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  1. Kia has been trying to position itself as the sporty brand to help differentiate it from sister brand Hyundai with mixed success. But a report from Reuters says Kia is working on something that should give it the sporty image it has been desiring. According to two sources, Kia is working a rear-drive sports sedan to compete against the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Codenamed CK, the model will feature three different engine options and will begin production next May. As Kia has no luxury brand, it is trying to position itself as a sporty brand," a source tells Reuters. Kia hopes the new sedan is able to replicate the massive success of the Soul. "Kia hit a home run with the Soul - they figured out how to keep it fresh and fun," said Dave Sullivan, product analysis manager for AutoPacific. "Apply this formula to a rear-wheel drive sedan and they might be able to go after a younger consumer who is bored with the played-out BMW 3-Series but wants to move out of their Soul they have had since college." The new sports sedan would be the first one to come out of either brand. But Kia will be facing an uphill battle as Genesis - Hyundai's new luxury brand - is also working a compact sports sedan known as G70. Source: Reuters
  2. Looking like a cross between a Kia Soul and a Range Rover or Volvo XC90, Kia released a teaser for a surprise concept they will be showing next week at the Detroit Auto Show. This could signal Kia's return to the large SUV segment after the less than stellar sales of the 2009 - 2011 Kia Borrego. Kia says the concept will feature state of the art health and wellness technology and a new direction for Kia's design language. Little else has been released at this time. The Kia SUV concept will be officially unveiled at 2:15pm eastern time on January 11th. Stay tuned to CheersandGears.com for all of your 2016 Detroit Auto Show coverage
  3. The end of another year is upon us and I’m in the process of picking my favorite vehicles from the year. But before we get to that, I need to give some vehicles their time in the review spotlight. Trying to crank a review or a two a week is a hard task for some folks, myself included. I tend to spend a week with a vehicle, driving it in my daily routine, taking notes and photos, and hopefully beginning the review before the vehicle leaves. But that last part is the thickest part as it doesn’t always work out because of life. Whether it's a personal or family emergency, vacation, changes in work, or just being distracted, life always finds a way to get in and mess up whatever you are trying to do. Towards the end of every year, I have a small number of vehicles that have fallen between the cracks and are just waiting for me to find them and write something up. This year is no different as seven vehicles have been waiting patiently for their turn and their time has come. We're going to be looking at the last three of the seven. For this piece, I’ll be listing the good and bad of each vehicle, along with some notes that I took on each vehicle. 2015 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 3.7L VQ DOHC 24-valve V6 (330 Horsepower, 270 Pound-Feet) Seven-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $53,500/$62,755 Cheers: Comfortable ride, large back seat, still looks stylish on the exterior Jeers: Interior is starting to look dated, Fuel economy could be better, Competitors are much more modern Notes: Let’s play a game. See if you can try to spot the differences between the 2015 Infiniti Q70L and the 2012 Infiniti M35h. Ready? Go. Now if you figured out the Q70L is longer than the M35h, then pat yourself on the back. Since Infiniti went to the Q nomenclature, the only real change to their midsize luxury sedan was to introduce a long-wheelbase model. Compared to the standard Q70, the adds about 5.9 inches to the wheelbase. Sitting in the back seat was very pleasurable thanks to a large amount of legroom on offer. Disappointingly, there isn’t any seat adjustments for the rear passengers, nor any heat. Despite getting up in age, the Q70L is still a striking vehicle to look. The flowing lines up front and along the side still look fresh as the day it was first introduced into the world. Twenty-inch wheels only add a bit of prestige to the model. But the interior is where you begin to feel the age of the Q70. Despite the model being trimmed in leather and wood, the Q70’s interior hasn’t changed at all since we last drove it back in 2012. The center stack is pushed out, giving a cramped feeling for passengers sitting up front. Not helping is the very dated infotainment system which looks like it has come from the Windows 98 era. For the Q70L, there is a choice of a 3.7L V6 or a 5.6L V8. Our tester had the V6 with 330 horsepower paired up to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Power comes on a very linear rate though you’ll need to plant your foot to the pedal if you are making a pass. This introduces a sound of the engine being put under a lot of strain. The ride is somewhat stiff as it seems to pick out a fair amount of imperfections on the road and transmit them to the passengers. A lot of this comes down to the optional twenty-inch wheels, and we expect the standard eighteen-inch wheels to provide a much better ride. At least, wind and road noise are kept to near-silent levels. While the introduction of the long-wheelbase for the Q70 does give it some new blood, there isn’t a good reason why anyone should choose it over one of the new midsize luxury sedans in the class. Let’s hope Infiniti has a replacement coming very soon. 2015 Kia Forte5 SX 1.6L Turbocharged GDI Four-Cylinder Six-Speed Manual Base/As-Tested: $20,890/$26,035 Cheers: Exterior Styling, Fuel Economy, Space Jeers: Wrong gearing in vehicle, Engine doesn’t feel quick, Interior looking very dated, not really sporty Notes: We have hot hatches and we have cold hatches (the non-sporty variety). Is there space for something warm? Maybe if the 2015 Kia Forte5 SX is something to go on. The Forte5 as the name suggests is a five-door hatchback and looks much sportier than the Forte sedan. This is thanks to a new front end with a wide and narrow grille, and a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels done in a five leaf pattern. These wheels might be my favorite OEM wheels. Inside is where the Forte5 begins to lose some points. The dashboard makes the interior feel much older than it is (Forte5 was introduced back in 2013 as a 2014 model) thanks to hard plastics and parts having a scratchy texture. We hope a Kia is planning a refresh for the interior in the near future. Not helping are the leather power seats which comes as part of the SX Premium package. While they do provide a decent level of comfort and support for short trips, the seats cannot provide long-distance support. My brother and I learned this as the Forte5 was pressed into Christmas travel duty. But Kia wins some points back in the interior. The back seat is large, providing more than enough head and legroom for anyone sitting back here. Also, the Forte5 can be equipped with everything except the kitchen sink. Our tester boasted heated seats for front and rear passengers, a cooled seat for the driver, memory seat for the driver, a touchscreen with navigation, dual-zone climate control, and a sunroof. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Our tester came with the standard six-speed manual, but you can go with a six-speed automatic. This is the same engine we liked in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, but in the Forte5, it is a bit of a mess. The engine seems smothered and not as powerful as the Veloster Turbo. The cause is due to the manual. The gears are too short to allow the engine to fully produce all of the power it is capable of. Also, the short gearing means you’ll be seeing the revs up at 3,000 rpm at a 70 MPH cruise. Some longer gearing could solve both of these problems. At least, fuel economy wasn’t badly affected. Close to 700 Miles were put on the Forte5 SX and we got an average of 33.2 MPG on mostly highway and rural roads. Ride and handling are somewhere in the middle. The Forte5’s suspension is able to deal with most bumps and imperfections on the road with no problem. Bigger bumps do unsettle the vehicle a little bit. In the corners, the Forte5 feels steady and doesn’t show any sign of roll. But it isn’t any fun to pilot around such as a Mazda3. This mostly comes down to the steering with Kia’s FlexSteer system that allows you to vary the weight from light to heavy. We don’t like this system as the light setting is way too light and the heavy setting doesn’t feel hefty. Kia would do itself a lot of good by throwing out the FlexSteer system and do a new steering system that is somewhere in the middle. 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax 5.7L DOHC 32-Valve Dual Independent VVT-i V8 Six-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $44,000/$45,465 Cheers: Off-Road Package Comes With Everything, Excellent Value, Comfortable Ride Jeers: V8 Feels Sluggish, Fuel Economy Notes: Toyota decided to go back to some of their roots when it comes to their trucks and SUVs. Earlier in the year, the automaker launched the TRD Pro series for the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra. The TRD Pro boasts changes to suspension, wheels, and exterior to make them ready to go off the beaten trail. Our first taste in the TRD Pro came in the form of a Tundra CrewMax. There is no mistaking the TRD Pro Tundra as it comes in a wild orange paint, paired with an old school Toyota grille (reminiscent of Toyota’s SUVs in the late eighties and early nineties) and eighteen-inch off-road alloy wheels finished in black and wrapped in meaty off-road tires. We like the TRD Pro embossed into the rear fenders as it adds a touch of distinctiveness. Inside is your standard Tundra interior with black cloth seats embroidered with the TRD Pro logo. Under the skin, Toyota made some small changes to the Tundra TRD Pro with revised suspension tuning, new front springs, outboard off-road shocks in the rear, and skid plates. We gave the TRD Pro a light exercise around a dirt field and it passed with flying colors. The suspension has more than enough travel to traverse various heights of terrain and the steering provides a good feel on the terrain you are driving on. This is a truck I love to go on a trail to see what it is fully capable of. These changes to make the Tundra a capable off-roader don’t hurt it on a day to day basis. The suspension provides a smooth ride, and there isn’t much noise coming from the tires. The one problem that is holding the Tundra TRD Pro back is the engine. Toyota uses a 5.7L I-FORCE V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. This engine never feels powerful due to two reasons; a curb weight of 5,625 lbs and a lazy throttle. These two cause you to put your foot farther down on the pedal to get to that power. That also means your fuel economy will be hurting. Average for the week in the Tundra TRD Pro was 12.9 MPG. Toyota really needs to go back to drawing board and figure out how to make a V8 that can balance power and fuel economy. Otherwise, Toyota has a really interesting offering in the truck market with the TRD Pro. Disclaimer: Infiniti, Kia, and Toyota Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
  4. By now, you would think that we wouldn't be surprised when Kia rolls out a very stylish vehicle. You would be wrong as jaws dropped when Kia unveiled the 2017 Sportage at the LA Auto Show yesterday. Now Kia has shown off the Sportage at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in September. But if you missed or forgot about it, here is what you need to know. The Sportage's exterior is all new from the ground up with a more aggressive look. The front boast's Kia's most polarizing take on the Tiger nose with an upright design. Quad-beam foglights and new headlights finish the front. Size-wise, the 2017 Sportage is about 1.6 inches longer and rides on a wheelbase that is 1.2 inches longer. The increase in size allows for a more spacious cabin for passengers and cargo. A new dashboard layout provides an easy reach and understanding for all of the various controls. The 2017 Sportage will also be one of the first Kia models to debut the latest version of UVO, complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. The base engine will be a 2.4L four with 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, while a turbocharged 2.0L four with 241 horsepower and 260 pound-feet will be standard on top SX trim. A six-speed automatic comes standard on either engine, while there is a choice between front and all-wheel drive. Kia says the Sportage will arrive sometime next year. Source: Kia Press Release is on Page 2 All-new 2017 Kia Sportage makes North American Debut at Los Angeles Auto Show Fourth-Generation Sportage Compact CUV Boasts Sophisticated Design, a Refined Premium Interior and Significant Ride and Handling Improvements Stiffer structure, new suspension, advanced driver assistance systems, and premium materials take Sportage to the head of the class Cutting-edge design, engaging driving dynamics and intelligent packaging stand out in a staid compact CUV segment First Kia to offer UVO3, featuring 14 telematics services, 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps and Wi-Fi tethering capability, all free of charge Los Angeles, November 18, 2015 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the all-new 2017 Sportage at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The fourth-generation Sportage, KMA’s longest-running nameplate, wraps stunning contemporary design around a structure that is both stiffer and more spacious than before. Advanced driver assistance technologies, significant suspension and steering improvements, and available intelligent AWD vastly improve the Sportage’s driving dynamics while premium materials and world-class craftsmanship create a class-up experience in an otherwise utilitarian segment. “Simply put, the Sportage is a breed apart in the compact CUV segment,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning KMA. “Instead of bland utility, the Sportage combines distinctly European and sporty styling with thoughtful design and functionality, including innovative packaging, premium materials, a turbocharged engine and surprising features. Sales of compact CUVs are on a sharply upward trajectory, and the all-new 2017 Sportage hits the sweet spot by providing an alternative for those seeking to express themselves with a vehicle that’s versatile enough to suit their unique lifestyle.” The all-new Sportage’s roomier, more luxurious cabin features an impressive level of craftsmanship, with high-quality, soft-touch materials and a range of technologies improving overall comfort, convenience, and connectivity. Updates to the drivetrain provide enhanced efficiency and performance, while changes to the suspension deliver better ride and handling. Like the outgoing model, the all-new Sportage will be built at Kia’s production facility in Gwangju, Korea, and be available in three distinct trim levels (LX, EX, SX Turbo) when it goes on sale next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the Sportage’s on-sale date. Aggressive, Inspired Design Designed under the direction of Kia’s president and chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, the 2017 Sportage’s exterior juxtaposes smooth curves with sharp creases. Although every body panel is new, the “face” of the new Sportage features the most significant change over the outgoing model. Kia’s hallmark “tiger-nose” grille resides vertically in the front fascia while the headlights are positioned higher, sweeping back along the outer edges of the sharply detailed hood. A lower, wider front clip – enlarged to provide greater engine cooling – adds visual volume to the lower half of the Sportage’s face, resulting in a planted and aggressive stance, though it keeps the same overall width, 73.0 inches, as its predecessor. The wheelbase has been stretched 1.2 inches (now 105.1 inches), while overall length has increased 1.6 inches to 176.4 inches. Despite its increased dimensions, the all-new Sportage remains instantly recognizable thanks to its sloping roofline and sharply raked rear window. Short overhangs and wheels pushed to the corners continue to be Sportage signatures, while a longer, more aerodynamic spoiler and bolder wheel arches give the compact CUV a more dynamic appearance. Tasteful chrome touches surround the windows, giving the Sportage LX and EX a more upscale look, while the top-of-the-line SX Turbo model adds more visual interest with new “ice cube” LED fog lamps, HID headlamps, LED tail lights, satin exterior trim, metal-look skid plates, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Modern and Refined Interior Inside, the new Sportage’s driver-oriented cockpit features a simple and modern design with clean horizontal lines emphasizing a more spacious interior. The lateral design of the dashboard divides it into two clear zones. The upper “display” zone delivers information to occupants via the instrument panel and new color touchscreen, which is canted 10 degrees toward the driver. The lower half, or the “control” zone, features easily identifiable switchgear to operate the available dual-zone climate system, audio and secondary controls. Similar to the touchscreen, the center console has been angled to face the driver. Giving the Sportage a more premium feel is the availability of either a single-tone (black) or two-tone (Dark and Light Grey or Black and Beige) cabin, while metalwork elements blended with soft-touch materials contribute to a more upscale interior. The EX and SX Turbo models add sumptuous leather upholstery, and the SX Turbo includes a D-shaped, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, piano black trim along the center console, aluminum alloy pedals, and authentic stitching on the dashboard. As a result of the increased exterior dimensions and clever packaging, interior dimensions have grown, offering more space and comfort. Headroom has increased 0.2 inches to 39.3 inches in the front and 0.6 inches to 39.1 in the rear, while legroom has increased slightly in front and 0.3 inches in the rear to 38.2. The second row has a 1.6-inch lower interior floor (ground clearance is unchanged at 6.4 inches for front-drive models and 6.8 inches on AWD) and 1.2-inch lower rear bench hip point, benefitting second-row passengers with more headroom (up more than a half inch) and a more comfortable seating position. Offering even more comfort are options such as three-level front seat heaters, 10-way power control with lumbar support for the driver’s seat, and eight-way power control for the passenger seat. Just as passenger space has increased, so has cargo room. Thanks to an innovative dual-level cargo floor and a widened luggage area, cargo capacity behind the second row has grown substantially from 26.1 cu.