Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Kia and B.R.A.K.E.S. Gear Up for National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 19-25) to Raise Awareness for Free, Hands-On, Behind-the-Wheel Education

B.R.A.K.E.S. has trained more than 12,000 teens and their parents in 10 states
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S.1

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 – Kia Motors America (KMA) has furthered its commitment to keeping young drivers safe on the road by expanding the company’s partnership with the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) Teen Pro-Active Driving School to help the 501(c)(3) charity offer additional classes across the country, increasing its geographic reach and the total number of teens that receive this lifesaving training. 

In conjunction with National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 19-25, Kia and B.R.A.K.E.S. will provide an estimated 200 teens and their parents with free, hands-on defensive driving instruction in new Kia vehicles.  These 200 students will add to the more than 12,000 teens that have already graduated from B.R.A.K.E.S.’ intensive half-day training, which includes a distracted driving exercise, emergency braking using the anti-lock braking system (ABS), evasive maneuvering and skid-control practice.  Kia is the Official Vehicle and presenting sponsor of the B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School.

Kia joined forces with B.R.A.K.E.S. more than a year ago because we believe in (founder) Doug Herbert and the organization, and we support their mission to save lives through driver education,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing, KMA.  “We’ve supplied the school with a fleet of new Kia vehicles, and we’re expanding our commitment to help scale up this valuable effort.  With traffic accidents still the leading cause of fatalities among teens 14 to 18 years of age, we’re determined to help B.R.A.K.E.S. maximize their impact in communities across the country.”

Sobering statistics reveal that drivers 16 to 19 years of age have the highest average annual crash and traffic violation rates among all age groups2, and the chance of having at least one crash in the first three years of driving is 89.2 percent3.  Accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.

Kia’s partnership has been instrumental in raising awareness with teens and parents about the importance of responsible driving and the benefits of hands on training behind the wheel,” said Doug Herbert, National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Top Fuel drag racer and founder of B.R.A.K.E.S. “Our training is designed to prepare teens for the situations that they will inevitably face at some point as drivers. Experience with these situations in a controlled environment helps them make good decisions when they face them on the street. And, of course, we also include classroom lessons and hands-on exercises to impress upon our students just how dangerous distracted driving is.”

B.R.A.K.E.S. has provided free safe-driving instruction for more than 12,000 students in 10 states across America.  The school offers nearly four hours of hands-on training with a low three-to-one student-to-teacher ratio to ensure personal attention, and parents participate in the courses alongside their teens to ensure proper driving techniques are reinforced following the session.  Teens with parents who set driving rules and monitor their activities are half as likely to crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone when driving and less inclined to speed4.

Upcoming training dates include Oct. 25 - 26 in Concord, North Carolina; Nov. 1 - 2 in Ocoee, Florida; Nov. 15 - 16 in Concord, North Carolina; Dec. 6 - 7 in Concord, North Carolina, and Dec. 20 - 21 in Pomona, California.  Additional schools are expected to be added soon.

The B.R.A.K.E.S. Training Curriculum includes the following –

·         Accident Avoidance/Slalom:  The two-part course simulates an animal or object jumping out in front of a car.  It forces students to make a split-second reaction to help negotiate a quick, evasive lane change without losing control of the vehicle.  Students must navigate their vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning and eye scanning.
·         Distracted Driving:  In 2009 it was estimated more than 5,400 people died in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver and about 448,000 people were injured5. The course demonstrates the danger that cell phones, text messaging, and other distractions can pose while driving.
·         Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery:  The drop-wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover when one or more of their wheels veers off the road surface and onto the shoulder, regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway.
·         Panic Stop:  Teens often lack the experience needed to judge a safe following distance.  The panic stop course instructs students on proper braking techniques to help stop a vehicle in the shortest distance possible while maintaining control.  Students experience firsthand the pulsating brake pedal effects of ABS and how to control the vehicle when ABS in engaged.
·         Car Control and Recovery:  A wet skid pad simulates wet-road conditions.  Students learn how to recover from both over-steer (rear wheel) and under-steer (front wheel) skids.
·         Other learning experiences vary by school but can include an eye-opening view from the driver’s seat of a big-rig truck with a discussion about safe zones and blind spots, as well as demonstrations from police and fire-rescue agencies.

