Sunday, January 31, 2016

Christopher ‘Walkin Closet’ Featured in Kia’s Super Bowl Ad: Teaser

With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, Broncos and Panthers fans shouldn’t be the only people hyped about the Feb. 7 face off. Kia Motors has released a sneak preview of its Super Bowl commercial, which will feature Christopher Walken.

The 60-second commercial is aptly titled “Walken Closet,” and, not surprisingly, the preview shows Walken sitting in a large, walk-in closet. The new ad is for the 2016 Optima midsize sedan.

Car companies frequently tap in to the entertainment industry for Big Game commercials. Last year during the Super Bowl, Kia, Toyota and Jaguar took inspiration from “The Matrix,” the Muppets and villains from “Thor,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3” and “Sherlock Holmes.”

Kia’s 2015 Super Bowl ad for the premium K900 replicated “The Matrix” trilogy to a T. The commercial brought back Laurence Fishburne in his leather trenchcoat to reprise his role as Morpheus.

Super Bowl commercial slots are still coveted in the advertising world. The average cost for a 30-second advertisement during the Big Game has increased 76% during the past decade, and reached $4.4 million in 2015, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending.

Ad “teasers” have popped up in recent years to capture viewers’ attention before the game even starts. Alongside Kia, Anheuser Busch and InBev have already given audiences a sneak peak.

Super Bowl 50 airs Feb. 7 on CBS.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rumored: Kia Planning To Show Production GT This Year

After being shown in concept form at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and numerous reports saying a production model would be shown, we might actually get a chance to see the production version of the Kia GT.

Autocar reports that Kia will be showing off the production version of the four-door GT at October's Paris Motor Show.

A quick refresher on the GT Concept: It was a sharp looking four-door coupe with a turbocharged 3.3L V6 producing 389 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. Power was routed through an eight-speed automatic to the rear-wheels. Since being shown at Frankfurt, there have been rumors flying around saying Kia would put this model into production as a U.S. only model.

The report says the model that will be shown will incorporate cues from the GT4 Stinger concept shown at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Production is expected to begin in 2017, most likely for a wider audience.

But wait, there's more!

The GT will herald a new range of performance oriented Kia vehicles wearing the GT vehicles. This will include a Rio GT that will take on the Fiesta ST. Autocar says the model will follow a year after the next-generation Rio is introduced. The new Rio will use a new platform that is said to cut weight and improving driving dynamics.

The Rio GT is being developed under the watchful of eye Albert Biermann, former head of BMW's M division and now the performance chief for Hyundai and Kia. Biermann's involvement in this project is seen as a way to establish some credibility into this new hot hatch. The Rio GT is expected to use a tuned version of a 1.6L four-cylinder with 180 horsepower. No word if this engine is turbocharged or not.


Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 Kia Optima Chooses To Go "Off-Script"

As Kia's assault on the mid-size saloon segment continues, their all-new Optima is proving capable of sparking a couple of really funny conversations among so-called experts.

At least that's what we're led to believe regarding these five videos. You've got two "Optima experts", Miles and AC, who take us on a hilarious journey of discovery regarding the Optima's looks, performance, safety and comfort features.

There's very good chemistry between the two of them and this type of promo certainly feels different, in terms of how to attract viewers and generate awareness.

Anyway, the Optima is doing just fine all on its own. It won the Kelley Blue Book "Best Buy" award late last year and starred in three different commercials alongside NBA star Blake Griffin.

Another note-worthy achievement is the 5-star rating awarded by EuroNCAP in its safety tests. The last of the videos touches on that exact topic, as the guys touch on both active and passive safety features.


2016 Kia Sportage review

An all-new Kia Sportage has arrived in Australia, the fourth generation of the midsize SUV that has been a sales success here since launched 20 years ago.

It comes as no surprise that the latest Sportage features a bold new style, something we have come to expect from the two big Korean car makers. However, it was penned in Kia's European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany, not in South Korea, though there was also input from the company's Korean and Californian design studios.

Sportage has Kia's hallmark ‘tiger-nose' grille gives it a bold look that works beautifully with the tall bonnet. The roof slopes neatly towards the rear, but not to the extent of spoiling rear headroom. The headlamps sweep well back along the outer edges of the bonnet. ‘Ice-cube' LED foglights are becoming an interesting feature of Kia models, and are a feature of the topline sportage.

Sportage is sold in three trim levels: Si, SLi and Platinum GT-Line, and with a choice of petrol and diesel engines. Prices starts at a pretty reasonable $28,990 for the 2.0-litre petrol Sportage Si and tops out at $45,990 for the Platinum turbo-diesel.

“In a sign of the future in cars, the Sportage Platinum has a wireless charger for mobile devices”

New Sportage has a longer wheelbase and is 40 mm longer overall (at 4480 mm), but retains the same height. Longer front overhangs and shorter rear overhangs are there to help produce a more raked profile.

Passenger room is increased, with headroom and legroom both improved. In the rear, the floor is 40 mm lower (without any loss of ground clearance). Combining that with a higher rear seat hip-point mean there's significantly better comfort. As a six-footer I can sit ‘behind' myself with room to move. I also appreciated the good under-thigh support back there.

Cargo space is virtually the same, being up by just a single litre, to 466 litres, but the lowering of the boot lip makes it easier to load. The Sportage's reclining rear seats have seven steps to let you juggle with passenger comfort and luggage space.

Sportage Si has a 3.5-inch mono display in the centre of the dashboard. The SLi and Platinum have a 4.2-inch colour TFT supervision cluster. All models get a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia screen featuring reversing camera display with dynamic parking lines, while satellite navigation is standard for SLi and Platinum. All multimedia systems feature Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and aux-in and USB ports for smartphones and MP3 music players.

In a sign of the future in cars, the Sportage Platinum has a wireless charger for mobile devices. Located at the base of the central instrument stack, the 5-Watt charging system activates when a compatible device is placed on the pad. It even reminds you that a phone has been left on the charger if you leave the vehicle.

