As a journalist specialising in transport and travel, I receive scores of press releases daily, most with little news value. And if I can’t sell a story on to a news or features editor, it’s worthless. Dead ducks today include a list of the UK’s most instagrammed road trips, Santander plugging their new ‘online marketplace’ with a so-called ‘celeb’, and a university on ‘supernatural beings revealing feelings about humans’. Nope, didn’t understand it either.
One, however, jumped out. It claimed that while Porsche drivers crash more often than owners of any other brand (six crashes in their lifetime, over three times the national average) Kia drivers were ‘luckier’. Go Car Credit, which surveyed 1,000 drivers, said Kia drivers ‘take the prize as the luckiest drivers on the road, as six out of ten Kia owners (59%) have never had an accident on the road’.
Hmm. Is it really down to luck? My other hat – prompting yet more press releases – is as a road safety journalist. I’m also a judge on the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Awards. But I’ve never heard a safety expert claim that crashing – or not – is largely predicted by luck. Skill, judgement, behaviour, yes. Luck? Occasionally, but as we know, you make your own luck, and attitude, not car choice, is the factor most likely to govern your crash factor.
The authors should have asked: what kind of person buys a fast flashy Porsche? And who buys a Kia? What do their respective characteristics say about their tendency to crash? Manufacturers mostly keep this data secret. Who would admit that their core customer ranks speed, adrenalin and thrills over safety? Any more than another might admit their customer values getting from A-to-B as inexpensively, safely and comfortably as possible?
As a Kia Niro driver, I was pleased to read that those driving a standard five door car are the safest, having been involved in just one accident on average. Could it be because a large proportion of Kia customers are family types who prize value for money, a large measure of practicality, quality and versatility, a seven-year warranty and safety?
This seems obvious after clocking up hundreds of hours – if relatively low miles – putting the Niro to daily service in London. Its safety attributes really shine through. When you start it, a big message asking you to confirm that you will ‘Drive Safely and obey traffic rules’ pops up. It adds ‘Watching the screen while the vehicle is in motion can lead to serious accidents’. Thanks for the nannying advice, Kia!
There are many built-in safety attributes, including its great visibility; a fundamental part of remaining safe. I love the Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (you don’t always spot the signs), its Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (why leave anything to chance in London’s swirling traffic?) and the Rear Cross Traffic Alert (very handy in the supermarket car park). I would like the Blind Spot Detection, but it’s overly sensitive, bonging and flashing too frequently. The Niro also has twin front airbags, a pair of side airbags and two curtain airbags with a roll-over sensor.
I love a Porsche as much as the next driver, but they do make me want to drive faster. Kia have got it just right, relegating ‘luck’ firmly to the back seat.
Date arrived 2nd June 2021
Economy (On test) 52.2mpg