Friday, August 29, 2014

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Kia Sportage: The good gets better

The new Kia Sportage
By Roger St. Pierre – 28 August 2014
Accounting for a quarter of all the Korean company’s burgeoning sales in the UK and Ireland, Kia's Sportage crossover has written a success story all down the line.

Now this automotive best-seller opens a new chapter with an expanded 16-model range, new safety and infotainment features and major equipment and styling upgrades.

Combining the rugged stance of a compact SUV with the sleeker profile of a coupé, the bodywork has been subtly re-styled while premium-car touches have been added to its stylish and spacious interior. However, poor rearward visibility remains a de-merit.

Beneath the bonnet there’s now an even wider choice of power plants in the 16-model range, with a 2.0-litre 134 bhp engine now offered with the entry level all-wheel drive KX-1 trim grade, while the 1.7-litre 114 bhp turbo-diesel is now an option with the two-wheel drive range topping 4 grade.

For 2014 the range is based on five trim designations, giving buyers the opportunity to virtually customise their vehicle.

There are now new-style 16, 17 and 18-inch alloys available for all trim grades and, I’m glad to report that not only do they come with locking wheel nuts but there’s a full-size spare and a tyre pressure monitoring system comes as standard.

Sportage has found a ready market among the caravan community, so all versions are now fitted with a clever trailer stability assist system. This works through the electronic stability control device and continually monitors and controls the vehicle’s stance, gently applying a little braking force when needed to bring things under control.

Top end Sportages now have Kia’s flex steer system, which allows three different levels of power assistance, controlled by a button on the steering wheel. The driver can stay in normal mode or increase assistance for effortless parking or decrease it to give a more direct feel when pressing on.

To make this very sensible car truly fit for purpose there’s a host of storage spaces dotted around the cabin. New for this year are a removable tray within the centre console and handily illuminated cup holders.

Six-speed manual or auto gearboxes ensure plenty of get up and go while combined cycle fuel consumption ranges from 44 to 53 mpg, dependent on model. Expect to reach 62 mph from a standing start in around 10 seconds while top speeds range from 107 to 121-mph, dependent on model.

The Sportage is manufactured at Kia’s ultra-modern Zilina factory at the foot of Slovakia’s Tatra Mountains, a region redolent with the kind of demanding driving conditions under which this car thrives.

On the road prices run from £17,500 to £29,505 and include Kia’s generous seven-year warranty, which make it highly competitive against its closest competitor, the Nissan Qashqai.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2015 Diesel Kia Sorento & Optima K5 Reaching The Shores Of US?

2015 Kia Optima Vehicle Photo in Enfield, CT 06082

 The with the sales number of diesel powered vehicles on the rise in the US, manufacturers might want to seriously consider bringing in more of their diesel powered model into the US market. In fact, Kia could be the next to join Chrysler and General Motors in bringing in their diesel models. Possibly the Kia Sorento and Kia Optima.

Although the more popular diesel model right now in the US market is mostly large vehicles like the Ram 1500, the extensive line up of Kia might have a few that could pass the regulation and enter the market. Kia Motors America’s Vice president of product planning Orth Hedrick think that the diesel model will arrive in three to four years time.

“The problem right now is that there are different emissions standards in Europe and the U.S., which means we would be faced with different after-treatments, and that makes it very expensive. But with EU6 in 2017-18 there would be the same standards in both Europe and the U.S., and that gives us a better chance,” Hedrick told Just Auto.

Kia with their extensive list of vehicles will gain even more with their sale of the diesel model. They are even planning to venture into the green segment with a Soul EV.

Expected the numbers of diesel models to rise since the sales of diesel powered cars are now on a rise.
By Anita Yeung

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2015 Kia Soul EV Hamster Commercial – What’s the Song?

There’s something “electric” about Kia Motors’ all-new Kia Soul vehicle for 2015.

The original Kia Soul debuted in 2008, and since then, the Kia hamster characters have been the faces of the car line’s flashy television ads. Each TV ad in the past has utilized a catchy tune from a popular artist, including Lady Gaga‘s ‘Applause,’ LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem,’ and Calvin Harris‘ ‘Colours.’