A 2.0-litre petrol with 114kW of power and 192Nm of torque is offered only in the Sportage Si and SLi. A 2.4-litre petrol (135kW/237Nm) is used only in the Platinum. A 2.0-litre turbo-diesel (136kW and 400Nm) is available in all grades.

All models have a six-speed automatic transmission. This drives the front wheels in the 2.0-litre petrol Si and SLi models, and all four wheels in Kia's on-demand AWD system in all diesel models and the Platinum 2.4-litre petrol.

Such is the importance of the midsize SUV market in Australia that the first Kia to receive the Smart Parking Assist System, only in the Platinum at this stage. This works in parallel and 90-degree parking spaces.

Sportage scored a five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP tests. Six airbags are standard - driver and front passenger, first row side airbags, and first and second row curtain airbags. Two ISOFIX child-seat tethers and three anchor points are fitted to the second row of seats.

On the road, we found forward visibility from the new Sportage has been significantly improved by the use of thinner A-pillars than in the superseded model. The outside mirrors sit slightly lower on the door for the same reason, we found this didn't impair our side-rear view.

Kia has long realised the importance of suspension tuning to suit Australian drivers' needs and desires. This continues with the Sportage. The standard suspension provides a comfortable ride and absorbs bumps well, even on corrugated dirt. Yet the SUV has decent if unexciting handling.

Reduction of noise, vibration and harshness levels were a major part of the engineering work and it's pleasingly refined to travel in.

Sportage Platinum GT-Line is tuned to give it sharper handling and a slightly firmer ride. We really enjoyed a couple of hundred kilometres behind the wheel of one, finding it to have a precise feel and response. Comfort, though not quite as good as in the standard suspension, was still acceptable. As always, try for yourself during your private test drive.

However we felt that the 2.4-litre petrol engine in our test car needed more grunt, with the automatic transmission having to be shifted down a couple of ratios on steep hills to get the engine into the right rev range.


All-new Kia Sportage is a stylish SUV at a good price. A combination of excellent interior space, comfort and quiet interior sound levels will make it an excellent choice for families who are keen to do some weekend exploring.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Kia Preparing Further U.S. Expansion with Luxury SUV Concept

South Korean automaker Kia Motors is preparing the next phase of its U.S. expansion with the recent unveiling of a luxury SUV concept and the upcoming launch of its first assembly plant in Mexico, a company executive told EFE on Saturday.

The Telluride, a premium large SUV concept with three rows of seating and a special focus on comfort, was Kia’s main vehicle introduction at the North American International Auto Show, a major industry event held in January in Detroit.

Although the Telluride is merely conceptual and under normal industry time frames would not become a reality for around four or five years, it serves as an excellent indicator of where the South Korean brand – a compelling success story in recent years – is heading.

The concept is based on the Sorento platform, the largest Kia SUV currently in U.S. showrooms and one of the South Korean automaker’s most successful models.

Kia sold a total of 116,249 Sorento vehicles last year in the United States, 12.5 percent more than in 2014. That model was the automaker’s third-biggest seller in the U.S. market, trailing only its Optima sedan and the Soul.

Kia, which unveiled its fourth-generation Sorento in January 2015, had detected a clear market trend.

“The previous generation of the Sorento was really the biggest success story in our history,” Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning at Kia Motors America, told EFE on Saturday.

“During the launch of that vehicle, we discovered that the Sorento was attracting a very large number of more affluent families and individuals. And it was clear that the interior needed to be more luxurious and refined, with more features,” he added.

“Now, the better-equipped Sorento, with a V6 engine and a third row of seats, is having extraordinary results. In some U.S. markets, it represents between 40 and 60 percent of our sales, which means we’re attracting wealthier buyers,” Hedrick said.

The Telluride is based on Sorento’s platform, although it is bigger and more powerful, combining a 3.5-liter, 270-horsepower V6 engine with an electric powertrain that produces an additional 130 horsepower.

“All of that is packaged in a very masculine exterior that expresses confidence and daring. The Telluride is the natural evolution for accommodating our customer base, whose purchasing power is rising, and responding to the new tastes of drivers who prefer SUVs to large sedans,” Hedrick said.

But even as it looks to the future with the Telluride, Kia also is prepared to meet the growing U.S. demand for smaller automobiles.

Kia unveiled at the NAIAS in Detroit the latest versions of its four-door Forte compact sedan and five-door Forte5 hatchback, 78,919 units of which were sold last year in the United States.

Until now, Kia had placed limited emphasis on the Forte because it was only manufactured at one South Korean plant, which met demand for the model worldwide.

“We couldn’t bring more units to the United States!” Hedrick recalled.

But that situation will change radically in the coming months, when Kia’s first assembly plant in Mexico starts operating in the northern industrial city of Monterrey in May or June.

That facility will assemble the new Forte 2017 models for the U.S. market, allowing Kia to increase its focus on a model and segment that is especially important for automakers.

Although the compact sedan segment is very competitive and profit margins are relatively narrow, it serves as a point of entry into the auto market for many drivers, particularly young people – buyers who in the future will be looking for bigger and more expensive vehicles.

Along those lines, Hedrick said Kia had been able to build customer loyalty in North America on the basis of the “quality, design and value” of its vehicles.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016 Kia Soul EV Long-Term Review

Here is a review of the 2016 Kia Soul EV after first three months of driving and nearly 7,800 km (over 4,800 miles).

The maker of the video is pretty happy with the new car and recommends this Kia Soul as a solid car with great quality. One of the small drawbacks is the navigation system, but again the infotainment overall is considered great.

The real world range is 150-160 km (up to 100 miles) with best range in summer weather at 180-186 km (and 4% capacity still available) so around 200 km is the limit. In the winter, range drops to 130-140 km and in highway commuting maybe 120 km (75 miles) is to be expected.

The B mode for strong regenerative braking works great, so you almost don’t need to touch the brakes.

And the heating is considered efficient.


Less is More: The new KIA Rio TEC 3-Door

Apparent less is more, or so says Kia Motors who just announced the launch of the three-door Kia Rio to complement the five door hatchback and the four door Kia sedan models.

