"It's a very reasonable car - reasonable because of the price, reasonable because of the comfort. But It's not the kind of car which you would like to push really hard."
Wagih Khoury, Director of the Hotel Danube
The car's big engine with standard transmission provides enough power to keep up with any of the BMWs screaming down the streets. Gear shifting is smooth and although the car isn't particularly quick off the line, there's plenty of power when the afterburners kick in. Overtaking the slower drivers on two-lane highways is effortless. At speeds of over 120 km/hour, however, the engine seems to strain a bit and wind noise is a problem.
The Clarus is a cruising car. There's plenty of leg and head room,and the leather seats are cozy. A spacious back seat ensures that passengers will not suffer any knee knocking or leg cramps. Two adults can travel in the back very comfortably, and there's room for three. A back seat center arm rest, drink holder and storage area should also keep passengers happy.
For a big car, the Clarus is quite maneuverable, offering power steering that is responsive but not jumpy. An adjustable steering wheel, however, would be a nice addition.
Adjusting the tilt of the seat, though, requires a double elbow joint. The two small steering wheel horn buttons are also a problem for those who are accustomed to smash the center of the wheel when fellow drivers misbehave.
The Clarus Executive's interior is highlighted by dark, polished wood paneling around the stick shift, window buttons, a/c vents, and a control panel. The slick paneling, however, is cheapened by the lackluster plastic dash and other plastic pieces around the door, center console and steering console.
The Clarus boasts good safety credentials. It's equipped with standard driver and passenger air bags, ABS, and side impact bars. In a crash test conducted in Korea between the Hyundai Sonata, Daewoo Prince and Kia Clarus, the Clarus was rated highest for safety.
The Clarus is the South Korean car maker's upper middle-class model positioned to compete with the Volkswagen Passat and Mazda 626. Kia hopes that its subcompact Sephia model buyers will look to the Clarus when they want to graduate to a bigger car.
Jeffrey Jones is editor-in-chief of the Central Europe Automotive Report
Engine Capacity: 1.8 & 2.0 liter
Fuel Consumption: 1.8 6.8 liters per 100 km (town); 9.0 liters per 100 km (90 km); 2.0 7.6 liters per 100 km (town); 9.7 liters per 100 km (90 km)
Maximum Speed: 185 km/hour
Service Warranty: 3 years or 100,000 km
Trunk space: 351 liters
Colors: All available
Delivery time: 2 weeks
30. Jan 1997 at 0:00 | Jeffrey A. Jones