Tag Archives: Kia

Norwich’s female friendly garage and car dealer choice

Grant Long, NMG’s MD – photo ack: AM -Online.com
The Norfolk Motor Group (NMG) is a family run and FOXY Lady Approved garage and car dealership group in Norwich.

This means it is both a Female Friendly Approved business and employer in Norwich.

To join our approved network requires automotive businesses to demonstrate a minimum package of credentials which NMG has exceeded, for the following reasons.

Ladies Evenings

We first met NMG in the run up to their Ladies Evening in mid-February when more than 120 local women drivers attended this highly social evening covering important motoring-related issues such as driving attitudes & behaviour, DIY car maintenance checks and an entertaining session providing memorable advice and demonstrating self defence techniques.

These events are always fun first.

But they also inform and educate women about their critical personal safety, driving safety and vehicle safety. Everyone comes away with at least one important and timely message, and of course this reflects positively on the perceived ethics of the organiser because only businesses that truly want to give something back to their local community are prepared to invest the time and resource towards a free activity which isn’t actively selling cars.

New Car Sales, Used Car Sales and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Having said that, NMG’s main business is obviously selling and repairing cars.

They hold Kia and Suzuki franchises so if you drive these makes of cars, or would like to, in or near Norwich, this is where to come to buy them, trade them in or to have them serviced and repaired.

NMG also sell other makes and models of approved used family cars as well as Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) so it’s a business that covers the majority of transport needs.

And which women know they can trust.

Signs Of Measurable Quality

We look for all signs of measurable quality before accepting garages or car dealers on to our network. This is because used car sales and car servicing are unregulated areas in the motor industry and too few staff are licensed to do these jobs.

One of the best things about choosing a franchised dealership rather than an independent is the reassurance that they have been approved by the manufacturer they represent.

Another standard FOXY looks for is EITHER that the business (used car dealers and independent garages too) operates to a Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Approved Code of Practice scheme OR is listed on the IMI Professional Register.

In this case many members of NMG staff are Master Technicians, others are trained in the latest electric and hybrid technologies and the business is a member of the CTSI’s New Car Code, Car Sales Code and Service and Repair Code operated by The Motor Ombudsman.

From a customer service point of view, NMG is open 5 and half days a week for car servicing, MOT, repairs and parts. There’s a courtesy bus, a fleet of courtesy cars and a local collection and delivery vehicle service.

Sales Departments are open 7 days a week, including most Bank Holidays, and only close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Easter Sunday.

They also support many local groups, schools, clubs & charities.

Female Feedback

The final yet critical ingredient is for FOXY to monitor female feedback in addition to NMG’s existing and very high customer satisfaction scores. By using our certificates in their business they are actively courting ALL feedback and giving females a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club as a thank you for their time. The point of this is that whilst we all expect feedback to be positive, if it wasn’t, NMG still wants to know, so they can put it right.

And perhaps that’s the main reason why this business passes our FOXY test with flying colours.

1/ Because their motto is ‘Nobody Tries Harder Than NMG…Nobody‘!
2/ Because they evidently want to do a better job for women drivers, by joining this scheme.
3/ Because they are dedicated to doing this from the top of NMG to the showroom floor – we’re dealing with NMG’s Managing Director who definitely sees this as a long term commitment.

All this is good news for women drivers in and around Norwich. If that’s you, then I invite you to visit their branches in Norwich and put your name down for a future Ladies Evening at 79 Mile Cross Lane.

They may even offer you a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club for doing this.



For More Information

NMG’s HQ is 79 Mile Cross Lane in Norwich, NR6 6TX
Please read NMG’s business story.
Kia and family car sales tel: 01603 775100
Suzuki new and used cars tel:01603 418700
NMG family car, WAV and SUV centre tel: 01603 401044

Forget football and Brazil – the Rio is a foxy car for females

A FOXY Car Review by Steph Savill

carreviewIt was Mothers Day, I got taken out for lunch, the sun shone on the Saturday and then it snowed on the Sunday… Ah yes I remember the weekend I test drove the new Kia Rio very well indeed!

And it’s not just me that the Rio has made a good impression on – since the ‘new’ Rio model arrived in UK showrooms it’s collected a load of best car awards which is always a good thing to consider.