So which song did Kia opt to go with for their newest model in the Kia Soul line?

For Kia’s latest commercial featuring the new 2015 Kia Soul EV, the company chose to go with Maroon 5‘s ‘Animals’ for the background music. The ad features the tagline “Fully charged,” a reference to the vehicle’s all-electric nature. We see the Kia hamsters experimenting turning an ordinary Kia Soul into a sexy-looking, electric-powered vehicle. When a mini-hamster accidentally finds her way into the crosshairs of the electric lasers, the mini-hamster is turned into a full-figured hamster babe. The scientists, amazed by their new discovery, go to a pet store to adopt several more hamsters, and a full-on dance party ensues with the help of some new female companions.

‘Animals’ is the latest single of Maroon 5′s ‘V’ album, which is set to be released on Aug. 29, 2014.

Author: Thomas Chau

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Unedited review system for Kia buyers

August 19 2014 at 04:14pm
By IOL Motoring Staff

IOL mot aug19 Kia Rev
IOL mot aug19 Kia RevJohannesburg - It seems a little out of character for any car company to create a platform that could potentially lead to it getting some negative publicity, but Kia South Africa is confident enough that its cars deliver exactly what they promise.

That's why it has selected a new review system for its customers that operates independently of the company and which, according to Kia, is 100 percent unedited.

Billed as a first for South African car brands, the 'Reevoo' system aims to offer full transparency to Kia drivers and potential buyers.

It works like this: buy a new Kia and within one or two weeks of taking delivery you'll be sent a review request, allowing you to submit a few words (good points and bad points) and score the car in number of categories.

All reviews and aggregated scores will be posted on the Kia website. Simply click on the model you're interested in and look for the Reevoo link on the right hand side below the main picture.

The Reevoo section also allows you to interact with other Kia owners by asking or answering questions.

The system does allow Kia to respond to each review, however, which it says is a way of offering extra info and advice. Kia says the initiative will also provide valuable feedback for the company: "By allowing drivers to categorise who they are (e.g. a commuter) and say what they like or dislike about the car, not only do we have our drivers telling us how they feel but it allows us to be honest with ourselves about what we offer."


We asked Kia whether customers would be able to submit reviews further down the line and voice their opinion on things like dealer service. Kia’s marketing director David Sieff responded with the following statement:

“Ownership is typically a 3/4 year journey. So yes it’s not just about the honeymoon period. In light of this we will have ongoing survey's during the lifetime of the customer, specifically where the dealer will be rated within the after sales arena and things like running costs and parts availability being measured.

"We intend to keep asking the customer about their experience which includes the actual vehicle, but the view on the vehicle is inextricably linked to the service from the dealer and ability to keep the car on the road. As long as the customer is engaging with a Kia dealer we will measure all facets and continually look at where we can improve.

"We are in fact looking at Reevoo to drive our entire CSI ratings going forward. For now its about getting the process started.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kia Optima ratings continue to increase each year

2015 Kia Optima Vehicle Photo in Enfield, CT 06082

Published: August 17, 2014
The Kia Optima has certainly been the major success story of the midsize sedan offerings. The second generation Optima, which was produced from 2005 through 2010, had modest success, selling 27,382 the last year it was produced.

Then Kia redesigned and re-engineered the Optima, and “poof,” sales went up more than 300 percent the next year, then another 180 percent the following year. Last year Optima sales reached 155,817. That number is still short of the Accord and Camry, which are selling around 400,000 annually, but the Optima has become a player just as we predicted it would several years ago.

Optima ratings have climbed and has it has won some major awards and, but its greatest appeal is in the styling which comes from Peter Schreyer’s design team. Before heading Kia design, Schreyer was responsible for styling icons like the Audi TT, Audi A6 and Volkswagen New Beetle. His influence is now across most of the Kia product line and it has moved the company from blah to brilliant.

