Friday, July 31, 2015

Defending Multiple Manufacturer Championships, Kia Returns To Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Twice In Two Weeks For Pirelli World Challenge Action

IRVINE, Calif., July 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As defending Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Grand Touring Sport (GTS) Manufacturer Champion, Kia is building momentum heading into Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for rounds 11-12, July 31-Aug. 1.  Just over halfway through the 2015 PWC season, Kia Racing has five podium finishes following back-to-back top-three results in rounds nine and 10 at Road America, and Kia currently sits third in the GTS Manufacturer Championship ahead of Nissan, Chevrolet, and Porsche, but trailing Ford and Aston Martin.  Kia Racing Optima pilots, Mark Wilkins and Ben Clucas, are sixth and seventh in the GTS driver standings, respectively.  Wilkins prepares for his fourth year behind the wheel of the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S Optima turbo at Mid-Ohio, where he's recorded two podiums, including a win in 2013, while teammate Ben Clucas, in the No. 36 Optima turbo, is returning for the first time since 2011, when he drove a BMW M3 for Kinetic Motorsports.

"We've had a lot of success in the past at Mid-Ohio, and with its aerodynamic shape and turbo power, the Optima performs very well on the track's fast sweepers and long straights.  It's a circuit where you can find a good rhythm and really have fun, and we'll need to do just that this weekend to get up front and stay there," said Wilkins, who has finished seventh or higher in his six previous races at Mid-Ohio.  "Both Ben and I finished on the podium at Road America, so hopefully, that gives us the momentum we need to get a good result at Mid-Ohio and accelerate our defense of Kia's Manufacturer Championship title during the second half of the season."

While the factory-backed GTS Optimas compete in rounds 11 and 12 at Mid-Ohio July 31- Aug. 2, the Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup privateer program hits the track for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the Touring Car A (TCA) season just two weeks later.  Defending 2014 PWC TCA Driver Champion and Rookie of the Year, Jason Wolfe, is no stranger to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, having grown up in nearby Mount Vernon, Ohio.  Wolfe, whose performance last season also earned Kia the TCA Manufacturer Championship, has a strong connection to the track where he regularly serves as a driving instructor.

"Mid-Ohio is definitely my favorite track. As a driving instructor here, I am very familiar with its nuances and look forward to putting on a good show for my friends and family," said Wolfe who currently leads the TCA driver points.   

Rounding out Kia's 2014 championship sweep, is defending Sports Car Club America (SCCA) B-Spec National Champion Kyle Keenan in his No. 44 Kia Rio 5-door.  Keenan, who recently won a doubleheader SCCA Western Conference Major, will aim to repeat as national champion at the 2015 SCCA Runoffs in October at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

GTS round 11 of the PWC at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course takes place Friday, July 31, at 5:40 p.m. ET.  Round 12 begins Saturday, August 1, at 11:45 a.m. ET.  Tape-delayed televised coverage of the GTS doubleheader weekend will air on the CBS Sports Network Wednesday, August 12, at 9:00 p.m. ET.

TCA round 10 takes place Friday, August 14, at 9:30 a.m. ET, followed by round 11 at 12:15 p.m. ET. Round 12 is scheduled for Saturday, August 15, at 9:55 a.m. ET.  Live-streamed coverage of all PWC races is available online at, and race fans can keep up-to-date with the Kia Racing team via the Kia Motors America Facebook and Instagram pages, and on Twitter @Kia.

About Kia Motors America

Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea.  KMA proudly serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and set an all-time annual sales record in 2014, surpassing the 500,000 unit mark for the third consecutive year. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles, including the rear-drive K9001 flagship sedan, Cadenza premium sedan, Sorento CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Soul Electric Vehicle2, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Optima Hybrid, the Forte compact sedan, Forte5 and Forte Koup, Rio and Rio 5-door subcompacts and the Sedona midsize multi-purpose vehicle, through a network of more than 765 dealers across the United States.  Kia's U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, builds the Optima* and Sorento* and is responsible for the creation of more than 15,000 plant and supplier jobs.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kia Optima SX Offers A Dose Of Luxury For A Decent Price

WASHINGTON — The midsize sedan class is dominated mostly by Honda and Toyota so how do you stand out? Kia took the more-for-less money approach. Kia offers a choice of a base 192hp four-cylinder or a 274hp turbo engine that should have no problem keeping up with traffic.