Sadly, unless you’re a female following FIFA or UEFA football games, the Australian Open or cricket at the Oval (that Kia sponsor), you mightn’t know all that much about this particular car brand despite its ‘family friendly’ marketing plans.

So this car review is for women who mightn’t be footie fans or petrolheads even but still want to know about the safety, reliability and practicality of their new car choices when it’s shopping time.

Let’s start by introducing Kia as a Korean brand with a European manufacturing plant in Slovakia and an industry leading 7 year warranty, which will surely reassure you about the reliability you can expect from their cars. And the car model I am writing about here is their Rio ‘2’ in the photo below, a 1.4 litre petrol engine with 3 doors and a 6 speed manual gearbox, supplied by Birchwood Group’s West Sussex Motors in Washington.

Good looks

Kia_Rio_daffs_March 2013The ‘new’ Rio has had a style makeover, adding a new ‘tiger-nose’ grille giving it a sporty stance and what they call ‘a muscular rear.’ The male equivalent of Pippa Middleton I expected… silly me.

It looks smart, the lines are clean and there are two body-styles depending on whether it’s the 3-door (ie wider front doors for easier back seat access) or the 5-door version.

The car comes in 4 different models – the ‘1’, the ‘1 Air’, the ‘2’ and the top of the range Rio ‘3’.

My car was in silver metallic paint with 16 inch alloys, a chrome surround grille and electrically folding and heated wing mirrors (which came in handy when it snowed) with integrated indicator lights. It had an attractive looking dashboard, a leather trimmed steering wheel & gear stick and was nicely upholstered in a quality black cloth. A stylish combination but, having raised my expectations here, I found the car ‘rear’ to be disappointingly ordinary if I’m honest

Value for money

The Rio range includes many features that aren’t always standard elsewhere, such as electric windows, central locking, Bluetooth, USB and AUX ports (all rated as impressive by my gadget loving son) with stereo controls mounted on the steering wheel. I was particularly reassured by the Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control and Emergency Stop Signalling safety features across the Rio range.

Granted the diesel models have the lower emissions (starting from 85 g/km) and better fuel consumption as a result but you’re still getting impressive fuel consumption of c50mpg for a combination of city and motorway driving. The 6 speed gearbox makes motorway journeys especially economic.

Driving performance

Petrol engines are usually zippier to drive than diesels and this one comes in 1.25 and 1.4 litre engine options and a 6 speed gearbox. There’s an automatic version as well. I found it agile on a combination of dual carriageways and rural roads in Sussex. The 16 inch alloys meant it was quiet over bumps and it cornered well. Of particular note were the responsive brakes and the fact that when the engine was running, you couldn’t hear it. In fact it was so quiet my husband thought it had a Stop ‘n’ Start gearbox and had switched itself off at the lights. It hadn’t!

The practicalities

Kia_Rio_interior_March 2013The back seats fold down 60:40 to allow for extra space when needed. Even without this the boot seemed quite roomy to me.

I’d choose the 5 door model given the choice but my son still found it easy to get in the back via the front doors.

There was plenty of legroom front and back and the cabin felt a lot more roomy than the exterior of the car might suggest.

If you buy the Rio ‘3’ it comes with rear parking sensors which I’d probably opt for.

The radio and IPod settings were simple, even for me and particularly important on this Mothers Day – the heater worked quickly and efficiently thank goodness…


As you can glean from all this and the FOXY Facts below, Kia has a good pedigree and the Rio’s safety and reliability credentials are reassuring. Just as important to many women, this is a car you can probably get into and feel sufficiently confident to drive off in within minutes. It just feels familiar.

This matters because many women aren’t as confident test driving an unfamiliar new car as men – which may explain why many of us stick with the brand we know.

I felt instantly comfortable in the driving position, the seat was easy to adjust, I had excellent all-round visibility and the driving controls felt handy and familiar as well as intuitive.

On the minus side I struggled to get the gear shift into reverse and whilst my husband could do this with ease I wondered if it might be something to do with hand size (or just a wimpy me this time around)?

But apart from this tiny niggle this is an award-winning car I’d happily recommend to women for safe and easy motoring.

