Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gary Rome Hyundai seeks to buy Whiting Farms Road site, submits $2 million proposal for property

HOLYOKE -- The Holyoke Gas and Electric Department has awarded a contract for a Whiting Farms Road property to Gary Rome Hyundai with an expectation an agreement will be signed soon, despite neighbors' opposition to certain kinds of development at the site, officials said.

Bids for the 19-acre property were publicly opened by Holyoke Gas and Electric Commission (HGE) in May. The commission awarded the contract to Gary Rome, which submitted a bid for $2,050,000, at a public meeting on June 4, officials said.

Gary Rome Hyundai has a dealership at 1000 Main St. in the city. Gary Rome Auto Group also has a Kia dealership in Enfield.

Marcotte Ford also submitted a $1.71 million bid for the property. Michael Filomeno, general manager at the Holyoke dealership, said the location would offer the company a chance to grow. "We can't expand here. The business is changing. The vehicles are changing, getting bigger. We have to keep up."

Gary Rome and HGE are negotiating a purchase and sale agreement, HGE Manager James M. Lavelle said.

"I expect that the agreement will be signed soon, and that it will be contingent upon the buyer obtaining certain approvals, including any necessary zone changes," Lavelle said in an email.

The deal will not go through unless the auto group obtains a zone change, from a general business to a highway business designation.

The property has a contentious history with attempts by businesses to move in. When Lowe's Home Improvement sought to purchase the property, neighborhood group Holyoke First protested until the corporation withdrew its bid. The same fate awaited Walmart when the company intended to open a location on the Whiting Farm Road site.

Earlier this year, the city asked residents what type of space they want for the 19-acre property.

The Republican's Mike Plaisance reported on the 361 responses the city received in July.

Nothing would be fine.
Essentially, that's the highest intensity of interest expressed in a survey the city did of what kind of use residents and others want for 19 acres on Whiting Farms Road previously considered controversially by Walmart and Lowe's improvement.

Open space-recreation scored the highest intensity of responses in the survey followed by mixed-retail use, retail plaza, office space,auto dealer, a tie between industrial and single-unit residential and multi-unit residential, according to the results discussed at Tuesday's (July 22) meeting of the City Council Ordinance Committee at City Hall.
Author: Michelle Williams | micwilli@MassLive.com 

Source: MassLive.com

2015 Kia Sedona Priced at $26,795

Just the Facts:
  • The redesigned 2015 Kia Sedona minivan starts at $26,795, reflecting no price increase over the base 2014 model.
  • Three new trim levels have been added to the 2015 Sedona lineup, including a top-of-the-line 2015 Sedona SX Limited model that starts at $40,595.
  • The 2015 Sedona arrives at U.S. dealerships this fall.

IRVINE, California — The redesigned 2015 Kia Sedona minivan starts at $26,795, including an $895 destination charge, reflecting no price increase over the base 2014 model.

Three new trim levels have been added to the 2015 Sedona lineup, including a top-of-the-line 2015 Sedona SX Limited model that starts at $40,595, including shipping.

The 2015 Sedona arrives at U.S. Kia dealerships this fall.

The new trim levels are the base L model, SX and premium SX Limited.

Just two trim levels were offered for the 2014 model year: Sedona LX and EX.

The midlevel 2015 Sedona EX starts at $32,995, including shipping, reflecting a $1,200 price increase over the 2014 EX.

The new 2015 Sedona SX starts at $36,995, including shipping.

All models are equipped with a 276-horsepower 3.3-liter gasoline direct injection or GDI V6 engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2015 Sedona returns 18 mpg in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

That's a 1 mpg improvement in city driving compared to the 2014 Sedona.

The Sedona gets a significant redesign with a bolder look, new engine and new optional safety features. A new $2,700 Technology package bundles smart cruise control, lane-departure warning system, forward-collision warning system and xenon HID headlights.

The Sedona seats seven, but an upgrade to the eight-passenger package adds another $400. A rear-seat entertainment system is a $995 option.

All Sedona models come standard with electronic stability control, traction control, brake-assist system, hill-start assist control, antilock brakes and cornering brake control.

