The Truth About Cars » Kia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:28:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Kia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/kia/ Capsule Review: 2015 Kia Forte5 SX Turbo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-kia-forte5-sx-turbo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-kia-forte5-sx-turbo/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 14:22:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1018058 Kia’s second-generation Forte, a successor to the Spectra and Sephia, spawned coupe and hatchback derivatives just like its predecessor. But in second-gen form, Kia took it a step further by inserting the 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder from the Hyundai Veloster Turbo into top-spec Forte5 hatchbacks and two-door Koups. While Forte EX sedans top out with a […]

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2015 Kia Forte 5 SX Turbo whiteKia’s second-generation Forte, a successor to the Spectra and Sephia, spawned coupe and hatchback derivatives just like its predecessor. But in second-gen form, Kia took it a step further by inserting the 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder from the Hyundai Veloster Turbo into top-spec Forte5 hatchbacks and two-door Koups.

While Forte EX sedans top out with a 173-horsepower, naturally aspirated 2.0L four-cylinder – a 28-horsepower upgrade from the 1.8L in the Forte LX sedan – Forte5s and Koups come standard with the 2.0L and, in SX trim, are fitted with this 201-horsepower, 195 lb-ft 1.6L turbo. With the SX Premium and Technology packages and a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Forte5 SX’s price in the United States rises from $21,715 to $26,915.


• As-Tested USD Price: $26,915

• Horsepower: 201 @ 6000 rpm

• Torque: 195 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 26.4 mpg


You’re responsible for rendering the final stylistic verdict, but the Forte5 SX garnered more compliments during its stay with me than the Ford Mustang the week before and the Audi TTS the week before that. I think it looks especially nice from the rear three-quarter, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll all readily acknowledge that its the wheels that set the SX apart.

These 18-inch rims, wearing 225/40R18 Bridgestone Blizzaks this winter, are some of the best currently available OEM alloys, and I’m not just referring to the affordable realm.

The interior is certainly no place for shock and awe, but it’s well built with intuitive controls and terrific space for four occupants, five in a squeeze. From a comfort perspective, the Forte5 is a capable family car. Its dimensions are more like the midsize Optima’s than the subcompact Rio5’s. There’s 11% more passenger volume than in the Rio but only 4% less than in the Optima.

2015 Kia Forte5 SX Turbo sideIt feels much roomier in the back than an Mk7 Golf, a car we’ll talk more about later, and the numbers bear that out. Overall human capacity is 5% better. Official legroom figures, not the most reliable, show only a 0.3” differential in favour of the Kia, but the gap feels more apparent in the real world.

Of course, the true victories in any modern Kia cabin are won by the tech layout and the amount of kit with which the car is equipped. There’s no learning curve for the user interface. More importantly, there’s a pleasing mix of conventional buttons and knobs and touchscreen functions. Most importantly, the level of luxury is genuinely luxurious. This isn’t one of those instances where we talk about the content of premium brand cars from five or ten years ago. No, the Forte5 is equipped like an entry-level luxury car of today. The heated steering wheel remembers its setting from the previous drive. The power driver’s seat offers three stages of heating and cooling (the front passenger seat and outboard rear seats are heated but not cooled) and offers adjustable lumbar support. There’s also a two-setting memory function for the driver’s seat. The kit list is lengthy, from an auto-dimming rearview mirror and auto-folding door mirrors to proximity access, Xenon headlights, dual-zone auto climate control, leather seating, navigation, and a sunroof.

2015 kia forte5 turbo sx white rearBut to be honest, a heavily-equipped Kia is nothing new. With the 2015 Forte5 SX, however, Kia is attempting to play the fun card just as frequently as the value card they’ve long since mastered.

On many counts, the Forte succeeds. The car is more responsive than conventional Fortes thanks to added firmness in the suspension, but Kia struck a decent balance: it doesn’t ride too stiffly for a daily commuter. Brake feel and performance (the ventilated fronts are 11.8 inches, up from 11 in the non-SX Forte5s) is better than I’ve come to expect from Kia. And at 3122 pounds, it’s not so heavy that it fails an agility test, although a Civic Si sedan with 150 fewer pounds feels notably more tossable. A Mazda 3 hatch with the 2.5L powerplant weighs only slightly less than the Kia but both rides more smoothly and responds to directional changes more capably. The Forte5 SX handles nicely, just not memorably.

Straight line performance lacks the always-on punch of the GTI’s 2.0L turbo and its 258 lb-ft of torque. To what degree the 6-speed automatic masks the 1.6L’s urge, I can’t be sure. Car & Driver testing revealed the automatic-equipped car to be significantly quicker from 0-60 than the manual-trans car – 6.4 seconds rather than 7.5 – but it’s certainly no fast-shifting VW DSG. Smoother in everyday driving? Yes. Kia’s 6-speed simply doesn’t make itself known and it is both better and worse as a result. From a powertrain perspective, the final conclusion says that I didn’t need to expect to rev the Forte5 quite this much to access its hot hatch-proving power, and it’s not the sweetest-sounding thing when revved to the limit. It’s powerful, but you won’t go to bed fondly recalling its straight line surge.

