Korean car makers have their sights firmly set on the burgeoning luxury car market in oil rich Gulf states. Like Hyundai, Kia is now creating cars that are designed to appeal to luxury buyers of Saudi Arabia, UAE and other GCC countries. So how does the latest Kia offering, the Quoris 2013, match up to its better-established rivals?
On the road, the Quoris is evidently a competent highway cruiser, with the option to increase ground clearance. It is not, however, the most torque-blessed of cars. The driving experience is comfortable, comparable to that of a Cadillac XTS, and will appeal to those seeking a smooth, executive ride. While it may not appeal to younger drivers, it has all the plus-points that many older drivers seek in a luxury sedan.
Is it the kind of drive feel that you get when you ride a Mercedes, BMW or Audi? Not really, the feeling is more of a comfort cruise rather than a performance machine. At high speeds above 160 km/h the ride is not as stable as the above mentioned rivals. However at regular driving speeds upto 140 km/h which most people usually reach, it's quite comfortable and smooth. It also includes active cruise control which further improves driving comfort.
Fuel economy tends to be less of a concern to Middle Eastern drivers – fortunately for the Quoris – which at 16.0L/100km combined is not breaking any records. There are three drive modes: Normal, Sport and Eco. We drove Normal and Sport mostly. Use Eco for maximum benefit.
What surprises – and pleases – about the Quoris is the interior technology. We drove the full option Quoris and it has a lot of features, more features than a typical Mercedes, BMW or Audi in this price range.
The cooling seats are a blessing for the Middle East heat. Video screens on the back of front seats provide entertainment, complete with radio options, alongside the impressive 17 speaker sound system.
It feels like Kia wanted to include everything under the sun. It also unabashedly imitates the best, getting S-Class inspired seat adjustment controls, BMW inspired shifter and a host of other gadgets. There is even a button to check the direction of Qiblah for Muslim prayers!
Yes it's true the Quoris has more features for the money than it's rivals, but it's also true that interior finishing is not as good as it's German rivals. The Germans have less features but higher quality material. The Quoris has more features, but not the finest quality materials. Don't get me wrong, they are very good, just not as good as the Germans.
Quick tangent on exterior styling...
It’s easy to see various parts of the Quoris were inspired by legendary European brands; a Maserati-influenced front grille, a BMW-style interior shifter and Audi-like headlamps. While the simple rear appears to have absorbed little of this European auto-finesse, the front is stylish and impressive.
For the price of a full option Kia Quoris at 219,000 AED in UAE, it is possible to purchase a BMW 520i or a Mercedes E200. So despite all the on-board gadgets, will people be willing to shift brand loyalty towards Kia?
If the ultimate reason for buying a luxury sedan is prestige and distinctive drive feel, then the Korean marque may have a tough time against its much-revered German rivals.
For the price, the Quoris does offer a plethora of interior technology that a similarly priced BMW or Mercedes would lack. This is the core selling point of the Quoris – more options for less money. Quoris offers an alternative to those who seek comfort and luxury at a bargain.
Road Test: 2013 Kia Quoris | YallaMotor