Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hyundai + Kia Aiming To Triple “Fuel-Efficient Car” Offerings By 2020

The affiliated auto manufacturers Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors are aiming to triple the number of “fuel-efficient cars” that they have on offering by 2020, according to recent reports.

The move is intended as a means of improving the manufacturers’ image and standing with regard to competitiveness in fuel economy — partly owing to concerns raised by investors about the fact that Hyundai’s latest Genesis, and Kia’s Soul, have lower fuel mileage than their predecessors. Also, concerns are partly owing to the relatively recent $350 million fine received in the US for the overstatement of vehicle fuel economy.

The announcement of the recent aims comes only a week or so after the pair also pledged to increase the fuel economy of their offerings by 25% by 2020 — to meet emissions regulation standards in the US, Europe, and South Korea.

The pair also made the announcement recently that it would buy back 670 billion won ($602 million) worth of shares. This move was reportedly made as a means of appeasing investors who were angered at a recent $10 billion bid for a piece of property to be used as a new headquarters.

As analyst Yim Eun-young of Samsung Securities, put it: “Investors have complained about Hyundai’s lack of shareholder-friendly policies and communication about its vision, especially after the land deal. Today’s announcement seems to be part of its efforts to soothe shareholders and better communicate with the market.”

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors Lift 2014 Global Sales Target to 8 Million Vehicles

SEOUL: Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors on Monday raised their target for 2014 global sales to at least 8 million vehicles, anticipating record-high China sales to offset slowing growth in the United States and Europe.

The South Korean automakers, which together rank fifth in global vehicles sales, said in a statement the new sales target would represent an almost 6 per cent increase from last year.

Sales this year will also be boosted by higher numbers from India, Russia and Brazil, the automakers added.

New launches and more local manufacturing will help Hyundai and Kia sell more cars in China, the world's biggest auto market, this year, said Suh Sung-moon, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.

He said Hyundai was likely to miss its US sales target for this year on a weaker-than-expected reception for its new Sonata sedan in its biggest market after China.

In Europe, Hyundai expects to see a sales recovery driven by its new i20 model, which will be launched this month.

Hyundai and Kia had in January set a global sales target of 7.86 million vehicles for this year.

Friday, November 28, 2014

More Kia Models To Get Dual-Clutch Auto From 2015: Report

Four models in the international Kia range will feature the company’s new dual-clutch automatic transmission from next year, according to fan site Kia-World.

The new seven-speed ‘DCT’ auto, revealed in Geneva earlier this year, is expected to accommodate petrol models with up to 270Nm of torque, along with diesel models offering up to 320-330Nm.

The DCT has long been expected to appear in the European Cee’d hatch and the halo Pro_Cee’d GT sports hatch (265Nm) already available in Australia in six-speed manual form.

This latest report, although citing no official comment from Kia, claims that the upcoming next-generation Optima sedan will be the next new model to pick up the advanced auto.

Kia has yet to confirm a launch date for the new Optima, although TMR’s spy photos of a production-bodied prototype suggest that a debut in the new year is likely.

The report adds that the freshly facelifted Rio light hatch will also pick up the new auto in 2015, although the Australian range has so far been confirmed with only four- and six-speed conventional torque-converter autos. Another light update in 2016 could see that change, but we likely won’t hear word on that in the immediate future.

Lastly, late in 2015, a “major makeover” for the Sportage will reportedly also bring a debut for the DCT auto, replacing the six-speed auto currently offered with the midsized SUV. This, again, has yet to be confirmed by Kia.

We can likely expect the new auto to hit more Kia models in the following year, including the Cerato range and the small Soul crossover hatch, through to the big new Sorento SUV and Carnival people-mover.

Likewise, expect the new transmission to appear in Hyundai models over the coming year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kia Sorento Wolverine Car Revealed

Kia has revealed their new Kia Sorento Wolverine, a car based on Wolverine from the X-Men movies (via Motorward). The car is a promotional device intended to drum up hype for the Blu-ray release of X-Men: Days of Future Past.

The Kia Sorento Wolverine is based on the 2016 model Sorento, with a black paint job, and Wolverine’s signature claws in the front and back.

With Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman being Australian, Kia will be showing the car off at the Australian Open, which they are the primary sponsor of.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


(SEOUL) November 21, 2014 – To celebrate creativity and innovation in music on YouTube, Kia Motors is once again serving as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the YouTube Music Awards (YTMAs), in partnership with YouTube and executive producer VICE Media. The 2013 YouTube Music Awards was one of the most watched music award events ever with more than 54 million total views and now they are back in a very different way.

This March, YouTube will recognize and award significant “artists to watch” in 2015 as determined by the fans. For one special day, music will be the headline act on YouTube, with the biggest and emerging artists being celebrated through new and unique music video collaborations with top directors and creators. And fans will be involved in every step along the way, guiding and creating these videos.

The YouTube Music Awards are the latest initiative in making YouTube the best place for artists and fans to connect. People have turned YouTube into the biggest music service in the world, through music videos, remixes, covers and so much more across every genre imaginable. The Awards come on the heels of a new music experience on YouTube including YouTube Music Key beta that gives fans more ways to enjoy music, while also giving artists more ways to be discovered and earn more revenue.

"Following the success of the inaugural YouTube YouTube Music Awards in 2013, we at Kia Motors are thrilled to continue in our role as the presenting sponsor for this year's event,” said Soon-Nam Lee, vice president of overseas marketing, Kia Motors Corp. "YouTube is an ideal platform for connecting today's most innovative artists with a billion fans around the world, and our ongoing partnership with the YouTube Music Awards is the perfect place to share Kia’s passion for digital entertainment and music."

To kick off the second edition of the YTMAs presented by Kia, big stars and emerging musicians will be releasing new videos, all of which can be found at YouTube’s new channel Over the next week, fans can enjoy new videos from GD X TAEYANG and Megan Nicole, in conjunction with some of the biggest names in music video filmmaking, like Colin Tilley. Fans can subscribe to, where further surprises will follow this December and more news will be announced in January.

For even more music, fans can go to, which features videos of surprise live performances (The Shhhow), and breakout stars covering iconic jams (Re-discovered), all produced by Show Cobra.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2016 Kia Sorento Has its North American Debut in Los Angeles

Following its world debut in Paris in September, the all-new Kia Sorento has its US premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Compared to the Euro-spec model, the 2016 Kia Sorento looks exactly the same, except minor details such as the orange turning signals and questionable chrome rims and accents - at least on the display model.

Built in the United States for the local market, the third-generation Sorento crossover is offered with a standard 185hp 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated inline-4 gasoline engine. Also available are a new 240hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as well a 290hp 3.3-liter V6 unit. All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox featuring Sportmatic shifting.

The 2016 Kia Sorento will arrive in U.S. dealerships in first quarter 2015 and will be available in five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX and SXL. Depending on trim level, the new CUV comes with standard 40/20/40 second-row folding five-passenger (4-cylinder models) or 50/50 folding third-row seven-passenger (V6 models) seating configurations.

For a more luxurious ambience, Kia offers optional heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 14-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats, driver’s seat thigh extension, a 4-way headrest with one-button adjustment, dual-zone HVAC and Kia’s second-generation panoramic sunroof, as well as available premium Nappa leather trim seating surfaces.

Pricing and specs will be announced closer to launch.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 Kia Optima (Hybrid): Sexy, Economy, Value

You need not look hard to find a sexy, practical sedan these days. If you want the looks of a costly Italian sedan and high fuel economy need look no farther than the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid, which has few changes for 2015.

The mid-size front-drive Optima sedan has made Kia a significant player in the U.S. market. The gas-electric hybrid version has helped things along.

With racy styling, high fuel economy and reasonable prices, the Optima Hybrid seems as if you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Changes for 2014 include front and rear fascia updates that increase aerodynamic efficiency, front LED lighting, newly designed and more aerodynamic 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels that reduce weight and drag and a unique grille and lighting elements. A series of additional vents in the unique front bumper increase air flow and reduce fuel-robbing wind drag.

There’s also prominent new Hybrid fender badges and an upscale $400 white leather package and a $1,500 “panoramic” sunroof.