Aesthetically the KIA Rio TEC comes with all the features found on the hatchback model, sans the two rear-doors and the fact that rear passengers have to squeeze past the driver or front passenger’s seats to take up the rear seats. But Kia insists that the 3-door Kia TEC is much more “sportier, sleeker and more compact.”

“With its low-slung profile and clean lines, the Rio TEC 3-Door boats an athletic edginess, while expansive interior gives occupants an awe-inspiring sense of space. The driver and passenger doors open wide, while the front seatbacks folds forward effortless to ease ingress and egress to both the rear seats,” read the press statement from the manufacturer.

The vehicle is powered by KIA’s popular and well-proven 1,4-litre Gamma engine, which features friction-reducing modifications and dual continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) to achieve a responsive performance and competitively modest fuel consumption. Power output is at a maximum of 79 kW at 6 300 r/min and peak torque of 135 Nm at 4 200 r/min, which is able to propel the automobile to a top-speed of of 183 km/h. The six-speed manual gear box model is able to accelerate the Kia Rio from nothing to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds but for those with distaste for manual gearbox there is also a four-speed automatic gearbox, offered as an option.

Standard specification levels remain exceptionally high and includes leather seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB and accessories jack, steering wheel-mounted remote controls as well air conditioning. The Rio TEC 3-Door ships with the same stylish, 17-inch alloy wheels as its 5-door sibling, and is available in a choice of eight exterior colours.

Launched globally in 2011, the fourth-generation KIA Rio was an immediate hit across the world. In its first year on sale, it won several prestigious “Car of the Year” awards as well as a Good Design Award and an Automotive Brand Contest design award in Germany. In 2012, Rio added more “Car of the Year” and “Best Buy” awards from across the globe to its cabinet, and added a ‘red dot’ and an IDEA Design Award to the mix. Needless to say, the trophy cabinet had to be remeasured in 2013. And again in 2014.

The Rio soon became KIA South Africa’s bestselling model, scoring a nomination as finalist in the 2012 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year competition. The Rio has also been a consistent star in the Standard Bank People’s Wheels Award. Most recently, in 2014, it starred against one luxury German competitor and ran rings around the other to scoop the “Best Compact Commuter” award, while internationally renowned research firm IPSOS presented it with a Gold Award in its 2015 Quality Awards.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2017 Kia Soul Spy Shots

Kia’s funky little Soul hatchback is about to undergo a mid-cycle update. This will be the last update to the second-generation model until an all-new one is launched later this decade.

There are some significant changes planned, as evidenced by all the camouflage gear. It looks like the front has been fully revised, with new headlights and a new front bumper present. The design of the tail lights has also been updated.

It’s not clear what Kia has planned for the interior of its updated Soul but we can expect a few changes here, too. For example, we should see some new infotainment features and electronic driver aids added.

As this is only a mid-cycle update, we’re not expecting any significant changes in the powertrain lineup. The Soul currently offers two gasoline as well as battery-electric options here in the United States.

Look for a debut of the updated Soul late this year or early next. It should arrive as a 2017 model.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Kia is testing the fourth generation of the Rio near the Arctic Circle.

Kia is testing the fourth generation of the Rio near the Arctic Circle.

We have received fresh spy shots of the prototype during testing, and the car has shed some of its camouflage. As you can see, the upcoming Kia Rio will change its profile with a new window line. If we look at the rear doors, they seem to have larger windows, while the A-pillar has lost its small window.

The car’s body seems larger, meaning more room for passengers and their luggage. If we take a closer look at this early prototype, we notice new side mirrors, new designs for the bumpers, and a possible change of the profile of the doors.

The Kia Rio’s roof has a different slope to it, as it seems more inclined towards the doors, in a look that mimics the silhouette of a coupe, adapted to a hatchback body.

The design modifications described above are typical for a car that receives a new generation. The major update to the Rio range will bring new engines, an updated technical platform, improved ride comfort, and more technological features.

We expect Kia to follow the route its sister brand, Hyundai, set with its i20 model. The two sister brands share technologies, engines, and platforms. However, Hyundai and Kia are differentiating themselves through design, each division being given a separate identity by Peter Schreyer.

Mr. Schreyer is the Korean group’s design director and is famous for developing the first generation Audi TT, among other creations. In the Kia range, his mark is the clear-cut “tiger nose,” a feature that gives these cars an identity and makes them stand out.

Kia is expected to start selling the fourth generation of the Rio in 2017. Until then, the brand’s engineers are busy testing prototypes. In the case of the one spotted near the Arctic Circle, the car was being driven hard, showing that the Korean company might put a stronger accent on the driving dynamics of this model.


Kia Sorento wins best large crossover title

The Kia Sorento has been named as the best large crossover in the UK in a prestigious list.

The car topped the large crossover category in The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Cars list, beating serious competition from the Landrover Discovery Sport, Porsche Macan, Mazda CX-5 and the Renault Kadjar.

On winning the award, the model was praised for its versatility as a seven-seat family car. Surrey dealership West End Garage says it is no surprise one of its most popular cars has taken the award.

Damian Dunne, Dealer Principal of West End Garage, says: ” The latest Sorento has proven extremely popular with our customers already, and it is fabulous that The Sunday Times has now also recognized its qualities as number one in its highly regarded ‘Top 100 Cars’ list.”

The latest Kia Sorento, which launched in the UK in April 2015, includes a host of technology including Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Advanced Cruise Control, Around View Motoring and Speed Limit Information.

The Korean car maker also produces the smaller Sportage crossover, Kia Cee'd family car, Kia Rio hatchback and Kia Picanto city car to sell in the UK. A sister company to Hyundai, it has gained a reputation for low prices and extended warranties up to seven years.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kia Optima Wagon spotted in South Korea

The first-ever Kia Optima Wagon was all but confirmed last year following the introduction of the fourth generation Kia Optima sedan in April. The company hasn’t made an announcement stating that it will launch an estate version, but it has said that a new body style inspired by the Kia Sportspace concept will be added to the Optima range in future, and even before that statement was made, Paul Philpott, President & CEO at Kia Motors UK and Ireland, revealed during an interview that a wagon version will be launched.

