Friday, October 31, 2014

Kia Optima Hybrid Review

The 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid is ranked:
#19 in Affordable Midsize Cars
#17 in Hybrid Cars
Though reviewers say that the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid has a handsome, high-quality interior, they note that other hybrid sedans offer better fuel economy and smoother transitions between gas and electric power.

The Optima Hybrid comes with a four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. Test drivers say the Optima Hybrid has sufficient power and accelerates adequately, but they complain that it doesn’t transition as smoothly between gas and electric power as its hybrid rivals do. The base 2014 Optima Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 36/40 mpg city/highway, which is good for a midsize car but lower than most hybrid competitors’ estimates. Test drivers say the Optima Hybrid has poised handling, though they note that other hybrids still handle with more composure. They write that the Optima Hybrid’s ride is fairly comfortable overall, though not quite as smooth as the non-hybrid Optima’s.

Automotive journalists like the handsome design of the Kia Optima Hybrid’s cabin, and they say it has high-quality interior materials and a long list of available features. Reviewers write that the Optima Hybrid’s front seats are comfortable. However, critics complain that headroom is tight in the rear seats, and the Optima Hybrid has a smaller trunk than most of its competitors. Standard features in the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid include satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control and a cooled glove box. Available features include leather upholstery, power-adjustable, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, Kia’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system, an Infinity audio system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system with an 8-inch touch-screen display.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Official Automotive Partner of the NBA adds New Luxury Designation and Expands the Kia Performance Awards Platform

-- NBA All-Star LeBron James will be featured in New Kia Ad Campaign Launching Today --

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Kia Motors America, Inc. (KMA) today announced a new multiyear extension of their marketing partnership, which began in 2008.  In addition to continuing to serve as the league’s Official Automotive Partner, Kia also now is recognized as the Official Luxury Vehicle of the NBA, following the recent introduction of the brand’s modern and elegant K900 rear-drive luxury sedan.  Kia will continue as the Official Automotive Partner of NBA All-Star and the title partner of Kia NBA Tip-Off, the Kia NBA Performance Awards, and the Kia NBA All-Star MVP award. Kia also will expand its relationship to serve as an Official Automotive Partner of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and NBA Development League (NBA D-League).

Earlier this month, Kia announced LeBron James as its K900 Luxury Ambassador.  To celebrate the start of the NBA season and Kia NBA Tip-Off 2014, Kia also will debut a new television spot tonight called “Valet” featuring James, who joins a growing roster of Kia endorsers, which includes Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin.

Additionally, Kia has partnerships with 14 NBA teams after recently adding the Cleveland Cavaliers to its roster, which also includes: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, and San Antonio Spurs.

Kia Motors is prominently featured throughout this week’s Kia NBA Tip-Off 2014, including integration across numerous media assets, such as the countdown clock on and NBA TV, courtside signage, and social media and integration in the league’s extensive “Everybody Up” campaign.

To further reinforce the brand’s association with top NBA performances, Kia will introduce a new Top Plays platform on  Each week fans will have the opportunity to vote on top plays, and at season’s end, the highlight with the most fan votes will be named the Top Play of the Year.  In addition to helping select the year’s top play, fans will have the opportunity to help dictate the direction of a highlight-based commercial. Throughout the season, the NBA will post exciting clips via Twitter and Vine for fan consideration.  Plays that receive considerable retweets and loops, respectively, will be aggregated into an end-of-season television commercial, scheduled to debut during The Finals.

“As one of Kia’s longest-running partnerships, our involvement with the NBA and teams has driven dramatic increases in consumer awareness, perception and consideration for the brand, and we are excited to extend our partnership and continue connecting with the league and its passionate fans,” said Tim Chaney, Vice President of Marketing Communications, KMA.  “Like the NBA, Kia is a brand that appeals to a broad segment of the American market and through our expanded partnership as Official Luxury Vehicle of the NBA, we hope to bring the K900 flagship sedan to the forefront and bring confident, independent thinkers to Kia’s showrooms.”

Kia is deeply integrated into the NBA experience year round – from Kia NBA Tip-Off, NBA All-Star, the monthly and season-ending Performance Awards, and the WNBA – through a variety of unique content offerings and promotions,” said Emilio Collins, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships.  “Building off of Kia’s equity in our prestigious end-of-season Kia NBA Performance Awards, we’re excited to continue to grow the platform with a seasonlong fan engagement program that gives them a voice around some of our most exciting content.”

