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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.

Your Inside Source!

“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.

By the Numbers!

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.

Beyond the Headlines!

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.

Your Auto Show Source!

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.

Product News!

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…)

Kia’s New Luxury Flagship Slow-Rolling into Dealers

Just 30% of dealers eligible to sell the new K900.

by on Feb.28, 2014

Kia is counting on the K900 to help reshape the maker's image among luxury buyers.

When Kia announced it was bringing the K900 to the to the market it wanted its new luxury flagship sedan to be seen on the same lofty level as a S-Class Mercedes or 7-Series BMW, including the dealership experience.

Well, some of the dealers are having some difficulty making the grade. In fact, according to an Edmunds.com report, only 30% of Kia dealers will be eligible to sell the K900 when it his showrooms in a few weeks.

The Last Word!

Dealers wanting to sell the new marque ponied up $30,000 for specialized training and showroom display upgrades. The training is aimed at helping sales staffers relate all of the high-end features available on the new car: features not available on other Kia products. (more…)

Kia Charges Up Optima Hybrid

Battery-based offering belatedly catches up.

by on Feb.07, 2014

Kia's Michael Sprague shows Chicago Auto Show attendees the newly updated Kia Optima Hybrid.

When Kia announced a mid-cycle refresh of its midsize Optima sedan for 2014, something was clearly missing. For reasons that went unexplained, the hybrid-electric version of the four-door maintained the old Optima styling.

The maker will finally correct that omission, previewing a late-entry 2014 Optima Hybrid this week at the Chicago Auto Show. But for those who were hoping to see Kia upgrade the underlying hybrid technology, well, that’s not in the cards for the moment.

Your Automotive Source!

The basic update matches the tweaks given the mainstream Optima model, though there are some specific details designed for the Hybrid to help improve aerodynamics and allow it to alert viewers that it’s a green machine. (more…)

Kia Niro Concept Hints at Possible Urban Hybrid Vehicle

Show car features electric all-wheel-drive system.

by on Feb.06, 2014

The Kia Niro Concept uses a new B-segment platform likely to soon show up in production.

While a teaser image of the new Kia Niro suggests the show car is capable of doing some serious off-roading, the Korean maker is really exploring the possibilities of a “cutting-edge urban hybrid vehicle.”

Making its debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, the prototype “hints at” something Kia clearly has under development, a small, high-mileage crossover that would target younger, environmentally minded buyers living in urban environments much like the Windy City.

The goal is to come up with something that has more attitude and a more fun-to-drive feel than the typically stodgy hybrids of today that seem focused only on maximizing mileage.

Fuel for Thought!

“Ten years ago people wanted understated style in the SUV market, but increasingly, as more people migrate to the B-segment, they are looking for strong character and individuality,” said Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer at Kia’s Frankfurt, Germany-based Design Center Europe which developed the Niro concept.

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Kia Joins Battery Brigade With New Soul EV

Limited sales begin later this year.

by on Feb.06, 2014

Kia's first battery-car, the Soul EV, goes on sale during the third quarter, but only in a handful of markets.

Korean carmaker Kia is the latest to plug-into the growing market for battery-electric vehicles, introducing the all-new 2015 Kia Soul EV at the Chicago Auto Show.

The Soul is one of three battery-based models Kia is showing at this year’s event in the Windy City, the maker also rolling out an updated version of its Optima Hybrid sedan, as well as the new Niro Hybrid Concept.

Keeping You Plugged In!

Most major automakers have, or soon plan to add plug-based vehicles to their U.S. model lines – at least in part due to the strict new Zero-Emission Vehicle, or ZEV standards going into effect in California and a handful of other states.  But while sales have fallen well short of proponents’ expectations, plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, generated just short of 100,000 sales last year, an all-time record.

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