The Kia brand has always been a value leader and their warranty program is the industry’s best. Lately they’ve also been bringing home some of the top quality ratings including top quality rankings for the Optima and Kia Soul in the recent Strategic Vision’s Total Quality Index Study.

Going into its fourth year of production, the Optima has aged well and still turns our heads with its crisp simple lines. The Optima hasn’t received significant changes since the new model debuted but each year it’s been “polished” to a brighter shine especially with new technologies.

The interior wears a tailored look with a cockpit style layout where the controls encircle the driver. The bolstered seats are covered with soft leather and have perforated inserts. The perforated fabric is also used on the door panels to complete the clean upscale look. The controls on the console, center stack and steering wheel make up one of the best arrangements we’ve used.  Large well-marked controls are conveniently grouped in a logical fashion.  We especially appreciated the easy to use navigation system that could be controlled by the passenger while the car was moving, so it wasn’t necessary to stop every time a new destination was input.  This is especially helpful when you are in an unfamiliar area.

Available in five trim levels LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo and SXL Turbo, the Optima offers shoppers a full spectrum of prices and feature levels. The base LX starts at $22,450, including the destination charge, for a nicely equipped entry model. Prices advance with more features up to the Limited which wears a $36,300 price and includes all of the available features. Our SX Turbo started at $28,500 and added a premium package of panoramic sunroof, power folding outside mirrors, UVO eServices, HD radio, rear camera, and several seat upgrades including heated front and rear seats and ventilated front seats for $3,300. It also had the technology package which added navigation, blind spot warning and back-up warning for $2,300.

Optional on all 2015 Kia Optima models, and standard on the SXL Turbo, is the next-generation of UVO eServices. Accessed using the owner’s Smartphone, the system integrates Geo Fencing, Driving Score, Speed Alerts and Curfew Alerts along with the original features like My POI, eServices Guide, 911 Connect3, Car Care Web, Parking Minder4 and Vehicle Diagnostics. You can learn more about the system at

The first three models get a nice 192-hp, 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine that produces very good performance and an EPA fuel economy rating of 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter that powers the SX Turbo and SXL Turbo models has a significant performance bonus and earns a ‘really fun-to-drive’ rating. The 274-hp Direct Injection four-cylinder is capable of a 0 to 60 mph run of 6.5 seconds and the EPA says fuel economy should be 20 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. We actually averaged 26.7 mpg for the week we drove it. All the Optima models use a Kia designed six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode, and the SX models have steering wheel mounted shift paddles.

The Optima comes well equipped with safety features like active headrests, seatbelt pretensioners, stability control, traction control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start assist and many others.   For a Kia owner, the great warranty could be considered an investment safety feature, with its 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty in addition to the five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and roadside assistance program.

On the open road the Optima is well balanced, precise and feels connected with a nimble attitude and good control. It’s hard to believe it’s a front-wheel drive car -- there’s no discernable torque steer or wavering, even when turning and accelerating. It’s easy to see why the Kia Optima is so popular.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kia Releases Official Images of the 2016 Sorento

2015 Kia Sorento Vehicle Photo in Enfield, CT 06082

2016 Kia Sorento2016 Kia Sorento (Credit: © Gary Rome Kia)

Sister companies Kia and Hyundai haven’t been shy about their push to improve their respective images to new heights, as they’ve continued to make huge changes through the 2000s and 2010s. This movement has really accelerated with the likes of the Kia K900, Hyundai Equus, Kia Cadenza and the new Hyundai Sonata, but the Korean automakers have yet to fully express their capabilities with a true premium SUV.

This year, I spent a week driving a fully loaded Kia Sorento SXL and while the interior was impressive for anything lacking a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus badge on its nose, the exterior left a lot to be desired. This will apparently all change for the 2016 model year, as Kia is preparing to reveal an all-new Sorento with a fully upgraded interior and exterior.

According to the first few images that Kia has just revealed, the 2016 Sorento will finally make use of a more mature design that will bring the exterior in line with the Sorento’s available premium features inside the cabin. The new body is longer, lower and wider than the existing model, likely enhancing the Sorento’s already-impressive cargo-hauling capabilities, and features a sleeker take on Kia’s design language.