Throughout the partnership, Kia will help the league engage fans across additional innovative programming, advertisements, and sweepstakes during the NBA season, including a Holiday Gift promotion on that will provide fans the chance to win a Kia Optima and other exciting NBA prizing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2015 Kia Soul Wins Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year

Kia Motors' urban passenger vehicle, the 2015 Soul, was named a winner during the 11 th annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards held recently at Local Motors in Chandler, Arizona.

For the third consecutive year, local media and athletes rated the latest Soul in the urban category after static and dynamic evaluations, according to a company release.

"Winning the Active Lifestyle Vehicle award for the third consecutive year speaks to the popularity of the Soul's young-at-heart personality, good looks and practicality for active and athletic consumers," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing, KMA, according to the release. "With its eye-catching design, expansive cargo capacity and premium technology options, the Soul stands out in its segment as a winner for anyone on the move."

The 2015 Soul comes standard with features like navigation, rear backup camera, Bluetooth, power windows, power driver's seat, cruise control, a 6.6-kilowatt on-board charger and an air-conditioning system intended to use less electricity.

The Soul is one of KMA's best-selling nameplates, as the automaker sold more than 115,000 units this year. Soul sales have increased 28 percent compared to the same time in 2013.

With a starting MSRP of $15,000, not including the destination charge of $800, the 2015 Soul is a great value for those who are looking for great utility and style in a small package.

"The fact that the Kia Soul has won our Urban Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year three consecutive years speaks to how strong the product is," said Nina Russin, founder Active Lifestyle Vehicle program, according to the release. "The Soul's cargo area is versatile enough to meet the needs of triathletes, cyclists, skiers and kayakers yet the car is compact for easy maneuverability and very stylish; something that's especially important to buyers in this segment."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2015 Kia Sorento Packs Power and Performance In Affordable Package

Kia continues its mission of coaxing away buyers from the higher priced competition with its affordable 2015 Sorento SUV crossover, which starts at under $25,000. The higher end SX models are powered by a 3.3 litre V6, but still come in around $30,000.

The top end SSX 4WD which is just shy of $40,000 includes a panoramic sun roof, LED running lamps, 19 inch alloys, and heated (or cooled) leather seats for all passengers. It can also expand to hold an extra row of seating, bringing the total to 7.

A competent touchscreen infotainment system with LCD display tops off the interior features, and there’s also Bluetooth functionality, and blind spot monitoring.

The V6 engine is mated with a 6 speed automatic transmission, resulting in 290 horsepower and 252lbs ft of torque. It can reach 0-60 in 7.6 seconds, and has an advertised fuel economy of 19mpg in the city, and 27 on the highway.

On the road it’s super smooth, hugs the corners well and is surprisingly punchy. It comes with three driving modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport – the latter of which improves responsiveness and handling, but is nothing to write home about. At higher speeds it loses a bit of steering steadiness and compared to some of the more luxury competitors it’s shifting is not as snappy, but these certainly aren’t deal breakers.

2015 Kia Sorento

Looks-wise the 2015 Kia Sorento is smart and reserved. Designers haven’t gone out of their way to turn heads, which might be part of the automaker’s goal of reaching a broad appeal. Kia is never going to be considered quite on the level of BMW, Acura and Mercedes, but it doesn’t stoop to being gimmicky. It’s affordable and well made, it doesn’t have to be anything else.

Kia have proven themselves to be a solid addition to the marketplace and in a couple of years they may just be up their with their luxury rivals. What you get for the price is well worth the money and if you’d ordinarily gloss over the brand, it’s definitely worth a second glance.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2015 Kia Sportage Review

Over the years, the Kia Sportage has evolved from a rudimentary 4x4 SUV into a stylish and powerful compact crossover SUV. The 2015 Kia Sportage plays in a tough crowd against established competitors like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, not to mention Nissan's excellent new Rogue, all of which offer more interior space. As a counterpunch, the Sportage emphasizes the first five letters of its name, with a firm suspension and a powerful available turbocharged engine. While the smaller interior and cargo space, not to mention the stiff suspension, may turn off some buyers, the undeniably sporty Sportage has carved out a niche for itself against its competitors. Of course, the standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty may have something to do with that.

You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for the tall ride height, all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction and flexible cargo carrying capacity of a compact SUV, but you demand extra style, power and creature comforts, the 2015 Kia Sportage deserves a good long look.

You May Not Like This Car If...
While the Kia Sportage is definitely stylish, it's not particularly thrifty at the fuel pump, and is handily beaten by nearly all of its major competitors. The Sportage is also not as roomy as its competition, especially when it comes to cargo, and the ride quality can be downright harsh.