Lately, Kia has been known for offering a lot of bang for the buck and the 2015 Kia Optima might be even more of a bargain this year. This is the last year for the current Optima, as a redesigned model will come along for the 2016 model year. The future Optima doesn’t look drastically different than the current one and some money can be saved while dealers make room for the upcoming model.

The 2015 Kia Optima has three trim levels for the base engine and two trim levels for the turbo charged engine. Prices start under $22,000 and if you want a fully loaded limited model with the turbo engine, the price pushes to $36,000. I drove the loaded SX model with the base four-cylinder engine priced around $31,300. With NAV, a rearview camera, plus heated and cooled front seats and even heated rear seats, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

The interior includes high quality materials and comfortable leather seats. However, a few of my passengers said the seat back hit them in a strange spot, so maybe an extended drive is in order. I found the seats comfortable and the cooled front seats are perfect for a hot day. The dual zone climate lets the driver and passenger coexist on longer trips.  The rear seat vents help backseat passengers with air. Taller riders might find a lack of headroom but 5 foot 8 fit is okay in the back. The leather steering wheel feels good in the hands, but again I always turn the volume down or up or changed the station with strangely placed controls on the steering wheel.

The outside looks good even after a few years on the market it tends to stand out and look like a car that costs more than it does. There are some curves to the body and a few side vents on the front fenders that help break up the size of the sedan. The rear end styling stands out with swooping rear meeting a tall trunk almost giving a hatchback look from the side view. Large 18-inch wheels look good on the Optima and help beef up the car’s appearance.

Driving the Optima was pleasant and fine. The base 192hp seemed to do a fine job. I like power so I would have been happier with the turbo engine but most people won’t notice or need the extra power. It does a decent job of soaking up bumps and providing a quiet place to be. It might not be a sportier handler but it does okay for a midsize sedan and hauling the family around. Rearview might not be the best but the rearview camera and backup warning system do a good job of helping. The fuel mileage might not be top in its class, but I did manage 27.2mpg over a week of mixed driving and that’s what the sticker said I should get.

The Kia Optima SX is a solid choice for midsize sedan buyers who want a lot of features but don’t want to break the bank doing it and get a 10-year warranty. With a nice interior and a decent price, the 2015 Optima could be a bargain buy of the year.

J.D. Power Finds 2015 Kia Sedona APEAL-ing

Stereotyped as the typical mom-machine, the minivan segment constantly gets a bad rap, earning a reputation for providing parents with a practical—and extremely dowdy—method of transportation. That is, until the 2015 Kia Sedona. Kia has a foundation of shaking up the industry’s concept of style, and the 2015 Sedona is no exception. In fact, this new minivan is so stylish that it was recently awarded the J.D. Power APEAL Award in the minivan segment.

When purchasing the 2015 Kia Sedona, consumers receive a practical, versatile, and comfortable vehicle—without sacrificing style. Edgy body lines, clear cut angles, and a modern front end give the Sedona an unexpected look, while the 276-horsepower V6 engine provides plenty of power.

The J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) award is an accolade that measures how satisfying a vehicle is to own and drive. Based on the evaluations of 77 vehicle attributes, the winner of each segment is truly the best of the best.

This new trophy for the 2015 Sedona comes on the tail of Kia receiving the honor of being the highest ranked non-luxury brand in the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Like the APEAL award, this study recognizes carmakers based on owner experiences during a specific model year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2016 Kia Sorento 0-100 In 5 Points Or Less

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Improving on perfection is near impossible (trust me, I know… yup, you can all laugh now). No, but seriously. Kia’s Sorento is its second bestselling product. That’s kind of a big deal in the auto world, and a big deal internally for Kia. To change a product that’s already doing so well is a bit of a daunting task for the engineers and designers. Here they are, tasked with changing something that’s already good the way it is. What to do?