About B.R.A.K.E.S.
B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by NHRA Mello Yellow Series Top Fuel drag racer Doug Herbert in memory of his two sons, Jon and James, who were tragically killed in a car accident.  The B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School is a free, defensive driving program.  By training and educating teenage drivers and their parents, the program aims to promote safe driving in an attempt to prevent injuries and save lives. To volunteer, obtain more information or donate please visit www.putonthebrakes.org.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2015 Kia Soul EV Electric Car Rated: 93 Miles Range, 105 MPGe

The very first 2015 Kia Soul EV electric cars are now being sold in California, adding a 19th plug-in vehicle to that state's market.

And its final EPA range and efficiency ratings may drive buyers in other states to demand that they get the chance to buy it too.

Given the apparent desire for plug-in family vehicles, this tall wagon may come closer to accommodating more kids and gears than other electric competitors.

The 2015 Soul EV is rated at 93 miles of range--more than any electric car on sale without a Tesla powertrain--and 105 MPGe, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent.

Among larger electric cars, its 93-mile range is exceeded only by the 103-mile, Tesla-powered Toyota RAV4 EV electric crossover compliance car (which will soon end its limited sales run) and the two Tesla Model S versions, at 208 and 265 miles.

The Soul EV's added range is due to a slightly larger lithium-ion battery pack: 28 kilowatt-hours rather than the Nissan Leaf's 24 kWh and various other cars that range from 20 to 24 kWh.

Moreover, the electric Soul's efficiency exceeds the notable 100-MPGe mark, putting it ahead of the far sleeker Tesla Model S--which is, of course, both larger and much faster.

It's exceeded by the smaller BMW i3 (the most efficient, at 124 MPGe), the Chevrolet Spark EV minicar (at 119 MPGe), and a number of other electric cars, many of them smaller.

The world's best-selling electric car, the Nissan Leaf, also beats the Soul at 114 MPGe; the low-volume Ford Focus Electric is rated at the same 105 MPGe as the Soul EV.

The upcoming Volkswagen e-Golf does slightly better even than the Leaf, at 116 MPGe.

MPGe stands for Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, the distance a car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy that's contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.

MORE: 2015 Kia Soul EV: Details From Execs Who Brought It To The U.S.

The 2015 Kia Soul EV will start at $34,500 before the $7,500 Federal income-tax credit for electric cars, and any available state and local incentives.

The base model includes navigation, a rearview camera, and the UVO EV Services smartphone app. For an additional $2,000 , the Soul EV Plus adds leather seats with heating and ventilation for the driver and front passenger, power-folding exterior mirrors, projection-style fog lamps, among other features.

The 2015 Kia Soul EV will also be offered at a lease rate of $249 a month for 36 months, with $1,999 due at signing. Note that this rate includes the $7,500 Federal tax credit, thereby lowering the monthly cost.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kia Climbs Quality Ladder

Kia Motors is one of the big winners in two recent surveys of vehicle quality.

The Kia brand has been one of the big movers in the J.D Power 2014 Initial Quality Study (IQS) rankings in the United States, as a focus on improving the quality and appeal of vehicles pays off.

Two of Kia’s exciting model range lead their respective segments in the quality study; the Kia Sportage is tied for first in the Small SUV category, and the Kia Cadenza is the best Large Car. It’s the second year the Sportage has topped its class, and this achievement comes just weeks after the model topped a similar J.D. Power study in Germany.

Kia has also moved up four places overall to now be placed sixth in the annual survey by J.D. Power out of a total of 32 car brands.

Meanwhile, in the 19th annual quality survey by US-based Strategic Vision, Kia was the leading manufacturer among non-luxury brands.

Strategic vision says Kia has posted “significant quality improvements” in recent years and is now leading non-luxury brands. It highlighted the Kia Soul as being the stand-out model in its segments and also praised the quality of the Optima, which finished a close second in the Mid-Size Car category.

“These results are important markers for anyone who is shopping around for a new car and wants to be re-assured about quality,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

“Many of the vehicles that Kia models compete against in the US are also sold in New Zealand, so the findings from this study are comparable. It’s an extremely good result and clearly demonstrates how Kia’s long-term strategy of concentrating on quality strengthens the brand and elevates ownership experience.”

The annual report by J.D. Power analysed responses from 86,118 buyers in the US, covering 239 vehicle models across 23 segments, and is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the world. Vehicles were evaluated on driving experience, engine and transmission performance, and a broad range of quality problem symptoms reported by vehicle owners.

Mr McDonald says the quality and reliability of Kia vehicles was behind the move to provide New Zealand buyers with a 5-year/100,000 kilometres warranty programme, bringing peace of mind to the new buyer and any subsequent owners within that period.

For the same period of time, new Kia buyers are also provided with complimentary Kia Roadside Assistance in the unlikely event of a breakdown, or to help change a flat tyre or assist with a flat battery.