-ft. to 30.7 cu.-ft. (SAE). By relocating the license plate from the bumper to the tailgate, the lift-over height has been lowered for easier loading and unloading. A Smart Power Liftgate™, which automatically opens when the key fob is within three feet of the vehicle, is also available. Outward visibility has been improved by mounting the side mirrors lower on the doors, using thinner A- and C-pillars and incorporating larger rear glass in hatch. This feeling of spaciousness is further enhanced with an available panoramic sunroof that is 4.1 inches longer than the outgoing model’s. Kia engineers reduced noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) through the application of a quad-bushing setup in the rear suspension to isolate road noise and additional sound-absorbent materials throughout the Sportage’s wheel arches. Wind noise also is reduced as a result of thicker front side glass, a lip seal for the panoramic sunroof, and additional soundproofing in the doors. The 2017 Sportage is also more aerodynamic, with a coefficient of drag that’s been reduced from .37 cd to .35 cd. A Strong Foundation The structure of the all-new Sportage is significantly improved due to the extensive use of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS). With 51 percent of the Sportage’s body-in-white consisting of AHSS versus the outgoing model’s 18 percent, torsional rigidity has improved 39 percent. Furthermore, the increased use of advanced hot-stamped steel improves body integrity. The material has been used to reinforce the A-, B- and C-pillars, side sills, roof structure, and wheel arches. As a result of its stronger core, Sportage engineers are targeting the compact CUV to earn an overall five-star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rating and an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ designation. The 2017 will be available with a wide range of driver assistance features1 including: Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which can detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and help bring the Sportage to a halt Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which emits an audible alert when it detects the driver straying from the current lane without using a turn signal Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Lane Change Assist (LCA), which can monitor cars up to 230 feet behind the Sportage and provide the driver with a visual warning in the door mirror when another car enters the blind spot Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which can warn the driver when other cars pass behind the Sportage as it backs out of a parking space Bi-HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) technology Refined and Spirited Performance The completely redesigned fully independent front suspension achieves a leap forward in ride quality. A four-point bushing setup delivers greater stability and a more natural response to changing road surfaces, while stiffer wheel bearings and bushings result in more precise handling. The fully-independent rear suspension now adopts a dual-member shock absorber housing, while both AWD and FWD models now benefit from a dual lower-arm multi-link setup. The SX Turbo has been uniquely tuned with firmer shock absorbers to deliver sharper handling befitting its athletic personality. The 2017 Sportage is offered in front or all-wheel-drive, both coupled with a six-speed Sportmatic transmission. The Dynamax intelligent AWD system is available on every trim and features a 50/50 locking center differential. The system senses, anticipates, and optimizes traction requirements for all road and weather conditions. AWD models feature a unique front fascia with a steeper approach angle for increased capability. Steering is another area of improvement, as engineers mounted the steering box farther forward on the axle for better weight distribution. With 25 percent less friction than the previous unit, the 2017 Sportage offers smoother and more precise steering inputs and better feel. Efficiency and driving performance were two major areas of focus when retuning the engines. The hard-charging 2.0-liter inline-four turbo found on the SX Turbo makes 241 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and has been retuned to target improved fuel efficiency and offer better midrange torque. The LX and EX use a normally aspirated 2.4-liter engine that produces 181 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque and is also retuned to target better fuel efficiency. Advanced Telematics, Audio and Entertainment The all-new Sportage features a number of new and advanced on-board technologies2 to elevate the driving experience and keep drivers connected. The LX comes equipped with a standard 5.0-inch color touchscreen that features Bluetooth®3 hands-free phone operation and streaming audio, SiriusXM®4 satellite radio, and rear-camera display5. A move up to the EX brings a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with the latest version of Kia’s award-winning telematics and infotainment system, UVO3, which is making its debut on the all-new Sportage. Complete with Android Auto6, Apple7 CarPlay® (late availability), and UVO eServices8 featuring 14 telematics services, the enhanced system features up to 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps such as Pandora®9 and Soundhound and Wi-Fi tethering capability, all free of charge. The SX Turbo features all of the above, plus an 8-inch touchscreen and onboard navigation. All Sportages come standard with a 160-watt six-speaker audio system, and a powerful 320-watt Harmon Kardon® premium audio system is available, featuring eight speakers including subwoofer, an external amplifier, and Clari-FiTM10 music restoration technology for unrivalled audio quality.
  5. In a person’s life, there will be an event that happens on a rare occurrence. Seeing a comet streak across the sky or watching the Detroit Lions have a winning season. For those who care about the automobile, seeing a new Bentley or Rolls-Royce model being introduced counts as one of these events. Similarly, seeing an automaker introduce a new minivan can be put on that list. Very few automakers compete in the minivan class as it's dominated by the stalwarts such as Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna. But once in a blue moon, a new minivan comes around to challenge them. Case in point is the 2015 Kia Sedona. Kia’s minivan underwent a massive revision and came back last year to try and take a nice chunk of the minivan marketplace. We spent a week in the Sedona SXL to see if Kia has a chance. Kia’s designers must have been impressed when Nissan launched the current Quest minivan a few years back. We mention that because that’s what the Sedona’s overall look reminds us of. Both vans feature a cargo van look with flat sides and a large area of glass. Where the Sedona differs from the Quest is the front end. There is a distinctive grille insert surrounded by chrome. A set of trapezoidal headlights flank either side with a strand of LEDs splitting the middle and running towards the outer edge. The Sedona’s interior follows the same template as Kia’s larger sedans, the Cadenza and K900, with a modern design and quality materials used throughout. Stepping inside our SXL tester and for a moment, we thought this was a luxury sedan, not a minivan. From the two-tone Nappa leather used on the seats to the solid feeling controls for the infotainment system, the Sedona oozes a lot of class. The Sedona can seat up to eight people through our SXL tester was equipped for seven due to the second row having the optional captain chairs. No matter which row you find yourself in, there is more than enough head and legroom for even the tallest of passengers. Those sitting in the second row of the SXL will be pleased as they can recline and bring up a footrest for that extra level of comfort. But much like the Toyota Sienna which had this feature, there isn’t enough space to pull this off for most passengers. In terms of cargo space, the Sedona isn’t quite as big as the Sienna. With all three rows up, the Sedona offers 33.9 cubic feet of space. Fold the third row down and space increases to 78.4. With the second row down, space measures 142 cubic feet. For comparison, the Sienna offers about eight more cubic feet of space. There’s also one specific problem for the Sedona SXL. The second-row seats cannot do the Slide-n-Stow (Kia’s name for the folding seat system) or be removed from the van because they are locked into place. This means you will lose a bit more cargo space. If you do want the maximum cargo space in your Sedona, stick with one of the lower trims. The Sedona SXL also came equipped with the latest version of Kia’s UVO infotainment system. As we have written in previous Kia reviews, this system is one of the best in terms of overall usability and performance. A simple interface with large touchpoints and redundant buttons is paired with quick performance in terms of moving from various functions to figuring our directions for the navigation. A number of OEMs would be wise to study Kia’s system. For power, the Sedona uses the 3.3L V6 found in the Cadenza and Sorento crossover. This V6 produces 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission gets power to the front wheels. The V6 moves the Sedona without any complaints. The automatic transmission provided smooth shifts and was quick to downshift whenever more power was needed, such as making a pass. In terms of fuel economy, the Sedona SXL is rated at 17 City/22 Highway/19 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 20.3 MPG. Now it should be noted that lower trims of the Sedona return better fuel economy numbers of 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined thanks to lower curb weights. The Sedona’s ride quality is comfortable on most road surfaces, although the nineteen-inch wheels on our SXL tester did let in a few bumps. Road and wind noise were kept to a minimum. Despite the large size of the Sedona, we found it to be quite maneuverable thanks to light steering and an around-view camera system that provided different views to help us to get into tight parking spaces. Handling characteristics are what you would expect in a minivan, a fair amount of lean and not that much feel from the steering. If you want a little bit of sport in a minivan, then look at the Dodge Grand Caravan or Honda Odyssey. The Kia Sedona comes as a bit of surprise in the minivan marketplace. While the likes Dodge, Honda, and Toyota have a tight grasp on the class, Kia uses the formula that has propelled it to the spotlight time and time again; offering a sleek design with loads of equipment that won’t break the bank. Whether that makes a difference in the sales chart remains to be seen. But if you are considering a minivan and want to stand out from the usual suspects, the Sedona is very much worth your consideration. Disclaimer: Kia provided the Sedona SXL, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Kia Model: Sedona Trim: SXL Engine: 3.3L DOHC GDI CVVT V6 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 276 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 248 @ 5,200 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/22/19 Curb Weight: 4,720 lbs Location of Manufacture: South Korea Base Price: $39,700 As Tested Price: $43,295 (Includes $985.00 Destination Charge) Options: SXL Technology Package - $2,700.00
  6. Kia is very keen on teasing us. Last week, we showed off some renderings of the next-generation Cadenza that will be going on sale sometime next year. Now Kia has revealed a couple of renderings for an all-new hybrid model. Called the Niro, Kia describes this upcoming model as a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). Most likely, the Niro will share the platform and powertrain that will be used on Hyundai's upcoming hybrid model. It is expected that Kia will show the Niro at either the Detroit or Chicago Auto Show next year, with sales beginning sometime after. Source: Kia Press Release is on Page 2 Kia to launch all-new Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle Kia has today announced its plans to introduce an all-new low emissions vehicle to its growing model line-up. The Niro – labelled a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) – represents a new concept from the Korean car brand, and marks the development of Kia's first dedicated eco-car platform. Niro will maintain all the practicality and appeal of a compact SUV, while offering greater fuel economy. Engineered from the ground up as a dedicated hybrid vehicle, its attractive, modern styling will help the car stand out in a traditionally conservative sector. The Niro's all-new platform has been engineered in isolation from existing Kia models, and is designed to accommodate a specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies and next-generation powertrains
  7. Kia revealed a few renderings of the next-generation Cadenza, which is expected to go on sale sometime next year. The renderings reveal Kia making their full-size sedan a bit more aggressive with an angular front grille, a sculpted front bumper, rakish windshield, and a sloping roofline. The interior looks similar to the current model. But there are some changes that include a new steering wheel and a larger touchscreen. No information was provided on what would power the sedan. Source: Kia Press Release is on Page 2 Kia Motors previews next-generation Cadenza The all-new Kia Cadenza will set new benchmarks for cutting-edge design, interior quality and contemporary luxury when it goes on sale in overseas markets in 2016. Previewed for the first time in new images released today, the next-generation Cadenza maintains the progressive, contemporary image of the current model, while introducing higher levels of luxury and refinement to the large sedan segment. The all-new Cadenza offers a bold reinterpretation of the current model's popular design, featuring an elongated bonnet, a wider, lower stance and sharper styling lines, with a thoroughly modern execution of signature Kia design cues ensuring the new Cadenza is instantly recognizable. The cabin of the all-new Cadenza has been designed anew, boasting a fresh, luxurious appearance and layout that offers a sense of width and spaciousness. With a premium new design and higher-quality materials than ever before – two elements inspired by European tastes – the Cadenza's new cabin will set a new standard for luxury and refinement in its class. The all-new Kia Cadenza will go on sale in overseas markets in 2016.
