Saturday, February 6, 2016

Kia will launch a Ford Fiesta ST rival


Kia is all set to establish a new high-performance GT line. The range will be headed up by the long-awaited GT sports car, and now the brand’s announced that a Rio hatchback-based Ford Fiesta ST rival is on the cards, too.

The GT sports car is set to arrive in showrooms in 2017, but the production model could be revealed as soon as October’s Paris Motor Show. With styling taken from both the four-door GT coupĂ© concept and the Stinger compact coupĂ© concept, it’ll act as a halo model for the rest of the line-up.

The Procee’d GT and Optima GT have already been revealed, and now we understand that the Rio GT should arrive in 2018 to take on Ford’s legendary hot hatch. Kia wants to use the model, which was developed under ex-BMW M boss Albert Biermann, to cement its performance small car reputation.

The newcomer is slated to feature a c.180bhp 1.6-litre engine and an all-new platform that’ll debut in next year’s next-generation standard Rio. That hatch is claimed to be lighter and more dynamically agile than at present, with “a quantum leap” of cabin and infotainment improvements. Kia’s ultra-efficient 1.0-litre petrol triple will feature in a revised engine range. A new Picanto is also due in 2017.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

2016 Kia Sportage: What Has Changed?


Now that we got to see what the new Kia Sportage is all about, what has changed. The exterior is definitely new although we are not sure new is better in this case.

Kia also made some changes to the packages that the Kia Sportage models will be offered. The Kia Sportage LX Popular package will now come with a few more features including roof rails, rear spoiler, auto headlight, touchscreen display, integrated rear camera display and more.

Another package that will be upgraded is the EX Premium package. The package will be getting some additional features like cooled glove box, front fog lights, premium audio system, leather seats, front fog lights, integrated turn signal and more.

Those looking to get the SX trim model will be glad to know that it will be getting the EX Premium package as part of its standard features.

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Kia and Hyundai - Sister brands at it again


There must have been some very happy faces among the Irish staff at the three Korean marques last week. Not only did mighty Hyundai storm to the overall lead of the car market here, heading towards 5,000 sales, but its sister Kia launched the fourth generation Sportage, which is likely to have sales of 3,500 this year.

Even lowly SsangYong, which was the butt of much derision, has turned itself around with a few tastier SUVs and its sales in January were around 50 vehicles - at least three times more than the same time last year.

The Hyundai charge was led by its new Tucson SUV which replaces the very successful iX35. Sales of the Tucson were more than 2,200 for the month, however both the i20 and the Sunday Independent's last Car of the Year, the superb i10, doubled their sales in the month.

Now entering its fourth generation, the new Kia Sportage compact SUV builds comprehensively on the success of the outgoing model, offering a very complete package to buyers in an increasingly competitive market.

The new-look interior features "high quality materials and design integrity", says Kia, as well as great practicality and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety. Updated engines and transmissions will result in enhanced efficiency and performance, while ride, handling and refinement are all improved.

James Brooks, managing director of Kia Motors Ireland, commented: "The Kia Sportage has been a key driver in the growth of the Kia brand in Ireland with over 11,000 very happy customers as brand ambassadors for the car. Competition in this segment is growing but we are confident that the new Sportage will emulate and exceed the success of its predecessors. Following a very successful pre-marketing campaign we expect over 1,000 customers to take delivery of a new Sportage between now and the end of February and we are forecasting full-year sales of 3,500 in 2016."

The new Sportage comes with a choice of two engines - 1.7D for 2WD and 2.0D for AWD . The 1.7 engine has been refined for extra efficiency and with the addition of Kia's idle stop & go (ISG) technology the new Sportage moves from Band B2 to A4, with annual road tax now at €200.

The car will come in three trim levels - LX (€27,995), EX (€29,995) and GSe (€34,495). The volume model will no doubt be the mid-trim EX which comes with a host of comfort and safety features, including: 17" alloys; sat nav and reversing camera; driver's power seat; half leather seats; speed limit info; high beam assist and lane keep assist.