“Kia Motors was the first to offer this long-term protection in New Zealand, and it has been a source of comfort and peace of mind for thousands of Kia owners,” adds Mr McDonald.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

2015 Kia Sedona: Comfortable and Convenient

As a latecomer to the van market segment in Canada, such improvements mean steady inroads into the sales of more traditional competitors. For Kia, the decision to make an all-new van meant a total reassessment of what consumers wanted in such a vehicle and then figuring out how to make it.

To get the desired result, marketing types figured that the 2015 Kia Sedona had to be offered in seven different trim levels. The base L version, although well-equipped and starting at $27,495, has steel wheels with covers and is not equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. The LX, with Bluetooth, alloy wheels and plenty more starts at $29,995. The LX+ starts at $32,395 and adds such nice touches as power-sliding side doors, a power passenger seat, pushbutton start, a smart key and more.

A move to a more luxurious and even better-equipped Sedona will start with the SX at $35,595 and the SX+ at $35,995. At the peak of comfort and equipment is the SXL, which breaks the $40K barrier coming in at $40,995. The only trim level to be offered with navigation as well as a few other creature comforts such as a 360-degree camera system, front collision warning and much more carries a sticker price of $45,595.

One wag put it that Kia has picked up the rad cap and slid a new Sedona underneath, and then changed the rad cap. This may not be quite true, but everywhere you can’t see and most places that you can, the Sedona is different. Since Kia owns electronics firms, foundries and steel companies, it should come as no surprise that not only do the design studios come up with practical ideas, the structural engineers figure out how to make it work in collaboration with their partner firms.

The end result is chassis that has up to 76% high- or ultra-high-strength steel in it. For starters, there is a perimeter of UH Steel that acts as a safety cell for occupants, providing extra protection from front to rear and top to bottom in case of an accident or rollover. Extra benefits of such a design include a stiffer chassis so the 2015 Kia Sedona, which is a bit wider and lower than the previous generation, handles better and is quieter inside.
Part of this quietness is also due to upgraded interior materials. Sound deadening has not only been increased, but computer placement of the materials ensures that Sedona is the quietest inside that it can be. Exterior design along the roofline, mirrors and in the wheel wells ensures that turbulence is as low as possible (drag coefficient is a car-like 0.29) which also helps keep the interior peaceful.

How quiet is quiet? Not many of us know what the decibel readings mean so think of it this way: at road speeds, you can talk in a normal voice between first- and second-row seats. You can probably hear when your kids start to misbehave and banish one to the third row before serious parental interference is required.

All Sedonas will have three rows of seats. The second row is a stow-and-stand unit rather than a stow-in-the-floor arrangement. Kia engineers could not build a seat that was comfortable enough (by their standards), so they developed a system where the seat stands up behind the front row, taking up just a few centimetres of space. The third row is a 50/50-split seat that folds into the large rear cargo well to provide a flat load floor. The biggest choice at this point is if you want a seven- or eight-seat Sedona.

The standard question in cargo circles is “can it hold a sheet of plywood?” The answer is no, followed by the comment that Sedonas are more likely to be used to haul antiques, potted plants and small home items. Larger things like plywood and drywall tend to be delivered.

Kia engineers looked at performance requirements for the new 2015 Kia Sedona and settled on one powertrain; the only engine available will be a 3.3L direct-injected V6 that produces 276 horsepower and 248 ft-lb of torque, and it runs on regular fuel. All Sedonas will be front-wheel drive with a six-speed automatic transmission. On SX trim levels and up, the driver will be able to choose either comfort, normal or eco modes for driving.

Suspension components consist of a traditional-style MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear setup. Only the power steering goes high tech; SX trims and up get electric power steering, while the others use a more traditional hydraulic system. All versions have four-wheel discs, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, hill start assist and enough airbags to start your own political party.

On paper, the 2015 Kia Sedona should drive like a car. Surprisingly, it almost does. The biggest holdback to thinking you are in a car is the fact that your seat is at van height, so you can see what is around you instead of staring at the lug nuts of a semi’s rims. The other issue is that with the high seat, when the van starts to roll a bit in corners, you are up so high that a couple degrees of tilt makes you feel like you are about to fall over. Once you get used to all that, the 2015 Kia Sedona can put a grin on your face and make those behind you wonder how you managed to do what you just did, in a van!

Then you can pick up your significant other, the kids or friends and drive in such a sedate manner that no one would ever consider how well the van drives, just how comfortable and convenient it is to use.