  8. There are two ways you can go when building an electric vehicle, either you start with a clean sheet design or you take a vehicle you currently build and modify it. Both methods have their pluses and minuses. Going with a clean sheet gives you the ability to design a vehicle with an electric powertrain in mind, but the costs can grow exorbitantly. The opposite is true when taking a vehicle and modifying it electrification. This was a decision Kia was faced with a few years ago when they began working on their first electric vehicle. Ultimately, the company decided to use one of their current vehicles. But which one would offer the least amount of problems in the transformation? To their eyes, the Soul would be the perfect candidate. Let’s see if this decision paid off. The standard Kia Soul is already a vehicle that stands out thanks to the funky boxy design and range of wild colors. The electric version steps it up with small changes such as lighting with a blue tint, wheels painted in white, and a new front fascia with a closed off grille. That grille hides the Soul EV’s recharging ports. Inside, the Soul EV is mostly the same as the standard Soul with an expressive design and high-quality materials. Kia added some unique touches to the Soul EV’s interior such as a white trim around the gear shift and center console, and blue piping for the seats. One of the key issues when converting a standard vehicle to electric power is the loss of space due to the batteries. The Soul EV is no exception to this rule. Compared to the standard Soul, the EV has less cargo space as the batteries take up space that is normally part of an underfloor storage tray. But most owners won’t notice this loss in space as the Soul EV can still take in a lot of cargo thanks to the boxy shape. Power comes in the form of an 81kW electric motor delivering 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. While the Soul EV is 600 pounds heavier than the standard Soul, it doesn’t feel like it has gained any weight. With torque fully available at zero rpm, the Soul EV moves quite quickly. Moreover, the electric powertrain was able to provide power instantaneously whenever I needed to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. Kia says the Soul EV has a range of 93 Miles on a full charge, which is higher than the Ford Focus EV and Nissan Leaf EV. A full charge takes about four to five hours when plugged into 240V charger, or 24 hours when plugged in 120V outlet. During the week, it took about eight to ten hours for the Soul EV to charge back up from a day of driving (about 40 miles in my case). The Soul EV retains the same ride qualities as the standard Soul as it seems to glide over bumps and imperfections. There is barely any road noise entering the cabin, but wind noise is somewhat apparent. This is due to the shape of the Soul. Kia has done an excellent job with their first electric vehicle. The Soul EV shows that with that with the right base vehicle, you can create an electric vehicle that is vying for best in class honors. The big downside to the Soul EV is that Kia is only selling it certain markets. At the time of this writing, Kia is selling the Soul EV in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. If you happen to be considering and are in one of the states where Kia is selling the Soul EV, then be sure to give it a look. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Soul EV and Insurance Year: 2015 Make: Kia Model: Soul EV Trim: + Engine: 81 kW Electric Motor Driveline: Single-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 109 @ 0 Torque @ RPM: 210 @ 0 Fuel Economy: N/A Curb Weight: 3,289 lbs Location of Manufacture: Gwangju, South Korea Base Price: $35,700 As Tested Price: $35,700* (*Note: Price doesn't include destination charge or Federal and State incentives.) Options: N/A
  9. After some leaks showing off the vehicle, Kia has decided to release some pictures of the next-generation Sportage before its official debut at Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Compared to the current Sportage, the new model is much bolder thanks to a lower and wider “tiger nose” grille, new headlights, and wider fenders. Kia designer's retain the distinctive swept-back silhouette of the current model. We don't have any details on the interior or powertrains. Kia is keeping those under wraps till next month. Source: Kia Press Release is on Page 2 Dynamic energy: Bold new exterior design for next-generation Kia Sportage Kia Motors has today revealed the first official exterior images of the all-new Kia Sportage, featuring an attractive new design. The all-new Sportage will make its global debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show on 15 September 2015. Entering its fourth-generation, the all-new Kia Sportage features a bold, progressive design, with the vehicle's designers creating a sense of power and agility from every angle. Echoing the contrast of smooth and sharp shapes found on some of the most iconic modern fighter jets, the Sportage creates visual harmony out of the tension between sharp, defined feature lines and smooth surfacing. The 'face' of the all-new Sportage represents the biggest change to the car's design, with the car's headlamps no longer integrated with the grille for the new model, instead sweeping back along the outer edges of the more sharply-detailed bonnet and bolder wheel arches. Immediately recognisable as a Kia, the Sportage's lower, wider 'tiger-nose' grille adds more volume to the lower half of the Sportage's face, resulting in a more imposing appearance and a more stable-looking stance. The all-new Sportage is characterised by its sportier, more raked profile. From the side, the all-new Sportage retains the swept-back silhouette of the outgoing model, with a roofline that tapers slightly towards the rear of the car, longer front overhangs, shorter rear overhangs and longer wheelbase. Smooth bodywork, bolder wheel arches and sharp lines endow the Sportage with a more dynamic, muscular look. At the rear, the horizontal forms and surface volume emphasise the car's width and give the compact SUV a more stable appearance. Inspired by the 2013 Kia Provo concept car, the slim combination lamps are joined by a strip that runs the width of the rear, while turn signals and reversing lights are separated, relocated lower down to add more visual weight and a greater sense of stability to the lower half of the car. The design of the new Sportage has been led by Kia's European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany, with input from the brand's Namyang, Korea and Irvine, California design centres
  10. The past few years have seen Kia show off some sports car concepts and many have been wondering if Kia would actually build one. Well according to Autocar, Kia will be doing just that. Kia UK boss Paul Philpott revealed that the Korean automaker will launch a new sports car “by the end of the decade”. Not many details about this new car are known since it is still in the planning stages. What is known is that the new model will take ideas from the GT and Stinger GT4 concepts, and not be based on any other Kia model. This comes at an interesting time since earlier in the week, Hyundai President & CEO Tony Whitehorn told Autocar that they don't have any plans to build a sports car. “Not many people make money out of sports cars. The sports car market is shrinking dramatically, and even firms with heritage and a great product are struggling. Aside from the Audi TT and Mazda MX-5, it is a tough place to be,” said Whitehorn. Source: Autocar
  11. Kia is planning to follow Hyundai with offering a range of performance models around the world. However, Kia isn't planning to make them as hardcore as Hyundai's upcoming N models. Hyundai and Kia’s performance development boss Albert Biermann tells Autocar that Kia's GT models will differ Hyundai's N models as they aren't designed to be taken on a racetrack. This means GT models will likely not see such tech as an electronically controlled limited slip differential that will be coming on the European-market i30 N Plus. What they will see is improvements in terms of performance, handling, and looks. Biermann admits that “GT is not right for all Kia models," but most of Kia's mainstream lineup will likely see a GT variant. Some of the models likely to get a GT variant include the next-generation Rio, Optima, and the next-generation ProCeed (unrelated to the Forte compact). "The Ceed GT is a very balanced car, but we are a few years further down the road, and if we were to engineer it now it would have some more spice to it.” Biermann also revealed that standard Kia models will get different chassis settings from their Hyundai brethren as a way to differentiate them. “Kia is meant to be more emotional than Hyundai and we have to make cars that reflect that when you drive them,” said Biermann. Source: Autocar
  12. The long-rumored and talked-about rear-drive Kia GT is coming soon and we have learned a little bit more information about it. Speaking with Australian outlet Motoring, Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith let out some interesting bits of information. “We can’t wait for CK. It will be here in the third quarter of next year, in two specifications priced from about $40,000 AUD," said Meredith. CK is the codename for the upcoming rear-drive sedan which according to Motoring is called Stinger. Meredith did confirm the Stinger would use a 3.3L biturbo V6 with 362 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque as its top engine. Most likely the base engine will be the 3.8L V6 with 311 horsepower. The platform that underpins the current Hyundai Genesis (soon to be the Genesis G80), will be used here. For Australia, Kia is planning to aim the Stinger at buyers who would have bought the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. “It’s perfect timing. CK will arrive just before the unfortunate demise of Australian car manufacturing, and it will appeal to the same buyers in that segment. It’s a great opportunity for us,” said Meredith. Source: Motoring.com.au
  13. The Kia Soul is one the popular models in their lineup. But even more popular are the Soul ads with hamsters (Kia would like you to call them Hamstars). Recently, Kia unveiled a new ad with the Hamstars and the Soul EV (with others to follow). But the automaker slipped something towards the end of the ad of a new powertrain option. In the closing frames, Kia has an overview of the Soul lineup with Gas, Electric, and Turbo. Turbo? Right next to it is 'Winter 2016'. Very sneaky Kia. Rumors of a turbocharged Soul have been flying around for a few years now, but this could be first real indication of it. What could be under the hood of the Soul Turbo? Car and Driver speculates it might be the turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder used in the Forte Koup and Forte5. The engine produces 201 horsepower. Source: Car and Driver, Kia
  14. Has it really been almost four years since we last took at the Kia Optima? Going back through our review archives, the answer is yes with the 2012 Optima Hybrid. Since this time, we have driven the full gamut of midsize sedans that have impressed us (Honda Accord EX) or ended up to be a big dud (Chevrolet Malibu Eco). The Optima hasn’t been resting on its laurels during this time either. Kia has been improving the sedan over time with new features and trim levels. Last year, the company introduced an all-new Optima which looks similar to the previous one. So we wondered what changes had been made and if it still remains one of our favorite midsize sedans. Compared to the last-generation Optimas, the 2016 model looks the same at a glance. But there are some key differences that set the new model apart from the old one. The most apparent one is around back where there is a new trunk lid design with a higher decklid. A set of LED taillights finishes it off. The front also sees some changes, but you’ll need to look closely. The grille is slightly narrower and there are new headlights. Some will be disappointed that Kia didn’t do any drastic changes, but I’m ok with it. It is still one of the best looking midsize sedans on sale. The interior is where you’ll begin to see some major changes. The dashboard is all-new with a design borrowed from the Cadenza and K900 with more soft-touch materials and a revised center stack. We like the new center stack as it is easier to find to various functions at a quick glance. The 2016 model also gains an updated version of Kia’s UVO infotainment system with eServices. eServices allow you to do various functions such as run diagnostics on the vehicle and schedule a service appointment. It will also call 911 if the airbags deploy. Like in previous Kia models we have driven, UVO is towards the top of our favorite infotainment systems as it is simple to use and offers a lot of features for the money. Overall comfort in the Optima hasn’t changed much since we last checked it out. The front seats still offer excellent levels of comfort and support. Opt for the Premium Package on the EX and you’ll gain power adjustments for the passenger, and heated and ventilated seats. In the back, there is plenty of legroom for any sized passenger. Headroom is a different story as tall passengers will be hitting the headliner due to the sloping roofline. If you get the optional panoramic sunroof, this cuts headroom even further. Our EX tester came with 2.4L direct-injected four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The 2.4 provides enough power for most people with decent acceleration and a smooth delivery of power. The engine, for the most part, keeps to itself it terms of noise. But this changes during hard acceleration as the engine begins to sound very gravely. The six-speed automatic goes about its business with delivering smooth shifts. As for fuel economy, we got an average of 30.2 MPG for the week. One item we wished Kia would work on is the Optima’s ride. We found it to be a little bit too harsh with many of bumps and imperfections making their way into the cabin. We know Kia is trying to set itself apart from Hyundai by having an edge of sportiness. But you can have good handling along with a comfortable ride. Noise isolation isn’t great as a decent amount of road and wind noise come into the cabin. In terms of handling, the Optima doesn’t embarrass itself. Body motions are kept in check and the steering feels slightly heavy when turning. The 2016 Kia Optima does bring some improvements to already good sedan. But a couple of items keep the Optima back from being towards the top in the midsize class, mostly the ride and noise isolation. If Kia can address both of these issues, then the Optima will be a true threat. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Optima EX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Kia Model: Optima Trim: EX Engine: 2.4L GDI Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 185 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 178 @ 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/35/28 Curb Weight: 3,362 lbs Location of Manufacture: West Point, GA Base Price: $24,890 As Tested Price: $30,615 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge) Options: EX Premium Package - $3,700 EX Premium Audio Package - $1,200
  15. Kia has been trying to break into the premium sedan market with limited success since 2003, first with the Amanti and then with a new try in 2013 with the Kia Cadenza, neither of which sold well. In spite of being on sale for three years, Kia has only sold about 25,000 Cadenzas in the U.S. in total. The Cadenza is Kia's version of the Hyundai Azera. At the New York International Auto Show, Kia unveiled the second generation, 2017 Kia Cadenza. In the 2017 Cadenza is a new, stronger and lighter body structure that helps keep out sound and provides a quiet driving experience. Powering the Cadenza is a revised version of Kia's 3.3 liter V6 producing (a preliminary) 290 horsepower and routing power to the front wheels via Kia's first 8-speed automatic that was developed in house. Interior and exterior updates abound with a focus on quiet and comfort. There will be two grilles offered depending on trim line. The butterfly cross hatch similar to other Kia models will be the look on the lower trims, while a toothy blade grille, reminiscent of a concave Buick grille, will be featured on higher end Cadenzas. The 2017 goes on sale later in 2016 with pricing to be announced in a few months. Second-Generation Cadenza Boasts Luxury Refinements with Expressive Styling, Advanced Technology, and Refined Powertrain New body structure is stronger, yet lighter and more rigid for a more enjoyable driving experience All-new Cadenza takes its sophistication to greater heights with beautifully crafted interior Kia’s first FWD eight-speed automatic transmission improves driving dynamics and efficiency NEW YORK, March 23, 2016 – The Big Apple today is playing host to the world debut of the all-new 2017 Kia Cadenza at the New York International Auto Show. The stunningly beautiful Cadenza improves upon all the elements that made its predecessor an award-winning success, boasting a precisely crafted cabin, cutting edge technology for connectivity and driver assistance, a stronger body structure, and powertrain enhancements for a more premium experience behind the wheel. “The new Cadenza adds an extra dose of excitement to the large-car segment with its striking, aggressively handsome looks and premium refinements,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, Kia Motors America. “Everything you see and touch in the Cadenza’s cabin has been improved, but it’s underneath where the Cadenza truly shines with a stiffer and lighter chassis, eight-speed transmission and vastly improved driving dynamics.” The second-generation Cadenza is set to go on-sale in late 2016, and pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch date. Elegant and Confident Exterior Designed at Kia’s California design studio, birthplace of the unforgettable Track’ster and GT4 Stinger concepts as well as the iconic Soul, the Cadenza’s precision-machined exterior exudes confidence, with clean lines offset by expressive details. It all starts with Kia Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer’s oft-quoted philosophy focusing on “the simplicity of the straight line,” which is defined by a single gestural contour that spans the length of the car, creating a sleek profile. This lineation visually links matching Z-shaped lighting signatures in the headlights and LED tail lights, affording the all-new Cadenza a more distinctive road presence, day or night. The overall impression is one of modernity and power, which is achieved by visually shearing away surface area to create a more angular form. Head on, the Cadenza is more expressive thanks to the newly designed front fascia. While the signature Kia “tiger nose” grille is still an unmistakable design trait, it has evolved into a new hexagonal shape that emphasizes the Cadenza’s visual width with lines extending underneath the headlights. But the more substantial change to the grille is its distinct concave form, which curves in toward the engine bay, giving the Cadenza its handsomely chiseled face. Unlike other cars in the segment, the Cadenza is available with two different grilles. Lower trim models will come with the “Diamond Butterfly” front grille that features the same three-dimensional pattern as several siblings within the Kia lineup, but has its