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Discussion Starter #1
Hi.

I've never had a Korean car before. I've always stuck to European and Japanese. With the Picanto's entry and the current fuel costs, owning one seems to be a sensible choice for everyday city use. I like the way it looks, even if I'm scared that some bully (giant-SUV-that's-too-big-for-our-roads) would crush it.

Honestly, I've heard bad news about the Pregios and Bestas. I'm sure KIA has addressed the current situation. I hold on to my cars for along time, and I'd really like to know your honest experiences regarding my topic.

Parts/Service and cost of ownership tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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The Picanto is my first Korean vehicle, but since I know some of the people that run KIA BALAI, I never had problems with them. Service is good in my experience and the basic parts are easily obtainable.
 

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Sorento EX3500V6, LC80, Mitsu Space Gr
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Until Y2000, I was a Korean brand basher. I drove a 99 Pajero, and had a 93 Accord, and a Mazda van. While looking for a replacement van, my requirements (engine should be up front, must have reclining bench-type seats back, abundant headroom and car-like driving position. Only one van fit: the Hyundai Starex. Against advaice of some friends and the bad reputation of pre-millenioum models (rust in the front fender, lousy transmission, etc), I bought a greymarket Club Starex, with double sunroof, ABS, automatic.

Four years later and some 140,000 kms of hard driving, my only problem with it was when I had to replace the alternator at 70,000kms. It was one of my most comfortable and practical rides ever. That got me convinced that Korean cars were on their way to becoming good quality vehicles (remember how Japanese brands used to be belittled in the '60's and '70s?).

Now I have my second Korean car: the Sorento. 25,000 kms and 6 months later, I'm still a real happy camper. I've taken it to places where I had to make the trail in the boonies (said my guide: only carabaos used to go through where we did) and, in an instant, blends and impresses in the city with its slick look and ride.

Gas consumption is okay now, unlike when it was brand new (the owner's manual does say that, with use, consumption improves). I drive over really bad roads with confidence; 25000 kms later, the interior is still impressively quiet as the day I bought it. All my friends are impressed with the really quiet ride (coming from diesel Pajeros, Patrols, they should be. But even those driving sedans and 4-cylinder SUVs are as impressed).

I know a good thing when I see one. While the koreans are trying harder to make their vehicles great value and quality, they are, as yet, unable to increase their prices. Not too long from now, (especially with the US market clearly coming up with positive rave reviews, and thus, Kia will have redeemed its lackluster brand over there), Kia will start competing with the Japanese brands, price-wise.

So, Ladies, and Gents, strike while the iron is hot (and the prices not yet at runaway levels). Go get yourself a Sorento and get the best of both worlds: great quality vehicle at great value prices. That's being smart.
 
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