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Kia Attempts to Take over Paris Motor Show

Maker debuts several vehicles, puts 23 cars on display.

by on Sep.30, 2014

The 2015 Kia Rio debuts at the Paris Motor Show. The maker will have 23 vehicles on display at the show.

A few years ago, it was Lotus that tried to make a big splash at the Paris Motor Show and now Kia seems to be grabbing the spotlight for this year’s event, which starts later this week.

The South Korean automaker will have 23 vehicles on its stand in the City of Light this year, including an Optima T-Hybrid and a new Rio, which hasn’t been updated since 2011, as well as new versions of its Sorento SUV.

The Optima features diesel-electric hybrid powertrain with a 1.7-liter diesel boasting a turbocharger and a supercharger. The new diesel uses less fuel than a comparably sized gas engine, but develops more low-end torque, which is an advantage in city driving.

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“No plans have been confirmed yet for mass production of the Kia Optima T-Hybrid show car,” the maker said in a statement. “The T-Hybrid powertrain remains under consideration for new Kia models in the future.” (more…)

Kia’s Splashy New Designs Re-Ignite Sales

Maker showing increase in 2014 after last year’s slide.

by on Sep.25, 2014

The 2015 Kia Sedona marks the maker's first major overhaul of the vehicle since 2009.

After losing ground, Kia, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary selling cars in the U.S., grabbed some of its mojo back as its sales are growing once again, rising 6.9% so far this year after falling by 3% in 2013.

Coming out of the 2008-2009 recession, Kia was one of the hottest brands in the industry as more and more American buyers found its emphasis on style and value appealing in the aftermath of the financial crisis and steep economic downturn.

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It didn’t hurt that Kia was also in the right place at the right time as Toyota was engulfed in a recall scandal and Honda, the other major Japanese brand, faltered with a series of uninspired designs left buyers less than excited. (more…)

Kia Jumps into Affordable Lease Fray with New Soul EV

Maker offers compact at prices comparable with competitors.

by on Sep.12, 2014

Kia announced pricing on its Soul EV, including a lease price of $249 a month for 36 months.

The war of “reasonably priced” electric vehicles just got a little more intense as Kia announced it will make its Soul EV available for a monthly lease price of just $249 a month for 36 months, which makes it among the most affordable EVs to lease.

Potential lessees will need to put down $1,995 to get that price, which is comparable to prices the Nissan Leaf at $199 per month with $1,999 due at signing, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV at $189 per month with $3,388 down, and the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, which is $199 per month with $1,493 down, according to Edmunds.com.

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Buyers aren’t left out of the “low-price” segment either, as the new Soul is among the cheapest of the new compact EVs as well with a price of $33,700, including destination charges. The Plus model is $35,700. Once buyers include the $7,500 federal tax credit for purchasing an EV, the prices come in at just more than $26,000 and $28,000 respectively. The Leaf is priced at $22,360. (more…)

Kia Announces $1 billion Mexican Assembly Plant

Factory set to open in 2016; add much-needed production capacity.

by on Aug.28, 2014

The new plant is expected to produce several small models, including a version of the Kia Forte Koup.

Desperate to add more much-needed production capacity, Kia Motors will become the latest automaker to open a new assembly plant in Mexico.

Intended to serve markets up and down the Americas, the $1 billion plant will begin operations in just two years, and will be tooled to eventually build as many as 300,000 vehicles annually. The facility is expected to produce a number of different compact models, according to the Korean carmaker, though it did not identify specific plans yet.

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The factory will become one of a growing list of automotive assembly plants operating in the Spanish-speaking country, Mexico already on target to become the sixth-largest auto-producing nation in the world as makers such as Nissan, Audi and now Kia set up shop or expand existing production facilities.

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New Look for Kia Sorento

Little hatchback borrows cues from edgy Cross GT concept.

by on Aug.13, 2014

Kia's new version of the Sorento will be longer, lower -- and a lot more stylish.

When the last generation Kia Sorento came out, the Korean carmaker seemed content to settle for me-too styling that was easily lost in the crowd.  Today, Kia has adopted a much more edgy and distinctive design language that’s readily apparent in these advance images of the next-generation sport-utility vehicle.

Set to make its formal debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, the new Sorento is lower and longer, with additional space for passengers in all three rows, the maker promises. And it certainly won’t be lost in a crowded parking lot anymore, the new crossover model clearly showing the influence of not only other recent models, such as the K900 luxury sedan, but also the Cross GT show car that signaled the new brand styling theme.

