As a segment, the sedan has dwindled in popularity. The SUV has enjoyed great popularity, the high-riding alternatives steamrolling sales of the humble hatchback, saloon car and the two-door coupé. Sedans have always been the go-to for the average South African family.
But the sedan still has a place in the South African vehicle market. At the higher-end of the field, luxury and premium sedans continue to sell in decent numbers, but the once popular mid-range has disappeared. Toyota, for example, hasn’t sold the Camry locally in years. But the budget end of the market still enjoys small sedans, with a number still posting impressive monthly sales figures.
The Kia Pegas is the latest entrant into the market. Competing with the likes of the Ford Figo Sedan, Polo Sedan and Suzuki Ciaz, the entrant for Korea appeals to those seeking value-for-money motoring without sacrificing boot space or practicality.
Where the Kia differs from its competitors is in size. Although not massive, the Pegas measures more than four metres in length. This pays dividends when it comes to boot space and, importantly, rear passenger comfort.
The styling is discreet and inoffensive. The front-end of the Pegas wears the company’s signature ‘Tiger nose’ radiator grille, with a remarkable similarity to the Rio. The rest of the car is tastefully styled, with a neat rear-end.
Kia has priced the Pegas very competitively, with the range kicking off from just R225 995. We spent some time with the range-topping Pegas which, despite its lengthy list of equipment, retails from just R236 995. Let’s kick off with the safety spec: two airbags, ABS brakes and ISOFIX child seat anchorages cover you in a tricky situation, but it’s the convenience items that really impress.
A seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system provides passengers with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with Bluetooth. Naturally, electric windows are standard, with the EX model gaining faux leather seats, front fog lamps and cruise control.
But perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Pegas is the sheer amount of room on offer for rear passengers. It is vast in the rear, with plenty of knee room and headroom on offer. As a family car or a ride-share vehicle, this will undoubtedly appeal. So will the large boot, which offers up a cavernous 475 litres of luggage space.
Power is sourced from a naturally-aspirated 1.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine. It produces 69 kW and 132 Nm which may not sound like much, but feels positively peppy on the road. The fuel consumption is pegged at 5.7 L/100 km and, while it is often difficult to match manufacturer claims, we got very close; 5.9 L/100 km over a week of driving proves just how frugal this is.
Part of the responsive performance is down to the wonderful five-speed gearbox. Often on budget cars, the gearbox feels a touch notchy or uncoordinated. But the ‘box found in the Kia feels incredible, with a delightful snickety feel as you switch through the gears. It’s undoubtedly the best in the segment and certainly the option to go for, ignore the more expensive automatic unless you require a self-shifter. The ride is great too, riding like a far larger, more expensive car than it actually is.
As you may have noticed, we were very impressed with the Pegas. Often, purchasing cheaper vehicles means you have to sacrifice in some way. However, the Kia sedan shows that you don’t have to. It’s good-looking, well-built, generously equipped and offers oodles of passenger space. Perhaps, if there is one thing we can nitpick, we’d appreciate the standard fitment of stability control, a must have safety feature for cars. But, aside from that, the Pegas is a stellar car and a firm reminder that the sedan is still a very rewarding car to drive.