The Sorento takes design cues from the Cross GT concept that Kia launched in 2013, but also carries over some of last year’s features, like the elongated hood  and thick D-pillars. The softer body lines are by far the most obvious change to the look of the Sorento, as they give it a more grown-up look, and the 3D grille and surround that are obviously borrowed from the K900, make the Sorento look like something that belongs in a higher price range.

This redesign will also usher in an even more premium cabin that features a wraparound dash, gobs of soft-touch surfaces and loads of on-board technology to tinker with. While the updated cabin is great, the big news is the new body.

We’re still awaiting details on the powertrain options, but expect the same 2.4-liter four cylinder engine as the base level and the optional, 3.3-liter V-6. Don’t be shocked if the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four cylinder makes its way into the lineup as an in-between option and a range-topping, plug-in hybrid option.

We’ll find out more when the Sorento makes at its Korean debut at the end of August 2014 and makes an appearance at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October.

Article Source
Written by: by Justin Cupler

Image Source

Monday, August 11, 2014

2015 Kia Sorento officially unveiled

2015 Kia Sorento Vehicle Photo in Enfield, CT 06082
The South Korean based automaker Kia has officially pulled the wraps off the 2015 Sorento, which will be making its public debut at the 2015 Paris Motor Show, this October.

 After being spied a few times by our photographers, the 2015 Kia Sorento is now being placed into the spotlights once again, this time by the car manufacturer, which has officially unveiled it. the model in question can easily stand out from a crowd thanks to its prominent front fascia where the tiger-nose grille with the 3d diamond pattern have been added, along with the sweptback headlights.

The 2015 Kia Sorento has also received some plastic body cladding, a gently sloping roofline, a tailgate mounted spoiler, some chrome trim and several other tweaks. The model in question is standing in at 4,780 mm long, 1,685 mm tall and it is riding on a wheelbase of 2,780 mm long, 80 mm longer than before. Images with the interior design of the updated Sorento haven’t been released yet but the carmaker is expected to have updated it. The engine lineup is also a mystery for the moment but the 2015 Sorento will be introduced on its local market close to the end of this month, so more details on it will be announced then.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kia tests our design Soul again

In its main export market, Korean carmaker Kia's Soul took off like a rocket when it was launched some five years ago.

That's because the US car buyer has a "ready for anything" attitude, willing to take risks by defying accepted norms and they're always ready for some visual and practical "cut-through".

As well as that, the Kia was marketed around a remarkable series of TV and internet clips which introduced a team of animated dancing hamsters that went straight into viewers' hearts and, of course, their pocketbooks.

The model soon became popular both as a city or second car, and also one of the "college" cars of choice, as a model that charmed both parents and the children they were buying it for as a safe bet as their offspring went away to college.

The market is different in New Zealand. College cars, where they exist here, are usually used and quite old, and most owners of new cars are as likely to buy to impress their neighbours as they would to fulfil their real needs.

That, and an unsettled ride, along with hefty pricing - and the absence of hamsters - probably meant that the Soul didn't do as well here as it deserved. After all, it provided the room and ride height of a light SUV, without actually being one, along with brisk performance, especially in diesel form, room for four or five, and a profile you'd never miss in a car park full of more acceptable shapes.

That latter fact was probably the big deal-breaker, so it was with much trepidation that we took the new Soul down to the dog- park so our friends - four and two- legged - could kick tyres and tell us what they thought.

To a person, they loved it, even in the road test car's loud Mustard colour. They liked the space for good family accommodation and the wipe-down load area for the dog, though our own pooch prefers a little more side-glass for observation, truth be known, and the load lip is higher than ideal.

The 2014 Soul looks very much like the old 2009 model, square-rigged, with lots of straight lines and interesting colours, but with much nicer front and rear detailing. The styling was retained, of course, because the Soul's main markets loved it.