2015 kia forte 5 flexsteer buttonIf I was only permitted to point out one Forte5 SX fault, however, it wouldn’t be the real-world handling compromise (which I’m mostly fond of) or the lack of outright Focus ST power (I don’t need to burst past the speed limit in the blink of an eye), but rather the odd steering setup. Kia provides drivers with its FlexSteer system, but after scrolling through three modes I was left seeking a nonexistent fourth mode with progressive weighting and just an ounce or two of feedback. Comfort mode would be fine in a minivan, but it’s much too light for this car. Sport mode is just plain odd, with a stickiness on centre and very little return to centre after turning. Normal is thus the preferred mode, but with such numbness, much of Comfort’s lightness, and some of Sport’s odd behaviour, the steering becomes the car’s key deficiency. This isn’t unique to the SX; I’ve complained similarly after driving other Fortes. But it’s exacerbated in a car that’s intended to offer a high dosage of fun.

And it is fun, albeit dynamically inferior to the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Given the extent to which the two cars are comparable, I’m not sure it matters. Forte5s with the 1.6L turbo start below $22,000, nearly $4500 less than the entry point for the four-door GTI. And if you equip a GTI like this Forte, which you can’t, the price points would be on two different planets. The Forte5 SX isn’t perfect. But as a quick, stylish, and moderately fun family car, it represents tremendous value.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Sources: Hyundai Expanding SUV Production In US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020409 Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices. Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward […]

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Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices.

Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward more SUVs. The expansion would come in the form of a new assembly line in Alabama, augmenting the line in Kia’s Georgia facility where the Santa Fe is assembled, and exports of the Tucson from Hyundai’s factories in South Korea.

Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon adds that, aside from Hyundai’s need for a second U.S. plant, Santa Fe production could be moved to Alabama, with the Tucson and a truck — possibly in the vein of the Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — joining the former. Overall production is expected to be 300,000 units annually, with the first vehicles to leave the line in 2017.

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Kia Sportspace Heading To Production Within 18 Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/kia-sportspace-heading-production-within-18-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/kia-sportspace-heading-production-within-18-months/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015914 Eighteen months from now, the Kia Sportspace will make the leap from the design studio to European showrooms. According to Top Gear, Kia Europe CEO Michael Cole says the estate is part of the automaker’s plans to “enter segments that [Kia’s] not in to support [its] growth. In Europe particularly the D-segment wagon is a […]

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Eighteen months from now, the Kia Sportspace will make the leap from the design studio to European showrooms.

According to Top Gear, Kia Europe CEO Michael Cole says the estate is part of the automaker’s plans to “enter segments that [Kia’s] not in to support [its] growth. In Europe particularly the D-segment wagon is a volume segment, so it’s worth going for.”

The Sportspace is also leading the way toward a sportier, performance-oriented direction for Kia, which currently includes the green-lit twin-turbo V6 GT. Though the estate boasts Optima’s T-Hybrid diesel-electric powertrain — whose output of 170 horsepower is directed to the front when the estate’s temporary AWD is not in use — Cole says a high-performance version could come “much further down the line.”

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Geneva 2015: Kia Sportspace Concept Makes Official Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-kia-sportspace-concept-makes-official-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-kia-sportspace-concept-makes-official-debut/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:07:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012466 Having appeared in its native South Korea already, the Kia Sportspace Concept makes its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The Optima-based Sportspace uses a 2-liter direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline mill to send 250 horsepower to the front. Meanwhile, the interior boasts a pair of large screens that would be at home in the […]

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Having appeared in its native South Korea already, the Kia Sportspace Concept makes its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The Optima-based Sportspace uses a 2-liter direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline mill to send 250 horsepower to the front. Meanwhile, the interior boasts a pair of large screens that would be at home in the Mercedes S-Class.

The concept may also hint at what the next-gen Optima will look like, but no estate is likely for the U.S. market.

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Geneva 2015: Kia Optima Sportspace Revealed Ahead Of Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-kia-optima-sportspace-revealed-ahead-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-kia-optima-sportspace-revealed-ahead-show/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:09:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003074 Ever wondered what an Optima would look like as a wagon? Behold the Kia Optima Sportspace, bowing just ahead of its official debut in Geneva. Images of the concept appeared on Bobaedream.co.kr today, showing off the concept’s long, low roofline draped in red paint. Inside the wagon, four sport seats of stitched leather and carbon […]

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Ever wondered what an Optima would look like as a wagon? Behold the Kia Optima Sportspace, bowing just ahead of its official debut in Geneva.