As expected, Kia Optima Wagon is currently under development and test mules in production body are being tested around the world. In the latest, the wagon version has been spied in South Korea, courtesy of bobaedream. The production version doesn’t feature the dramatic 20-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels with carbon-fibre inserts or the sporty dual exhaust tailpipes from the concept, but sees addition of roof rails. The taillamps appear to be different from the sedan version and are probably inspired by those seen on the concept.

The Euro-spec Kia Optima Wagon should be offered with the same engine options as the Euro-spec sedan version: a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that develops 163 PS (120 kW/161 hp) and 196 Nm of torque and a 1.7-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine good for 141 PS (104 kW/139 hp) and 340 Nm of torque. Similarly, the transmission choices should include 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic and 7-speed DCT automatic.

The Sportspace concept is powered by a diesel-electric T-Hybrid system that featured in the Optima T-Hybrid concept at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. The sedan version will be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain starting this year and it’ll be interesting to see if Kia offers that in the estate version as well.

The Optima wagon is expected to come loaded with features like Dynamic Bending Headlamps, 360-degree Around View Monitor, Smart Parking Assist System (SPAS), 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation system, Harman Kardon Premium Sound system with 10 speakers and an external amplifier, wireless charging, USB charging and much more.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Consumer Reports Picks Genesis, Kia Among Top 9

Anchor: As South Korean automakers are trying to promote their higher-end models at overseas markets, U.S. Consumer Reports magazine has paid particular attention to Hyundai Motor's luxury brand Genesis and Kia Motors' concept car. While picking two South Korean cars as top nine models, the magazine called the Hyundai Genesis G90 "Most Ambitious."
Our Kim Soyon tells us more.

Report: A luxury brand Genesis sedan by Hyundai Motor and a concept car by Kia Motors have made the list of nine best cars of the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

According to industry sources Saturday, U.S. Consumer Reports magazine named Hyundai's Genesis G90 as the "Most Ambitious" among the top nine.

The magazine noted that Hyundai is no longer content to sell its Genesis and Equus sedans under the Hyundai flag and created Genesis as a standalone luxury division with its own identity. The report said it came away impressed with the first offering sampled, the G90.

The G90, sold in South Korea as the EQ900, is the highest-end premium sedan of the Genesis brand.

Meanwhile, Kia's Telluride has been chosen as the "Most Probable Concept."

The report said this "three-row SUV looks like it’s ready to go on sale tomorrow with just a few tweaks." It said its "exterior dimensions suggest a premium entry that can be an alternative to a GMC Yukon, Infiniti QX80 or Volvo XC90."

The other seven cars that made it on the list include the Buick Avista Concept, Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Ridgeline, Acura Precision Concept, Lexus LC 500 and the Nissan Titan Warrior.


Friday, January 22, 2016

First Drive Review - 2016 Kia Sorento by Henny Hemmes

A lot has changed for corporate brothers Hyundai and Kia since the introduction in 2010 of the new designs that were initiated by Peter Schreyer (who had joined Kia in 2006 as Chief Design Officer). From then on he coordinated design at Kia’s styling studios in Korea, Frankfurt, Irvine California and Tokyo. With modern styling and also thanks to both brands catching up with technology and safety, sales of both brands have risen sharply. In 2013, Mr. Schreyer was appointed as the first non-Korean member of the board of Hyundai Motor Group, responsible for design of both brands.

Every now and then, I have the opportunity and time to drive a new car for more than a couple of days. Last fall, this was the case with the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL with optional AWD. When I picked up the crossover, I realized once again that cars look so much better on the road then on the show floor. The new Sorento had been introduced more than a year ago at the Paris Motor Show. The 2016 model is built on a platform that has been stretched by 3.1 inches and modified to increase torsional rigidity by 14 percent. The percentage of advanced high-strength steel in the uni-body has been increased by 115 percent.

The new exterior design was influenced by the Cross GT Concept (but still has some cues from its predecessor) and is now in line with the brand identity thanks to the 3-D diamond grille. There are five trim levels, L, LX, EX and SX.

Our test car, the SX Limited is equipped with a 290 hp V-6 and all-wheel drive, as well as two options: snow white pearl paint and white leather seats. Inside the Kia looks beautiful, although the white leather would not be my own choice because wearing jeans could leave some blue color.

The V-6 sounds a little bit rough just after the start, but its power and torque are readily available and smoothly delivered, while the 6-speed automatic is well adjusted to work with it in a hardly noticeable way. Even with a weight of over 4,300 pounds, the Sorento is quick off the blocks. Kia mentions an acceleration time from zero to 60 mph of 7.2 seconds and we may well believe this. But Kia does not regard speed to be the most important feature here, nor its handling. But I have to say that handling, also at the relatively higher speeds that I'm used to driving at, is very good. The steering feel, electrically enhanced, is accurate, although I would prefer somewhat more information. The Sorento feels confident and safe on twisty roads, as do the brakes, which are well-equipped to get the car to a quick stop.

However, the main selling points of the new Sorento are space, practicality, and comfort. The car is quiet indeed, wicks away bad parts of the roads and feels serene.

As the weather was great and I did not go into the mountains and test the terrain capabilities of the AWD system. And even the Sport-shift mode was a bit of an over kill in daily traffic, but good to have available on the famous Mulholland Drive test route.

The cabin is well executed with nice materials and it is quiet inside, indeed. The front seats are comfortable and there is enough leg space for people on the second row, which seats three... or two, who then will have the luxury of a central arm rest with cup holders.

The third row is bigger but not so suitable for longer rides. It is easier to access though than before with sliding and auto folding second row seats. Trunk space is excellent and can be expanded by folding the seats down so that there will be flat floor all the way down from the back of the front seats, expanding the volume form 11.3 tot 73.0 cu. ft.