Things appear to have changed in the interim years, which started with people saying "Ew, yuck!" when describing the old Soul. Now it appears that at least dog owners and colleagues at work have warmed to the shape and look of the car, and after talking to a few used-car dealers, I got the impression that other vehicles of a similar shape, the Nissan Cube, Toyota BB and Honda SMX, for instance, are also gaining favour - so maybe we've caught up with overseas fashion. And maybe the car will sell a bit better than the mere score that moved out of showrooms last year.

The car has changed despite the familiar shape. In fact, there's not a repeated panel from the old car in the new Soul, and with it running on the latest Cerato platform, wheelbase has grown to 2570mm, which helps the rear leg room while the increased body length also means that the load area has improved. The Soul II's corners are a little softer, and the signature Kia Tiger grille helps to make its front end look a little friendlier, and a 41mm lower ride height has turned this previously somewhat severe box on wheels into something with more overall appeal, even to previously arch- conservative friends and colleagues.   

Inside, the car's improved plastics are immediately obvious, and are far removed from the rather tacky materials used before. In the dash and console area, circular dials and soft edges dominate, and have enough contrasting silvers and garnishing not to allow the test car's coal- black cabin to look dingy. We tested the top-of-the-range SX model, which swaps the usual hard-wearing fabrics for charcoal composite leather with yellow stitching, which creates a pretty classy driver and passenger environment, conspiring with softer-touch vinyls to create a much more pleasant cabin ambience than the old models.

We tried the extra people space and were pleasantly surprised. Moving the driving seat to cope with my 1:88m body's needs, I sat in the rear directly behind it and found that my knees didn't brush the seatback, and most sizes of back seat occupant will relish the improved volume. The dog area benefits from split-folding the rear seats, with a hound-holding 994 litres available instead of the basic terrier-sized plot.

There's easy outside access to the load area, too, with a broader hatch opening, but we'd prefer a lower load lip and deeper glass.

The new Soul should also find more customers, thanks to its pricing, with the 95kW entry-point EX 1.6-litre model asking about $500 less than the slightly less well-equipped old one, at $29,990, with the higher specification SX model stickered at $33,490, and a 110kW 2.0-litre version of that car topping out at $35,490.

None of the cars for our market will be offered with a manual gearbox, but instead of the previous Soul's mere four-speeder, the new car's automatic is the same slick-shifting 6-speed unit used in the Cerato. Also missing from the new Soul's manifest is the old car's turbo-diesel engine, and with the recently increased road-user charges, the jury is still out in terms of stocking the Soul with this power-unit.

The 1.6-litre car provides ample, if rather busy performance when revved, though around town and when cruising at 100kmh it's relaxed enough and quiet. The 2.0-litre engine is much more flexible and shifts even more smoothly through the six-speed automatic, the good thing is that it doesn't have to work too hard and uses only a tiny bit more fuel than the 1.6, and with its big 2.3 seconds quicker zero to 100kmh time and better tractability, the $2000 difference between the it and the smaller engined SX1.6 is worth every cent. We'd like to see the larger engine offered as an option in the base EX.

The big differences between the EX and SX model externally are the smaller 17in rims on the cheaper car and the 18in items on the posher version, and the fact that you can't get "our" yellow on the EX. There's also gloss black finish on the chin of the SX instead of the EX's body coloured item.

Both versions handle and ride well, with the latter quality being a stranger to the habits of the old Soul when wearing sporting rims. The LX does ride better, but only slightly, and unlike its predecessor, it never looks undershod.

The improvement in handling and ride stem from the much stiffer platform derived from the newest Cerato, which means the suspension can behave in a much more refined and mature fashion. The turn-in is crisp and accurate, and while potholes can require the wheels to grope into their recesses, the lack of cabin shock as a result is a far cry from the jiggling harshness of the previous car.

The Soul II features the same Kia/Hyundai-developed FlexSteer system used in both companies' mid-sized sedans and hatches, with three selectable power- assistance weights, depending on your town, town-and-around and open-road driving needs. We left the setup mostly in the middle setting, and found that the electric system only lost its "feel" and heft when in the town, or parking mode. Our Goldilocks or just right-middle setting was so useful for 99 per cent of driving, it had us wondering if FlexSteer is anything more than a gimmick, and would the car be cheaper without it?