Steph Savill

Model tested: Kia Rio ‘2’ 1.4 petrol engine, 3 door, 6-speed manual gearbox and ISG (ie Intelligent Stop and Go).
RRP: The new Rio range starts from £9245. The Rio 2 1.4 petrol engine costs £11295. Metallic paint adds £445.
Buying discounts: West Sussex Motors has a scrappage scheme which would be the best offer whilst it lasts. Otherwise Kia savings of £1400 on the ‘2’ model apply until 30 June 2013.
Fuel economy: MPG is Urban 39.2, Extra Urban 62.8 and Combined 51.4
Insurance group: 8 ie should prove fairly cheap to insure
Road tax/VED: £100 (nil for entry diesel model)
Safety: 5 Star Euro NCap rating (2011) incorporating Adult, Child, Pedestrian and Safety Assist tests. This is an improvement over the 2009 4 star rating and includes 6 airbags as standard.
Reliability: An above average number 35 in the Top 100 cars chart in the Reliability Index – this is based on claims made under warranty so again, it’s based on older models.
Environmental C02 rating: 128gsm.

FOXY Chris loves her Kia choice

Busy motoring mum and gran Chris White lives in Sussex and needs her car to suit a wide range of family uses.

We interviewed her recently about her much-loved Kia Carens and she is the first member of FOXY Lady Drivers Club to be featured in the new Club Corner section in the June e-newsletter.

Please tell us about you Chris, your car and what you use it for.

I live in a rural Sussex town with my husband. You need a car to live here and for a multitude of reasons. Now that we’re retired our time is our own of course, so our car is used more for pleasure; for shopping and when we want to go out at night. We have local family and grandchildren now so our car has to be very versatile too on occasion.

Have you always bought a Kia car?

This is our first Kia and we’re very happy with it. Before that I drove a Citroen C3 and my husband had a Chrysler PT Cruiser automatic. Last year we decided that we really didn’t need two cars any longer and that we should choose one that seemed best for both of us to share.

What made you choose the Kia among other similar models?

We took our time doing our homework because we knew what we wanted but we didn’t know what our model choices would be. The car had to be an automatic, it had to be a high seater too and we expect to be comfortable in it. Although there are only two of us for everyday use, we also needed it to accommodate family on occasion so we gradually refined our choice. We went to a well known local car supermarket to see a lot of our short-listed models at the same time but we eventually decided on the Kia with its 5 year warranty (rather than the normal 3 years) and found exactly what we wanted at our nearest car dealership. Which is doubly convenient of course; when you buy a car from a local rather than a distant dealership it’s nice to know you can easily pop back in if you have any queries or concerns about it during the early days of ownership.

What are the five most important features of the Carens would you say?

I’ve already mentioned that we were looking for comfort, high seats and an automatic gearbox but I’d add space and practicality to make up my tally of five key features. When we need to, we can seat seven in the Carens and yet it still feels spacious! I also like the fact that it still looks like a car rather than other ‘people carriers’ that look more like buses!

Are you sufficiently happy with your car to recommend it to others?

I can definitely recommend it and whilst we’ve only had it for about a year I’m sure we’d be happy to buy another one when the time is right.

NB: The car came from the West Sussex Motors Kia dealership at Washington in West Sussex. When we talked about car servicing, Chris explained that her husband Cliff looks after that side of things so we spoke to him about its MOT and servicing. He told us he had taken it back to the dealership for this whilst it was within the Kia 5 year warranty period but probably wouldn’t do this after its fifth birthday, for loyalty reasons to a local independent garage.

Cliff explained…

‘Once it’s outside the warranty period I plan to take it to Sussex Servicing Autos in Small Dole; they’ve serviced and MOT’d our cars in the past. It’s not just a question of cost, although that is important of course, but this is a good independent garage that has always been honest and fair with me so I have come to trust them more than others over a period of years.’

Thank you Chris and Cliff for this foxy review. The Kia Carens is clearly an ideal car for those of us that are looking for that all-important combination of affordability, reliability, access, practicality and comfort. Of particular note is Kia’s 5 year warranty which is better than most and with two spare seats to be called upon when needed it can then become a 7-seater to suit most family occasions, particularly when grandchildren are involved.