Images of the concept appeared on Bobaedream.co.kr today, showing off the concept’s long, low roofline draped in red paint. Inside the wagon, four sport seats of stitched leather and carbon fiber await occupants, as well as front and rear controls for the concept’s infotainment system.

Other details unearthed include: two gasoline engines — 2-liter GDi and 1.6-liter Turbo GDi — and a hybrid diesel option; seven-speed dual-clutch auto; smart cruise control, and night vision. More to come when the wagon fully bows early next month.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Kia Rio Sedan Makes Global Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-kia-rio-sedan-makes-global-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-kia-rio-sedan-makes-global-debut/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 21:18:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998594 The 2016 Kia Rio Sedan made its global debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show alongside the Rio 5-Door that bowed in Paris last year. The Rio gains more Euro-centric styling cues for the 2016 model year, including revised front and rear. New fog light surrounds and rear reflectors, revised grill inserts similar to those […]

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The 2016 Kia Rio Sedan made its global debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show alongside the Rio 5-Door that bowed in Paris last year.

The Rio gains more Euro-centric styling cues for the 2016 model year, including revised front and rear. New fog light surrounds and rear reflectors, revised grill inserts similar to those on the Optima and Soul, and inward-positioned headlamps further contribute to the compact’s updated design. The compact also receives two new colors this model year: Urban Blue and Digital Yellow.

Power for the Rio continues to come from a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four delivering 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque to the front via a six-speed manual or optional six-speed auto; the Rio 5-Door no longer has its manual.

Other features for the Rio (in LX, EX and SX trims) include: SiriusXM radio; air conditioning; hill-start assist; power windows/door locks; electronic stability; remote keyless entry (EX, SX); 17-inch alloys (SX); push-button start (SX); and standard power sunroof (SX).

Both Rio Sedan and 5-Door are due in showrooms sometime in Q1 2015.

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Chicago 2015: Kia Trail’ster Concept Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-kia-trailster-concept-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-kia-trailster-concept-unveiled/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 16:49:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=997978 Appearing ready for the showroom than previous concepts, the Kia Trail’ster Concept hit the stage at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Soul-based Trail’ster is raised 2.5 inches higher than the original hamstermobile for better ground clearance, with aluminum skid plates protecting the underbody and its AWD system, and Pirelli Winter Carving tires to carve […]

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Appearing ready for the showroom than previous concepts, the Kia Trail’ster Concept hit the stage at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

The Soul-based Trail’ster is raised 2.5 inches higher than the original hamstermobile for better ground clearance, with aluminum skid plates protecting the underbody and its AWD system, and Pirelli Winter Carving tires to carve winter snow and mud like an Easter ham.

Power for the concept comes from a 1.6-liter turbo-four pushing 185 horsepower/lb-ft of torque to the front, while an electric motor moves the back under acceleration, and can push the Trail’ster up to three miles if necessary. The two independent systems deliver 220 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque to the trail or the street.

The concept’s independent systems are designed to garner better fuel economy per Kia. The automaker didn’t offer any specifics, but it believes the concept will perform 25 to 30 percent better in the city and 10 to 15 percent better on the highway than the Soul and its 2-liter engine.

Like Hyundai’s Santa Cruz Concept from last month’s Detroit Auto Show, the Kia Trail’ster Concept is meant to appeal to consumers who call the city their home, yet adore the outdoors. No word on whether or not this one will enter showrooms just yet, however.

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Hyundai, South Korean Government Opening Fuel-Cell Innovation Hub http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996650 Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy. Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology: The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key […]

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Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy.

Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology:

The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key infrastructure and creating an “ecosystem” for the hydrogen economy by training workers and strengthening necessary networks.

Hyundai and its investor partners will raise ₩117.5 billion ($164 million USD) to bring the innovation center online, and will be one of 12 centers to be established throughout South Korea over 2015.

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Kia Lowers K900 Pricing With New Premium Trim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/kia-lowers-k900-pricing-new-premium-trim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/kia-lowers-k900-pricing-new-premium-trim/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989946 Shopping around for a Korean premium sedan with rear-wheel drive and V8 power, but not looking to spend much? Kia just might have what you need. Motor Authority reports the brand recently dropped the price on its K900 sedan with the help of a new Premium trim that deletes niceties like LED headlights, chrome and […]

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Shopping around for a Korean premium sedan with rear-wheel drive and V8 power, but not looking to spend much? Kia just might have what you need.

Motor Authority reports the brand recently dropped the price on its K900 sedan with the help of a new Premium trim that deletes niceties like LED headlights, chrome and Nappa leather. The price of admission, as a result, begins at $55,400. To get those back, consumers would have to upgrade to the Luxury trim, which begins at $59,500; the previous sole K900 model had an MSRP of $60,400.