The top-of-the range GSe adds 19" alloys; sunroof; full leather/heated seats; power passenger seat; smart key and xenon lights.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

CHRISTOPHER WALKEN ADDS “PIZZAZZ” TO KIA MOTORS’ SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL FOR THE ALL-NEW OPTIMA MIDSIZE SEDAN


Kia is the First Brand to Utilize a New Technology Solution from Influential That Taps IBM Watson for Influencer Identification as Part of Multifaceted Marketing Campaign

Extended cut of “Walken Closet” can be viewed now at YouTube.com/Kia; 60-second broadcast version will debut during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 #AddPizzazz social media campaign includes partnerships with Mobile First influencer platform Influential, social media creator network Niche, and lifestyle apparel brand Stance, to engage creators and generate content across a variety of channels

IRVINE, Calif., February 2, 2016 – There’s no one quite like Christopher Walken – he is an original.

And in Kia Motors America’s (KMA) 2016 Super Bowl commercial, the Academy Award-winner employs a colorfully stylish sock to demonstrate how the next generation Optima stands out in the midsize sedan segment filled with entries that look and drive the same.

Premiering today on YouTube.com/Kia – and set to air in the fourth quarter of the big game – “Walken Closet” is the centerpiece of Kia’s multiplatform campaign spotlighting the all-new 2016 Optima as the vibrant alternative for those searching for more in a vehicle segment whose hallmarks are basic, boring and uninspired. As Walken explains in the spot, “There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who are content to blend in … then there are those who expect more. They’re exciting. They have pizzazz.”

“No one is cooler or as instantly recognizable as Christopher Walken, and on advertising’s biggest stage Kia is out to show the world the all-new Optima delivers a level of refinement and sophistication unlike anything else in the midsize segment,” said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer and EVP, KMA.


Before and after the Super Bowl, the fully integrated campaign – created by David&Goliath, KMA’s advertising agency of record – brings the spirit of “Walken Closet” to life across multiple channels and breaks new ground in digital engagement, as Kia is the first brand to utilize a new technology solution from Influential, a Mobile First influencer platform, using IBM Watson to connect brands to some of the most highly engaged influencers on social media.

By tapping into IBM Watson’s Personality Insights API, Influential helped Kia select and activate the most relevant social media influencers for the #AddPizzazz campaign. Influential has gone beyond assessing typical metrics (like demographics and social reach) and is now able to analyze unstructured data pulled from an influencers’ social media feeds. This technology has enabled Kia to identify influencers based on previously hard-to-measure metrics – like how they are perceived by their followers and how well their specific personality fits the personality of the brand.

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, nearly 100 of these influencers received a pair of the colorful Stance socks featured in “Walken Closet” and were encouraged to share how they “add pizzazz” to their lives on their social media channels. The content was then pulled into Kia’s Tumblr page, allowing people to find, connect, create and share additional content. In addition to the individuals Influential identified by personality, social media talent agency, Niche, and lifestyle apparel brand, Stance, also helped identify and engage select influencers.

“2016 marks Kia’s seventh straight appearance in the Super Bowl, and each year our goal is to deliver something upbeat, fun and memorable that aligns with Kia’s forward-thinking vision,” said Sprague. “We are never afraid to challenge conventional thinking and go our own way, and our #AddPizzazz efforts are the latest example of what makes Kia, and the Optima, stand out.”

As part of the campaign, beginning on Wednesday, February 3, consumers can download a $25 Visa® pre-paid card test drive voucher at Kia.com that is redeemable after eligible consumers visit a Kia dealership and complete a test drive of the all-new 2016 Optima.

About the 2016 Kia Optima

The all-new 2016 Optima is passionately designed and obsessively crafted with European styling, a refined premium interior and significant ride and handling improvements. Kia’s best-selling nameplate challenges the midsize sedan segment with three engine choices, including a new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s mated to a seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), making the Optima more confident on the road than ever before. The roomier, more luxurious cabin features an impressive level of craftsmanship that comes standard across five trim levels. The all-new Optima is built at Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia.*

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016 Kia Sorento – Best In Class, Best Overall


With SUV’s continuing to narrow the gap to passenger cars, the arrival of the third generation flagship seven-seater Kia Sorento is perfect timing in Fiji.