Key competitors to the Sedona include the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Edmunds says: Kia comes up with a Sedona pricing strategy that has something for all minivan shoppers. It continues to offer a modestly priced version, but kicks it up a notch with some high-end models that should be standouts in the school carpool line.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kia Announces Pricing on All-Electric Soul EV

Kia has announced pricing on its all-new Soul EV, the South Korean automaker’s first foray into the electric segment.

The all-electric version of Kia’s most popular vehicle will start at $33,700 when it goes on sale in October. That price doesn’t include destination or any state or federal tax credits or incentives.

Buyers in California could lop off $2,500 for the state’s electric-vehicle rebate, and up to $7,500 for a federal tax credit, depending on their income, pushing the price as low as $23,700.

The all-new Kia Soul EV is the first electric car from the South Korean brand. It uses a 27-kWh lithium-ion battery for an estimated range of 80 to 100 miles.

Kia will also lease the Soul EV for $249 a month, but that price is for 36 months, includes a $1,999 down payment and is based on the full $7,500 federal tax credit.

The Soul EV will be available only in California at its October launch. In 2015, Kia hopes to bring the EV to other states that follow California’s lead in requiring automakers to sell zero-emission vehicles. Those states could include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

California has long had the most eager audience for electric vehicles. Just this week, the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold in the Golden State, which accounts for 40% of all plug-in vehicles in the U.S.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said he wants 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road in California by 2025. The California Air Resources Board requires all automakers selling vehicles in the state to offer at least one that is zero-emissions.

This has led to a surge of pure-electric vehicles from brands such as Ford, Fiat, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Chevy and Mercedes-Benz. Critics of the requirement -- even those among the automakers themselves -- argue that it’s forcing money-losing electric vehicles onto the general public when supply far outreaches demand.

Indeed, widespread adoption of EVs has yet to catch on throughout the nation; just 1% of households in the U.S. have an electric vehicle.

Models such as the Kia Soul EV are designed to look and feel just like their gas-powered counterparts. The new Kia uses the automaker’s funky -- and popular -- front-wheel-drive Soul crossover as its foundation. The car’s boxy shape allowed Kia to tuck the air-cooled lithium-ion batteries into the floor without cutting into the Soul’s prized functionality.

Those air-cooled, 27-kWh batteries power an electric motor that makes 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. The batteries recharge in under five hours using a 240-volt outlet. Top speed on the Soul EV is 90 mph.

The all-electric Kia comes standard with a navigation system, rear-view camera, Bluetooth connectivity and a smartphone app that lets drivers control the charging timers and pre-heat or cool the car when it’s plugged in.

The Soul EV Plus will sell for $35,700 and adds heated and cooled leather seats, fog lights and power-folding mirrors.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 Kia Optima Review: Great Value But Undeserving To Roll With The Best

Ex-Audi designer, Peter Schreyer, is considered as the Korean hero. Last year, the German national aided Kia in designing the Kia Optima. Now that the vehicle is out, let’s see on what it has got to offer.

There are three types of Optima to choose from. The entry level is identified as the Si, the mid-level is the SLi and the premium model is the Platinum. The trio retails at $30,490, $34,990 and $38,790 respectively.

Under the hood, Kia equipped the Optima with the direct-injection 2.4-litre petrol engine that produces 148kW/250Nm on-tap. Together with the FWD system and 6-speed automatic transmission, the mid-size sedan can achieve 7.9L/100km.

The interior has that classy luxury look to it. This is thanks to Peter, who designed it in Kia’s European Design Studio located in Germany. With an efficient engine and a beautiful design, the Kia Optima is truly an all-rounder vehicle. One can use it as a family car, sports sedan vehicle or simply use it as an office car.

Commuting on the Optima is also a breeze as it comes with leather seats and plenty of room to offer. Then again, the Optima are nowhere near as great as the Mazda 6 or Ford Mondeo. When sitting behind the wheel, all that the Optima have got to offer is a decent experience and nothing worth getting excited about.