own unique appearance thanks to the concave shape. Higher trim models will come with the “Intaglio” grille, featuring vertically oriented, faceted blades. LED technology inside the “piano key” taillights helps create visual depth while also complementing the Z-shape lighting signature. Other thoughtful details include the chrome garnish that extends through the trunk lid, accentuating the Cadenza’s wide stance, and tasteful chrome accents on the side mirrors and rear quarter windows. Exterior styling is further enhanced by optimized dimensions. While the new Cadenza has the same overall length as the outgoing model, it’s slightly wider and lower in height. The wheelbase has been stretched slightly, contributing to nearly a half-inch of increased legroom for rear passengers. Achieving Cadenza’s sportier profile was achieved by extending the roofline rearward more than two inches, while maintaining rear headroom and slightly improving trunk space. Exquisitely Comfortable Interior Space The interior is thoughtfully redesigned with even higher quality materials than the preceding model and higher levels of craftsmanship throughout. Like the exterior, the Cadenza’s soft interior contours are offset by sheared surfaces. Kia designers visually widened the Cadenza’s interior space with a wraparound dashboard that flows into the door panels and features real stitching. The door panels themselves have been adorned with higher quality soft-touch materials, while soft leather envelopes the Cadenza’s cabin space. Nappa leather is available with quilted seat bolsters accented by diamond shaped stitching that dresses up the Cadenza’s already attractive cabin. For 2017, buyers have greater opportunity to customize their Cadenza, as a dark brown interior color has been added, bringing the total number of color combinations to four. Like the outgoing model, the White Package remains an option, but it has been upgraded with a new black wood-grain-style trim finished with a pearlescent sheen. Improvements were made throughout to ensure a more pleasant driving experience. The driver’s seat has been lowered for a sportier and more stable feeling, while engineers extended the seat cushion slightly and developed an innovative cushion extension mechanism that slides and rotates, making it easier for drivers to find their comfort zone behind the wheel. The heating elements used for the seat warmers have been reengineered to more evenly distribute warmth, and as a Kia first, the seat heaters now utilize a smart control system to automatically lower the heater operating mode after a certain period of time. The Driving Experience The 2017 Cadenza is built upon a strong foundation with a body structure composed of more than 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) — more than twice the amount used in the outgoing model. Engineers are targeting an overall five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A driver’s knee airbag helps in this regard and brings the total number of airbags in the vehicle to nine. The first Kia to be sold in the U.S. under the DRIVE WISE sub-brand, the Cadenza offers cutting-edge driver assistance features1 such as Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning. Another Kia first is the Smart Blind Spot Detection System1 which senses unintentional drifting toward an adjacent vehicle and automatically brakes the opposite side front wheel to help maintain the vehicle’s intended course. Side body panels are stronger and feature increased tensile strength steel to improve Cadenza’s dent resistance. Thanks to the increased use of structural adhesive and hot-stamped components, structural stiffness has been increased by more than 35 percent, which also improves driving dynamics. The overall chassis is lighter, thanks to the use of aluminum instead of steel in areas like the front steering knuckles, and engineers retuned the front and rear subframes with larger bushings to improve lateral stiffness and NVH characteristics. Further improving the ride are Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) shock absorbers that maximize ride comfort without sacrificing stability. An extra valve in the damper provides the appropriate damping force according to the road surface, while the new shock absorber now includes a Hydraulic Rebound Stopper (HRS), which works to provide a smoother ride over harsh or broken surfaces. The retuned suspension has improved the Cadenza’s lift coefficient (the up-and-down forces exerted on a moving vehicle), and the end result is better high-speed stability and handling. Steering is more responsive than before with better on-center feel thanks to a new 32-bit Electronic Control Unit (ECU), replacing the 16-bit processor in the outgoing model. The 2017 Cadenza’s confident ride and handling are complemented by improvements in NVH. Additional acoustic absorbing laminate in the front windows and windshield reduces wind noise, while a full floorpan undercover quells road noise. Together with increased insulation around the A-pillars, NVH levels have been substantially reduced, resulting in a library-quiet interior. The floorpan undercover also helps improve the Cadenza’s aerodynamic performance, along with front wheel air curtains that reduce drag around the tires. Overall, the coefficient of drag has improved from 0.29 to 0.28. Newly designed 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels may be shod with available Michelin®2 tires (P245/45R18 or P245/40R19). Behind the wheels, larger brake rotors improve overall braking performance and feel. The front brakes have been increased from 11 to 12 inches, while the rears have grown marginally from 11 to 11.1 inches, helping to reduce stopping distances. Harmonious and Modern Cockpit Brimming with technology, the cockpit is designed to provide a more harmonious human-machine interface with ergonomically intelligent design, intuitive controls, and a suite of enhanced convenience features making the driving experience enjoyable and effortless. New to the 2017 Cadenza is the Head Up Display (HUD)3, which shows key driver information such as speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions on the windshield directly in the driver’s line of sight. In addition, the Surround View Monitor1 has been updated with improved software and resolution that gives the driver a clearer birds-eye view of the area around the vehicle, with newly added reverse guidelines offering confidence when backing into confined spaces. Other features new to the Cadenza include Smart Trunk, which conveniently opens the trunk lid if the sensor detects the key fob for more than three seconds, and a wireless smartphone charger. The latest generation of Kia’s UVO system featuring Android Auto4 and Apple® CarPlay5 is standard, while a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon® system featuring Clari-Fi™6 music restoration technology is an option. Efficient and Durable Performance Underneath the hood is a revised version of Kia’s 3.3-liter V6 engine, which has been retuned for improved fuel economy. With an estimated 290 hp on tap (exact power output and fuel economy figures will be released closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date), the engine sends power to the front wheels via Kia’s first FWD-based eight-speed automatic transmission. The newly developed transmission is highly efficient, providing quick and crisp shifts for a more enjoyable driving experience that will set it apart from its competitors. Despite having two extra cogs, the eight-speed transmission, which was designed in-house, is lighter than the unit in the outgoing model. Kia engineers also focused on durability and reliability during the development of the all-new Cadenza. Running the V6 at full power and under full-load conditions for 41 consecutive days equates to more than 100,000 miles of real-world use, providing owners with the confidence that the 2017 Cadenza is built for the long haul.
  16. The story of the Kia Sorento can be best described as an ugly duckling to a swan. The first-generation was a rough and tumble, body-on frame SUV. It had some questionable choices in terms of interior materials and the engines drank gas like it was going out of style. The second-generation Sorento became a bit more mature in a number of key areas such as design, fuel economy, and refinement. But it still was missing that one thing, something that could put it over the top. Now we have come to the third-generation Sorento and Kia might have it figured out. The Sorento's design can be described as aspirational. When I was walking around the Sorento after it was dropped off, I was thinking of how much it reminded me of the last-generation Audi Q7 in terms of overall look. A lot of this comes from the boxy shape with rounded corners. The front end gets a larger a tiger-nose grille and LED fog lights. Chrome trim running along the side windows and nineteen-inch alloy wheels only add to the overall aspirational impression. The interior of the Sorento looks and feels like something you would find in a more expensive crossover. Most surfaces in the Sorento are soft to the touch and have some decorative touch such as contrast stitching. The dash layout is very clean and controls are in logical order. The SX Limited comes with Nappa leather for all of the seats, though you would be hard-pressed to tell a difference between this and the standard leather used on lower trims of the Sorento. The front seats come with power adjustments, along with heat and ventilation. I found them to be quite comfortable once you figured out what adjustments needed to be made. The back seat has plenty of legroom thanks to a three-inch increase in overall length and the ability to slide the seat. Headroom is on par with the class, even with the SX Limited’s panoramic sunroof. The Sorento does have the option of a third-row, but it isn’t available on the Limited Turbo. You'll need to opt for a model with the V6 to get that. On the technology front, the Sorento SX Limited begins with a color display in the instrument cluster that acts as the speedometer, along with a trip computer. The screen is easy to read thanks to clear text and vibrant colors. The only downside is the screen can be washed out if sunlight hits it. An eight-inch screen with Kia UVO eServices and navigation is standard on the Limited and optional on lower trims. Kia’s infotainment system is one my favorite systems to use as it features a simple interface and fast responses. The Sorento’s engine lineup is comprised of a 2.4L four-cylinder, a new turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder, and a 3.3L V6. My Sorento SX Limited tester came with the turbo producing 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque (arriving at 1,450 rpm). It comes with a six-speed automatic and the choice of either front or all-wheel drive. The 2.0L turbo is a bit of a disappointment as it has turbo lag, something I thought was banished with the current generation of turbo engines. Leaving a stop, there are a few seconds where you creep along before the turbo spools up and gets a punch of power. Once the turbo is working, the engine is quite responsive and willing to get up to speed at a decent rate. The six-speed automatic is the best part of the powertrain. Shifts are very smooth and the transmission is quick to downshift when you need a bit more oomph. The other disappointment comes in fuel economy as I only got an average of 21 MPG for the week, slightly lower than the 22.1 I got in the last-generation model equipped with the 3.3L V6. Personally, I would go for the V6 as it offers a better spread of power and would likely achieve around the same fuel economy as the turbo-four. Kia hasn’t messed with the Sorento’s ride and handling characteristics which is a very good thing. The suspension does an excellent job of isolating bumps and other road imperfections from those inside. On the highway, the Sorento is very quiet. No hint of road or wind noise came into the cabin. Steering has a little more heft, but some will complain they want more feel. But you need to keep in mind that Sorento is built for coddling passengers, not trying to be a sporty crossover. But like the last Sorento I drove, this one has a big value problem. The SX Limited with the Turbo and all-wheel drive starts at $41,700. Equipped with an optional technology package that adds lane departure warning, smart cruise control, an around-view camera system, and a few other bits along with destination ran the price to $45,095. If you want a V6, you’ll need to add about $1,600. The SX Limited does come with everything, but how many people would be willing to drop that much money on a Kia? The 2016 Sorento is a complete shock. Not only has Kia made a crossover that looks expensive, but they also made it feel expensive in terms of the interior and overall refinement. The value argument on the Limited models are quite hard to swallow and the 2.0L turbo needs a bit more work in terms of low-end performance. Hence is why I would recommend going for either EX or SX equipped with the V6. They both have that aspirational feel at a price that won’t make you faint. Cheers: Handsome exterior and interior, Smooth ride, Value for money on lower trims Jeers: Price of the Limited, Turbo Engine doesn't feel powerful, Fuel Economy Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Sorento, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Kia Model: Sorento Trim: SX Limited Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,450-3,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/25/22 Curb Weight: 4,004 to 4,303 lbs Location of Manufacture: West Point, GA Base Price: $41,700 As Tested Price: $45,095 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: SXL Technology Package - $2,500
  17. Kia took to the stage this morning at the Chicago Auto Show to reveal their first dedicated hybrid, the 2017 Niro. The Niro is what Kia classifies as a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). We can see some elements of the Sportage crossover in the Niro's design such as the tiger nose grille and overall shape. The design is very aerodynamic as well, recording a 0.29 coefficient of drag. Under the skin is a new front-wheel drive platform designed exclusively for hybrid vehicles that can accommodate various configurations of engines and batteries. This same platform underpins the new Hyundai Ioniq. At launch, the Niro will use 1.6L DI four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor producing a total output of 146 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic routes power only to the front-wheels. A 1.56-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack sits under the rear seat. Fuel economy is unknown at this time, but Kia is aiming for 50 MPG combined. To boost MPG further, the Niro will feature a coaching system to help the driver improve overall efficiency. There will also be a system called Predictive Energy Control that uses the navigation system and cruise control to manage energy flow from the battery. Kia says a plug-in hybrid is expected sometime later in the Niro's lifecycle. “The Niro hits the sweet spot by offering the best combination of outstanding mpg, an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn’t shout ‘hybrid'. The subcompact CUV market continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, and the Niro offers a uniquely alluring yet practical package that consumers haven’t seen before,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president product planning KMA. The Kia Niro will be available at your local Kia dealer sometime later this year. Source: Kia You can follow our coverage of 2016 Chicago Auto Show News here. Press Release is on Page 2 All-New 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle Arrives In the Windy City for Global Debut At Chicago Auto Show Kia’s Hybrid Utility Vehicle Boasts a Number of Firsts for the Brand, Including an All-New, Dedicated Eco-Car Platform and Unique Hybrid System Niro is a no-compromise package, maintaining the style and appeal of a utility vehicle while offering outstanding fuel economy with a targeted 50 mpg combined1 Niro challenges the hybrid-electric segment with an innovative hybrid system that directly contributes to a dynamic driving experience CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2016 – A key component to Kia Motors’ Green Car Roadmap was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show today as Kia Motors America (KMA) hosted the global debut of the all-new 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). A no-compromise vehicle that combines driving enjoyment with eye-catching design, functional utility and hybrid efficiency, the all-new Niro strikes the perfect balance for today’s consumers and stakes claim to a unique position between the hybrid-electric vehicle and CUV segments. “The Niro hits the sweet spot by offering the best combination of outstanding mpg, an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn’t shout ‘hybrid,’” said Orth Hedrick, vice president product planning KMA. “The subcompact CUV market continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, and the Niro offers a uniquely alluring yet practical package that consumers haven’t seen before.” The Niro is yet another vehicle introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand and represents a number of firsts. While it was preceded by clean mobility products such as the Optima Hybrid and Soul EV, Niro is the first Kia to make use of an all-new, dedicated eco-car platform and is an important next step on the path to nearly tripling the brand’s global green car line-up by 2020. