Thursday, July 30, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2016 Kia Sorento 0-100 In 5 Points Or Less

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

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

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

0-100 score: 79%

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 Kia Soul: 5 Reasons to Buy - Video

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

Classy Cabin

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

Grown-Up Styling

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

Versatile Interior

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

Upscale Features

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

Solid Drive

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

2015 Kia Sorento Platinum Diesel Review | Road Test

The Sorento lays claim to being the new family SUV benchmark.

Call it the class ceiling. Some brands, no matter how much they've improved over the years, can't seem to make it on to shopping lists.

Kia is among them. The Korean brand has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years but still finds it hard to attract interest in its larger, more expensive cars and SUVs.

The Rio and Cerato small cars sell well, the Sportage compact SUV is slowly building a following but the Optima sedan and Sorento SUV struggle to make an impact.

The all-new Sorento could be the car that makes the breakthrough. At its starting price of $40,990, it's a compelling proposition. But what about the top-of-the-line Platinum model, which costs more than $60,000 on the road?


The Sorento is going to win over plenty of people in the showroom, especially the Platinum model.

The cabin feels upmarket, with an imitation leather finish on the dash, modern looking faux-wood inserts on the doors and centre console and frosted alloy surrounds on the aircon vents. Two-tone, perforated leather seats and a leather and timber steering wheel complete the look.

Apart from the leather trim, the main visual difference between the Platinum and the cheaper Sorentos are bigger 19-inch wheels, daytime running lights, privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate and the panoramic sunroof. Look a little closer and it also gets power-adjustable, heated front and rear seats (and steering wheel), a better 10-speaker stereo and sun blinds for the second row.

The new Sorento is also noticeably bigger than its predecessor, which has liberated more leg and head room for second and third-row passengers.


The Platinum has a couple of city-friendly features that are sadly not available on cheaper models, most of them safety-related. The arsenal of driver assistance technology includes blind spot warning, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert, handy for backing out of driveways or parking spots.

It also has a tailgate that opens automatically when it senses you're at the back of the car, arms full of shopping bags. All Sorentos get a reversing camera and front and rear sensors.

Getting the kids in and out of the third row is also reasonably easy, with the second row seats sliding forward on the passenger side to widen the entry to the back seats, which have their own aircon controls. It's also well prepared for the modern family, with two USB chargers and three 12-volt power outlets.

The diesel engine is reasonably quiet at idle and taking off from the lights, although there's no fuel-saving stop-start technology and fuel consumption hovered around 11L/100km on our city loop. The increase in the Sorento's size has also meant a penalty at the fuel pump, with the new model thirstier than the one launched in 2009.


Active cruise control keeps a safe distance to the car in front, while adaptive headlights follow the curve of the road, improving vision at night.

It's not a hardcore offroader, though the Sorento is capable and assured over broken surfaces, with a comfortable ride and little wallowing over bigger bumps.

The steering isn't a strong point, though. It feels a little lifeless and slow through corners, with an artificial feel that takes some getting used to.


The diesel engine in the Sorento is an impressive thing on the open road. With 441Nm on tap, it makes light work of hills and overtaking manoeuvres, barely raising a whimper when you put the foot down on the freeway.

The six-speed auto is a smooth-shifting job and it holds on to higher gears to save fuel, using the abundant torque to amble along at low revs.

The official average fuel-use label says 7.8L/100km, but you will do better than that on the open road.


Arguably the new benchmark in the mainstream, family-sized SUV class, the Sorento is not perfect but it is generously equipped, comfortable and well presented inside.


Blind spot and lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, automatic opening tailgate, satnav, rear camera and sensors, heated front and rear seats.


Stop-start technology for saving fuel, a snobby badge on the nose, autonomous low-speed braking.


Kia doesn't quite have the resale strength of some of its Japanese competitors but compensates with an industry-leading seven-year warranty that includes seven years of roadside assistance if you service at a Kia dealer. There is also capped price servicing for seven years, although you need a VIN to be able to cross-shop costs with rivals.


The SLi is $6000 cheaper than the Platinum if you can live without the driver assistance technology. Apart from the latter's sunroof, there's not a lot of visual difference between the two.