with a long bonnet and you don’t see the road rushing towards you. The good NVH (except for the Nexen tire noise which gets vocal at times depending on road conditions) as well as its capable suspension further accentuates this point.
In case you’re interested to know, 110kph has the engine running at about 2,250rpm.
Nevertheless, we managed to stay focus before turning off at Simpang Renggam exit to head towards Pontian. Those familiar with this road would understand why I say abysmal is too mild a word to describe the road conditions. Patches of pot holes and tram lining cracks along the road dot a good 10km heading inwards towards Pontian. If you’re not careful and happen to veer off the road even for a split second, the uneven road may even tear a gash along the sidewall of your tire. Sounds like an ideal place to test the K5’s suspension!
And it IS great. Though set harder than it’s sister car, the Hyundai Sonata, body roll is kept in check and deft maneuvers evading those said road impurities are done with aplomb (I actually felt like veering an X-wing along the trenches of the Deathstar at some point). A friend of mine said if you can survive Johor roads for a year without an incident involving your suspension and tires, you can survive driving on any road. I think he may be right.
After driving for more than 3 hours, we arrived at the seaside town of Pontian.
It felt great …. not a single K5 seen on the roads here. When we parked at a seaside mamak for lunch, eyes get drawn to it like a hot chick in bikinis. Here’s another bonus driving this car: I find more people giving way for me to cut into their lanes as they want to stay behind it. Next thing you know, those at the back would be pointing at various parts of the car to his/her passengers. The K5 ALWAYS have right of way. Nice!
The trip to JB was done without much fuss. We had to go to Taman Sentosa and sometimes, finding a (legal) parking spot here can be as challenging as finding that elusive pin in the haystack while being blind folded. And when I did find a spot, it was tight and was wondering if the car can fit. Not a sweat with the guided lines on the rear view mirror as well as audio beeps from the ODO meter.
The way back was most amusing. We stopped at Tangkak R&R; for a rest and there, we encountered a bunch of tourist from China who also stopped for a pee break. Instead of moving around, they all clustered around the car, each telling his/her friends how much he/she liked the car. The elderlies asked if this was a continental and the younger ones would say this is a Kia. (should have taken a picture of that incident. Dang). Some overseas marketing for you, Kia.
At the end of the trip, here was my result:
All in all, it was a really interesting drive. The seat support was fantastic and I didn’t feel tired at all. This is definitely a great car to drive and be seen in, especially at long distance. Though I did not ferry any rear passengers this time around, those whom I did for short drives remarked how spacious and comfortable they feel sitting behind, just like the boss. It’s got style, it’s got the performance, it’s got the safety and it’s value for money with all the features you get ….. what more can you ask for in a car, really??
Spec references on earlier article:
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