Well, for 2016, Kia managed to do just that: improve on the perfection that was the Sorento. They brought it into modern-day light, loaded it with techy-y bits and made it look great to boot.

Here then are the best bits and bobs about the 2016 edition of the Korean CUV:

0-100 score: 79%

No. 3
It goes both ways
Now before you all start thinking the wrong thing, I mean it can either be an entry-level utility vehicle and a well appointed luxurious people and gear carrier. How is that possible? Well, the 2016 Kia Sorento competes with the likes of the RAV4 (in LX trim), but can also go head-to-head with the big boys like the Toyota Highlander, and  Hyundai Santa Fe XL.

What’s nice about that is that the double-play isn’t a confusion thing (read: Honda Crosstour), it can legitimately compete in both categories, and does it well. With either 5- or 7-person seating available, the 2016 Kia Sorento sports its split personality successfully.  

No. 2
It’s got the look
Looks are a huge part of success in the automotive world. We can all pretend we aren’t materialistic when it comes to purchasing practical things, but that would be an outright lie. If it looks good, we’re more likely to be attracted to it. That’s human nature.

So, when Kia revamped the exterior look of the 2016 Sorento, they did so with curb appeal in mind. With optional LED fog lights, as well as three wheel sizes to choose from (17”, 18” and 19”), as well as an updated front fascia that sports Kia’s latest grille design, it’s easy to see how Kia’s walked away with over 50 design awards over the past five years. They know how to grab attention on the road, and the new model does just that.

No. 1
New power source
Everyone loves a new engine choice, and the introduction of the Optima’s 2.0L turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder mill into the 2016 Kia Sorento. With 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the engine is mapped a little differently in the Sorento to account for more torque (so horsepower is lower than in the Optima). However, that drop in power means the 2016 Sorento can tow up to 3,500lbs. We’ll take the power drop if it means more capabilities.

In all, the 2016 Kia Sorento is a great new CUV from the Korean automaker. They should be proud that they did the outgoing model justice by revamping just enough to make it new without totally changing the overall demeanor of a vehicle the general public has come to know and love.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 Kia Soul: 5 Reasons to Buy - Video

The 2015 Kia Soul proves that, even when you mature, you can still be fun. With this second-generation Soul, Kia goes uptown -- but it still has plenty of funk! Here are five reasons to take it seriously as a premium hatchback, too.

Classy Cabin

Without a doubt, the Soul's cabin is well put together. In fact, it's so nice inside that it reminds us of a Volkswagen. The materials are supple, and the dashboard looks good, too. We're not used to seeing such quality in this segment.

Grown-Up Styling

The original Soul's playful looks clearly struck a chord with shoppers, but the proportions are tighter this time around, and there's a harmony from nose to tail that wasn't quite there before. At the same time, it's immediately recognizable as a Soul. For Kia's design team, that's a job well done.

Versatile Interior

Despite its compact size, the Soul has plenty of room for four adults, or even five in a pinch. That's a big part of its appeal. Another big deal is its cargo hold: With over 60 cu ft. of space, the Soul is roomier than some compact crossovers. Among affordable hatchbacks, only the Honda Fit comes close.

Upscale Features

The Soul is full of available features you wouldn't expect in an economy car, including a panoramic sunroof, UVO voice recognition and automatic climate control, as well as something called the Whole Shabang package, which adds features such as xenon headlights and upgraded leather trim. Try finding all that kit in a Fit.

Solid Drive

On the road, the Soul imparts a sense of stability. It soaks up bumps in a smooth, controlled manner -- there's none of the original Soul's lightweight, almost jittery feel. Throw in up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway, and you have all the makings of a class-leading hatchback.