No matter if your K900 is loaded or barely stripped, the sedan still has its 5-liter, 420-horsepower V8, and still costs less than similar machines from Lexus or Mercedes. That said, Kia may need all the help it can get to move its flagship out of the showroom, having sold just 1,330 units in 2014 in comparison to the brand’s other premium and near-premium models, the David Bowie-enhanced Cadenza (9,267), and the Jaguar XF-esque Optima (159,020).

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Chicago 2015: Kia Bringing Rugged Concept To Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-kia-bringing-rugged-concept-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-kia-bringing-rugged-concept-show/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989506 Joining Mitsubishi, Honda and Chevrolet in the rugged category at this year’s Chicago Auto Show is Kia with a rough-and-tumble concept debut of its own. The all-too-brief official release mentions that the concept “re-imagines one of the brand’s most popular vehicles,” with styling to come out of Kia’s design studio in California. Said concept echos […]

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Joining Mitsubishi, Honda and Chevrolet in the rugged category at this year’s Chicago Auto Show is Kia with a rough-and-tumble concept debut of its own.

The all-too-brief official release mentions that the concept “re-imagines one of the brand’s most popular vehicles,” with styling to come out of Kia’s design studio in California. Said concept echos a similar intent behind the Hyundai Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show earlier this month: a vehicle for “city dwellers seeking an adventurous escape and intended to enable a variety outdoor activities.”

Though little more was mentioned, Autoblog speculates the vehicle providing the foundation for the concept may be the Soul, which is offered with a SUV Styling Pack for the European Domestic Market. The publication adds that the name and a teaser image will be revealed Thursday, per Kia representative Emily Grannis.

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Hyundai, Kia $360M US Justice Department Settlement Approved In District Court http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986762 The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, […]

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The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, asking the court set aside a minimum of $25 million for their states’ respective electric vehicle programs. The court sided with the Justice Department in its ruling, warning that such a request would threaten the original settlement agreement with more complex and lengthy negotiations.

The agreement includes $100 million in civil penalties, $50 million for independent auditing of the Korean duo’s offerings, and a forfeiture of $210 million in greenhouse emission credits. It also ends the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into the overstated figures, and affects 600,000 Hyundai and 300,000 Kia models made between 2011 and 2013.

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Supplier Woes Lead To Lada’s First-Ever Loss Of Monthly Sales Crown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/supplier-woes-lead-ladas-first-ever-loss-monthly-sales-crown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/supplier-woes-lead-ladas-first-ever-loss-monthly-sales-crown/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973537 Since the first Ladas left the assembly line in the 1970s, the automaker has always held the top spot on the sales podium, month after month, year after year. Until November 2014, that is. Automotive News Europe reports that problems between parent company AutoVAZ and several of its suppliers helped to bring Lada’s continuous dominance […]

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Since the first Ladas left the assembly line in the 1970s, the automaker has always held the top spot on the sales podium, month after month, year after year. Until November 2014, that is.

Automotive News Europe reports that problems between parent company AutoVAZ and several of its suppliers helped to bring Lada’s continuous dominance over the Russian domestic market to an end that month, when Kia moved 10,834 Rios over the former’s 10,520 Grantas to take the monthly gold. Those problems have since been resolved, per an AutoVAZ representative.

Despite the hiccup, Lada is still the czar of the Russian market, having sold 351,992 units between January and November of last year; Kia holds a distant second with 175,491 sold. The Granta is also holding its own overall, with 139,405 copies taking to the highway over the same timeframe. Hyundai’s Solaris (105,142) and the Kia Rio (84,350) round out the top three.

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Grandma Review: 2014 Kia Soul http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/grandma-review-2014-kia-soul/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/grandma-review-2014-kia-soul/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 13:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954585 Derek’s Grandma returns, by popular demand. I am a very lucky lady. And I don’t say that because I have won the slots every time I have gone to Vegas. I live in the kind of comfortable circumstances than many seniors do not enjoy. I have had a fulfilling career as an educator of children […]

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Derek’s Grandma returns, by popular demand.

I am a very lucky lady. And I don’t say that because I have won the slots every time I have gone to Vegas. I live in the kind of comfortable circumstances than many seniors do not enjoy. I have had a fulfilling career as an educator of children and adults that I only recently gave up. I am surrounded by amazing friends and family and have been fortunate to get through 81 years without any major health problems. So it was just my luck that my brand new Honda Fit was crashed into just days after I got it.

Since the case is now in the hands of police, I can’t talk about it too much. But I was left without my new car for a week. Fortunately, everyone involved was fine, and Derek and his parents helped document the incident, get the car to the body shop and arrange a rental for me.