Available with either the 2.2L Diesel engine or a modern 2.4L engine, it can be purchased in Fiji from Kia Motors Fiji Showrooms in Suva and Nadi.

The Sorento is a totally new generation of SUV with a sleek design, advanced interior features and superior comfort.

The Kia Sorento is the accumulation of all the knowledge and technical know-how that the South Korean brand has gathered in the last few years.

It delivers unbeatable value for money in a highly competitive segment. The new Kia Sorento is based on an entirely new platform.

It’s bigger, heavier and having carried over its drivetrain to an extent, it’s subsequently thirstier and has been rated as the safest SUV in Australia by ANCAP.

The all-new Sorento has been comprehensively upgraded, and its charms are more diverse than ever.

Kia’s latest entry into this red-hot class might not be the most dynamically gifted or the most visually distinct model in its class, but it’s a seriously well-rounded, well-considered crossover.

It’s a significant step forward in looks, quality, and performance, yet this category of premium crossovers is already full of great choices.

As before, the Sorento’s prime advantage against the competition still lies in its price.

The all-new Kia Sorento is bigger, more sophisticated and better to drive, making it an appealing alternative to five- and seven-passenger SUVs that were previously a class above it.

Kia’s midsize crossover is definitely worth a long look. Dynamically, the Sorento is more planted than nimble, but it is very well executed.

The body and suspension feel firm and fairly communicative.

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Kia Will Increase Range of Soul EV for 2017


When the Kia Soul EV hit the market in October 2014, it promised a fresh alternative to the small hatchback electric cars on the market. It offered a slightly larger cabin wrapped in a charming iconoclastic design. More importantly, its 27 kilowatt-hour battery pack provided about a dozen more miles on a charge than what the the Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus Electric deliver. The electric Soul’s EPA rating for range is 93 miles. Nonetheless, Kia Soul EV sales averaged below 100 units a month in 2015, placing it in the back of the plug-in pack —even behind the discontinued Cadillac ELR.

Yet, according to report from UK’s Autocar, Hyundai-Kia is not giving up on the Soul EV. The publication offers this single point about the Soul, which is getting a face-lift for 2017: the next EV version will have longer range. More details are not provided.

While consumer sales of the Soul EV are not newsworthy, the vehicle recently garnered press coverage because it’s being used in Hyundai’s research regarding autonomous vehicles. Soul EVs, equipped with advanced assisted-driving technologies, are being tested on Nevada roads. In fact, most autonomous driving programs use electric vehicles as test cars—portending the time when fleets of self-driving EVs are dotting the US landscape. By 2020, Kia plans to introduce such features as traffic jam assist, automated braking and autonomous valet parking—followed by fully autonomous cars in about 2030.

Putting the Soul EV in self-driving test fleets is obviously not enough to make it a legitimate player in the plug-in market. Expanding to multiple states hasn’t done the trick either.

Poor sales of the Kia Soul EV were not helped when distribution expanded in 2015 from California alone, to Oregon, Washington, Georgia, Texas and Hawaii. In fall 2015, four more states were added, with about 20 dealerships in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland starting to offer the electric car. Yet, Kia Soul EV sales have essentially remained flat.

A future increase in range in the Kia Soul EV, say to 100 or even 120 miles, could be more effective—but will need to be accompanied by a much more aggressive production and sales campaign. Otherwise, the Soul EV will be dismissed as purely a research or compliance vehicle—and overlooked by consumers who might otherwise see the Kia electric car as a legitimate alternative.

When I drove the Soul EV for a week in fall 2014, I found its aggressive one-pedal braking, smart EV gauges and standard DC Quick Charging to be smartly designed—setting a high standard for affordable EVs. A good electric is a terrible thing to waste.

Autocar only offered a single line about what we might expect from a new Kia Soul EV later this year. Let’s hope that the Kia is being coy, holding back information about it potential big plans for much better range and, more importantly, a sincere sales effort.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2017 Kia Cadenza hits the road


Just a day after specs for its home market were released, the luxury sedan stars in its first official videos.

Known as the K7 in South Korea and the Cadenza in other markets, Kia's new saloon is an interesting proposition that aims to take on the establishment.

