1 May 1998
By CHRIS HARRIS
BEFORE Hyundai bailed out a dying Kia in the late 1990s, the South Korean brand – established in the 1940s – relied heavily on cast-off Mazda components. Case in point: the Credos.
Even though it was re-bodied, much of the feel of the 1992 to 1997 Mazda GE 626 is clearly visible in the front-wheel drive Kia four-door sedan.
But some very heavy-handed detailing – particularly around the nose and tail areas – means that the 626’s style certainly was lost in translation.
Even though a modern 98kW/171Nm 2.0-litre Mazda four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic underpinned the Credos, it was a tiresome car to drive due to soft suspension settings, overly light steering and a lack of good body control.
And despite a high level of equipment, including a driver’s airbag, power steering, air-conditioning, power windows, central locking and a trip computer, the cabin’s low-rent feel, look and execution certainly betrayed the car’s low cost base.
Australians didn’t care much for the Credos, and the car vanished from the new-car scene after less than three years on the market.
The Hyundai EF Sonata-derived Optima replaced it from May 2001.