When Derek and I first went car shopping, he tried to show me the Soul. I dismissed it immediately. It looked far too odd for me, and truthfully, I had my heart set on the Fit as soon as I drove it. But I didn’t want a big car as my rental, and I had a choice between the Soul or a Hyundai Sonata.

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The first thing I noticed about the Soul is that it makes you sit a lot higher and more upright than the Fit. I like this. It’s easier to get in and out of, and the visibility is good – but I miss the little glass triangular windows in the Fit, that are placed ahead of the front windows. The interior of the Soul also looks a lot more like my old 2000 Civic. There’s no touch screen (something I’ve gotten used to, having had lots of practice on my Samsung tablet) and it feels a bit dated compared to the Fit. Derek tells me that most rental cars are basic, and the Soul that I had was probably a base model. But everything seemed dark and drab. I find that now that I’m used to the touch screen, it’s easy for me to use. Getting used to lots of unfamiliar buttons has turned into something that distracts me.

I also didn’t like the lack of cargo room in the Soul. Even though it seemed like a bigger vehicle, i immediately missed the space in the trunk, and the flexibility of the seats. My gentleman-friend’s walker didn’t fit in the back, and the rear seats couldn’t fold as well as the Fit to help me put it in easily.

What I did like? Power. Lots of it, compared to the Fit. The engine felt much stronger and more responsive. The Fit feels like it has one second of hesitation before it gets going. In the Soul, it was instant. The visibility and the higher seating will be two things I miss. I even came around to the looks of the car. It’s cute and easy to find in a parking lot.

If I had a bit more money to spend, then a Soul with more features and equipment than my rental would have been nice. But I’m happy with my Fit, and even happier to be back on the road in my own car.

Derek’s Grandma provided the rental car, gas and insurance. Photos and editing courtesy of Derek.

 

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Rental Review: Doing Some Soul Searching http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/rental-review-soul-searching/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/rental-review-soul-searching/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945969 About five years ago, I made a career decision that I wish I had made much earlier: I decided to get into the Learning and Development field. Unfortunately for about twenty or so people, I had spent the previous fifteen years managing sales people, and I fired a lot of them. As a result, I […]

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About five years ago, I made a career decision that I wish I had made much earlier: I decided to get into the Learning and Development field. Unfortunately for about twenty or so people, I had spent the previous fifteen years managing sales people, and I fired a lot of them.

As a result, I also spent a great deal of time interviewing people. One of the things that every HR person will tell you about interviewing is that you’re supposed to look for what they call “contrary evidence.” As an interviewer, you’re going to form an opinion about a candidate pretty quickly—it’s human nature. So you’re supposed to ask questions that could lead to evidence that is contrary to your original impression. If you naturally like a candidate, you should ask questions that could reveal negative things about him, and vice versa.

Thus, when I selected a 2015 Solar Yellow Kia Soul Plus for my one-day trip to the ATL last week, I looked for things to dislike about it.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t find any.

I’ve always been a fan of the Soul. Why? Simple. It’s the closest thing to a compact wagon currently for sale in the United States. It’s a quirky-looking car, with love-it or leave-it looks. The hamster campaign from years ago was easily the best and most memorable ad run by an automaker in recent history. I’ve owned three Hyundais, and all were excellent cars, so I have no K-car bias. In fact, if I were in my mid-twenties, I’d be in the market to buy one.

Yet, as I bypassed some of my favorite rental selections to pick the Soul, including a V6 Impala, I realized that I had formed all of my opinions just like the best Facebook and YouTube commenters do—that is to say, I had never driven one. I figured it was time to fix that.

My first impression of the Soul? It’s much, much bigger inside than I expected. I hopped in the back seat just to verify, and my 5’9″, 165 lb frame would have been entirely comfortable on a journey of any length. But while the Soul excels at people carrying, the storage with the back seats up isn’t sufficient for a 27″ suitcase, or for carry-on luggage for more than two. Not a huge deal unless you’re planning to make it your primary vehicle for a family of four.

The interior is cleanly designed, with simple, intuitive controls. My rental only had about 2K miles on it, so I don’t know how it will hold up over time, but all the interior materials appeared to be of acceptable quality. Unlike my previous week’s rental, a 2015 Ford Escape SE, everything inside the Soul makes sense. My iPhone was easy to pair, and the stereo system lived up to its rapping rodent credentials. While the clarity wasn’t the best, it thumps out the bass with effortless joy. I didn’t get the upgraded UVO infotaintment in my rental, but I don’t know if I’d want it—this one seemed to work just fine.

The seating position is one of the best I’ve seen in any car—it’s upright but still very comfortable. The visibility is quite good through the windshield as well as through the mirrors.

However, the joy of driving the Soul was about to be severely tested by a commute from the airport to the Perimeter North part of town. In ideal traffic conditions, it should take about twenty-five minutes. In this particular morning’s rush hour, it took nearly ninety.