As great as the Optima may be, it still lacks in offering sporty driving dynamics. Also, Kia should reconsider revising the price tag of the vehicle. The $38,790 retail fee is simply too high for the Optima.

Friday, September 12, 2014

2015 Kia Sportage Preview

PROs: As is the case for just about every Kia product, there’s no faulting the 2015 Sportage’s design. Plus, over the years, Sportage has upped the ante regarding the internal finish, so that means it’s a real pleasure to drive. In terms of standard equipment, as is the way at Kia, the Sportage comes fully loaded. Last but not least, there are some great powertrain choices, backed up by an excellent guarantee.

CONs: There’s also some nit-picking to do for the 2015 Kia Sportage. Rear and side windows are relatively narrow and restrict back-end vision. You’ll still find some hard plastic in the cabin. Plus, the suspension is a little stiff and the steering could be more precise. For those who wish to go upscale, you might want to have second thoughts about the SX Luxury whose price will empty your wallet of more than $46,000, including taxes.

2015 Kia Sportage Price: For 2015, Kia markets their SUV crossover compact LX for $22,995 and $25,195 (manual or automatic versions, respectively). The EX automatic starts at $28,995, the SX automatic at $32,695, the EX Luxury automatic at $34,895 and the SX automatic Luxury at $38,495.

Fuel Economy: For the 2015, consumption rates (city/highway litres per 100 km) vary according to the model: LX,12.9/9.2 (manual or automatic); EX, 11.4/8.3; SX, 12.6/9.7; SX 12.6/9.7; EX Luxury, 12.0/9.1 and SX Luxury, 12.6/9.7 L/100 km.

Improvements and Changes: For 2015, no major changes to the Kia Sportage.

2015 Kia Sportage Powertrain: The 2015 Sportage offers a choice of two 4-cylinders engines: the LX gets a 2.4 L DOHC rated at 182 hp (offered with manual or automatic 6-speed transmission). The EX and EX Luxury versions take advantage of the same engine but with automatic transmission only. As for the SX and SX Luxury, they both feature a turbocharged 4-cylinder DOHC generating 260 hp and matched with an automatic 6-speed gearbox.

Cargo Capacity: Storage aboard the 2015 Kia Sportage varies between 740 and 1,547 litres, depending on whether the back seats are lowered or not.

Safety: The 2015 Kia Sportage safety benefits include: 4-wheel ABS, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability control, traction control and hill assist system for starting on an incline or going downhill.

Comparing the 2015 Kia Sportage: In this compact crossover SUV segment, the Sportage is up against the Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Mitsubishi Outlander, Rogue and Toyota RAV4 Nissan.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2015 Kia Forte Sedan Awarded Five-Star

Kia announced that following minor revisions, the 2015 Kia Forte sedan earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Kia Forte earned a four-star rating for the 2014 model year.

The primary changes to the 2015 Kia Forte sedan include stronger A-pillars and lower side-sills, helping the compact sedan improve its frontal crash-test rating. NHTSA ratings for the outgoing Forte sedan were the result of a three-star front crash rating, a five-star side crash rating, and a four-star rollover rating. Improvements for the 2015 Kia Forte resulted in a four-star frontal crash rating, while the previous side crash and rollover ratings were unchanged. That was enough to push the overall rating from four to five stars.

The 2015 Kia Forte is otherwise the same as the 2014 model, which was overhauled as an all-new compact competitor following its lackluster debut four years earlier. Customers opting for the base Forte will get a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing 148 hp and 131 lb-ft of torque, while customers with a bit more power in mind can get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 174 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque in the Forte EX. The base engine comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.0-liter pairs only with the automatic. The 2015 Kia Forte will cost $16,690 including destination fees.

Safety standards are becoming ever-more stringent, forcing companies to push the envelope on safety. Already we’ve seen manufacturers respond to the requirement for standard stability control, add more airbags and radar- or laser-based collision warning systems, and prepare for the mandate that rear-view camera technology come standard on new cars by 2018. A possible next step down the line could be vehicle-to-vehicle technology (V2V), which the NHTSA has already publicly endorsed. Cadillac announced yesterday that V2V technology would come to the CTS sedan in 2017.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2015 Kia K900 Sports

The 2015 Kia K900 sports the Korean automaker’s signature grille. The luxury sedan has a swept greenhouse, understated cut lines along the doors, high rear deck, and the sheet metal is taunt.