The 2016 Sorento offers a premium look with an attractive and roomy cabin. It's equipped with new infotainment and safety technologies (on all models), such as lane change assistant and adaptive cruise control, a roll over sensor, hill start assist, heated mirrors with LED indicators and a rear-camera display.

It has a great warranty, an excellent five start crash test score (but lacks third row roof airbags). The test drive’s consumption was 20.1 mpg, which I thought to be adequate for an all-wheel drive vehicle with a weight of over 3,400 lbs.

The Sorento is an excellent companion for much less money than comparable models in the premium segment. To be honest, even though my favorite type of car is a (very) sporty one, I realized that I had become quite attached to driving the Sorento when it was time to end my test drive.


Catch a Glimpse of Kia’s Telluride Concept in the Wild

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was the site of many amazing debuts from car brands around the world. One of the most impressive debuts, though, was that of the Kia Telluride Concept. Designed to showcase Kia’s future design style, the Telluride is an SUV that offers consumers a sleek, modern silhouette with plenty of innovative technologies in the cabin.

But the Telluride isn’t just a hint at Kia’s design future—it also hints at a possible SUV being added to the brand’s American lineup in the future. We haven’t gotten any word on whether or not production is a go for the concept car, but we can only hope it happens sometime soon.

As a plug-in hybrid concept car, the Telluride combines a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline-powered engine with an electric motor, churning out a surprising 400 horsepower. Despite this power, the SUV gets an impressive 30 mpg highway, something that is typically unheard of for such a large vehicle.

To show us how great the Kia Telluride concept truly is, Kia has given us a glimpse of the SUV out on the open road—and we have to say, we’re quite impressed. Even the wheels look awesome! Watch the Telluride’s video debut below (the driving starts at the 0:57 mark).


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kia Becomes The Major Sponsor Of Australian Open

Kia Motors Corporation has been expanding the scale of its sports sponsorship for some years now.

Kia is developing itself very much into a sporty brand, designed to appeal to younger drivers with an emphasis on excitement and versatility.

Tennis superstar and Kia global brand ambassador Rafael Nadal lifted the cover off of Kia’s latest ‘X-Car’ on January 13 in Melbourne, Australia during the official VIK handover ceremony for the Australian Open 2016.

The one-of-a-kind Sportage Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) was created in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox and modeled after the popular X-Men character Mystique.

The vehicle boasts a unique design with special textured ‘tone-on-tone’ matte and gloss blue paint finish, racing wheels and tires along with red and yellow bodywork highlights.

The Kia X-Car and Rafael Nadal, widely regarded as the greatest left-handed tennis player, combine powers in an online video released ahead of this year’s Australian open.

The Sportage-based Kia X-Car is the company’s second show car project in collaboration with Fox, following the Wolverine-inspired Sorento that was shown at the Australian Open 2015.

The ceremony also featured the handover of 110 official courtesy vehicles to the Australian Open Organising Committee.

The fleet will be driven by approximately 225 specially trained volunteer drivers and cover more than 300,000 kilometers to transport players, officials, event staff, fans, VIPs and media representatives throughout the duration of the tournament.

Tennis Australia CEO, Craig Tiley, said: “Kia makes an incredible contribution to the running of the Australian Open and I’m again very pleased to accept the key to the 100-plus fleet of Kia courtesy vehicles.

“The sight of the Kia cars ferrying players, officials, media and this year for the first time, fans, around Melbourne, adds significantly to the tangible excitement and buzz the event brings to the city of Melbourne.

“The majority of the 110-strong courtesy fleet – 52 vehicles – is made up of midsize Sorento. Also comprising the fleet are 30 Kia’s Carnival MPVs and 28 C-segment Cerato sedans.”


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Kia Sedona: 10 things I love about you By Jill Ciminillo

I don't have kids, so driving a minivan is usually lost on me. But after a long test week in the 2016 Kia Sedona during the holidays, I kind of see the point.

The test vehicle was an up-level SXL model with all the whistles and bells - which totally helped. Equipped with a 3.3-liter V-6 engine, the Sedona had plenty of get-up-and-go for highway merges and passing maneuvers, and it was incredibly comfortable for a 400-mile road trip.

After pushing all the buttons, sitting in all the seats and even standing (yes, standing!) in the cargo area, I have to say, there's a lot to love in this vehicle.

Here are my top-10 faves:

Around-view camera

Whether you live in a compact urban area or you have kids and toys that might be scattered on your driveway, a backup camera is always a good idea. Luckily, they'll be required fare in cars by 2018, but that's just the basic camera. Some automakers, such as Kia, take the next step, offering 360-degree views that can be operated in forward and rearward motion. This is invaluable when parallel parking or nosing around a tight parking lot. We wish this were standard, but on the Sedona, this is a part of the SXL Technology package ($2,800).

Heated front seats and steering wheel

I'm one of those people who's perpetually cold. I could keep the thermostat at 75 all year round and be perfectly happy - much to the dismay of my husband. So, heated seats and steering wheels aren't just a seasonal must for me. They get year-round usage when I'm driving. The top-of-the-line SXL trim of the Sedona includes both features as standard fare, but you can get them in lower trims as well. Heated seats are available starting in the LX ($28,500) and standard in the EX ($32,700). The heated steering wheel is a bit more premium, however, and is only available at the SX trim ($36,400) and standard on the SXL.

Separate climate controls

Someone once called dual climate controls a "marriage saver," and a year after saying "I do," I can say with absolute certainty that this is true. I set my heat on high most of the year, while my husband keeps his temperature set at a steady 68 year-round. I stay warm and don't sweat my husband out of the car. The Sedona takes this one-step further into familial bliss with Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control, which allows separate controls for each front seat as well as the rear seats. I wish we'd had this option for our family road trips when I was a kid!

Reclining rear seats

Kia calls the reclining rear seats "First Class Lounge Seating," and they are only available on the SXL model, where they are standard. You can opt for the 3-passenger second row, but if you have older kids, these reclining seats are ideal. They can turn on their mobile device, put on headphones and tune out the world. I will point out the reclining seats are completely manual and a bit tough to operate. Additionally, the second-row seats will need to slide all the way back on the track for the footrest to be deployed.