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Kia Sportage is essentially the same as last year's model, which received numerous visual and mechanical enhancements.

Driving the Sportage
Driving Impressions The Kia Sportage comes in two flavors: competitive and aggressive. The standard 2.4-liter engine delivers 182 horsepower, and it's easily competitive with the standard engines you'll find in a Honda...
... CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, or many other compact SUVs. What you won't find is anything quite like the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and its 260 horsepower, which turns the Sportage into the class jock. However, both Sportage models come with an unexpectedly stiff suspension, which unfortunately doesn't pay off in handling. Instead, there's a bouncy ride, but too much body roll, essentially the worst of both worlds. We also found the Sportage's high beltline and narrow windows somewhat limit 360-degree visibility, which is the exact opposite of what most SUV buyers want in this kind of vehicle. However, the steering feel is pretty good, and the brakes definitely stop the Sportage quickly.

Favorite Features
If you like fresh air and the feel of the sun on your face, the big panoramic sunroof available on the Kia Sportage will deliver plenty of both.

Power hungry buyers will love the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder on the 2015 Sportage. Offered exclusively on the SX trim, its 260 horsepower is the most in its compact SUV class.

2015 Kia Sportage Details
Generally speaking, we like the 2015 Kia Sportage interior. The comfortable front seats and simple controls make it easy to drive around town. Rear passengers will like the roomy rear seats, but if you're looking to haul cargo, the modest 54.6-cubic-foot cargo hold you have with those seats folded may not cut it as well as a Honda CR-V, which offers over 70 cubic feet of cargo space. That said, we like the anti-bacterial cloth on EX models, which helps eliminate odors and stains. While we're fans of the panoramic sunroof, we'd prefer the sunshades were power operated, not manual.
Kia calls its signature grille design a "tiger nose," although we're not sure we see the resemblance. Regardless, swept-back headlights flank the distinctive grille, fitting with the sharp lines and narrow side glass of the Sportage. The Sportage's high beltline and big wheel-and-tire combo make it look a bit like a hopped-up VW GTI. Don't be fooled by the Sportage's sporty appearance, however, but its available all-wheel drive and nearly seven inches of ground clearance make it a capable compact SUV.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment
Base Kia Sportage LX models come with a 6-speaker audio system that includes Bluetooth, USB and SiriusXM satellite radio, and steering-wheel mounted buttons for audio, phone and cruise control. An Active Eco system helps drivers save fuel, and rear-seat passengers get their own air conditioning duct. Also included is a tilt/telescoping steering column and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Sportage EX and SX models add Kia's UVO infotainment system, Infinity premium audio system with a subwoofer, back-up warning system, rearview camera, a cooling glovebox and automatic climate control. The SX gets exclusive high-intensity headlights, plus the turbocharged engine and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Optional Equipment
The most important stand-alone option on the Kia Sportage is all-wheel drive, which adds $1,500 to the price of any model. You can enhance the LX with UVO eServices and the Popular package which bundles a backup camera and keyless entry. The EX Premium package adds the panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, leather trim, and voice-navigation with SiriusXM traffic. SX buyers have the option of choosing the same

Luxury package.
Under the Hood
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder under the hood of LX and EX Sportage SUVs may be overshadowed by its turbocharged cousin, but with advanced fuel injection and competitive power and torque, it's no slouch. But, yeah, we have to admit we like the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the SX. Who wouldn't? With 260 horsepower delivered smoothly through its 6-speed automatic transmission, it gives you the power of a V6 engine. Like the turbo, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is connected to a 6-speed automatic which can be shifted manually. While both engines are competitive in power, they lag the field in fuel economy.

2.4-liter inline-4
182 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/26 mpg (all-wheel drive)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/24 mpg (all-wheel drive)

Pricing Notes
The 2015 Kia Sportage compact SUV starts with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a bit more than $22,500. The additional features of the EX model start at about $26,000, while the turbocharged SX is right under the $29,000 mark. Note that all-wheel drive adds $1,500 to the price of any Sportage. A fully loaded SX will run you about $34,000 when you add the Luxury Package and all-wheel drive, but we think a better bet is the mid-level EX, which lacks the turbo's power, but gets better fuel economy. Be sure to check KBB's Fair Purchase Price before you buy to see what others are paying for the Kia Sportage in your area. Residuals won't be quite as good as the Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester, but probably on par with the Chevy Equinox and Toyota RAV4, and better than the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Compass and VW Tiguan.