The Kia Clarus is a mid-size family sedan manufactured and marketed by the South Korean car manufacturer Kia in the European market from 1999 to 2001.
History of the Kia Clarus
Launched in its South Korean home market as the Credos in 1995, it took another four years for the Clarus to get to the UK, by which point it had also been launched in Australia. Buyers there couldn’t have been less interested, with just a few hundred examples sold during the three years that it was on sale. The thing is, the Clarus was a pretty decent car for those who prized reliability and value for money above engaging dynamics. The Clarus was one of Kia’s earliest vehicles after the company launched into car production with the Pride in 1991. Just like the Pride, which was a rebadged 121, the Clarus was another repurposed Mazda, this time a 626 first seen in 1991. So by the time, UK buyers got to sample the Clarus, it was already pretty long in the tooth. The Clarus was unveiled to UK buyers to absolutely no fanfare at all, in September 1999. This was a car so insignificant to UK buyers that Autocar didn’t even bother to review it; this was the magazine that tested every car even vaguely relevant to the UK market, in a bid to fill its pages each week. CAR took the same approach, and for some reason, even evo magazine was indifferent to Kia’s charms, but there was one title that did put the Clarus through its paces, and that was Top Gear. Driven back to back with the Shuma, which didn’t impress very much, the Clarus fared rather better. Upon its arrival in the UK, Kia trumpeted the Clarus as a new flagship saloon that brings executive equipment levels to the keenly competitive upper-medium sector. The problem was that despite the Clarus having been updated before it arrived here, its equipment levels couldn’t compete with those of much more sophisticated European rivals. If you want navigation, a sunroof, or cruise control on your Clarus, you’d be disappointed. The same went for passenger or side airbags, along with electric adjustment or heating for the front seats.
Kia retailed the Kia Clarus in the United Kingdom with a starting MSRP of £11,000 for the base SX trim, rising to £14,295 for the top-spec Executive variant.
- Clarus SX - £11,000 (£24,389 or $29,828 in 2022)
- Clarus Executive - £14,295 (£31,695 or $38,764 in 2022)
Specs and Performance of the Kia Clarus
- 1793 - 1998 cc (109.7 - 122.4 cui) displacement55555
The Kia Clarus's 1.8L engine delivers 114 hp (85 kW) at 5,750 rpm and 112 lb-ft (152 Nm) of torque at 4,500 rpm. Kia marketed the Clarus as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Kia Clarus accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0–97 kph) in 13 seconds with a top speed of 111 mph (178 kph). Dimension-wise, the Kia Clarus measures 4,750 mm (187 in) long, 1,785 mm (70.3 in) wide, and 1,495 mm (58.9 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,659 mm (104.7 in) and has a curb weight of 2,870 lbs (1,300 kg).
Kia first released the Kia Clarus in the European market in 1999. By July 2001 the Clarus was history, replaced by the Hyundai Sonata-based Magentis, which made much more of an impact. More than 4600 of those were sold in the UK, and even now there are almost 1000 of them taxed and still being driven on UK roads.