The luxurious cockpit promises more comfort, with the automaker focusing on the Krell sound system, head-up display, wooden trim and three different leather upholstery accents. Safety is taken care of by Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking and High Beam Assist.

In South Korea, prospective buyers will be able to order the entry-level K7 with a new 187hp and 178lb-ft (241Nm) 2.4-liter four-pot. Those looking for more power can turn their heads towards a 286hp and 253lb-ft (343Nm) 3.3-liter turbo six-cylinder mill, and if low consumption is a priority, there's also a 2.2 diesel rated at 199hp and 325lb-ft (441Nm).

We are still waiting for info on the US-spec Cadenza, but the car is believed to go official ahead of its Geneva Motor Show premiere, in early March.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

It’s Boxy, But It's Good. The 2016 Kia Soul - Review


The box car craze of the early ‘aughts has finally come to an end. Scion recently killed off its segment-defining xB, and Nissan’s Cube went away because, well, nobody bought one. Still waving the square flag, however, is Kia with its Soul.

The Soul has always been a top seller for Kia, and for good reason. Where the other boxes felt cheap (though cheerful), the Soul brings style, a solid build quality and tons of features for a wallet-friendly price. It’s the clear leader in the small box world, and not just because it’s the only one you can still buy new.

I recently took a brand-new Kia Soul! (the exclamation point is part of the name – you know, to make it more exciting) from LA to Vegas and back. And even after spending almost 700 miles with the boxy Kia, it’s a car I still find myself stoked on.

Keep It Urban

That said, a freeway cruiser this is not. With its stiff suspension and short wheelbase, the Soul! (shout it out loud as you say it) feels nervous on those high-speed straightaways. It does an admirable job clocking in the miles, but by the time I got to Victorville, I found myself longing for something a little larger—more plush. Something that could soothe the inevitable hangover I’d be fighting during my return trip. Something like a Bentley. Or better yet, an airplane.

But whatever… the Soul! is a city car at heart, and it’s a damn good one. With its diminutive size and nimble handling, it easily dodges Vegas’ throngs of meth-addled taxi drivers. A peppy 164-hp 2.0-liter four-banger and not-so-bad 6-speed automatic transmission provide enough grunt to help Soul! eagerly get from stoplight to stoplight. This powertrain keeps the Kia moving at a reasonable pace on the freeway, too. And with its 31 highway mpg, I didn’t have to fill it up with gas too often, either.

The Look

Outside, the current gen-two Kia Soul doesn’t look too different from the one that has come before. This newest version is sleek and modern (for a box), featuring stylized alloy wheels, HID lighting, and just the right amount of black-accented trim to provide some contrast. Get one in white, squint really hard and it almost looks like a First Order Stormtrooper. Almost.

Interior

The inside, though, is where the Kia Soul! really shines. I don’t know what it is about Kia, but the company regularly cranks out interiors superior to that of parent company Hyundai. The plastics look to be of a higher grade, the panels seem to fit together just a hair better, and a whole lot more thought goes into the overall interior design.

Things feel just as funky and modern in the Soul! as they do outside. Those cylindrical “pods” housing the speakers and air vents are unique, as is the sound-sensitive accent lighting. When looking at the overall design—including the sculpted surfaces, gloss-black accents, integrated tech, and even the fonts used—this cabin feels very “now.” Whether that means that this will all look dated in the next five-to-ten years remains to be seen.

There’s plenty of room for everyone to get comfortable in a Soul!, but if you want to take more than a small bag, you’ll need a second vehicle. Fitting even a moderately small suitcase required the folding down of both rear seats. But at least the front occupants get plenty of comfort with high-end features like heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats, Bluetooth connectivity, full nav, and a backup camera.

Yes, there were a lot of optional features on this Kia Soul! tester, so for all I know, a base model could be a total penalty box. But with an as-tested price of approximately $26,000, any adult with a real job can afford a fully spec’d one. Just be smarter than me—use the cash you save to pay your mortgage instead of on a debauchery-fueled trip to Vegas. Speaking of which: Anyone have a couch I can crash on?