Driver's memory seat

It's rare that two drivers would have the exact same driving position - even if you're the same height. And, if you have a husband-wife team with a 6- to 12-inch height difference, the driving position will be even more drastic. Sometimes it takes me a couple days to find the exact right driving position when I'm in a new test car, and if I had to futz with the seat controls every time I swapped with my husband, it would drive me nuts. So, call the memory seats another marriage saver. This feature is available at the EX trim and standard on the SX and SXL.

Power rear doors

What I loved about this feature is that, from my perch in the driver's seat, I could easily open and close the rear sliding doors to let rear-seat passengers in and out of the vehicle. Redundant controls for the power doors are located on the key fob and B-pillar.

Rear plug and USB port

When I spent some time with my in-laws during the holidays, I noticed that my 12- and 14-year-old nephews each had their own cellphones and iPads. My 7-year-old niece had an iPad. And they were all glued to them if we weren't eating or doing something active. So, the ability to recharge for rear passengers is critical - especially when mobile device distraction means keeping the peace.

Safety systems galore

High-tech safety systems are finally starting to trickle down to non-luxury vehicles, and the availability of features such as lane departure warning or forward collision warning is more the rule than the exception. The Sedona comes standard with a rear backup camera, but available safety features include a back-up warning system, front and rear park assist, surround view monitor, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Of all the minivans currently on the market, the Sedona is actually the only one that gets an IIHS Top Safety Pick when equipped with these available features.

Smart liftgate

Chances are, if you need to put something in the back of a minivan, your arms are probably full. Fumbling in your pockets or purse for a key means you might drop something or you have to set something down. But with the smart liftgate, as long as you have the key on your person, the liftgate will open when you walk up to it. No balancing on one foot to kick under the bumper or waving an elbow in front of a rear emblem. It just opens. First introduced on the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, this feature is now finding its way into a wider variety of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. On the Sedona, it's standard at the EX trim.

Tons of cargo volume

A huge selling point for a minivan is the ability to carry both cargo and passengers, and the Sedona is no different. I appreciated the deep well behind the third-row seat that allowed me to stack a couple rollerboards and backpacks as well as holiday leftovers and shopping bags. This space behind the third row offers 33.9 cubic feet of cargo volume. If you drop the third and second rows of seats, cargo volume increases to 78.4 and 142 cubic feet, respectively.

And, a few other things

It wouldn't be fair if I didn't point out the things I didn't love about the Sedona.

First, the step-in height was a bit high. My mother, who's had some issues with her back, couldn't actually make it up into the vehicle through the rear sliding doors. I'd gotten this vehicle to haul my family around during the holidays, and an integral part of my family couldn't get in it.

Second, while I love the peppy V-6 engine, I did not love the fuel economy. The Sedona has an EPA estimated rating of 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. During the test week of mostly highway driving, I found this to be relatively accurate, but 22 mpg at its best is tough to swallow for a family hauler. In fact, this is the lowest fuel economy rating of all the other minivans out there:

Toyota Sienna: 18/25
Honda Odyssey: 19/28
Nissan Quest: 20/27
Chrysler Town & Country: 17/25
Dodge Grand Caravan: 17/25

On the bright side, however, the Sedona is one of the three safest minivans on the market right now.

The Sedona has a starting price of $27,295, which is lower than the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna - the other two minivans on the "safest" list.

However, the test vehicle as an SXL model had a base price of $40,795. It added the Technology Package and rear-seat entertainment for an as-tested price of $44,690. While that may seem steep for a minivan, the perks are unquestionable, and if you spend a good chunk of your day driving, it's totally worth it.


Kia Telluride concept measures occupants' health vitals, uses light therapy

The Kia Telluride full-size SUV concept was unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show January 11, a “purely conceptual [vehicle] based on an existing platform” that strongly hints at a possible premium SUV for the brand.

The company is calling the Telluride a styling exercise that lets them explore the idea of a luxury seven-passenger SUV. Its interior features a folding third-row bench seat and four black leather captain’s seats, the second row of which fold nearly flat and include fold-away footrests.

The four seats also include “Smart Sensors” that can take and then measure occupants vital health information. The Telluride uses these sensors, along with a Light Emitted Rejuvenation (LER) system, to project therapeutic light patterns across the roof of the vehicle to treat jet lag and improve passenger energy levels.

The second row also features Swipe Command, a thin, touchscreen-like band mounted to the center console that lets back seat occupants control the infotainment system. The interior is completed with several 3D-printed components.

The styling of the Telluride, born of the company’s California studio, is designed to be bold but very much of modern SUV design language; it rides on a strecthed Sorento chassis, and is about 9.5 inches longer than its smaller sibling. Power comes from a hybrid drivetrain made up of a 3.5-litre GDI V6 engine and an electric motor together putting 400 horsepower to all four wheels. Kia estimates it’d return about 30 mpg highway. While the company has said the Telluride will not make it to production, it has hinted very strongly that a similar vehicle will almost definitely come to market at some point soon.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Prius-Fighting Kia Niro Bound for 2016 Chicago Auto Show

The Kia Niro, an all-new compact hybrid SUV that competes against the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt, will debut in February at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, Kia Motors America said earlier this week.

Two new teaser images of the Niro, the first model to be based on Kia's new dedicated eco-car platform, show a sporty-looking SUV with an aerodynamic body, sleek lines and high-mounted LED taillights.

Kia spokesman Scott McKee told Edmunds Kia has not determined whether the Niro will go on sale here late this year or early next year. The model-year designation has not been determined either, he said.

Pricing will be released closer to the Niro's launch date.

"Niro will be very competitive with Prius in terms of size, capability and functionality," Kia Motors America Chief Operating Officer Michael Sprague told Edmunds at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

Kia earlier said the Niro is equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, 32-kilowatt electric motor, lithium-polymer battery and six-speed double-clutch transmission.

Niro is not likely to be sold by all Kia dealers due to the extra cost for service and sales training, plus the cost for additional service equipment and tools.