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is due to be added to the car’s line-up later in its life-cycle. An “Un-Hybrid” Design Designed at Kia’s design centers in Irvine, California, and Namyang, Korea, the Niro demonstrates that owners don’t have to sacrifice emotionally engaging design or functional utility in the name of efficiency. The HUV’s design language is atypical of a hybrid, appearing strong and confident with subtly sculpted surfaces offset by robust styling cues. The Niro sports wide and low proportions with a long roofline and short overhangs that give it an overall athletic profile. Up front, the Niro bears a familiar front fascia highlighted by Kia’s signature grille and flanked by aggressively shaped headlights that accentuate the Niro’s strong shoulders. Contours on the hood lend visual interest and, along with voluminous wheel arches, rocker cladding, roof rails, and rear skid plate, contribute to a sporty look. Although the Niro has a cohesive crossover theme, it was designed with aerodynamics in mind, with its carefully shaped bodywork contributing to a relatively slippery coefficient of drag of .29. Stepping inside the Niro reveals an inviting, modern, and high-tech interior. Glossy white or black accents underline the HUV’s straightforward theme. The instrument panel is uncluttered and clean, with colorful and informative gauges at the forefront and perfectly positioned primary and secondary controls falling readily to hand. Interior roominess comes by way of the Niro’s 106.3-inch wheelbase, body height, and wide stance, which affords ample leg-, head- and shoulder-room. Seats with increased pad density in the cushions ensure a comfortable ride, helping to prevent fatigue on longer trips. With its crossover-like proportions, the Niro boasts an elevated seating position much like the Kia Soul, providing drivers with a more commanding view of the road as well as easy ingress and egress. While the clever packaging of the high voltage battery assists in delivering a desirable driving experience, its location underneath the rear seats also increases cabin and cargo space and allows a flat load floor. In addition to spaciousness and comfort, ensuring a quiet interior environment was also a key development focus for engineers. Copious insulation in the Niro’s front structure, optimized suspension bushing stiffness, careful body sealing, and application of expanding foam inside the A- and B-pillars all prevent road and tire noise from entering the cabin. Furthermore, acoustic windshield glass and carefully shaped side mirrors mitigate wind noise. Engineers also worked hard to address the innate issues often associated with hybrid powertrains. To that end, they minimized system noise and vibration at the source with specially designed engine mounts, equal-length driveshafts, and even added a damper inside the steering wheel hub to minimize vibrations felt in the steering wheel. Other NVH measures include a special embossed foam in the floor (under the carpet), and a dense insulating pad underneath the hood also help to keep unwanted noise to a minimum. Strong and Light CoreThe platform underpinning the Niro has been specifically engineered to accommodate the unique gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, and with 53 percent of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), including reinforcement in the A- and B-pillars as well as the roof rails, it is both a lightweight and durable structure. Extensive use of hot-stamped components and industrial joint adhesive increase torsional rigidity and structural integrity. As such, engineers are targeting the Niro to earn top honors from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). Weight reduction was a critical Niro development aspect, and in addition to the body, AHSS was also used to engineer other elements, including novel lightweight seat frames. Further, engineers were able to bring down the overall weight by using aluminum for the hood, tailgate and several suspension elements including the front lower control arms, front and rear knuckles, and in the brake calipers. Even the parking brake pedal contributes to the weight savings through the use of fiber-reinforced plastic construction. Finally, the engineers eliminated the traditional 12-volt battery to reduce weight, instead, utilizing the high-voltage lithium-ion polymer battery. Uniquely Engineered Hybrid Powertrain Motivating the Niro is a highly efficient and engaging powertrain starting with an all-new, state-of-the-art Kappa 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, engineered specifically for hybrid applications. Making 103 horsepower, the new engine marks the first combination of the Atkinson Cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), GDI and a long-stroke-narrow-bore specification to maximize efficiency2. Efficiency and emissions are further improved via the Niro’s exhaust heat recovery system, which speeds engine warm-up by routing coolant to a heat exchanger in the exhaust system. A 43-hp tractive motor, known as the transmission-mounted electric device (TMED), works in tandem with the gasoline engine to produce a robust 146 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. That power is transmitted through a newly developed, second-generation six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which not only boosts efficiency but is also a key factor to the Niro’s great driving experience. The transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts for a natural and spirited feel in stark contrast to that of other hybrids equipped with continuously variable transmissions. Bringing the whole system together is a compact and lightweight 1.56-kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery located underneath the rear seat. Because the high-voltage battery is both power and energy dense, engineers were able to use the downsized gasoline engine to maximize fuel economy and reduce emissions. With its unique combination of the lightweight TMED, proven GDI and Atkinson Cycle technology in the internal combustion engine, along with the DCT providing a dynamic driving experience, the Niro offers enjoyment and efficiency all in one, targeting a combined fuel efficiency rating of 50 mpg. Driving Fun The Niro’s parallel and simplified hybrid system creates seamless transitions of power delivered to the front wheels, resulting in a very un-hybrid-like driving experience. The hybrid system is neither intrusive nor obvious. The Niro accelerates quickly off the line and continues its smooth power delivery, inspiring driver confidence in everyday driving maneuvers like merging onto the highway. Special attention was also paid to brake feel. Applying lessons learned through development of two generations of Optima Hybrids as well as the fully electric Soul EV, Kia engineers designed the Niro’s regenerative system to seamlessly blend in hydraulic friction braking. Consequently, deceleration feels more consistent and linear than other hybrids. Advanced Hybrid Tech Like the rest of Kia’s lineup, the Niro will be offered with a suite of advanced driver assistance and convenience technologies. Familiar features that will be available on the HUV include Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist; Advanced Smart Cruise Control; Lane Departure Warning; and Autonomous Emergency Braking3. All-new Eco-DAS1 (Driver Assistance System) features Kia’s first application of Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control. The Coasting Guide aims at maximizing fuel economy by essentially coaching the driver on when to coast and brake. Predictive Energy Control, meanwhile, uses the navigation system and cruise control to anticipate topographical changes on the road ahead and actively manage energy flow, seamlessly determining when its best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize overall efficiency. Similar systems have been seen on German luxury makes, but Kia’s system is the first in the industry to monitor and adjust for both ascending and descending scenarios. Other notable features include Smart Air Intake, which reduces drag by carefully managing the intake of outside air for the HVAC system, and also an accompanying Auto Defog system that prevents condensation from building on the glass by monitoring cabin air conditions to manage the cycling of the A/C compressor. Kia’s award-winning infotainment and telematics system aims to keep Niro drivers connected at all times4, with the newest version, UVO3, trickling down from the all-new 2017 Sportage. Complete with Android5 Auto™, Apple6 CarPlay®, and UVO eServices featuring 14 telematics services, the enhanced system features up to 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps such as Pandora®7 and Soundhound and Wi-Fi tethering capability. All this is displayed on a 7-inch capacitive touch screen. 1 Actual mileage will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits and your vehicle’s condition. 2 40 percent thermal efficiency 3 These features are not substitutes for safe driving, and may not detect all objects surrounding vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution. 4 Warning: Driving while distracted can result in a loss of vehicle control that may lead to an accident, severe personal injury and death. Always drive safely and use caution. 5 Android™ is a trademark of Google, Inc. 6 Apple® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. 7 Pandora® is a registered trademark of Pandora Media, Inc.
  18. Kia has been an outlier in the minivan class with the Sedona. It never quite had the same status as the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna. But the company plans to change that with the introduction of the 2015 Sedona at the New York Auto Show this week. The 2015 Sedona's design reminds us the of the Nissan Quest with its upright lines and slab-slides. The front end has Kia's distinctive grille with new headlights with LEDs. An integrated spoiler on the tailgate is standard, while nineteen-inch alloy wheels are optional. Inside, the Sedona can be configured to carry seven or eight people. The seats can be equipped with heat, retractable leg rests, and Slide-n-Stow second-row seats that stack vertically against the back of the front seats. The dashboard resembles the Cadenza with a large touchscreen featuring Kia's UVO infotainment system and a simple control layout. Power will come from the 3.3L GDI V6 with 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Kia says the Sedona will provide "improved driving dynamics" thanks in part to a chassis that is 36 percent stiffer than the outgoing model. The 2015 Sedona arrives at dealers sometime late in the fall. Source: Kia William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 ALL-NEW 2015 KIA SEDONA MAKES GLOBAL DEBUT IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW * Completely Redesigned Midsize Multi-purpose Vehicle Raises the Bar in the Segment with Innovative Technology, Style and Added Safety Features * With its modern appearance and CUV-like cab-forward design, the all-new Sedona completes the restyling of Kia's entire U.S. lineup under the direction of Peter Schreyer * Available in seven- and eight-passenger configurations, the 2015 Sedona advances value to new levels of sophistication with advanced safety features and available driving-aid technologies, premium materials and amenities NEW YORK, April 14, 2014 – Set against the backdrop of one of the world's premier urban playgrounds, Kia Motors America (KMA) today took the wraps off the all-new 2015 Sedona midsize multi-purpose vehicle in New York City. As the final chapter in Kia's design-led transformation story – which began in 2009 and has seen a comprehensive makeover of Kia's entire model line under the direction of chief design officer Peter Schreyer – the all-new Sedona's CUV-like styling and proportions offer all of the functional convenience of the segment while defying its design limitations. In addition to innovative European-inspired design, the 2015 Sedona also delivers the exceptional interior volume buyers expect in the segment with ample passenger and cargo room and a quiet and comfortable cabin. Following the philosophy that has guided Kia's recent succession of highly successful redesigns, the Sedona advances value to new levels of sophistication with a host of segment-leading new technology and upscale features, all of which will be offered in a new premium trim level – SXL – which will be available when U.S. sales are scheduled to begin in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the Sedona's launch date. "Throughout the development process, our engineers in the U.S. and Korea focused on adding the element of desire to the all-new Sedona with improved driving dynamics and power and the incorporation of modern styling cues, premium materials and technology," said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, KMA. "Combined with a host of active and passive safety features and technology, the completely redesigned Sedona retains the functionality the nameplate has always been known for, while rising to meet the diverse needs – and tastes – of today's consumers." Modern, Confident Exterior Transcending mundane functionality, the Sedona's wide stance exudes a modern, CUV-like exterior appearance highlighted by a front fascia and cab-forward design that project confidence and strength. The Sedona's muscular face and clean, smooth look is highlighted by a fully integrated version of Kia's signature grille and headlamps with LED positioning lights. The wheelbase is 1.6-inches longer than its predecessor, and the side profile, with its reduced front and rear overhangs, combines with the deeply swept windshield and available 19-inch alloy wheels to create a distinctive look. Meanwhile, the rear design layout, with LED taillights, integrated bumper guard and standard roof spoiler, presents a broad, stable bearing. Open, Relaxed, Configurable Interior Despite its overall width and height remaining virtually unchanged, the all-new Sedona provides more front shoulder room, greater leg room in the front, second and third rows, as well as a slightly higher hip-point, improving outward visibility for the driver. The horizontal design cues across the instrument panel create a greater sense of width, and the generous use of soft-touch materials adds to the all-new Sedona's premium ambiance. The Sedona's proportions provide flexible seating in both seven- and eight-passenger configurations and a multitude of storage options. The front center console is unique to the segment and allows for generous and cleverly convenient storage space between the front seats. Second row Slide-n-Stow tracked seating slides and folds upright to allow for "on-the-go" cargo hauling while eliminating the hassle that comes with removing heavy and cumbersome middle seats. The all-new Sedona also offers the choice of second row "First Class" lounge seating that can be positioned rearward for astonishing legroom and provides retractable lower leg rests. And while some configurations feature segment-unique second-row seat cushion heaters for added comfort, all 2015 Sedona models offer a third-row that provides the convenience of a split folding 60/40 in-floor retractable design. The Sedona also is the only vehicle in the segment outfitted with standard YES Essentials™ fabric technology to provide anti-microbial protection from spills, anti-static protection from irritating electrical shocks as well as stain-repelling and stain-releasing fabric characteristics appreciated by anyone who leads an active lifestyle. The Sedona's sophisticated interior design theme is brought to life with a modern color palette featuring solid or two-tone color options in beige, gray and burgundy for a warm and inviting atmosphere. The top-line SXL trim features standard ultra-soft Nappa leather seating surfaces throughout the cabin, the same Chromium-free leather found in the K900 luxury sedan. Next-Generation UVO1 Building on the next-generation UVO Infotainment & Telematics system, the all-new Sedona will be the first Kia vehicle to offer four new eServices features: Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score. Additionally, with the introduction of the Kia App store, select apps can be downloaded for free from iTunes®2 or Google Play3. The Kia app connector is now available for partnership with the content community, including Pandora®4, iHeart Radio and Yelp®5. Many more new technologies for comfort and convenience are featured in the new UVO system, including Siri "Eyes Free6" and Local Search – powered by Google – for finding locations, addresses and points of interest. Sirius XM Travel Link7, offering access to traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports scores, stock information and movie times, makes the Sedona the perfect companion for those who live their lives on the road with family and friends. Driving Dynamics and Safety The 2015 Sedona is built on an all-new chassis with static torsional stiffness that is 36-percent greater than its closest segment competitor. The body is 76 percent Ultra High Strength Steel (press hardened) or High Strength Steel, which provides exceptional rigidity, durability and collision protection in a lightweight design. For enhanced roof strength, the Sedona has been engineered with reinforced pillars that distribute impact loads with ultra-high-strength steel tubes that run inside the A-pillars. Extensive use of adhesives and large diameter welds also add to Sedona's overall structural integrity and strength. Together with Kia's patented technology, the 2015 Sedona is targeted to earn the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) 5-Star overall vehicle safety rating. The rigid and durable chassis provides a solid base for road-trip readiness. The 2015 Sedona utilizes Amplitude Selected Dampers (ASD) to strike an optimal balance of ride comfort and handling. The platform also has revised rear cross-member bushings, an isolated rear sub-frame with longer trailing arms and added rear strut reinforcement, all of which combine for improved dynamic ride characteristics. Additionally, the 2015 Sedona is expected to be among the quietest in the segment thanks to wheel-house padding, double seal sliding doors and an expanded use of sound-deadening foam in the engine compartment, reducing noise and perceived harshness over rough pavement. Under the hood, a new Lambda Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 3.3-liter V6 engine replaces the 3.5-liter V6 found in the previous generation Sedona. The 3.3-liter engine, which is also found in the Sorento CUV and Cadenza premium sedan, delivers more power than its predecessor, boasting 276 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and it has been tuned for enhanced mid-range torque, offering 248 lb.-ft. at 5,200 rpm. A three-step Variable Induction System (VIS) improves engine "breathing," automatically adjusting the volume of the air pulled into the combustion chamber to create the optimal air-to-fuel mix under different engine load conditions. Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) combined with a piston-cooling oil jet improves engine cooling efficiency, while engine components, including piston rings, piston skirts, valve tappets, timing chain guide and valve springs are all of a low-friction design. Finally, the new 3.3-liter V6 engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission tuned for balanced control, power and efficiency. Abundant Safety Features and Driver Technology Throughout the design and development process a high priority was placed on active and passive safety features as well as technology, resulting in one of the most technologically advanced vehicles in the segment. All Sedona models come standard with active safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC)8, Traction Control System (TCS)8, Brake Assist System (BAS)8, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)8, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)8 and Antilock Braking System (ABS)8. Additional technologies such as Roll Over Mitigation (ROM)8 and Cornering Brake Control (CBC)8 also were added as standard equipment for improved dynamic control and safety. New optional driver technology, including Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)8, Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS)9, Smart Cruise Control (SCC)9, Blind Spot Detection (BSD)9 and Rear Cross Traffic Alert9, help provide Sedona drivers with a more convenient and secure daily driving experience. Comfort & Convenience Features From front to back the Sedona offers numerous convenience features, including Kia's first application of the newest high-power (2.1 AMP) USB charging port and a 115-volt AC outlet to charge small electronics as well as a dual glove box that offers a cooled lower storage area. For easier parking and vehicle maneuvering, the Surround View Monitor8 provides real-time images from cameras placed around the vehicle. Smart Welcome, automatically illuminates the door handles and unfolds the power retractable side mirrors when a vehicle key fob is detected. A hands-free "Smart Tailgate" opens the rear lift gate automatically when the key fob is sensed for three seconds, and its programmable function can be tailored to the user's height preference.
