If you’ve been waiting for the affordable version of Kia’s most popular sedan to come to South African dealerships, this is your year. The 2021 Kia Pegas sedan is here, and it enters the market at a quite reasonable R225,995.
The Pegas is not entirely a new kid on the block. It debuted a few years ago as a concept model and is based on the Kia Rio. Following our first drive of the model at launch, we've listed five things you need to know about the car.
It sports a familiar face: Is there a fascia out there that's changed its face more dramatically over the past five years than that from Kia? At least the Pegas borrows a lot from its bigger brother the Rio sedan. Upfront, the car is all creases and grille, with bold lines carving prominent 3D-esque triangles out of the upper air dam. The rear of the car is less busy, although not to its detriment, and Kia has moved up the Pegas’ badging to the top left corner so that everyone around you knows what you’re driving.
I found this look to be handsome, but not remarkable. We’ve seen this on the Rio sedan already.
Spacious and comfortable: Hiding underneath the Pegas’ familiar skin is a cabin roomy enough to add a small amount of extra comfort to the daily commute. The result is a car that's pleasing to drive without adding unnecessary harshness or stiff-legged antics on rough pavement, of which there was plenty during our test drive route. It takes a lot to make it uphill, but eventually, you'll get there.
Furthermore, features aren’t as dramatic as what’s been accomplished on the exterior, but that’s OK because there wasn’t much need to mess with what was already a good thing on the Rio sedan. Highlights include the new 7” touchscreen infotainment system incorporating a reverse camera with dynamic guidelines, a standard fitment throughout the range (alongside rear park-distance control sensors). The system also boasts Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Depending on the model grade, the Pegas’ interior is trimmed in either smart cloth or high-quality artificial leather.
Strong engine choice: Like some of its compact-size sedan competitors – though not all – the 2021 Kia Pegas is offered exclusively with Kia’s naturally aspirated, multi-point injection engine. The 1.4-litre mill is good for 69 kW of power and 132 Nm of torque on tap.
The model we drove was the 5-speed manual, but there’s a 4-speed automatic on offer too. There’s not much that distinguish the two choices as far as the daily drive is concerned and even when pushing hard it’s largely a wash given that these aren’t exactly performance-oriented cars.
Respectable safety and tech features present: The 2021 Kia Pegas offers standard ABS with EBD across all trim levels. On top of that, there are disc brakes all around, as well as dual front airbags with ISOFIX child-seat anchoring points. While this equipment is increasingly available on a wide range of affordable cars, it's still worth pointing out that there was once a time when this kind of advanced equipment was limited to high-rand luxury cars.
Not a huge leap forward: Aside from the 5-speed manual which makes the most sense and its nouveau visage, the 2021 Kia Pegas doesn’t represent a significant leap forward for Kia’s sedan line-up. That’s by design, really. Nonetheless, it’s a success: potential customers who might have stayed away from yesteryear’s Rio sedan model because of its heavy price tag may well be enticed by the Pegas.
Competitors for the Kia Pegas include the Honda Amaze, Suzuki Dzire, Ford Figo sedan and Polo Vivo sedan.
Words & images: Papi Mabele