An $1,100 Convenience Package contains an 8-way power adjustable drivers seat and rear camera display, while a $700 Technology Package seems worth the money. It has blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert systems, along with a back-up warning system.

The Kia Hybrid develops a combined gas-electric rating of 199 horsepower and a healthy 235 pound-feet of torque, thanks partly to a sophisticated 2.4-liter four-cylinder 159-horsepower engine. robust 47 horsepower electric traction motor, strong hybrid starter generator and powerful 47kW lithium polymer battery. (The Optima line also contains a turbocharged gas engine.)

Standard is a smooth, efficient six-speed automatic transmission that causes only a brief pause on highways when you floor the gas pedal before a fast pass–after which the car continues to shoot forward and accelerates briskly to higher speeds. Acceleration also is quick off off the line in city driving.

The Kia Hybrid comes as the well-equipped $25,995 LX model, while the higher-line $31,995 EX has items including automatic temperature control with rear vents, heated front/rear seats, AM/FM/CD/MP3 Infinity audio system, navigation system with rear camera display, leather seat trim and heated steering wheel.

Estimated fuel economy of the LX is 36 miles per gallon in the city and 40 on highways. The EX provides an estimated 35 city and 39 highway. That’s pretty good for a swift 110-inch-wheelbase four-door that weighs 3,496 ((LX) and 3,622 (EX) pounds.

A 17.2-gallon fuel tank provides nearly an estimated 700-mile highway cruising range for both trim levels.

This is no sports sedan, but acts much like one with reassuringly firm, quick electric power steering, sharp handling, supple ride and anti-lock brakes with a brake-assist system and progressive pedal action. The EX has 17-inch wheels, which enhance handling.

Helping keep things stable are electronic stability, traction control and vehicle stability management systems. There also is an array of air bags.

The tire pressure monitoring system is a splendid idea, considering that studies long have shown that relatively few motorists check their vehicle’s tire pressures.

Large door handles and wide door openings make it easy to slip into the quiet, roomy interior, which has a new instrument cluster, pushbutton start, a mixture of large control knobs and clearly marked smaller controls.

Activating the push-button ignition brings to life a 4.3-inch thin-film-transistor LCD instrument cluster that’s easy to see even in bright sunlight and optional high-resolution 8-inch navigation and telematics screen.

While the backseat is roomy, the rear seats are positioned low and may make shorter occupants feel rather closed in. The car’s styling is largely responsible for that.

Another downside to the racy styling is a low front end that can be damaged by, for instance, high barriers in some parking lots and marginal driver rear vision without use of the power-folding outside mirrors.

The trunk has a wide opening and is generally, but not impressively, spacious.

The 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid shows you can have a racy looking, roomy, fuel-saving, fun-to-drive sedan. Such a car would have been considered impossible not all that long ago.

Pros: Revised styling. Racy look. Roomy. Fuel stingy. Fast. Good handling. Supple ride. Many features.

Cons: Low front end. Low rear seats.

Bottom Line: One of the raciest-looking, fuel-stingy mid-size sedans.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Tiny Kia Soul For Kids Has a Better Sound System Than Your Car

Apparently just having their own car at the age of four isn't enough for some kids. It also needs to be utterly over-accessorized like this miniature Kia Soul that features more glowing lights and LEDs than a UFO, and a sound system that looks straight out of SEMA.

The pint-sized Soul's also got a combination FM radio and MP3 player in the front letting a couple of kids blast their tunes while cruising up and down your driveway. But when they finally pull over it doesn't mean the party's stopped. It's just the opposite, because the Kia's (fake) back window opens to reveal a pair of larger speakers and a set of microphones that lets the driver and passenger sing along with whatever song is playing.

Available in a handful of colors the Kid Trax Kia Sing-A-Long Soul is a hefty $400, and only tops out at around five miles per hour. But that speed can be further limited with built-in parental controls if your child gets too caught up in their tunes to pay attention to the sidewalk, patio, or hallway they happen to be cruising along.

Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Kia Forte SX Koup: Turbo and a New Look Makes a Good Car Great

The compact coupe segment in the US market has shrunken a great deal in recent years, but the 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup is proof that those drivers who want a great 2-door compact that is stylish, fun to drive, comfortable and well-appointed can do so without spending a fortune.