  19. At the Chicago Auto Show, Kia unveiled the coming electric version of their Soul model. Kia claims the Soul EV will have an 80 to 100 mile range while packing one of the most energy dense batteries on the market. Producing 27kWh, the Soul EV's battery has a 200 watt hour per kilogram rating. A fully depleted Soul EV will take 24 hours to fully recharge on a standard 120v wall outlet while taking 5 hours to recharge on a 240v power source. An 80 percent charge can be achieved in 33 minutes when plugged in to a 50 kW output charger. The Soul EV can recapture up to 13% of its kinetic energy through brake regeneration. The battery in the Soul EV is located under the floor making interior intrusion minimal with only a 3.1 inch reduction in rear seat headroom. With the location of the battery being so low, it lowers the center of gravity in the car making for a more solid handling feel. In spite of Kia's current mascot, the Soul EV doesn't have just hamsters under the hood. The Soul EV produces 210 lb-ft of torque and 109 horsepower with 0-60 time in the 12 second range. Our Take: Kia's first entry comes a couple years after the competition, but it doesn't make any advancement in battery range. Press Release after the jump. Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on Twitter as @CheersnGears SOUL EV LIGHTS UP 2014 CHICAGO AUTO SHOW Kia’s First Mass Market Electric Vehicle Makes World Debut in the Windy City New 2015 Kia Soul EV offers an expected 80-100 miles of range State-of-the-art 27kWh lithium polymer battery has 200 Wh/kg energy density EV-specific version of UVO eServices1 includes downloadable apps, EV charger locations and more CHICAGO, February 6, 2014– Set to the sounds of soulful electrified blues music, Kia Motors America (KMA) today hosted the global unveiling of the 2015 Soul EV at the Chicago Auto Show. Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2014, the Soul EV will be Kia’s first all-electric, zero-emissions car sold in the U.S. and expands the brand’s line of environmentally conscious vehicles. The Soul EV joined the refreshed 2014 Optima Hybrid on stage along with the Niro hybrid concept, illustrating Kia’s intent to lead the industry in providing technologically advanced vehicles that also reduce our dependency on non-renewable resources. Kia’s eco-friendly commitment was further underscored when Underwriters Laboratory (UL)1 honored the Soul EV with the organization’s first automotive environmental validation for its integration of more than 20 bio-friendly materials. The new Soul EV is at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program and will offer an even more environmentally friendly option to our customers when it goes on sale later this year,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA. “The Soul EV retains the fun and funky style as well as the packaging efficiency and utility that have made the gasoline-powered Soul such a huge hit with consumers. And to that winning combination it adds useable real-world range and multiple charging options, making it the perfect EV for everyone.” The Soul EV will initially be sold in California and Oregon in the West and several Eastern states including New York, New Jersey and Maryland, the regions with the largest EV markets and infrastructure. KMA will look to offer the vehicle in other markets in the near future as infrastructure and demand grow. Pricing for the Soul EV will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch. High Energy Density Battery and Usable Power A top concern for EV buyers has commonly been range anxiety. The Soul EV addresses this issue by utilizing a highly energy-dense lithium-ion polymer battery. Located beneath the floor, the 27kWh, air-cooled, 200 watt-hour/kg battery is expected to yield a range of approximately 80-100 miles of real-world driving on a full charge, with internal testing and evaluation results exceeding 100 miles in some instances. The 360 volt 96-cell lithium-ion polymer battery has been engineered for high capacity, thermal stability and safety. Accordingly, the battery features a nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode, which helps increase capacity, and a graphite-based anode, which increases durability while reducing weight. Additionally, the cells use a gel electrolyte, and each cell contains ceramic separators to significantly improve thermal stability and safety. In an effort to maximize efficiency and range, the Soul EV uses Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system to capture up to 12 percent of the car’s kinetic energy, which is fed back into the battery while the Soul EV is coasting and braking. Soul EV owners can choose between four different regeneration modes: “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “Off,” and “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “On” (the “Brake” setting with Eco-mode “On” producing the most regeneration). The Soul EV makes charging easy by plugging into any standard 120v outlet or a conventional 240v EV charger. Two charging ports are standard, including a SAE J1772 port for Level 1 and Level 2 AC, and a CHAdeMo DC fast-charging port (480v). Found behind a sliding door located in the front grille, the dual ports offer flexibility and increase the Soul EV’s go-anywhere appeal, making it more convenient to charge inside the owner’s garage or when on the road. Recharging times vary from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120-volt outlet and under five hours when plugged into a 240-volt outlet. An 80-percent charge can be achieved in as little as 33 minutes with a 50 kW-output charger. Kia has partnered with three charger providers – Bosch, Leviton and AeroVironment™ – which give Soul EV buyers an opportunity to select the unit best suited to their in-home needs. Additionally, Kia retailers who sell the Soul EV will offer charging at no cost to Soul EV owners, making charging even more convenient. The front-wheel drive Soul EV is powered by an 81.4 kW, 109-hp electric motor, producing a generous 210 lb.-ft. of torque. The liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet motor uses multi-layer magnets to help improve efficiency and reduce the whine that’s commonly experienced with other electric vehicles. The motor delivers its power to the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear reduction unit. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is expected to take fewer than 12 seconds with a top speed electronically limited to approximately 90 mph. The battery’s location beneath the floor offers the stable feel of a lower center of gravity, which helps ride and handling and ensures that the EV remains true to the Soul’s fun-to-drive reputation. Additional cross bracing beneath the low-mounted battery contributes to a 5.9 percent improvement in torsional rigidity over the gasoline-powered Soul. Improved aerodynamics and the absence of engine noise, combined with special sound-proofing materials, result in an exceptionally quiet ride. For the benefit of pedestrian safety, the Soul EV is equipped with a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) that emits an auditory alert at speeds below 12 mph and whenever the car is in reverse. Minimal Battery Intrusion The Soul EV offers plenty of space inside the cabin thanks to minimal battery intrusion. Because of the battery’s flat design and location beneath the floor, there is only a slight 3.1-inch reduction to rear seat leg room (from 39.1 to 36 inches) from the non-EV Soul, yet Soul EV still offers more rear seat leg room than other key EV competitors. Rear shoulder and hip room remain unchanged from the gasoline-powered Soul, making Soul EV one of the roomiest in the segment. Rear cargo space is minimally impacted (reduced 5.1 cu.-ft. to 19.1) as the space under the cargo floor is utilized for the battery cooling fan and storage of the standard 120v portable charger. Uniquely Designed Inside and Out The Soul’s bold exterior design is also found on the EV. From the “floating” roof to the greenhouse that makes the car look like it is wearing wraparound sunglasses, the EV’s look is inspired by the 2012 Kia Track’ster concept and retains the iconic square-shouldered broad stance of the original Soul. Initially, the Soul EV will be offered in three color choices: Pearl White lower body with Electronic Blue roof, Caribbean Blue lower body with Clear White roof, and Bright Silver with Clear White roof. The signature two-tone paint theme is exclusive to the EV and was inspired by a similar treatment seen on the Track’ster. The EV-exclusive front fascia utilizes a larger grille to accommodate the charging ports, and other unique exterior Soul EV design features include color accent trim in the front and rear fascias, projector headlights, LED positioning lamps, and LED tail lights. “Eco Electric” fender badging replaces the “Soul” fender garnish found on the gasoline-powered car, and the Soul EV gets its own set of distinctive 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped with specially engineered Super Low Rolling Resistance (SLRR) tires that offer 10 percent less resistance than standard low rolling resistance tires, helping to improve range. When launched in 2014, the all-new Soul was lauded for its premium interior and significantly reduced levels of NVH. The Soul EV will be instantly recognizable for these same qualities. Like its gasoline-powered sibling, a circular theme pervades the cabin and is a pleasing contrast to the exterior’s angular good looks. Inside, the Soul EV sets itself further apart from its gasoline-powered sibling with bright white accent trim on the center console, instrument panel and door panels, lending a light and modern feel to the passenger space. Distinguished by Kia’s most extensive use of bio-based materials, the Soul EV has received UL’s first ever automotive environmental claim validation for its 10.9 lbs. of bio-based organic content in interior plastic. Front and center is the use of BTX-free paint on the audio system surround, vent bezel and the floor console. Bio-based plastics derived from cellulose and sugar cane are found in many places within the cabin, including the door panels, headliner, seat trim, roof pillars and carpeting. In all, organic, bio-based materials are used in 19 different interior parts, making the Soul EV an electric-vehicle segment leader in eco-friendly material application. Separate from the bio-based content validation, extensive use of antibacterial materials also help to keep the cabin clean and are found on the gear selector, audio and HVAC controls, instrument panel switchgear and the floor-mounted center console. Combined, eco-friendly materials are used in 23 different interior parts, making the Soul EV an electric-vehicle segment leader in eco-friendly material application. The Soul EV features exclusive interior color options that perfectly complement the exterior. Two interior seating materials will be offered: Standard eco-friendly cloth or optional leather. Both are gray with offsetting blue stitching on the cloth seats and blue piping on the leather seats. Additional blue stitching is found on the steering wheel and center console armrest. Standard Soul EV amenities include navigation, Rear Camera Display2, Bluetooth®3 hands free operation, power windows, power driver’s seat, cruise control, 6.6kW on-board charger and an exclusive HVAC system designed to extend driving range by minimizing energy draw. Air conditioning is one of the largest energy drains in any electric vehicle, but the Soul EV’s HVAC system is designed to provide optimum comfort while also helping to extend the car’s range by minimizing energy use. The Soul EV uses four key technologies to maximize HVAC efficiency: an available heat pump (optional on Base, standard on “+”), individual ventilation, scheduled ventilation, and air intake control. The heat pump and surplus heat recovered from the Soul EV’s electrical systems help heat cabin air. Individual ventilation allows selection of “Driver Only,” which stops airflow to the passenger side front dash and floor vents and the floor vents for the rear passenger compartment, thereby focusing airflow on the driver and reducing the amount of energy needed to reach a comfortable interior temperature. Scheduled ventilation reduces EV energy use by pre-heating or cooling the passenger compartment prior to starting the car, while it is still plugged into a charger. Air intake control regulates inner and outer air flow to minimize HVAC usage, regulating interior temperature by carefully managing recirculated cabin air. Forward Thinking Technology Available at no cost for the first five years of ownership, UVO EV Services, a special version of Kia’s award-winning telematics and infotainment system, is put to even greater use in the Soul EV. Utilizing an embedded connectivity solution powered by the Verizon network and an integral smartphone app, UVO EV Services provides owners with an innovative, real-time, in-vehicle connectivity experience that includes navigation and added convenience features specifically tailored for the Soul EV that will help owners stay informed as to their vehicle’s charging status while on the go. UVO EV Services provides real-time battery-level status, distance to empty, and the ability to search for nearby charging stations. Also, via the UVO EV app, owners can preset charging time and charging level ratios, as well as precondition the vehicle cabin with remote control of the HVAC presets. Preconditioning the vehicle moderates cabin temperature in advance, helping reduce battery draw once the Soul EV is uncoupled from the charging station. At a glance, UVO will also update EV owners of their CO2 savings and their relative positive impact on the environment. Introduced for the first time on the Soul EV, UVO EV Services includes downloadable apps that reside on the Soul EV’s standard 8-inch capacitive-touch navigation screen. EV owners may download Yelp®4, the online urban city guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, relax and play. Soul EV owners will also enjoy iHeartRadio, the free, all-in-one digital radio service that lets customers listen to their favorite live stations or create their own commercial-free, all-music custom stations. Sound Hound, which is also available and accessible through the touch screen, listens to what’s playing and displays all related information such as lyrics, the artist, title and album cover art. Arriving with a five-year complimentary subscription to SiriusXM™5 Data Services and Travel Link, the Soul EV has access to charging stations and travel information such as road conditions, weather and security alerts as well as sports scores, movie times and stock prices through the screen’s graphical interface and electronic program guide. The Soul EV also features Kia’s first use of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology. Low energy consumption and virtually no heat build-up make OLED perfect for an electric-vehicle application. Found within the Soul EV’s exclusive Supervision instrument cluster, the 3.5-inch OLED screen is crystal clear and provides information on the vehicle’s energy flow, charging time, ECO driving level and energy economy, which measures how efficiently the battery is operating. Additionally, the OLED screen provides a three-stage alert for the Soul EV’s State of Charge (SOC), which allows the driver to quickly decipher how much charge remains within the battery and when it’s time to plug in to a charging unit.
