A small car that was big on safety
• BLAST FROM THE PAST– 30 Kia Avella
One of the things that gives people pause when they purchase a small car is safety. Small cars are inexpensive but lack safety features like airbags and ABS brakes. Nowadays, some small cars are equipped with these features, but a decade ago things were different.
Until the early 1990s, only large luxury cars came equipped with airbags and ABS. However, Avella, a compact sedan from Kia Motors, changed everything. Avella was the first small car in Korea that was equipped with the safety features.
It was also the first car in its class in the U.S. to have standard dual airbags and optional ABS.
Avella, a hatchback introduced in 1994, was born as a replacement for the Kia Pride, though the Pride continued to be produced even after Avella came out. Like the Pride, Avella was developed in cooperation with Ford and Mazda, but the Avella had an aerodynamic design compared to the boxy Pride. Kia developed the vehicle for younger buyers and offered unusual colors like indigo blue or pink.
Its name, Avella, was a portmanteau for “aveo,” which means “desire” in Latin, and “ella,” a Spanish pronoun meaning “she.” By giving the car that name, Kia wanted it to be a car that people would desire.
Three- or five-door models were available and priced between 5.5 million won ($4,672) and 5.9 million won.
The vehicle was equipped with a 1,300-cubic-centimeter engine with 73 horsepower, and it had a maximum speed of 160 kilometers (99.4 miles) per hour. It was 3.9 meters (12.7 feet) long, 1.7 meters wide and 1.5 meters high.
Avella was developed for the export market. It was sold as the Ford Festiva in the U.S. and Australia.
It was also assembled in different countries including Taiwan and Russia with components shipped from Korea.
The Avella was more popular overseas than in Korea.
In Korea, people preferred sedans with their larger trunks, and hatchbacks like the Avella were unpopular.
The Avella competed with Hyundai Motor’s small sedan, the Accent. Some 19,300 units of Avella were sold in the country from May through September 1995, but three times the number of units of the Accent were sold that year.
From January through March 1995, 15,180 units of the Avella were exported but only 5,730 cars were sold in Korea. In 1999, the Avella was discontinued, along with the Pride, and replaced by the Kia Rio.
By Limb Jae-un [email@example.com]