The new Korean compact hybrid is not expected to be a high-volume vehicle. It will be similar to the Kia Optima Hybrid, which is sold by 259 of Kia's 770 dealers here.

A plug-in hybrid version of the Niro is also in the pipeline, as Kia beefs up offerings for green-car shoppers.

The Niro will also compete against the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq, Hyundai's first hybrid-exclusive car, which makes its U.S. debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show in April.

Sprague said Kia will use the Chicago auto show to detail its "$10 billion investment over the next five years in the green space."

Edmunds says: Car shoppers making long-range plans may want to consider the upcoming Kia Niro. But keep in mind that there are plenty of good options out there in the meantime.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Kia Motors plans driverless vehicles

Kia Motors has announced plans to introduce autonomous vehicles with smart technology that will enable them to partly drive themselves.

Kia will develop intelligent vehicles that feature a range of Advanced Drive Assistance Systems (ADAS) to control them and keep them safe on public roads. It will begin manufacturing partially autonomous cars by 2020 and aims to bring the first fully autonomous vehicle to market by 2030.

While truly autonomous vehicles are still some time away for everyday use, Kia gave visitors at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) show a chance to experience a host of next generation technologies and concepts with interactive displays.

The technologies included:

Highway Autonomous Driving (HAD) employs a combination of radar and camera detection systems to interpret lane markings, allowing the car to stay in its lane, switch lanes to overtake vehicles or follow a different road; all without driver input.

Urban Autonomous Driving (UAD) applies GPS and sensors to identify the car’s position on the road, allowing it to safely navigate through densely congested city environments while responding to live traffic updates.

Preceding Vehicle Following (PVF) is an enhanced lane-keeping system, which monitors the vehicle in front and allows the car to calculate its own path relative to it, following at a safe distance if road markings are indecipherable due to poor conditions or road layout.

Emergency Stop System (ESS), which operates in correlation with Kia’s Driver Status Monitoring (DSM) system, analyses the driver’s face, ensuring their attention does not stray from the road for too long. If it detects the driver’s eyes have been off the road for too long, ESS can automatically direct the car into an appropriate side lane and come to a halt.

Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) monitors the vehicle in front during congested traffic conditions, maintaining a safe distance and moving into appropriate spaces to gain ground.

Autonomous Valet Parking allows drivers to exit the car and let the vehicle park itself remotely, activated using the smart key or smartwatch.

As well as controlling the car in outside environments, autonomous technologies are also being developed to improve interaction between the driver and vehicle itself.

A special I-Cockpit display at the CES show featured Kia’s innovative new Human Machine Interface (HMI) functions, where a fingerprint touchpad and gesture recognition are used to operate the car’s controls. Automatically recognizing individual drivers’ preferences on start-up, based on their fingerprint or smartwatch, the car dials up the driver’s favourite music, preferred climate control settings and the type of information displayed by the instrument panel.

The driver’s gestures are recognized by the I-Cockpit if they want to change any settings in the cabin, without taking their eyes off the road ahead.

The autonomous technologies will be tested on public roads in the US soon following approval by the state of Nevada to license Kia to utilize autonomous driving technologies on a specifically modified Soul EV. The all-electric Soul EV - Kia’s first globally sold electric car - is being used as the brand’s testbed for the development of next generation autonomous technologies on roads around Death Valley.

While some of those technologies will be introduced to Kia partially autonomous vehicles by 2020, it will take another 15 years for the next step of fully autonomous driving to be achieved, as it will require the development of a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications system.

To bring the true ‘self-driving car’ to market by 2030, Kia says V2X must be fully integrated into real-life driving environments and be able to react as a human driver can.

V2X applies a series of sensors, radar, LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging radar) and external cameras to perceive the surrounding environment and all relevant obstacles, as a human driver does. The system also incorporates vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technologies allowing the car to recognize, judge and control every driving scenario, obstacle or potential threat.

Kia has committed to a preliminary investment of US$2 billion by 2018 in order to fast track development its new autonomous technologies.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Kia's Telluride concept signals revived interest in SUV

A once-burned Kia signaled that it’s thinking of getting back into the SUV business to accelerate its growth in North America.

At the Detroit auto show Monday, the Korean automaker introduced the Telluride, a concept for a hulking utility vehicle with an efficient, plug-in hybrid powertrain and a cushy cabin for rear passengers.

Kia describes the Telluride, crafted at its U.S. design studio in Irvine, Calif., as “purely conceptual,” as evidenced by its 3D-printed interior components and the suicide doors that open at 90-degree angles.

However, the company also said its concept is intended to show its interest in offering a high-end SUV that is larger, more luxurious and more expensive than the Sorento crossover.

“Telluride allows us to envision what a full-size seven-passenger SUV from Kia could look like,” said Tom Kearns, the head of the Irvine studio and designer of the Telluride.

Kia can only hope that such a vehicle would have better luck than its last attempt. Its three-row Borrego SUV went on sale in 2008, just as gasoline prices rose above $4 per gallon, and after disappointing sales, it was pulled from the U.S. a year later -- too soon to capitalize on the subsequent decline in prices.

In the early 2000s, Kia’s corporate sibling, Hyundai, was considering using the Telluride name for an SUV built on a pickup platform, Automotive News reported at the time. Hyundai filed for a trademark on the Telluride name in 2004, but it abandoned the trademark in 2008 as high gas prices made such an SUV impractical.

Now, with gasoline prices under $2 per gallon across most of the U.S., such SUVs are practical again, and Kia dealers have been clamoring for them.

“I’d like to see a little bit larger of an SUV,” Don Hobden, a Kia dealer in Alabama and a former chairman of the brand’s dealer council, said in an interview last year. “I thought the only thing wrong with the Borrego in 2009 was that it was godawful bad timing with the economy.”

Measuring 197 inches long, 71 inches tall and 79 inches wide, the Telluride concept is about 9.5 inches longer than the Sorento. In each dimension, it is within 2 inches of the Ford Explorer, America’s best-selling large crossover.