  20. The past few years have seen Kia rise up from its cheap car roots and become a major player in some of the key areas of the automotive marketplace. But there has been one area that the automaker hasn't been quite able to wrap its hands around; the compact car. Kia has tried its hand before at building compact vehicles, but the results have ranged from middling to somewhat decent. But Kia thinks that with the 2014 Forte, they have cracked the compact car code. Let's find out if they have. The 2014 Forte continues Kia's trend of designing sharp looking car. Draped in what the automaker calls Abyss Blue and a set of optional seventeen-inch alloy wheels on the EX, the Forte in my eyes has to be one of the best looking compact vehicles on sale. The overall shape mimics the smaller Rio sedan with similar front and rear end styling. Up front is the distinctive honeycomb grille that is flanked by upswept headlights. Around back are a set of taillights that extend into the rear quarter panels. The Forte's interior is very stylish with a large amount of soft-touch materials and premium touches such as a stitched cover for the instrument cluster. It makes the Forte feel much more special than many of its counterparts. Build quality is also excellent. Being a little bit longer and wider than its predecessor, the 2014 Forte does boast a bit more interior space. This is apparent for back seat passengers as legroom is in abundance. Headroom is decent, but taller passengers will find it somewhat tight due to the sloping roofline. There is also the option of heated seats for the back to make passengers feel comfortable during the winter. Up front are heated leather seats, with the driver also getting power adjustment and cooling. Trying to find a comfortable position in the front proved to be a difficult task for me as I constantly adjusted the seat, trying to get that perfect setting. This particular Forte EX came equipped with Kia's UVO infotainment system and eServices. As I have written previously on Kia's UVO system, it is very easy to comprehend at glance and use. With the addition of eServices which brings forth such features as automatic 911 notification and vehicle diagnostics, Kia has possibly one of the best all-around infotainment systems on the marketplace. But I had an odd problem arise with the UVO system in the Forte. I found the that hands-free calling system would end the call at exactly 15 minutes. At first, I thought it was my phone dropping the call, but I soon figured out it was UVO. I'm not the only person to experience this. A fellow writer who drove a Forte around the same time as me had the same thing happen to him. Now I have sent Kia an inquiry about this and I'm currently waiting to hear back from them. For more on the powertrain and ride, see page 2. The Forte EX comes equipped with a 2.0L direct-injected four-cylinder engine that packs 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The engine is more than suitable for most situations that you'll find yourself in as it provides robust acceleration and torque coming on strong early on in the rev range. This is helped by the Forte's low curb weight of 2,959 lbs. The six-speed automatic provides quick shifts and helps keep the engine right in the sweet spot of power. EPA rates the 2014 Kia Forte EX at 24 City/36 Highway/28 Combined. My average for the week landed me around 28 MPG. Under the Forte's skin, Kia employs a strut setup for the the front and a torsion-beam for the rear. This helps give the Forte a big car ride. As for driving fun, the Forte is competent around corners. Its not a Mazda3 by any stretch of the imagination, but it does show that Kia is learning how to build a fun car. A couple places that Kia should work on in the near future is reducing the amount of wind and road noise that comes into the cabin and working on a better steering system than the current and gimmicky driver-selectable steering system. The 2014 Kia Forte shows that Kia has finally figure out not only how to build very competent compact car, but one that is very much vying for top in class honors. Taken as a whole, the Forte does most everything well. If you're considering a compact car, it would be a disservice to yourself if the Forte isn't on your list. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Forte EX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Kia Model: Forte Trim: EX Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC D-CVVT Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 173 @ 6500 Torque @ RPM: 154 @ 4700 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/36/28 Curb Weight: 2,959 lbs Location of Manufacture: South Korea Base Price: $19,400.00 As Tested Price: $25,515.00 (Includes $800.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium Package - $2,600.00 EX Technology Package - $2,300.00 17-Inch Alloy Wheels - $300.00 Carpeted Floor Mats - $115.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  21. Lets get something out of the way with the Kia GT4 Stinger Concept. Kia says "there are currently no plans to bring the concept to production." But, Kia follows that line up with the company having "a history of delivering production vehicles that bear a strong resemblance to the concept that preceded them." So who knows, the GT4 Stinger Concept could bear some fruits after all. The GT4 Stinger Concept is described as being a 'selfish design' for enthusiasts and gearheads. We have to agree with that as the GT4 Stinger is a sharp looker. The front end has the familiar tiger mouth grille and vertical LED headlights. The hood is long and has two vents sitting in the middle. The side profile boasts embellished wheel wells, twenty-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero tires, and transparent A-Pillars. Heading inside, Kia went for a purposeful look. There is a flat-bottomed steering wheel, no carpeting or radio, and leather-wrapped bucket seats. Powering the GT4 Stinger Concept is a detuned version of the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder used in the Kia Optima GTS race car from the Pirelli World Challenge. The engine produces 315 horsepower and is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Other items of note for the GT4 Stinger Concept: Overall measurements are a 103.1-inch wheelbase and an overall length of just 169.7 inches. Puts the concept between the Scion FR-S and Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Tips the scales at 2,874 pounds Fifteen-Inch Brembo Brakes with four-piston calipers help bring the concept to a stop Source: Kia Press Release is on Page 2 KIA SHOCKS THE MOTOR CITY WITH REAR-DRIVE GT4 STINGER CONCEPT High-Powered Sports Car Focused on Connection Between Driver and Machine Makes World Debut at 2014 North American International Auto Show 2+2 seating configuration, 315 turbocharged horsepower and six-speed manual transmission make GT4 Stinger a true enthusiast's machine GT4 Stinger was conceived by the "gearheads" in Kia's Irvine, Calif., design studio, birthplace of iconic concept vehicles such as the Track'ster and Cross GT DETROIT, Jan. 13, 2014 – Hearkening back to the glory days of purebred, affordable sports cars, Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the brand's most aggressive concept car ever when wraps came off the GT4 Stinger at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Kia's eye-catching design language moves in a bold new direction with the introduction of the GT4 Stinger. The concept pushes the boundaries of performance with a rear-drive 2+2 sports car that places man and machine in harmony on the road or track. It comes as no surprise that the GT4 Stinger is the wild style child of Kia's California design team, home to its 2012 predecessor, the Track'ster concept. And like the Track'ster, the GT4 Stinger's racy appeal is more than skin deep. "Driving enjoyment was the number one priority in designing the GT4 Stinger," said Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Design Center America (KDCA). "It's an authentic 2+2 sports car that can turn heads as a daily driver while also being right at home on the track. It's about purity, simplicity and timelessness. The GT4 Stinger is a throwback to days when driving a car was a visceral experience that wasn't muted by electronic gimmickry." Emboldened by the brand's on-track success in the Pirelli World Challenge racing series with a pair of turbocharged, GTS-class Optimas, Kia's U.S. design team approached the GT4 Stinger project with an eye toward weight reduction, functionality and pure driving enjoyment. The concept shuns the luxury trappings of a traditional Grand Touring car and embraces the elemental experience of truly engaging with the vehicle. "If anyone were to ask if Kia has the credibility to build a car like the GT4 Stinger," noted Kearns. "I would simply point out that Kia races – and wins – against some of the world's most legendary performance brands." Kia Racing and partner Kinetic Motorsports captured the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Drivers and Team Championships in 2012 with the Forte Koup and are currently preparing the turbocharged Optimas for their third season of duty in the Pirelli World Challenge in 2014 following a second-place finish in the Manufacturer's Championship last year. Power, Poise and Proven Performance Beneath the low wedge of the GT4 Stinger's hood resides a tuned version of Kia's proven 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injected (T-GDI) four-cylinder engine putting out an impressive 315 horsepower. "Our Optima racecars use the same engine and can produce more than 400 horsepower," said Kearns. "So why not infuse our concept with the kind of power that will make people take notice?" That power is put to the ground via a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission driving the rear wheels, which are wrapped in 275/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires. Staggered 235/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zeros nestle beneath the front fenders, ensuring loads of corner-carving grip. Custom 20-inch aluminum center-lock wheels feature carbon fiber inserts for strength and weight reduction. Tucked inside the massive wheels are Brembo Gran Turismo two-piece 15-inch cross-drilled rotors and four-piston calipers with plenty of stopping power. Underpinning the GT4 Stinger's sculpted "Ignition Yellow" body is a custom chassis with independent double wishbone suspension. With a shorter wheelbase (103.1 inches) and overall length (169.7 inches) than a Forte sedan, a width (74.4 inches) greater than a Cadenza, and a swooping roofline nearly nine inches lower (49.2 inches) than a Rio subcompact, the GT4 Stinger cuts a menacing figure. It tips the scales at a scant 2,874 pounds, and weight distribution is spread nearly perfectly at 52 percent up front and 48 percent at the rear. The GT4 Stinger also features a quick-ratio steering rack for direct feedback and uncompromised control. Simplicity By Design Fans of Kia's design language, set by Kia Motors Corporation president and chief design officer Peter Schreyer, will immediately recognize key styling elements of the GT4 Stinger. "We gave the car a shrink-wrapped appearance," says Kearns. "It's as if the body panels were formed around the chassis instead of merely welded to it." In silhouette, the GT4 Stinger is simple yet powerful. The latest iteration of the signature Kia grille rests low to the ground for maximum engine cooling and cold-air induction. The grille surround glows white and features a multi-layered, satin-black border, a theme found throughout the car. Flanking the grille on both sides are vertical LED headlamps, and front-brake cooling vents intricately molded into the bumper provide a clean, smooth appearance. A carbon fiber front splitter mounted below the bumper provides added down force for the car at high speed to keep the GT4 Stinger's front tires firmly planted to the tarmac. The long hood gently rises to meet the cowl. Two chrome accent pieces add visual interest to the otherwise ripple-less pond of Ignition Yellow sheet metal. The hood closely embraces the front wheel arches, creating two protruding muscular fenders above the front tires. The result is a pronounced edge at the vehicle's shoulders that eventually becomes the belt line. Continuing around the car, the transparent A-pillars provide a more than 270-degree view from the driver's seat. The layered slots cut into the pillars reduce weight while improving outward visibility. Paying homage to the iconic Soul, the greenhouse design provides an aggressive side profile. "It's as if the GT4 Stinger is wearing wrap-around sunglasses," notes Kearns. Similar to the Soul, the roof of the GT4 Stinger appears to "float" from the C-pillars. Along the rocker panels are satin black accent pieces with integrated functional cooling ducts to enhance air flow to the rear brakes. Around back, the body widens to cover the large 275-series Pirelli rubber. The glass hatch opens to reveal a built-in storage compartment and rear strut-tower brace. The LED taillights illuminate from inside the outer edge of a blacked-out panel just above the dual exhaust ports in the rear bumper. The interior is purposeful in design and practical in nature. A pull of the billet-aluminum door handles reveals incredibly lightweight doors, but their generous width makes dropping into the molded leather race-inspired bucket seats a breeze. There is no carpet, only a rubber floor mat underneath the billet-aluminum pedals. Front and center to the driver is a thick D-shaped steering wheel and red LED-illuminated instrument panel with large tachometer and gear indicator. In keeping with the track theme and taking inspiration from sports and competition cars of the past, interior door handles have been replaced by red-stitched pull straps. In fact, the GT4 Stinger makes due without the luxury of a stereo. "The audio system starts under the hood and the speakers are the exhaust pipes," said Kearns. Underway, the GT4 Stinger's free-flow exhaust burbles and blurts unabashedly and is music to the ears of driving enthusiasts everywhere. While there are currently no plans to bring the concept to production, Kia has a history of delivering production vehicles that bear a strong resemblance to the concept that preceded them, and the GT4 Stinger provides a possible and highly provocative glimpse into Kia's future. When asked who the GT4 Stinger is intended for, Kearns quips, "It's a totally selfish design. The design team at KCDA is full of gearheads and enthusiasts, and the GT4 Stinger is the perfect car for that kind of crowd."
  22. Last December, I had a 2013 Kia Sorento SX V6 in for review. This was an odd time to review it since the month before at the LA Auto Show, Kia introduced the 2014 Sorento which brought forth a number of changes and improvements. At the time of my review, I said to hold off on getting 2013 model and wait to see how the 2014 model fares. Well it has been almost a year since that review and I had the 2014 Kia Sorento, this time in the new SX Limited trim. Let's find out if I made the right call or not. At first, you might be wondering what exactly did Kia do to the 2014 Sorento since it mostly looks like the outgoing 2013 model. Well there are some changes, some more apparent than others. First off, the overall shape of the 2014 model has been sharpened a bit, giving it a bit more of a European look to it. The front end sees the majority of changes with a revised grille, new headlights and foglights. The back gets a new tailgate and a set of reshaped taillights. The primary focus on the 2014 Sorento was with the interior. In my review of the 2013 model, I said the interior felt much older due to some choices in materials and technologies. The 2014 Sorento sees massive improvements in both areas. Material choices are much nicer to look and touch, making it feel more premium. On the SX Limited the seats were trimmed in Nappa leather.On the technology front, the 2014 Sorento SX Limited gets a new small color display inside the speedometer to show key information such as trip computer, what you're currently listening to, and navigation. The center stack features Kia's UVO infotainment system and eServices. Much like my experience in the Cadenza back in the summer, I found the system to be user-friendly and quick to respond. Comfort and space hasn't really changed from the 2013 to the 2014 model and that is a good and bad thing. The good is that front and second row passengers will be fairly comfortable with a decent amount of head and legroom. The bad news is that the third row is still only comfortable for small kids or being folded into the floor. Now the third row is an option and if you decide to skip it, you have an extra $1,000 in your pocket. I would skip it. Thoughts on the powertrain and handling are on the next page. Under the hood of the Sorento SX Limited is a new 3.3L GDI V6 with 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system. Much like the Kia Cadenza that I drove earlier this year, the V6 in the Sorento is very punchy and has no problem of getting the vehicle up to speed. Other traits about the V6 that I like is how smoothly the V6 delivers the power and how refined it is. As for the six-speed automatic, it was quick to up or downshift. As for fuel economy, the 2014 Sorento SX Limited is rated at 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined. My average for the week was 22.1 MPG, a noticeable improvement over the 20.5 MPG from the last Sorento I drove. One place where Kia didn't make any real changes is to the Sorento's ride, which is a very good thing. The Sorento's fully-independent suspension went over bumps and ruts with no problem. Also not seeing a real change is how quiet the Sorento is. Road and wind noise are kept to minimum, making it a perfect model to take on a road trip.As for the steering, it is what you expect in the crossover class; over-boosted and not that much feel. The SX Limited comes with the driver selectable steering which varies the weight from really light (comfort) to really heavy (sport). As I have written previously on other Hyundai and Kia models with this system, I'm not a big fan of the system. I left the system in normal as I found the other two on the extremes. I like the idea of this system, it just needs some finessing. There is one concern with the Sorento SX Limited I have and that is the pricetag. As tested, this model rings out to $41,600. Ouch. If you drop the third-row seat option, you're looking at $40,600. What do you get for that price? Well pretty much everything from Kia's UVO service, Nappa leather, nineteen-inch alloy wheels, heated seats for the second-row, the list goes on. For some people who want everything, the SX Limited is perfect. For myself, I would be very happy with SX which comes with most of the features of the Limited and an extra $2,000 in my pocket. But as a whole, the 2014 Kia Sorento is much better than the model it replaces. The major problems and faults have been rectified by Kia, making the Sorento a very compelling model in the midsize crossover class. Just be warned you might have to spend some cash to get it. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Sorento SX Limited, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Kia Model: Sorento Trim: SX Limited Engine: 3.3L DOHC GDI CVVT V6 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,400 Torque @ RPM: 252 @ 5,200 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/24/20 Curb Weight: 5,468 lbs Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia Base Price: $39,700.00 As Tested Price: $41,600.00 (Includes $850.00 Destination Charge) Options: 3rd Row Seat & AC - $1,000.00 Cargo Net - $50.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  23. We're just a couple weeks away from the Detroit Auto Show and Kia has given us a glimpse of what they'll be showing. Meet the the GT4 Stinger Concept, a 2+2 sports car. From what we can tell from this teaser shot, the concept will feature the automaker's signature grill and a set of vertical LED headlamps along either side. There is also a cooling vents for the brakes and carbon fiber front splitter. More intriguing is what's under the hood - a turbocharged 2.0L (we're thinking four-cylinder) that makes 315 horsepower and sends it to the rear wheels. We'll have more information on the GT4 Stinger when it debuts at the Detroit Auto Show on January 13th. Source: Kia William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Behold, the Kia GT4 Stinger... Kia faithful will immediately notice the latest iteration of the signature grille resting mere inches from the ground. The surround glows white and is flanked by vertical LED headlamps. Front-brake cooling vents funnel air around custom 20-inch wheels. A carbon fiber front splitter mounted below the bumper provides added downforce for the car and keeps the GT4 Stinger's front tires firmly planted to the tarmac. Under the hood you ask? A turbocharged 2.0-liter that pumps 315 horsepower to the rear wheels. More to come. Stay tuned.