There was a point in time where every popular compact car sold in America was available as a sporty 2-door coupe, but over the past few years, many of them have disappeared – leaving the Kia Forte Koup with very few competitors. Ford has killed off the 2-door version of the Focus, GM stopped offering a 2-door compact when the Cobalt was replaced by the Cruze, Dodge hasn’t offered a compact coupe since the first generation of the Dodge Neon and even the sibling to the Forte Koup – the Hyundai Elantra Coupe – has been discontinued. That leaves the Honda Civic and the Scion tC as the only real 2-door compact coupes sold in America now and compared to those two cars, the new Forte SX Koup shines.

My 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup carried a base price of $20,600 and options including the SX Premium Package (+$1,800), the SX Technology Package ($1,800), a rear bumper applique (+75), a rear cargo mat (+95) and carpeted floor mats ($115) bring the price as tested to $25,285 with the $800 destination fee.

The Exterior
The previous Kia Forte Koup had a nice, sporty look, but the 2014 Forte Koup wears a new exterior design that carries the same aggressive look that we see across much of the rest of the current Kia lineup. This includes big, angry looking LED-trimmed HID headlights that flank a thin central grille and across the bottom, sharp looking fog lights are mounted in vented looking housings on either side of the huge lower grille that allows plenty of airflow for the turbocharging intercooler system. I like the face of the new Kia lineup and I think that it fits this sporty compact coupe really nicely.

Down the sides, the 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup has flared wheel openings, body panels with a high, curved should line and line that give the car a very sporty looking stance from the side. The new Koup also has a really sexy silhouette when viewing from the side while the thin spoke wheels with a machined face and dark pockets drive home the sport compact look.

Out back, the Kia Forte Koup has a high design to create a very aggressive natural rake, with a low profile spoiler design molded into the trunk lid and a great looking black lower fascia center with an integrated diffuser and dual exhaust tips. When you add in the big, bright LED taillights, the 2014 Forte Koup has a rear end that screams sporty coupe. The diffuser and dual exhaust really are a couple of great features for such an affordable compact coupe.

When reviewing the exterior design of a car, I think about what I might change to fix problems that I see, but with the successful design of the 2014 Forte SX Koup, I wouldn’t change a thing. This isn’t really a sporty model, but you wouldn’t guess that from the lines from front to rear. This is a car that you will look back at when you walk away from it in a parking lot, because it looks great.

The Interior
There was a point in time where buying a compact 2-door Kia meant that you would be driving a barebones, low tech and uncomfortable car that made you compromise in every imaginable way to get a cheap, fuel friendly car. The Kia lineup has come a very long way in terms of interior amenities and the 2014 Forte SX Koup is a very clear example of the uphill direction as soon as you open the door.

The front seats are wrapped in black leather with white contrasting stitching and moderate thigh and side bolsters really give these seats a proper sporty look. These seats don’t hug you quite as much as some sporty seats in other compacts, but what they lack in support they make up in overall comfort. Some seats with big, deep bolsters can be uncomfortable for some drivers in any driving circumstances while others are fine around town, but can get to be uncomfortable on long drives. The Forte Koup seats offer some side to side support during hard cornering while also being very comfortable for drivers of all shapes and sizes. Also, even though this is a small 2-door, the front seats offer plenty of leg, knee, hip, shoulder and head space for the driver and front passenger, although elbow space can become a battle ground across the narrow center armrest. It should be noted that all compacts have a small center armrest so that isn’t a knock against the Forte Koup so much as it is the indeed segment. Finally, in addition to being comfortable and roomy, the front seats are both heated and the driver’s seat is also cooled – both of which are impressive features for such an affordable, Korean compact car.

The back seat is predictably tight and other than small children, I wouldn’t plan on making anyone ride in the back seat of the Kia Forte Koup for very long, but again, that is a problem with the entire segment. Honestly, if you are that concerned about rear seating space, you shouldn’t be considering a compact coupe. However, if you are looking for space to seat your kids or a medium sized dog, the Forte Koup offers comfortable rear seating for smaller kids or man’s best friend.