NEWPORT COAST, Calif. – Even though its sales were down by 4 percent last year, Kia has been wildly successful in this market. Undeterred by a slight slide in sales; the Korean automaker continues its long-term strategy in the U.S. market that can be summed up in one word – growth.

During the last three years the automaker has watched the luxury market fragment. Traditional luxury brands moving down market and many mainstream brands moving up market has opened a gap in Kia’s view and the automaker brought us to the West Coast to test drive its latest offering to fill the hole that it says has opened up in the luxury market.

The question for Kia is: Will Americans pay $66,400 for the 2015 Kia K900 luxury sedan that is new to the market segment and, what’s more, is the product of brand that has just recently shed its image as the manufacturer of inexpensive automobiles? In a phrase, the K900 offers enough to entice independent-minded consumers to take a look when it goes on sale this spring.

Of course, Kia brought the top of the line K900 VIP, but first let’s look at how the K900 looked. With a wheelbase of almost 120-inches, it was a sizable car with 19-inch wheels. It sported Kia’s signature grille, it had a swept greenhouse, understated cut lines along the doors, high rear deck and the sheet metal was taunt. The car had the same hereditary silhouette that adorns the Kia Optima and the recently introduced Kia Cadenza.

And in Kia’s tradition of offering more for less, the K900 had LED adaptive headlights as well as LED taillights. The only normal illuminative bulbs were the backup lights. The power trunk was standard, so was the heated automatic dimming side view mirrors. Kia designers also sweated the small stuff like the chrome tipped dual exhaust mimicking the shape of the taillights.

The car’s adaptive cruise control could bring it to halt and the four-caliper brakes could and did stop the car quickly.

But on any automobile in the luxury realm, it is all about what’s under the hood. Kia brought the V8 powered K900 here. Producing 420 horsepower, the 5.0-liter engine made 376 pound-feet of torque and it was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that was developed in-house. A 3.8-liter V6 will be available later this year.

The V8 was impressive. However, it did work hard getting up and over some of the hills. But during the driver change we had neglected to take it out of sport mode, which made the steering heavier and moved the shift points up the rev band. In other words, the car held gears longer. Once we put it back in normal mode, the K900 moved through the hills here without effort as a 400-plus horsepower luxury sedan should. There was also an ECO mode that moved the shift points down the rev band but we didn’t bother with that.

The engine was quiet, gear selection was buttery smooth and acceleration was effortless. Through the twist and turns of the mountainous roads here, the K900’s chassis remained stiff no doubt because of the use of high and ultra-high strength steel. The norm, the car featured a five-link suspension fore and aft which kept it level in all forms of driving.

About the only thing Kia should tweak on the K900 is that suspension. It should be just a tad stiffer in the sense of spring and or shock absorber compression to give the car a more substantive feel. Basically, sedans in this class have a more solid ride not because they weigh more than the K900’s 4,555 pounds, but because the suspension gives them an air of solidity.

Still, as an automobile stylist said years ago, luxury is conveyed in the interior of a vehicle and in this area the K900 measured up nicely as well. Though a leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard, our test vehicle had a heated wood veneer steering wheel. The interior was swathed in white Napa leather and ambient interior lighting was standard across the model line. Wood trim is either walnut or poplar. Kia even upgraded the audio system on the K900. The 900-watt Lexicon system featured 17 speakers in 16 locations. It had a 12-channel amp with rich surround sound clarity augmented by a subwoofer.

A 12-way driver’s seat is standard but a 16-way power seat featuring power headrests and cushion extender will be available when the car goes on sale. Of course, the front seats were heated and cooled. The VIP package included rear climate controls, heated and cooled rear seats with power recline and lumbar support and headrest adjustability.

The 2015 Kia K900 is sound luxury sedan. The question is can the Korean automaker get luxury car buyers to consider this car. The advertising and marketing effort will have to be rifle shot accurate.