Kia said the all-wheel-drive Telluride is based on an existing platform. One possibility for a production model is a stretched version of the platform underpinning the Sorento, but a more likely option is the rear-drive platform that Hyundai will use for its Genesis luxury cars.

Genesis plans to launch a large SUV as one of its first six models by 2020.

The Telluride has a plug-in hybrid powertrain, drawing 400 hp from a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a 130-hp electric motor. Kia said it gets more than 30 mpg on the highway.

The Kia concept also focuses on comfort. The second-row seats are captain’s chairs that recline almost flat like business-class seats on an airplane. Sensors built into the seatbacks monitor the passengers’ vital signs for display on screens inside the vehicle, while a roof-mounted LED panel flashes light patterns that are intended to help with jet-lag symptoms.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Kia Optima Breaks The Midsize Sedan Mold In Expanded Marketing Campaign

With its European sport-sedan design, advanced technology and sophisticated interior, the all-new 2016 Kia Optima defies ordinary in the midsize sedan segment whose hallmarks are basic, boring and uninspiring. And now, the next phase of Kia Motors America's (KMA) marketing campaign for its perennial best-seller is underway with two new 30-second spots narrated by Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken.

Created by David & Goliath, KMA's advertising agency of record, "Middle C" and "Cookie Cutter" showcase the completely redesigned Optima as a "defiant midsize masterpiece" and "exceptionally tasty treat" in a crowded field of cars that look and drive the same.

"Our marketing efforts are built on the core principle of challenging people to discover the exciting new Kia and question everything they think they know about the brand," said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer and EVP, KMA. "Kia is a recognized industry leader in styling and quality, and like the all-new Optima, these new ads stand out from the competition with the assistance of someone who knows a thing or two about being distinctive."

The expanded Optima campaign, which began with the series of "Next Level" spots starring NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, will continue next month when Kia returns for its seventh consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl broadcast with a 60-second ad for the next generation Optima.


Kia Telluride concept SUV revealed

Kia has revealed the Telluride concept SUV it has been teasing over the past few days at the Detroit motor show.

The new model provides a glimpse into the future of Kia’s design and technology, suggesting the carmaker is eager to enter the large SUV market that’s still so popular in North America. As such, the SUV is as large as it looks in pictures, standing 1800mm tall, 2029 mm wide and 5001mm long.

It sits on 22-inch five-spoke wheels and flaunts a muscular profile that has been designed by Kia’s Design Centre America. Focus has been placed on making the Telluride as practical as possible, so the rear doors swing open a full 90 degrees in opposing directions, and there are three rows of seats inside.

The middle seats can fold down almost flat, suggesting the SUV has been designed with long distance driving in mind, and there’s a new touch-sensitive infotainment system with wireless charging - which previews what’s to come in forthcoming Kias.

Power comes from a direct injection 3.5-litre V6 that produces 270bhp, mated to a 130bhp eletric motor. The hybrid drivetrain sends power to all four wheels, and is claimed to be good for 30mpg US (about 36 European mpg).

Kia says there are no plans to put the Telluride into production, but given how complete the concept looks, it appears that Kia is experimenting with the idea of building a similarly sized vehicle for the US market.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kia Sets 2030 Target For Fully Autonomous Cars

Kia aims to have fully autonomous cars on sale by 2030.

The company announced its goal at the Consumer Electronics Show as it launched its new Drive Wise brand, which will cover future technologies such as hands-off cruise control and lane keeping systems which react to their surroundings.

Vehicle owners will interact with Drive Wise tech through a mixture of apps and gesture control.

Drive Wise functions will include program to halt vehicle if the driver falls asleep

Their cars will identify them through fingerprint recognition – instantly loading their software preferences as they climb aboard.

Drive Wise functions will also include self-parking and a safety program designed to halt the vehicle if the driver falls asleep.

Vehicle owners will interact with Drive Wise tech through apps and gesture control

Kia says the Drive Wise brand will bring advanced safety functions to future models, as well as alleviating the boredom of long journeys and encouraging owners to relate to their cars in a whole new way.

The company was recently licensed by the state of Nevada to test autonomous cars on the road, and has started running a hands-free Soul there as the next step on the way to bringing these technologies to market.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Kia Unveils Hybrid And Concept SUVs At Detroit

A couple of new concepts from Kia at the North American Auto Show, both interesting. First up is a teaser for the all-new Niro, what Kia is referring to as an ‘HUV’ or Hybrid Utility Vehicle.

Obviously the words ‘sporty’ and ‘versatile’ are used to describe the vehicle - pretty much standard vocabulary these days - and the design is supposed to be ‘sleek and aerodynamic’. Albeit as sleek and aerodynamic as an HUV can be, when it’s shaped like a swanky brick.

More interestingly, the Niro is aiming for sub 90g/km C02 efficiency, thanks to a new, downsized petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, and will be the first car on Kia’s new dedicated eco-car platform. We’ll see the final version at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2016.

Not half-hidden by moody lighting is Kia’s Telluride Concept, a full-sized, seven seat SUV. With more than a hint of Volvo XC90 in the bluff lines, the Telluride has three rows of seats, big, solid styling and potentially sits in an as-yet untapped - for Kia, at least - luxury SUV niche.

Based on a modified Sorento chassis, the Telluride would sit above the current Kia range-topper, but probably wouldn’t feature the concept’s suicide rear doors and 22-inch wheels. We’re also pretty certain that it won’t feature a massive, wing-shaped light in the back that deals with desynchronosis - jetlag, to you and me - via the Light Emitted Rejuvenation (LER) stystem. But we can’t guarantee it.

The Telluride also features zeitgeisty tech in terms of a rear-seat swipe command centre console and 3D printed trim - which are a bit more real-world.

Power comes courtesy of the usual PHEV powertrain, with a  3.5-litre V6 bolstered by an electric motor, and total power output weighs in at 400bhp combined, driven through all four wheels and capable of around 30mpg on the combined cycle.

It’s big, bold and interesting. Cut price XC90, then?