The Pride is one of a new breed of cars from the Pacific Rim nations, in this case from Kia, previously a major Korean manufacturer of buses and trucks and fast becoming one of the leading far eastern car manufactures, now mounting a determined bid to take over from the might of the Japanese car industry the market domination that it took from European and American manufacturers not so many years ago.
Aptly named, the Pride is certainly a car which Kia can be proud of as it's first foray into the European market place for family hatches.
Whilst essentially a revamp of the Mazda 121 and largely being sold through Mazda dealers, the car has many detailed improvements yet is being marketed at a very low price which will undoubtedly gain it a respectable market share where value for money is the prime consideration.
Not a particularly pretty car, it is a rather angular design but this angularity provides considerable internal space and fits it well for it's role as a family car.
The rather tall and upright cabin gives excellent head and legroom and provides a very spacious feel in the cabin which is accentuated by the large glass area and the slim pillars.
This feeling of airiness and spaciousnesses is accentuated by the light fabric coverings and carpets, trim levels generally being very good with comfortable seating and a good driving position facing a clear dash and well laid out controls, steering being slightly heavy but not uncomfortably so.
All of the necessary standard equipment is fitted although with a sub £7,000 price tag there are inevitably few luxuries but you do get a rev counter, a sunroof and a good quality stereo and the standard cabin finish is generally good.
Stowage is also good although the unusual step of moving the rear seat perhaps a little further back than is normal while providing good legroom for rear passengers does reduce the load area a bit yet this is still adequate and the easy folding of the split rear seats does greatly increase this load space.
A lively 1300cc overhead cam engine pumps out some 60 bhp pulling the car along well at all speeds, always smooth and quiet, never sounding strained, yet achieving quite remarkable fuel consumption at all times and cruising quite happily at motorway speeds.
The 5 speed gearbox has ratios well chosen to maximise the inherent fuel efficiency of the engine and is light and fuss free in use.
Given the height of the car, handling is hardly going to be sporting and, indeed, it does roll a bit but only if provoked and surprisingly grip levels are quite good with a soft and comfortable ride most of the time although some of our worst maintained city streets can cause it to pitch a little.
Braking is very positive, the conventional disc/drum setup giving progressive action and a reassuring pedal feel.
A fine first effort then from Kia in providing a well mannered family hatch with good performance and very good fuel efficiency all at a remarkably low price, good value for money.