Keeping their new fleet up to scratch Kia have just launched their refreshed Sorento, a spacious seven seater SUV. And as you would expect it’s another winner.

It went on show at the autumn Frankfurt Motor Show and should be with UK dealers before the end of the year, with prices yet to be announced.

Kia is getting close to producing four million cars a year, which isn’t bad for a company which went bankrupt just 20 years ago, surely a lesson for the British car industry, which should be running the world instead of hiding behind the skirts of the far Eastern manufacturers.

Kia is South Korea's second biggest car manufacturer after Hyundai, which plucked it from the bankruptcy stakes back in 1997, and as of December 2015, the Kia Motor Corporation is minority owned by Hyundai, which has a 34 per cent stake.

Hyundai is one of the world’s great conglomerates building houses, manufacturing steel as well as its own car industry.

The name Kia comes from Sino Korean characters and roughly translates as to come out of the east. It started life in 1944, began making bicycles in 1951 and then motorcycles. Cars and trucks followed.

Kia did deals with Fiat, Peugeot, Mazda and then Ford with reasonable sales in the United States before the Asian financial crisis which saw Kia declaring bankruptcy.

Hyundai Motor Company acquired 51 per cent of the company, outbidding Ford which had owned an interest in Kia since 1986.

Since 2005 Kia have focused on the European market and have identified design as their core future growth engine. Working for them is the genius of motor car design, Peter Schreyer, who in 2006 was appointed chief design officer.

German-born Peter worked with Audi and later went on to create a new corporate grille known as the Tiger Nose for Kia cars. His influence is felt in every Kia car which comes on the market.

The Sorento first hit the streets in 2002 and there have been a number of changes over the years with new models and refreshments made as the company keeps up with the times. Kia never hang back when changes need to be done.

The old Sorento was popular in Europe and last year almost 16,000 customers bought one.

The latest one for the UK will be the 2.2 diesel model either manual or the one with the eight gear automatic gearbox.

The eight speed box replaces the old six speed one and actually reduces the CO2 emissions from 172 to 159 g/km.

The new transmission offers four different drive modes to enhance fuel economy.

Having just driven one out of the factory in Korea I was mightily impressed. But Kia always impresses.

It drove extremely well and the Kia people have made a series of modifications to keep the model at the forefront of technology and design.

The German influence is certainly there with soft touch materials, leather upholstery if required and improved colours.

The eight speed auto box was impressive, guiding the car effortlessly through a variety of gradients. To make sure you could get seven people into the car easily, a colleague insisted on having volunteers getting into the car to prove the point!

Along with all other manufacturers, Kia take notice of the safety issues and their equipment is as good as anyone else’s and probably better than most.

While some drivers get irritated with stop/go systems; lane keeping assist or driver attention warning, to guard against drowsy motoring, the roads are safer as a result. So they are never going to go away.

Kia’s kit works well and is easy to understand so it is not a hindrance to good driving.

The sound system is excellent and you can have the best of the best should you want, but driving in Korea, where you have to have your wits about you, I really didn’t have the time to test that out!

As with all their products Kia continue with their seven year 100,000 mile guarantee which is sold as standard and is the best in the industry.

Top speed is around 125mpg and economy is more than 40mpg on the combined figures.