Built in China by the Dongfeng Yueda Kia joint venture, the Pegs takes on sedan rivals like the Suzuki Dzire and Volkswagen Polo. Picture: SUPPLIED
Built in China by the Dongfeng Yueda Kia joint venture, the Pegs takes on sedan rivals like the Suzuki Dzire and Volkswagen Polo. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sedans, remember those?

Seeing a new one being launched in SA is a relative oddity given the big action is in the small hatchback and compact SUV segments, but Kia believes there’s some consumer appetite for budget four-door cars.

Having been forced to discontinue sales of its Rio sedan due to right-hand drive versions no longer being built, Kia has filled the gap with its Pegas B-segment sedan. Built in China by the Dongfeng Yueda Kia joint venture, it takes on rivals such as the Suzuki Dzire, Volkswagen Polo sedan, Ford Figo and Honda Amaze.

Like the competition, the Pegas has affordability as its main calling card in a price-sensitive segment that targets first-time buyers, ride-hailing operators and rental fleets.

“There’s lots of life in the compact sedan market and the Pegas is poised to draw young families and first-time buyers to the Kia brand,” says Gary Scott, CEO of Kia SA.

Three models are on offer: the Pegas 1.4 LX manual selling for R225,995, and the higher-specced Pegas 1.4 EX in manual (R236,995) and automatic (R251,995) guises.

The prices include a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty (inclusive of roadside assistance) and a four-year/60,000km service plan.

The budget car has attractions such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay screen mirroring for its touchscreen infotainment system. Picture: SUPPLIED
The budget car has attractions such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay screen mirroring for its touchscreen infotainment system. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Pegas isn’t just an Uber car with bare-bones spec, says Kia, and offers attractions for private buyers such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay screen mirroring for its touchscreen infotainment system, which also has USB ports and Bluetooth connection.

Also raising the Pegas above bargain-basement status is the dual-tone faux leather seat in the higher-grade EX model, giving the cabin a smarter appearance. The LX has cloth seats. The hard interior plastics don’t stray from the budget recipe but touches of brushed metal and piano-black trim raise the cabin appeal somewhat. The driver’s seat has a fold-down padded armrest on the left side, an unusual nod to comfort in the price category.

The car’s value-led positioning doesn’t skimp on spec, and standard conveniences in both the LX and EX grades include front and rear electric windows, aircon, a reverse camera with dynamic guidelines, a multifunction steering wheel, remote central locking and automatic headlamps.

The EX adds items such as a leather steering wheel, cruise control, 14-inch alloy wheels (the LX’s are steel) and front fog lights.

It has a class-leading 475l boot, but lacks fold-down rear seats. Picture: SUPPLIED
It has a class-leading 475l boot, but lacks fold-down rear seats. Picture: SUPPLIED

Safety fare across the range comprises ABS brakes, dual front airbags and Isofix child-seat anchoring points, but the Pegas has not yet been crash tested.

Measuring 4,300mm in length, the Pegas is one of the largest vehicles in the class. Room inside is plentiful, and four adults are accommodated with good legroom and comfortable levels of social distancing. The bountiful boot offers a class-leading 475l which swallows a handy amount of holiday luggage, but the rear backrests don’t fold down to allow for loading bulkier items. Further limiting practicality is a space-saver spare wheel for emergencies only.

The normally aspirated 1.4l petrol engine offers 69kW/132Nm and I drove the five-speed manual EX at the launch. Though lacking any kind of exhilaration, it revs freely and has acceptable midrange torque for dashing through the suburbs and cruising the open road. The Pegas feels a little tinnier than Kia’s more expensive cars but its overall refinement is decent for a budget offering. The engine isn’t particularly noisy and wind noise is well muted.

The car scoots over broken roads quite comfortably thanks to high-profile 14-inch tyres and a longer-than-average wheelbase for a small car. It handles neatly too, with light controls that make it effortless to guide through busy traffic.

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