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No matter. The XM Radio gave me plenty of choices for music and/or talk radio, and the Soul handled the start-stop nature of the traffic without much consternation. The 2.0 liter, 164 HP, direct fuel injection motor is neatly paired with a six-speed automatic that never seems to search for the right gear. My rental didn’t have the Idle Stop and Go option, but still managed 24 MPG along the way, which is one of the best ATL traffic numbers I’ve seen.

Even so, the motor gives more than enough power when called upon, and definitely more than I expected from the little four-banger. Max torque can be found at around 4000 RPM, which helps in dealing with the seventh circle of traffic Hell known as “Atlanta.” I was able to dart and dodge through I-75 and I-85 traffic quite fluidly, as the size of the Soul made it easy to fit into the tightest of spots.

I swear I tried to find things not to like about this car. It just does everything well, and it does many things very well. The only thing I can really think of is the price. A Soul Plus optioned out exactly as my rental was stickers at $19,400, which just seems like a bit too much for this car. I’d probably look for a base Soul with the 1.6 liter four cylinder and manual transmission for my own car—but I would just be looking for an airport commuter and fuel saver. For those looking for a true daily driver, the Plus would be the way to go. Also, the Solar Yellow isn’t available on the base car…damn. Okay, I’d get the Plus, too.

Having previously driven the Cube and the xB, this car is, by far, the best choice in this category. The interior is light years ahead of the Toyota and Nissan offerings, and the motor is the equal of the ubiquitous Toyota 2.4 2AZ-FE in the xB (and so much better than the Cube that it’s not even funny). Although it’s purely subjective, I think you’d have a hard time finding anybody who didn’t think the Soul was the best looking of the trio, too.

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In fact, the highest compliment I can pay the Soul is that, for the only the second time ever after driving a rental car (which I do over 25 times per year), I went to the OEM site to configure and price one. The first time I did that, I ended up buying a Ford Flex. I’m not saying I’ll end up buying a Soul, but only because I don’t have a need for one right now.

So, yes, if I were interviewing the Soul, I’d hire it immediately. And if you’re currently interviewing compact cars, make sure that you bring the Soul in for a look. You’ll be glad you did.

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Hyundai, Kia Fined $300M By State, Federal Agencies Over Erroneous Fuel Economy Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940209 Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups. Autoblog reports the […]

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2015 Kia K900

Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups.

Autoblog reports the two alone will pay a total of $100 million to the EPA, the highest such fine in the agency’s history. Hyundai’s part of the bill comes to $56.8 million, while Kia will foot the remaining $43.2 million. The brands will also forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse emissions credits, worth approximately $200 million, and contribute a requested $50 million in investments “to prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act” by automakers.

In-house, parent company Hyundai is establishing “an independent certification test group” to handle future fuel economy testing and reporting, along with training proctors on the proper methods. The company maintains the erroneous reporting was due to the methodology used in the EPA’s test schedule, as well as errors from the coastdown portion of the test.

Hyundai and Kia are also auditing 2015 and 2016 models for accurate fuel economy numbers in light of the previous errors.

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Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930882 With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market. According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to […]

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With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market.

According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to bring them over as far back as 2009, only to back out due to then-upcoming regulations for cleaner diesels, the costs in creating them, and the higher price of diesel compared to gasoline. He says that while those issues “haven’t necessarily been eliminated, they’ve been understood better,” leading to a “more direct path” toward a U.S. diesel lineup.

Additionally, CAFE targets — especially the 2025 fleet target of 54.5 mpg — could necessitate Hyundai/Kia to add diesel to its green weapons arsenal. Juriga stated Hyundai may bring cylinder deactivation, PHEVs and EGR between 2016 and 2021, while nine- and 10-speed automatics could further its fuel efficiency game between 2021 and 2025.

That said, the duo’s diesel efforts would need to find the right fit in the U.S. in order to achieve success. Juriga explained that the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made up just 3 percent of overall Cruze sales, and that the vehicle chosen by Hyundai/Kia would also have to go against Volkswagen strong diesel lineup. Though he didn’t offer what vehicle the duo had in mind, he believes the automakers’ customer base would be “more accepting of the technology and willing to pay a premium for the engine type in the correct product.”

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Paris 2014: Kia Unveils Updated 2016 Sorento http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-kia-unveils-updated-2016-sorento/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-kia-unveils-updated-2016-sorento/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=923321 Behold the new face of the 2016 Kia Sorento as revealed at the 2014 Paris Auto Show. The updated SUV holds either five or seven passengers depending on configuration, with increases in head- and legroom within its overall measurement of 188 inches. The cargo area also gained more space, now at 21.3 cubic feet with […]

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Behold the new face of the 2016 Kia Sorento as revealed at the 2014 Paris Auto Show.

