Monday, August 27, 2012

Spied! Camouflaged 2014 Kia Soul Out Testing

Written by: Jason Udy [G+] on August 24 2012 1:30 PM

Although the Kia Soul outsells its competition and serves as the automaker’s second bestselling model, that hasn’t stopped Kia from continually updating the urban box with special editions and a recent face-lift. A 2014 Kia Soul prototype has been caught testing in advance of its showroom debut likely next year.
The camouflaged Kia Soul appears to have a wider stance than the current model, which give it more masculine looks. Kia’s family-look grille has moved higher on the more upright frontend while the lower air intake seems larger and the headlight design has been revised, as well.
The popular hatchback may continue to offer 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, though we wouldn’t mind seeing the turbocharged 1.6-liter from the Hyundai Veloster Turbo or turbocharged 2.0-liter like the one powering the Kia Track’ster concept. To help maximize fuel economy, the stop-start system available on the Kia Rio subcompact may appear on the next-gen Soul, too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kia models ranked best in class for consumer appeal


J.D. Power and Associates place Soul, Optima at the top of rankings
by Griffin RogersPublished: August 13, 2012 08:25 AM

Two car models from Kia Motors America, headquartered in Irvine, received the highest scores in a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates for consumer appeal. The Kia Optima and Soul were recognized as two of the most appealing vehicles within their class.

In the “Midsize Car” category, the 2012 Optima ranked highest in a tie with the Volkswagen Passat. The 2012 Soul outclassed other vehicles in the “Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle” group.

The 2012 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study measures the vehicle buyer’s gratification with their recent purchase. Design, layout, performance and content are among the factors taken into consideration. This year’s study focused on buyers’ needs and preferences to downsize their vehicles without sacrificing quality or amenities.

"As key entries in Kia's design-led transformation, the Optima and Soul have attracted new customers to our showrooms, and the results of the J.D. Power and Associates' APEAL Study illustrates just how delighted these new buyers are with the purchase of their new Kia vehicles," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing and communications at KMA.

Owner evaluations of more than 80 vehicles were gathered in the study, along with responses from more than 74,000 new car owners who had purchased a car within 90 days.

"Both of these popular models, along with the rest of the Kia vehicle line, continue to deliver on a promise to offer U.S. consumers high-quality vehicles with an impressive combination of design, performance, comfort, safety and technology,” Sprague said.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2014 Kia Forte gets an injection of style

July 31, 2012 By Stephen Edelstein
The Kia Forte was never an ugly car, but it needed a redesign to match the company's stylish new lineup, and the competition.
The Kia Forte was never a bad looking car; it just had a lot to live up to. The Forte was launched in 2008, while the Korean brand was making the transition from knockoff to fashion item. Since then, Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer has worked his magic on the Optima, Rio, and others, giving Kia one of the best-looking lineups around. Luckily, the Forte will get a new look for 2014.

The old Forte could easily be confused for a Honda Civic, but the new car has much more sophisticate styling. A large version of Kia’s trademark grille makes it easy to identify the brand. The slash of LEDs across the headlights give the Forte a high-tech, premium feel. The headlights themselves resemble the ones on Kia’s K9/Quoris luxury sedan.

The curvy roofline and cut lines in the doors help make the car seem longer and lower than it actually is. Kia says the 2014 Forte will be longer, lower, and wider than the current car, so the 2014 model should look pretty good in the flesh.

However, the new Forte may have the same problem as its predecessor. If the current Forte looks like a Civic, the 2014 Forte looks like a Ford Fiesta sedan. In profile view, with that Kia grille obscured, resemblance is especially close. The high-mounted ovoid taillights don’t help matters, although they do look good on the Kia.
Since the 2014 Forte won’t go on sale until next year, Kia did not release any powertrain details. The current Forte sedan is sold with two engines: a 2.0-liter inline-four with 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque in top trim, and a 2.4-liter four with a maximum 173 hp and 168 lb-ft. Transmission choices include five- or six-speed manuals and a six-speed automatic.

Kia sells the Forte as a sedan, two-door “Koup,” or five-door hatchback. The company did not say whether the 2014 Forte will be available as a coupe or hatchback.
The 2014 Forte will be sold as the Cerato in international markets, going on sale sometime during the first quarter of 2013. Since only the nameplates will change, expect the U.S.-spec Forte to go on sale around the same time.

Kia has worked hard to shed its bargain-basement image with some very stylish cars. The subcompact Rio and midsize Optima look great, so the company needs is a compact to complete the sedan set. The 2014 Forte will compete against established players like the Civic and Ford Focus, not to mention parent company Hyundai’s rakish Elantra. A dose of extra style is exactly what this Kia needs to stand out in that crowd.