All three Soul offerings come with a pretty high specification. All have air conditioning, with the two SX models fitted with automatic climate control, while a six-speaker touch-screen stereo is also standard across the board, along with Bluetooth hands free (the quickest in the business to set up) Auxiliary input and USB compatibility.

All Souls come with a full suite of electronic braking, traction and stability systems, as well as half a dozen airbags and a five-star safety score.

The SX models add leather trim, a power driver's seat with lumbar support, and heated front chairs, while the EX still has a leather wheelrim, wheel-mounted cruise control and audio buttons.

The EX does without the SX models' Electrochromic rear mirror and folding side mirrors, and has only rear parking radar compared with the front and rear units on the higher-spec cars. However, a reversing camera is fitted to both EX and SX Souls.

We could live with the 1.6 in both EX and SX forms and would regard the very base sub-$30,000 car as a compelling package on its own, especially when compared with similarly spacious Japanese and European offerings. But the Soul that comes closest to us is the 2.0-litre SX. It's brisker, more relaxed performance is worth the $2000 extra over the 1.6-litre SX, and it only uses 0.2L/100km more fuel than the smaller motor. However, we have to ask why a 2.0-litre version of the EX isn't available. Now that would be a real soul-coaxer.


Powertrain: Transverse, front-driven four-cylinder 16-valve DOHC 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines, with six-speed automatic transmissions.

 1.6: 95 kW at 6300 rpm, 157 Nm at 4850 rpm, max 177 kmh, 0-100 kmh 12.5 secs, 8.2 L/100km, 192 gm/km CO2.
2.0: 115 kW at 6200 rpm, 195 Nm at 4700 rpm, max 186 kmh, 0-100kmh 10.2 secs, 8.4 L/100km, 195 gm/km CO2.

Chassis: MacPherson strut front, torsion beam at rear. Electric rack and pinion steering with FlexSteer. Vented disc brakes at the front, solid discs at the rear. 17-inch alloy rims on EX, 18-in on SX.

Safety: Six airbags, ABS, stability control, hill-start assist control, emergency stop signal, front and rear parking ensors (rear on EX only), reversing camera.

Connectivity: Bluetooth hands-free, AUX and USB connectivity, radio/MP3/CD system featuring MY Music with 500MB of storage.

Dimensions: L 4140mm, W 1800mm, H 1600-1613mm depending on tyre choice, w/base 2570mm, weight 1240-1408kg. Fuel tank 54L.

 EX 1.6 $29,990, SX 1.6 $33,490, SX 2.0 $35,490.

 Hot: Softer, lower-slung, more appealing exterior treatment, much improved for quality and space inside, new chassis is well sorted.

 Not: Smaller engine can get a bit busy, some will still be offended by its looks, no manual, diesel or 2.0L EX.

 Verdict: There are signs that the New Zealand market could grow into this car, one of the most fun family packages out there.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Korean Popemobile: It can only be a Kia Soul

The Kia Soul has been chosen for its compact size and higher safety rating. The Kia Soul has been chosen for its compact size and higher safety rating.

Pope Francis will use a Kia Soul for his time in Korea next month.

The famously frugal Pope specifically asked for a compact car for his visit - he asked organizers of the mid-August trip to give him the smallest car made in Korea.

In Vatican City, Pope Francis usually drives a Ford Focus - he's mostly declined use of the famed bulletproof Popemobile since he became Pope last year.

The 1600cc Soul isn't actually Korea's smallest car - that mantle is shared by Kia Morning (sold in New Zealand as Picanto) and GM's Spark - but the funky Soul has a higher safety rating.

Pope Francis asked for the smallest car made in Korea. Picture / AP

During his visit, the Pope will preside over four masses including at the Sixth Asian Youth Day and the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs who were among 10,000 mostly lay Catholics killed during persecution by the Confucian Chosun Dynasty in the 1800s.