Hands up every foxy lady who can change a tyre?!

I recently went to a special evening called Women in Gear held at the Kia dealership showroom in Washington, West Sussex.

More than 80 eager women and a couple of token chaps were there, keen to hear more about how to change a tyre, what to do if we’re confronted by road rage and how to defend ourselves.

I was there with my FOXY stand, promoting FOXY Lady Drivers Club (in the photo) with my bright red jumper matching our mascot Sophie’s little red sports car.

Everyone loved self-protection guru Grant Hicks who made the subject of defending yourself fun and practical. He gave us great tips about how to foil muggers or thieves in and around our cars – like what to do if someone attacks us from behind and how to disarm them in three easy moves with the aid of everyday objects.

We heard about the psychology behind road rage and how to deal with behind-the-wheel bullies from ex-Police Chief Inspector Vic Botterill, who explained useful techniques like recognising how close people can stand next to you before it becomes intimidating, and what to do when that happens.

Everyone’s thoughts and emotions form our attitudes at a given time, and our feelings can alter our perception of a situation.

We learned that aggressive and therefore potentially dangerous driving usually starts with something small like a flash of headlights or a beep, which can quickly escalate to verbal abuse. The next thing you know there’s a confrontation or worse. Vic told us if we’re being followed, never drive home but go to a friend’s house or even better, directly to the nearest police station.

This might seem common sense but when we’re in a panic situation, it’s easy to forget the obvious and default to a less safe option.

Some of us were surprised to find we were the aggressors ourselves, as we were asked what we’d do in certain situations. Of course, it wasn’t me, guv!

We were then taken to Kia’s pristine and shiny workshops where we split into groups and were shown what’s under the bonnet. There are surprisingly few parts we need to know about these days compared with older motors, but even so we should all be able to top up our oil and water, and know what the battery looks like.

All of us came away with some really useful tips and techniques, and those I spoke to were certainly glad they’d gone.


Women in Gear run free courses from time to time across Sussex.

A female friendly dealership welcome in Wales

The Ladies evening at Wessex Garages Penarth Road dealership in Cardiff

Wessex Garages in Cardiff organised a very successful evening event for their female customers last month at their Penarth Road showroom.

The event attracted an impressive 60 women on a dark and dreary October evening who were entertained whilst a dedicated team of hard working valeters treated their cars to a special Primp & Polish makeover.

Wessex’s Penarth Road showroom represents the Kia, Hyundai, FIAT and Abarth franchises in Cardiff so this was a great opportunity for everyone to give the latest models the once over.

And in case the Abarth brand isn’t as well known as the others, members of the all female audience were treated to a ‘Top Gear’ like review from a panel of  motorists who had just test driven the Abarth. Their feedback was fun and favourable which is what you should expect about such a smart and zippy car with female appeal.

Next on the agenda was an excellent presentation from Conflict Solutions covering road safety issues and survival tactics in the event of the dreaded vehicle breakdown when you are on your own. Undoubtedly the highlight of this talk was the clever self-defence moves that were demonstrated, just in case this know how ever might come in handy!

At this point in the proceedings Wessex Garages female technician, Natasha, joined the party and led a number of fun challenges (for the mechanically less experienced…) including changing wheels, checking tyres and topping up oil levels. It’s always good to have a go for ourselves, even though we know that the professionals are likely to be there to do it for us on request…

During the evening there had been a few exciting prize draws but the ultimate one that most time-strapped motoring maidens would surely covet most was a professional car valet service for a whole 12 months! Just imagine that…

To demonstrate their female friendly credentials to more women drivers, Wessex Garages Penarth Road has recently joined the new FOXY Choice approved FEMALE FRIENDLY garage network and are the first dealership listed in Cardiff.

To tie in with this initiative, all attendees were offered gift memberships of FOXY Lady Drivers Club with Wessex Garages’ compliments.

As one guest said in her feedback after the event ‘It was a cold and wet October evening and I was tempted to go home after work …but I was really glad I forced myself to go!’

Well done Wessex Garages. This was a big event that was professionally managed and organised for the benefit of the lucky ladies who attended. From FOXY Choice’s point of view we have just awarded you a generous handful of female friendly brownie points as part of our garage monitoring processes!