Although the trend towards crossovers has mostly diluted the traditional compact sedan's marketability, Kia is planning to bring a new one to South Africa. The company's current product portfolio is a collection of hatches (Picanto/Rio), SUVs (Seltos, Sportage, Sorento), a crossover (Sonet), huge MPV (Grand Sedona) and the K2700 bakkie. No sedans, but that is set to change soon.
Despite most brands gravitating towards a similar model mix as Kia, without a compact sedan, the Korean is going slightly contrarian, with its Pegas, scheduled to be introduced to the local market next month.
It’s not the most elegant or contemporary of Kias, in terms of exterior design, nor is it intended to be. The tiny 14" wheels tell you all there is to know about this sedan’s purpose as a fleet or ride-hailing service vehicle.
This is a compact sedan targeted at emerging markets, instead of Europe. This should make it ideal for local buyers who need the safe lockable storage space, of a boot, as opposed to a hatchback, with its glass window above the luggage area.
The Pegas isn’t a new vehicle, for Kia. It debuted back in 2017, at the Shanghai auto show, and shared its platform is related to the previous-generation Soul.
With a 2,570mm wheelbase, cabin space should be good, and the boot rates at a generous 475l.
Powering the Pegas is Kia’s robust 1.4l Kappa-series petrol engine. Outputs are average, with 70kW of power and 133Nm of torque. Drive is to the front wheels, via a choice of either four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmissions.
Although the local specification grades aren’t available yet, Kia markets the Pegas in other geographies with a choice of either a 3.8" audio display system (entry-level) or the brand’s highly functional 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with smartphone mirroring.
The standard grade Pegas has four airbags but does without ESP, while a higher equipment level adds stability control intervention and a reversing camera.
For Kia, with its stylish product line-up locally, the Pegas might be an odd fit. But if the price point is very competitive, there could be buyers who find its Korean cabin architecture and proven engine worth the investment.