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“While we have retained the name based on the tremendous success of the outgoing model, the all-new Sorento has been completely redesigned and re-engineered,” said Soon-Nam Lee, vice president of Kia overseas marketing, “and promises to surprise customers with its thoroughly updated styling, a host of new convenience and safety technologies, as well as enhanced space, driving comfort and handling response.”

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Consumer Reports Blasts Honda Accord Hybrid MPG Claim

Latest hybrid to be faulted for overly optimistic mileage ratings.

by on May.29, 2014

The Honda Accord Hybrid was redesigned for 2014.

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is the latest among a growing list of gas-electric models to take hits for what critics contend are overly optimistic and misleading mileage claims.

It’s not the first time Honda has been faulted for its hybrid mileage ratings – an estimated 47 mpg on the 2014 Accord version – but it’s far from alone, Ford last year lowering its own numbers for the Fusion C-Max that initially also had a 47 mpg rating.

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But most manufacturers have been sticking by their fuel economy numbers, which are based on testing by the Environmental Protection Agency, despite concerns that the industry has been “gaming” the system by tuning vehicles to maximize results in those tests while delivering lower results in real-world driving.

“We’ve found that the EPA tests often exaggerate the fuel economy of hybrids,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

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Hyundai-Kia Topples Honda as Greenest Carmaker

Korean maker credited for hybrids, downsized turbos, other moves.

by on May.27, 2014

Hyundai is just bringing its Tucson-based hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to market in Southern California.

While Japanese automakers have long worked hard to burnish their images as environmentally friendly manufacturers, Korean carmaker Hyundai-Kia has been named the greenest carmaker by an influential scientific research group.

The Korean partners displaced Tokyo-based Honda, which had been the top-ranked automaker during the previous five years, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The UCS credited Hyundai’s belated push into hybrids, as well as its new, downsized turbo engines and other pollution control technologies, such as the hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle just going on sale in California.

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Honda slipped to second in the study, followed by Toyota, Nissan and Volkswagen. Detroit’s Big three automakers lagged in the study which looked at a variety of variables, including the production of traditional, smog-causing pollutants, as well as CO2 and other gases linked to climate change.

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Kia Straddles Minivan/Crossover Line

Touts new Sedona as a ‘multipurpose vehicle.’

by on Apr.15, 2014

The 2015 Kia Sedona marks the maker's first major overhaul of the vehicle since 2009.

The mystery is gone regarding the 2015 Kia Sedona minivan, er, multipurpose vehicle. After dropping a few hints and dark pictures of the new version, the maker unveiled the details about new Sedona it plans to show in New York this week.

One of the questions floating around was would it be a minivan at all. Given the fact that the minivan segment is shrinking and dominated by a couple of makers, wondering if Kia would stay there was a valid question. Now the answer is, uh, well…maybe.

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Touting its “European-inspired” styling and other features, it seems Kia’s plans to differentiate the Sedona from other minivans is to simply suggest that it’s not a minivan at all, but a crossover. (more…)

Kia Shares More Details about 2015 Sedona

New MPV features sliding doors like a minivan.

by on Apr.11, 2014

Kia dropped more hints about the 2015 Sedona, including that it will have sliding doors.

After a little tease for the curious a week ago, Kia decided to drop a few more details about its mysterious multi-purpose vehicle debuting at the New York International Auto Show next week today.

The first detail? The Sedona name lives on.

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The all-new 2015 Sedona also gets a new powerplant: a 3.3-liter gasoline direct injected (GDI) V6 engine.
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Kia Teases New Multi-Purpose Vehicle

Replacement for Sedona due to debut at NY Auto Show.

by on Apr.03, 2014

Kia teases the replacement for its all-but-forgotten Sedona minivan, due to debut in NY this month.

With less than two weeks left before the New York Auto Show’s annual media preview begins our e-mailbox is suddenly getting flooded with news about new production models – and a raft of concept vehicles that could offer a hint of models to come.

Among the planned debuts, expect to see a new “midsize multi-purpose vehicle” from Kia, apparently a more acceptable alternative to the oft-derided term, minivan.

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The Korean carmaker isn’t saying much, issuing little more than this teaser image and a terse release that suggests, “This global debut will challenge the segment and will offer the functionality to transport as many as eight passengers and their belongings while also serving as a purposeful offering for adventure seekers.” (more…)