The updated SUV holds either five or seven passengers depending on configuration, with increases in head- and legroom within its overall measurement of 188 inches. The cargo area also gained more space, now at 21.3 cubic feet with all rows folded down; the second row is split 40/20/40.

Up front — in Europe, at least — two diesel and one gasoline four-bangers will be available to move the Sorento around: an entry-level 2-liter with 182 horses and 297 lb-ft of torque, mated exclusively to a six-speed auto; a 2.2-liter with 197 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque; and a 2.4-liter with 185 horses and 178 lb-ft of torque.

Inside, plenty of safety technology can be fitted, including backup camera, lane departure, speed limit informer et al. Sound deadening materials help cut interior noise up to 6 percent, while all occupants will be treated to leather and soft-touch materials.

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Hyundai’s Gangnam Style Leads To Partial Strike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hyundais-gangnam-style-leads-partial-strike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hyundais-gangnam-style-leads-partial-strike/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917626 Due to a Gangnam-style real estate deal in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea, workers at Hyundai and Kia have gone on partial strike for the next few days. Bloomberg reports the unions leading the strike will do so through September 26, while wage talks with the parent company are indefinitely postponed. In turn, […]

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Due to a Gangnam-style real estate deal in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea, workers at Hyundai and Kia have gone on partial strike for the next few days.

Bloomberg reports the unions leading the strike will do so through September 26, while wage talks with the parent company are indefinitely postponed. In turn, shares in Hyundai fell 2 percent to close at ₩191,500 ($184 USD) on the Korea Exchange, the lowest since May 2013.

The trigger for the strike was ₩10.6 trillion ($10 billion) real estate deal for property in the Gangnam district of the South Korean capital between Hyundai, Kia and affiliate Hyundai Mobis. The unions claim this move as not only proof Hyundai can pay its workers better, including bonuses — which have been mandated by the country’s supreme court to be a part of a worker’s base pay — but that company chair Chung Mong Moo’s management style leaves a lot to be desired.

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2015 Kia Soul EV Coming To US With $33K Price Tag http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-kia-soul-ev-coming-us-33k-price-tag/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-kia-soul-ev-coming-us-33k-price-tag/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911033 Looking for an EV that doesn’t cost Tesla money or resemble a jelly bean? Then Kia might just have what you need with its electrified version of the Soul when it arrives in showrooms later this year. AutoblogGreen reports the compact EV — the South Korean automaker’s first such mass-market offering — will enter showrooms […]

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2015 Kia Soul EV

Looking for an EV that doesn’t cost Tesla money or resemble a jelly bean? Then Kia might just have what you need with its electrified version of the Soul when it arrives in showrooms later this year.

AutoblogGreen reports the compact EV — the South Korean automaker’s first such mass-market offering — will enter showrooms with a base MSRP of $33,700 before the $7,500 federal tax rebate is applied. The price of admission places the Soul EV above the Nissan Leaf ($28,980), but just below the Volkswagen e-Golf ($35,445).

The base model — dubbed Base — brings a 6.6kW on-board charger and an “exclusive” HVAC system designed to maintain the vehicle’s 93-mile range “by minimizing energy draw.” The UVO eServices system, which provides in-car and — via the UVO app — smartphone info on range and were to pull over for a charge, comes standard. Other amenities available include Bluetooth, rear-camera display, cruise control and power windows.

Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line + — or Plus — model adds heated leather-trimmed seats, fog lights and power-folding mirrors, all for a starting price of $35,700 MSRP pre-rebate.

For those who would rather lease, Kia is offering an introductory $249/month rate for 36 months on the Soul EV Base with $1,999 down. Either way, the crossover will only be available in a few California markets, with expansion planned down the road.

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Kia Set To Build “Range” Of Compacts At Monterrey Plant In 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/kia-set-build-range-compacts-monterrey-plant-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/kia-set-build-range-compacts-monterrey-plant-2016/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=902129 Kia announced Wednesday that it plans to build “a range of yet-to-be confirmed compact models” at its new plant in Monterrey, Mexico after Job 1 production begins in H1 2016. Automotive News reports the automaker is still determining which vehicles it plans to produce at the $1 billion plant, as it will be set-up to […]

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Kia announced Wednesday that it plans to build “a range of yet-to-be confirmed compact models” at its new plant in Monterrey, Mexico after Job 1 production begins in H1 2016.

Automotive News reports the automaker is still determining which vehicles it plans to produce at the $1 billion plant, as it will be set-up to produce both compact and subcompact models at a rate of 300,000 units annually once full production begins.

Kia adds that the plant will also serve as a potential launching pad for production throughout Central and South America, as well as a supply line to a new sales channel in Mexico:

With its strong growth forecasts for new vehicle demand, Mexico was chosen as the site for Kia’s next overseas plant given that it is one of the few remaining major markets in the world in which Kia does not have a sales presence.

