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To Sunderland… and what a pleasure it was!

Time 10:10 am, April 17, 2012

AS you may have read, we recently took delivery of a new long-termer, a Kia Rio, here at Car Dealer HQ.

And after editor James had had his fun in the car, it was my turn to take it for a spin. Well, more of a long haul actually.

My mission was to drive from Portsmouth to Sunderland and back to visit Nissan’s factory in the north-east.

The plant is on a high at the moment as Qashqai and Juke, both of which are made there, are continuing to sell well. Invitation and LEAF are on their way too.

So, although I have to confess I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the 680-mile drive despite the prospect of my Nissan visit and a trip to the Stadium of Light to watch Sunderland v Everton in the FA Cup, I absolutely needn’t have worried.

A six-footer like James, I settled in for the long haul joining the M27 near Southampton with 340 miles to go until I reached my hotel in Gateshead.

And my verdict?

In a nutshell, the car was a pleasure to drive from start to finish. I haven’t been behind the wheel of that many diesels in my time but I loved everything about the car: the handling, responsiveness, and general ‘driveability’.

I found it comfortable too, with ample leg room and good visibility.

My normal motor is a three-year-old Mazda 6 (sarcastically referred to by Batch as ‘the mighty Mazda’) but if it wasn’t for the fact that I still need a full-size family four-door car from time to time to drag my wife and two teenage daughters around the country visiting relatives, the Kia Rio would do me just fine.

Another thing of course is the efficiency and economy of the engine.

When the sat nav said I had 340 miles to go at the start of my trip, the dash said the fuel in the tank would just about go the distance. But by the time I had reached my hotel overlooking the Tyne, there was still plenty of derv to get to the Nissan plant the following day… and start the long trek south once I had come a disappointing third from bottom in the league table of hacks taking Nissan’s GT-R from 0-60.

One other thing that undoubtedly helped me in my trip was that the motorways (or rather the people using them) were behaving themselves, so I didn’t experience any delays or disasters in that regard.

So, thank you very much Kia, it’s a yes from me.


Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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