  24. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 21, 2013 The 2015 Kia K900 which debuted at the LA Auto Show this week brings a number of firsts for the Korean automaker. Their first rear-drive vehicle Their first V8 powered vehicle Their first heads-up display Their first rear cross-traffic alert system Their first pre-collision warning system Their first name which sounds like part that you get for dishwasher (ok, maybe not) The K900 looks to be a larger Cadenza in design. The two models share elements, such as a large front grille, headlights, and even the wheels. As for size, the K900 is about the same size as the Hyundai Equus, riding on the Equus' 119.9-inch wheelbase. Inside, the K900 is filled to the brim with luxuries. There are leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, a 9.2-inch screen for infotainment, a set of buttons and a knob to control the system, 900-watt Lexicon stereo with 17 speakers, and back seat controls for the climate and radio. There are three different option packages - Premium, Technology and VIP - that add much more to K900 such as Nappa leather, heads-up display, authentic wood trim, and rear seats that provide cooling and reclining. The K900 comes equipped with two different engines. The base is a 3.8L V6 with 311 horsepower. Optional is a 5.0L Tau V8 with 420 horsepower. Both engines come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the V6 getting its own unique gearing. The K900 arrives sometime in the first quarter of 2014. Source: Kia William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 KIA MOTORS INTRODUCES FIRST-EVER REAR-DRIVE SEDAN AT LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW Modern and Elegant, the K900 Signals a New Era for Kia and Advances the Brand to New Levels of Sophistication - Highly intuitive and advanced technology combine with superb craftsmanship and materials to boldly announce Kia's entry into the rear-drive large-sedan segment - New V8 flagship debuts with 420 horsepower; V6 variant produces 311 horsepower LOS ANGELES, Nov. 20, 2013 – The highly anticipated K900 rear-drive sedan took center stage today as Kia Motors America (KMA) took the wraps off its new flagship amid a packed house of media representatives from around the world at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. The all-new 2015 K900 is poised to challenge the full-size rear-drive luxury sedan segment with an extensive list of standard equipment, world-class accommodations and stunning design that will redefine consumer perception and expectations of the Kia brand. "Next year will mark Kia Motors' 20th anniversary in the U.S. market, and the all-new K900 is a symbol of how far the brand has come and the next bold example of the challenger spirit that has benefitted Kia over nearly two decades of growth and maturation," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "Kia's rise over the last five years has been fueled by a willingness to challenge the status quo with vehicles such as the Optima, Sorento and Cadenza, which have brought new and more affluent customers to our showrooms and dramatically raised the profile of the brand while maintaining our value proposition. The K900 is the next logical progression for Kia. It demonstrates what Kia is capable of and will help redefine what the Kia brand stands for." Offered with a V6 or a V8 engine, the K900's list of standard equipment will feature first-class accommodations and advanced technology. The range-topping V8 equipped with the VIP Package will add additional luxury amenities including reclining outboard rear seats. The K900 Premium V6 will launch with an available Luxury Package and Technology Package. The all-new K900 is expected to go on sale during the first quarter of 2014, and pricing will be announced closer to launch. Elegant Exterior Design The first glance of the K900 is designed to leave an indelible impression. The long 119.9-inch wheelbase and wide 63.8-inch front and 64.1-inch rear track of the V8 translate to considerable road presence. In profile, the swept rake of the greenhouse, subdued cut lines along the doors and high rear deck lid lend a muscular tension to the sheet metal. The K900 V8's standard 19-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels are shod with 245/45R-19 tires up front and 275/40R-19 tires at the rear. Kia's signature grille resides nearly vertically in the smoothly contoured front fascia. A chrome halo surrounds the dark chrome inner elements, which hints at the power and potential behind it. Airflow-smoothing underbody panels mounted beneath the nose, engine bay and cabin help reduce drag and improve efficiency. Standard on the V8 are adaptive LED headlights. With 16 LED bulbs providing powerful, natural light for enhanced luminosity, the beams, which adjust to follow the bends in the road, shimmer beneath crystal clear lenses that pull back deeply into the front fenders. Soft-glow LEDs frame the multi-faceted headlights. Mounted low and at the far corners of the nose are sleek LED positioning lamps and LED fog lights. Similar use of LED technology can be found at the rear of the K900. The trapezoid taillights offer defused LEDs for the brakes and bright LEDs for the turn signals. A tasteful chrome bezel cuts high across the K900's standard powered rear deck lid, adding elegance and lending visual width. The standard power and heated rearview mirrors integrate auto dimming, LED turn signal indicators and Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) in a smooth, aerodynamic form that helps reduce wind noise. The rear bumper is accented with fully integrated dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports that mimic the shape of the taillights. Opulence Within Open the door to the all-new K900 and the same sense of elegant sophistication can be found within the luxuriously appointed cabin. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel is substantial and features controls for audio, cruise control, entertainment, and vehicle information. A heated wheel is available on the V6 Luxury, V6 Technology and both V8 models. High-grade leather is standard, and soft Nappa leather is available in black or white with contrasting piping. Soft-hue LED interior lighting is standard across the K900 line. Available genuine white sycamore or dark charcoal poplar-wood trim sweeps across the dash and door panels, beautifully complementing the richness of the interior. A 12-way adjustable driver's seat, including power lumbar support, is standard on both the V6 Premium and V8 Premium models, and a 16-way power adjusted driver's seat features power headrests and cushion extender for added thigh support as part of the V6 Technology Package and the V8 VIP Package. The front seats feature standard multi-stage heating and ventilation for individualized comfort in all climates. The K900's executive-class accommodations continue at the rear of the cabin. Standard features include multi-stage heating for the outboard seats. Accessing a panel within the center armrest, rear-seat passengers also have the ability to control the vehicle's ventilation system and may even fold the back cushion of the front passenger seat forward with the touch of a button. K900 passengers may also operate the standard power rear window sunshade, and retractable rear side window sunshades are standard across all models. A full-length panoramic roof with power retractable sunshade is standard on all V8 models. Opting for the VIP Package takes rear seat comfort to another level. Both seats offer multi-stage cooling, have the ability to recline and incorporate power lumbar support and lateral headrest adjustability. Sophisticated, Intuitive Technology and Safety Well known for providing intuitively placed controls and easily accessible technology, Kia continues this tried-and-true practice in the 2015 K900. On the V8 VIP, front and center for the driver is the largest TFT instrument panel ever offered in a Kia vehicle. At 12.3 inches, the full-color LCD screen is at once easy to read and easily configurable, featuring different themes depending on the drive mode selected. Also included with the V6 Technology Package and V8 VIP package is Kia's first Head-Up Display (HUD). The innovative full color height-adjustable display "floats" just over the leading edge of the windshield providing the driver important information such as vehicle speed, turn-by-turn navigation, and alerts including the Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) . First-class in-car entertainment comes standard in the form of a 900-watt Lexicon high-fidelity audio system, the most powerful and advanced system ever offered by Kia. An audiophile's dream come true, the Lexicon system features a trunk-mounted 12-channel digital amplifier, 17 speakers, including a center channel and an inverted subwoofer located in the rear parcel shelf. The inverted design helps reduce encroachment into the trunk. The speaker arrangement is custom designed for the interior of the K900 to optimize sound quality for every seat in the house. Standard infotainment features include Bluetooth® hands free accessibility, HD RadioTM , three-month complimentary Sirius/XM satellite programming along with AUX and USB ports conveniently accessed through a soft-close genuine wood-covered panel in the center console. The audio system, along with standard navigation and Kia's exclusive UVO eServices telematics software, are all viewed through a 9.2-inch high-definition screen that is accessed through a new standard Driver Information System (DIS) found in the center of the instrument panel. Using a simple rotary knob surrounded by intuitively placed direct-access buttons, the DIS falls naturally to the driver's right hand, allowing immediate access to the K900's wide range of advanced systems, including entertainment and voice-command navigation functions. All K900s come standard with a power-operated trunk lid. A slim credit-card style smart-key entry system that welcomes the vehicle owner by automatically extending the outside rearview mirrors and activating perimeter lighting is standard on all but the V6 Premium. Front and rear park-assist sensors and cameras are standard across the line for enhanced confidence and convenience. Auditory cues notify the driver as the vehicle approaches an object with the tones emanating from the speaker located closest to the object. The parking display also indicates distance to the object via green, yellow and red lines, providing a visual aid to the driver. The V8 comes standard with Kia's first Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system, which provides an audible warning to the driver if oncoming cross traffic is detected from the rear while the K900 is in Reverse. Working in conjunction with RCTA is Blind Spot Detection (BSD), which is standard on the V8 and available in the Technology Package on the V6. Opting for the VIP Package nets the new Around View Monitor system , which utilizes four discreetly placed wide-angle mini-cameras at the front and rear and within the outside rear view mirrors. The cameras provide a crystal-clear view of anything within several feet of the K900, providing potential safety benefits as well as easier maneuvering in tight spaces. A Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) is standard on the V6 Technology Package and both V8 models. The camera-based LDWS monitors the K900's position and provides an audible warning to the driver when the vehicle begins to drift too close to the lane markers. First introduced on the Cadenza, the K900 is available with radar-based Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC) . Included within the V6 Technology Package, and VIP Package on the V8, ASCC adjusts vehicle speed to help maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front and even has the ability to bring the K900 to a full stop. For added convenience, the system will also automatically accelerate the vehicle once traffic allows. The K900 introduces Kia's first use of Advanced Vehicle Safety Management (AVSM) . Integrating the control of various vehicle monitoring systems, including the Electronic Stability Control (ESC), seatbelt mechanisms and multiple warning systems, the AVSM can alert the driver to danger, pre-pressurize the braking system and activate the Pre-Safe Belt (PSB) system , depending on the anticipated level of a collision risk. If a potential collision is detected, AVSM warns the driver in three stages: an audible alarm, a visual warning on both the HUD and TFT LCD cluster and a cinching of the front seatbelts. Flagship Performance A bespoke flagship should be equipped with the proper running gear and the all-new 2015 K900 lacks for nothing. The K900 introduces the first V8 engine offered in a Kia sedan. The Tau DOHC all-aluminum 32-valve five-liter engine produces 420 horsepower. The engine is designed for efficiency with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) and dual CVVT variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust. A special tuned air intake improves airflow while a roller-type timing chain and Teflon coated crank oil seal reduce frictional losses. The fast-heating catalytic converter helps reduce emissions and is of a lightweight design. The V8 is mated to a new smooth-shifting eight-speed transmission. Shift mapping is variable depending on the driver-selectable settings of Eco, Normal and Sport, and each mode also adjusts the electric steering's sensitivity. The 3.8-liter Lamba V6 produces 311 horsepower, making it the most powerful V6 in the Kia lineup. A three-step Variable Intake System (VIS) is designed to provide optimum low- and mid-range torque. Similar to the V8, the Lamba V6 features GDI and CVVT technology to help improve efficiency. A variable-load oil pump maintains optimum pressure at both low and high speeds. Like its more powerful sibling, the V6 also is mated to the same eight-speed transmission; however the gear ratios are tailored to best match the engine application. An advanced five-link fully independent front and rear suspension soaks up road imperfections while also managing to communicate what's happening at each corner. Mounted on a sub-frame to isolate road shocks, the front suspension has coaxial coil-spring shock absorbers and a new friction bearing in the steering column to enhance straight-line stability and steering precision. At the rear, the suspension sub-frame also houses the differential, and the coil springs and shock absorbers are separate units, allowing for negative camber for improved cornering ability. The rear-drive layout of the K900 encourages spirited driving, and the solid chassis, comprised of 75 percent high and ultra-high tensile strength steel, utilizes advanced manufacturing methods that result in a body shell with exceptional strength and torsional rigidity. The K900 V8 includes as standard equipment staggered 19-inch chrome alloy wheels while the V6 rides on 18-inch alloy wheels shod with P245/50R-18 tires. NVH is kept to a minimum with standard laminated side window glass and generous use of sound reducing materials.
  25. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 29, 2013 Kia has confirmed their showing at next month's L.A. Auto Show. The showing will be the new K900, which will be the brand's flagship. This confirms a report from last month which had the name and other details such as the vehicle coming with the choice of V6 and V8 engines. Kia isn't saying much more that. We'll have more information when the K900 makes it debut at the LA Auto Show next month. Source: Kia William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 KIA TO TAKE VALUE TO NEW LEVELS OF SOPHISTICATION IRVINE, Calif., October 28, 2013 – Kia Motors America will take value to new levels of sophistication next month with the unveiling of a rear wheel drive flagship sedan at the Los Angeles auto show. The all-new K900 is scheduled to go on sale next year and be available with either a V6 or V8 engine.

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