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2017 Kia Sportage vs. 2016 Kia Sportage


The sport crossover vehicle class is as hot as a spiral from Peyton Manning in his prime. the category is still climbing, and why not? These are vehicles that are built for nearly any challenge you can throw at it, short of hanging ten in the middle of the ocean during a tsunami: You get sedan-like handling, cargo space that rivals larger SUVs, the ability to tow heavy loads, and more. You just won't get this variety or blend of abilities anywhere else. Which is why we're excited as the 2017 Kia Sportage - a long-standing sport crossover - gets ready to hit dealership lots in early 2016.

The 2017 Sportage is set to change the game, with steady improvements and noteworthy new features. We'll take a look at how the Kia Sportage has changed and improved from the 2016 models to the 2017 model, which is due on dealership lots in early 2016. For starters, the 2016 Sportage comes standard with UVO eServices in SX models, and it's optional for EX models. This handy feature lets you connect your phone to your car, giving you interactivity with your music, points of interest and even navigation. The UVO3 - brand-new with the 2017 Sportage rollout ups the ante with 14 telematics services overall, such as up to 8 GB of music storage and access to applications like Pandora and Soundhound. UVO3 is available in the higher two of the 2017 Sportage's trims, the EX and SX Turbo. Look also for intuitive driver-assist features in the 2017 Sportage like Lane Departure Warning System and Blind Spot Detection, which will keep you safer on the road.

Make 2017 a Year to Remember with the Kia Sportage

If you've been impressed by the 2016 Sportage's handling, including a 34.8-foot curb-to-curb turning circle that is identical to many sedans, then you're also going to love improvements for 2017's model, including a new trim option, SX Turbo, which will feature a smaller engine that is built for getter gas mileage. Other new features for 2017 include more space in the front and back, with a floor that has been lowered 1.6 inches and increases in headroom and legroom. To go along with the added comfort this gives you and your passengers, you also have more space to pack your bags for an epic road trip, with cargo room increased behind the second row of seats from 26.1 cubic feet in the 2016 Sportage to 30.7 cubic feet for the 2017 Sportage. Finally, while the 2016 Sportage maxes out with more HP in the SX trim at 260, the 2017 Sportage's SX Turbo hangs tough at 241 HP but with better fuel economy.

The 2017 Sportage is more spacious and fuel-efficient, while the 2016 Sportage has more power under the hood. Either way, you've got a versatile sport crossover that can pack in the cargo and passengers, and even handle a little towing - up to 2,000 pounds.

2017 Kia Sportage                             2016 Kia Sportage
241Peak HP260
30.7 cubic feetCargo Room (behind 2nd row)          26.1 cubic feet
UVO3 (new for 2017 models)UVO eServices Available?UVO
39.3 / 39.1 inchesHead Room (front / rear)39.1 / 38.5 inches


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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Christopher ‘Walkin Closet’ Featured in Kia’s Super Bowl Ad: Teaser


With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, Broncos and Panthers fans shouldn’t be the only people hyped about the Feb. 7 face off. Kia Motors has released a sneak preview of its Super Bowl commercial, which will feature Christopher Walken.

The 60-second commercial is aptly titled “Walken Closet,” and, not surprisingly, the preview shows Walken sitting in a large, walk-in closet. The new ad is for the 2016 Optima midsize sedan.

Car companies frequently tap in to the entertainment industry for Big Game commercials. Last year during the Super Bowl, Kia, Toyota and Jaguar took inspiration from “The Matrix,” the Muppets and villains from “Thor,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3” and “Sherlock Holmes.”

Kia’s 2015 Super Bowl ad for the premium K900 replicated “The Matrix” trilogy to a T. The commercial brought back Laurence Fishburne in his leather trenchcoat to reprise his role as Morpheus.

Super Bowl commercial slots are still coveted in the advertising world. The average cost for a 30-second advertisement during the Big Game has increased 76% during the past decade, and reached $4.4 million in 2015, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending.

Ad “teasers” have popped up in recent years to capture viewers’ attention before the game even starts. Alongside Kia, Anheuser Busch and InBev have already given audiences a sneak peak.

Super Bowl 50 airs Feb. 7 on CBS.

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