What is most impressive about the interior of the 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup is the level of technology that was previously reserved for far more expensive models. The centerpiece of this plush interior is the touchscreen infotainment system that includes a big, bright touchscreen interface that controls the navigation system, the media system, the radio and the hands free phone system. The Kia infotainment system is very easy to use through the touchscreen, but those who prefer hard buttons will be able to access and control almost everything from either the small panel of buttons and knobs below the touchscreen, through the many buttons on the steering wheel or through the voice control system. The dual zone HVAC system is accessed via a very simple control panel at the bottom of the center stack while the controls for the heated seats are located down around the shifter. Much of the dash is trimmed in a faux carbon fiber design that looks great against the all-black cabin with black leather on the doors, shifter and steering wheel.

While the 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup doesn’t set the world on fire with never before seen technology, the interior is roomy (up front) and comfortable while packing an impressive list of features that remove any concern of having to compromise when buying an affordable compact coupe. The interior looks great, feels great and really doesn’t leave you asking for anything so for the car shopper who wants the same features as many luxury sedans in a small, sporty coupe – the SX Koup should really answer the call perfectly.

The Drive
While the 2014 Kia Forte Koup is refreshed inside and out, my favorite aspect of the 2014 Koup SX is the new 1.6L turbocharged engine. The previous generation Forte Koup was plenty of fun to drive, but adding the new turbo motor with 201 horsepower and 195lb-ft of torque makes a big difference over the standard 2.0L engine that offered just 173hp and 154lb-ft of torque. This new turbo engine makes the Forte Koup quite a bit more powerful than the Scion tC and while the Honda Civic Si has 4 more horsepower, the Kia has a massive advantage in torque. When combined with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Forte Koup offers plenty of low end acceleration with just a slight hint of turbo lag and with a quick downshift on the highway – you can get similar strong acceleration at higher speeds as well. In short, the new 1.6L turbo motor makes the Kia Forte Koup more fun to drive in every situation so if you are after a compact coupe with the most bang for your buck, the 2014 Forte SX Koup is the car for you. Best of all, with EPA fuel economy ratings (which I found to be very accurate) of 22 around town, 29 on the highway and 25mpg combined, that extra power doesn’t come with a huge compromise in fuel economy.

In addition to the new, more powerful turbocharged engine, the 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup comes with a new sport tuned suspension system that is an improvement over the past generation, but it is still a little on the stiff side. The ride quality is expectably stiff and while it might be stiffer than some people expect, I felt that it was acceptably stiff for a sporty compact coupe. The handling on tight cornering offers a touch more body roll than I would expect from a car that is as stiff, but this is still a car that is run to toss into a corner. Also adding to the handling properties of the 2014 Forte Koup is the three mode driver selectable steering system with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. Sport is the stiffest and has the least amount of power support, which I prefer. Those who liked the power steering to do more work can chose the Comfort mode while Normal is a nice balance of the two. I spent almost all of my drive time in Sport and if you enjoy driving, you likely will as well.

The 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup offers impressive power, solid fuel economy and a sportier handling feel than the previous models and while I would like to see a sport tuned suspension setup that offers better road gripping abilities – any handling advantage on the road relative to the competition is negligible at best so people looking for a fun to drive, efficient 2-door compact coupe should find the Forte SX Koup to be the most enticing car in the segment.

The Final Word
While there could be some revisions to the chassis and/or suspension setup to improve both the handling and ride quality, every change made to the 2014 Kia Forte SX Koup makes a big difference. The Korean automakers have often been criticized for not offering the kind of driving dynamics that are expected in the US, but this new Forte Koup is a great step in the right direction.

2014 forte koup rear road

Even though the market for this type of car may be shrinking, those folks who do want a small, sporty 2-door compact coupe that gets solid fuel economy and packs a ton of interior goodies without breaking the bank should find this car to be a home run. I liked the previous generation of the Forte Koup and with the changes for the new generation, I like it even more. The segment has gotten very small so there isn’t much competition and the previous generation Forte Koup was a very solid car, but Kia didn’t sit by idle – instead adding a new motor, a new look and a plush new interior to make a very good car into a great car.