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Kia Credos: Korea Gets Serious About Larger Cars

21 May, 1998

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The car the Europeans wish they could build at the price the Japanese wish they could copy


Kia Motors Australia is turning up the heat in the mid-size four-cylinder market with the new Credos, a richly-appointed, state-of-the-art saloon which offers immense interior room, high levels of safety and quality and Kia's core strength of unbeatable value for money. At just $23,500 including air conditioning, the Credos has to be one of the best new car propositions on the Australian market.

The Credos owes much of its heritage to Kia's strong links with Mazda. It was originally launched in Korea in 1996 and immediately won the country's Car of the Year award, garnering particular praise from the judges for its build quality and safety. It quickly became one of Kia's strongest domestic sellers.

The new, second generation model launched here has had extensive input from Kia's Sohari Research and Development centre and presents extensive improvements to make the car Kia's flagship model in Australia.

Credos is a great looking saloon. From its integrated front bumper to its gently raked bootline the styling is contemporary and efficient, aimed at giving the biggest cabin possible on a 2659 mm wheelbase.

But it's inside where the Credos really tells its story. There's head, shoulder and legroom in abundance, both front and rear. There's also a full list of appointments reflective of a car costing far more, equipment such as air conditioning, power windows, power door locks and an Alpine six-speaker stereo, as well as a driver s airbag. It's an elegant interior laid out for maximum ergonomic efficiency, with intelligent controls and tactile switchgear.

The Credos is powered by a double overhead camshaft, 16-valve two-litre four cylinder engine which delivers 98 kilowatts of power and 171 Newton-metres of torque. And being a Kia, it's a motor that has been designed and built around reliability and economy.

The second generation Credos was developed with the objective of increased refinement. It has a smoother motor and transmissions, a richer, more sculpted interior and major reductions in noise, vibration and harshness.

The Credos is a much bigger car than it appears from the outside, and you only have to sit in it, especially in the back, to appreciate this fact. The saloon also has a very generous boot measuring more than 350 litres in capacity with the spare wheel in place.

The three most important design items in a car interior are space, space and space, and Credos delivers, delivers, delivers. The passenger cabin has been extended ingeniously between front and rear wheels to utilise every millimetre of room. The rear seat tucks snugly back in between the rear wheels, yet there is no wheel-arch intrusion. The front foot wells push into the wheel-arch housings, yet remain wide and uncramped.

There's a full 1960 mm of length in the Credos interior and 1460 mm width, which translates into superb front and rear leg room and headroom. Front leg room (cushion to pedal) is 765 mm while front headroom (from the seat cushion to the headlining) is a remarkable 1008 mm. Rear headroom is possibly an even bigger achievement for Kia's designers measuring 960 mm, and leg room is exactly the same - 960 mm. This is comparable to cars of far larger wheelbase. Shoulder room also measures 960 mm front and rear.

Smooth, comfortable entry and egress has also been ensured. For example Kia's designers have been able to engineer a full 360 mm between the B pillar and the rear seat corners for easy access to the rear seat. And the generous rear leg room means that the front seats recline to flat when the head restraints are removed making a quick nap easy at any time.

All this space makes the Credos a comfortable place to be. There's room for everyone. Comfort is the cornerstone of luxury motoring and Credos delivers in spades.

The driver's seat was designed with focus on the lower hip point, the critical area of attention in ensuring extended driving comfort. The fully supportive sidewings are at their most generous at this point to ensure the greatest possible contact area between seat and driver. They taper into the seat back as they approach the top of the seat.

Upholstery fabrics have been chosen for maximum service as well as their luxury feel, and the Credos offers the option of leather. Part of this leather package is a six-way adjustable driver's seat.

The Alpine audio system in Credos has been designed around a six-speaker delivery system, with high range tweeters and mid range speakers located in the front of the car for clear, accurate staging and low range bass speakers in the rear to provide a solid bottom end to the music, while not compromising the audio image.

The front suspension dramatically reduces transmitted vibration and noise. Low speed valve dampers on each wheel react to the slightest movement of the piston rod in the shock absorber to suppress even minute chassis movement.

The rear suspension is a dual lateral link design with the front link mounted at an angle to channel lateral force from the tyres horizontally, reducing geometry change and improving traction. A long linkage length also minimises changes in wheel alignment and provides improved impact absorption on choppy surfaces.

The double overhead camshaft, 16-valve four-cylinder two-litre engine in Credos punches out 98 kilowatts of power and reaches its maximum level of torque, 171 Newton metres, at a friendly 4000 rpm. Smooth pulling power is available from low in the rev range thanks to a variable inertia charging system which controls the air intake path, allowing more air at high engine speeds for crisp acceleration and improved overtaking performance.

The five-speed manual transmission uses double synchronisers between first and second gear to make both up-shifts and down-shifts smoother, while reverse has also been synchronised for enhanced smoothness and quietness.

The four-speed electronically-controlled automatic gearbox really delivers punch when it's required through a jump setting in the kickdown. When the accelerator is floored in fourth gear the Credos will go directly from fourth gear to second (road speed permitting) without touching third for greatly improved responsiveness when it's most needed.

Safety was the first requirement of Credos and it has been engineered from the ground up for maximum occupant protection, both through active and passive measures.

The front disc brakes are vented for maximum, sustained braking performance while solid rear discs complete the braking system. ABS is optional and dual airbags are also available, with a driver's-side 60-litre bag being standard. Where fitted, the passenger side bag is 150 litres.

The passenger compartment has been totally shielded from intrusion from the boot or engine bay. The integrated rocker panels are extensively reinforced to prevent chassis deformation, and both the A and B pillars are reinforced, single assemblies for enhanced body integrity in the event of an impact.

The rear quarter panel has been integrated into the overall frame of the car for increased structural rigidity. Kia used its own Cray supercomputer to locate the ideal placement for anti-intrusion beams in the doors, protecting occupants in the event of a sideways impact.

High-strength steel is used in 31 per cent of the Credos' body components for increased strength and durability.

From the keyless entry system to the clear, logically calibrated instruments, Credos is designed to put a person at rest from the moment they enter the cabin. Features include generous cup holders, integrated door locks, door courtesy lamps, electric boot and fuel filler cap releases, a coin holder adjacent to the electric mirror controls and front seat reading lights.

Kia' s new Credos saloon has been priced with the single objective of becoming the best buy in the medium car segment. A fully-appointed, spacious Credos, complete with air conditioning, can be parked in the driveway from just $23,500.

Given Kia's aggressive approach to the Australian new car market it comes as no surprise to find that the Credos is priced to be the best value proposition in its class. "That's our philosophy, and it will remain our philosophy across the board," the General Manager of Kia Motors Australia, Dr Walter Roso, said.

"We have carried our policy of always presenting outstanding value for money through to the Credos, even though our research clinics indicated we could comfortably charge many thousands of dollars more," he said. "Kia's commitment to success in the Australian market remains total, both from Kia Motors Australia and from Kia Motor Corporation in Korea.

"At this price we believe the Credos will present many medium car buyers with their first genuine excuse to change over to a Korean badge, and they'll be delighted when they do. Credos at $23,500 is a fantastic deal and at that price it provides buyers with everything they want in a luxury car."

The cost of options on the Credos are:

Metallic paint $ 165
Automatic transmission $2000
ABS and alloy wheels $2000
Leather upholstery, six-way adjustable power driver's seat, woodgrain dash, ABS, alloy wheels $3500

SPECIFICATIONS: KIA CREDOS ENGINE
Engine Type In-line four-cylinder
DOHC 16 valve
Capacity 1998 cc
Max Power 98 kW @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque 171 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Bore/Stroke 86.0 mm X 86.0 mm
Compression ratio 9.2:1
Fuel Delivery Multipoint electronic injection
Emission Control Catalytic converter with
closed loop control
Ignition System Contactless electronic with
electronic spark advance
TRANSMISSION
Five-speed manual overdrive / all synchromesh
Ratios 1 3.307
2 1.833
3 1.310
4 1.030
5 0.795
R 3.166
Final drive 4.105
Four-speed electronically-controlled automatic with lockup torque converter.
Overdrive lock-out switch. Power/hold modes
Ratios 1 2.800
2 1.540
3 1.000
4 0.700
R 2.333
Final drive 3.700
DIMENSIONS - EXTERIOR
Overall length 4731 mm
Overall width 1770 mm
Overall height 1420 mm
Wheelbase 2659 mm
Track front 1500 mm
Track rear 1500 mm
CARGO CAPACITY
Boot 351 litres
WEIGHT
Kerb weight Manual 1270 kg
Auto 1305 kg
Max towing weights:
Trailer with brakes 1650 kg
Trailer without brakes 600 kg
SUSPENSION
Front MacPherson struts, coils. Additional transverse member
Rear Dual lateral links, one trailing link. Coils.
STEERING
Rack and pinion power steering
Turning Circle 10.6 m
BRAKES
Braking System Dual circuit hydraulic
vacuum assisted
Front: Ventilated discs
Rear: Discs
Parking Brake Mechanical acting on the
rear brakes
TYRES AND WHEELS
5.5 x 14 steel. Alloy wheels optional
195/70R14 / 195/65R14 optional
FUEL
Fuel Type Unleaded
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 I
SERVICE
Service intervals 10,000km
Warranty Three years/i 25,000 km
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Battery 12 volt 48 AH
Alternator 12 volt 80 A
FEATURES
Air conditioning
Power steering
Central locking
Power windows
Power mirrors
Driver's airbag
Immobiliser
Cloth trim
Tilt-adjustable steering
Height-adjustable front head restraints
60:40 split-fold rear seat
Variable intermittent wipers
Rear window demister
body-coloured side protection mouldings
Colour-coded bumpers
Full wheel trims
Alpine AM FM radio cassette (six speakers)
Remote releases for boot and fuel filler
INSTRUMENTS
Speedometer
Tachometer
Odometer
Trip meter
Automatic Transmission gear indicator (auto)
Power/Hold indicator (auto)
Temperature gauge
Fuel gauge
Warning lights
High beam
Immobiliser
Rear window demister
ABS (where fitted)
Seat belt
Door ajar
Low fuel
Park brake/brake attention
Oil
Battery
Engine
Airbag
Boot open Audible warnings
Key in
Lights on
Door ajar
Seat belt

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