Kia will begin construction of its new facility in late September.

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Kia In Talks With Mexican Officials Over $1.5B Nuevo Leon Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kia-in-talks-with-mexican-officials-over-1-5b-nuevo-leon-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kia-in-talks-with-mexican-officials-over-1-5b-nuevo-leon-plant/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874337 With the need to increase supply to meet U.S. demand, Kia is in talks with Mexican officials about building a new factory in the country. Reuters reports the $1.5 billion facility would pump out 300,000 units annually, and would be located in Monterrey. The output would consist of two small vehicles to start, augmenting the […]

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With the need to increase supply to meet U.S. demand, Kia is in talks with Mexican officials about building a new factory in the country.

Reuters reports the $1.5 billion facility would pump out 300,000 units annually, and would be located in Monterrey. The output would consist of two small vehicles to start, augmenting the output at Kia’s sole plant in the Southeastern United States.

Nuevo Leon secretary of economic development Rolando Zubrian, along with other state and federal officials, began talks last week with the automaker, and hopes a deal would be made sometime during the first two weeks of August. The plant may also pave the path toward a resumption of bilateral free trade negotiations between South Korea and Mexico.

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Nissan: 633 CHAdeMO Fast Chargers Available For Use Today, More Coming http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissan-633-chademo-fast-chargers-available-for-use-today-more-coming/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissan-633-chademo-fast-chargers-available-for-use-today-more-coming/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858009 Just in time for the Fourth of July travel weekend, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MIEV owners will have access to 633 CHAdeMO fast chargers, up from 160 stations in January 2013. Green Car Reports says back then, the majority of those chargers were along the West Coast and Texas, with Nissan promising to triple that […]

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Just in time for the Fourth of July travel weekend, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MIEV owners will have access to 633 CHAdeMO fast chargers, up from 160 stations in January 2013.

Green Car Reports says back then, the majority of those chargers were along the West Coast and Texas, with Nissan promising to triple that number within 18 months. Nissan North America senior manager of corporate communications Brian Brockman announced last week that his employer had gone above and beyond by bringing online nearly 500 units in the time period, with all listed on PlugShare.

As for the rest of FY 2014, Nissan will push forward to bring more CHAdeMO stations online, from its network of dealerships, to top Leaf markets such as Atlanta, Los Angeles and Houston. Meanwhile, another vehicle will be able to make use of the chargers when the 2015 Kia Soul EV goes on sale later on this summer.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Kia Soul http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-kia-soul-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-kia-soul-2/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=845121 Even those who didn’t appreciate the first Kia Soul’s eye-catching exterior would acknowledge the Soul was a car that majored on style. Replacing the underlying platform, updating the interior, and adding features are, to a degree, a set of secondary concerns in a car like this. The new Soul had to look every inch like […]

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Even those who didn’t appreciate the first Kia Soul’s eye-catching exterior would acknowledge the Soul was a car that majored on style.
Replacing the underlying platform, updating the interior, and adding features are, to a degree, a set of secondary concerns in a car like this. The new Soul had to look every inch like the Soul, but if it didn’t look new, it may not incite the necessary reaction from the style-conscious portion of the car-buying public.

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Let’s not bore ourselves with the details: the plentiful black surround on the tailgate, the headlamps that no longer grow deformities out of themselves, and the tiny but meaningful increases in length and width. To my eye, it looks like a more modern Kia Soul. Job well done. You are welcome to be the final arbiter.
As much as the exterior is an important section on the 2015 Soul’s resume, I had high hopes that the rest of the car would undergo the more serious makeover. The first-generation Soul was obviously a marketplace success, but not because it rode smoothly, steered sweetly, or made efficient use of its powerplants, and not because it felt as well-built as the vehicles Kia has introduced since 2009.
In the 2015 model I drove around last week, superior ride quality was the most dramatic dynamic improvement. You’ll continue to suffer from a few unwelcome encounters out back where there’s still a torsion beam, but if poor ride quality was the key factor restraining a potential Soul buyer a year ago, they won’t feel the same way now. Losing the 18-inch-wheels from this fully-optioned SX Luxury model (a $21,095 ! with The Whole Shabang Package for $26,195 including destination, in U.S.-speak) may further isolate road imperfections.
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Kia’s FlexSteer, which allows you to select one of three steering weight modes, is not uncommon in its lifelessness. I’d take GoodSteer from the latest Mazda 3 over the Soul’s trio of optional steering modes, but the Soul’s rack isn’t offensive. Nor is the handling anything worse than perfectly adequate. This isn’t a sporting device; there is no great level of athleticism. But as with any properly small car, the Soul is delightfully agile in urban scenarios, and the new Soul is also pleasantly quiet during highway jaunts.
I would appreciate the availability of a manual transmission with the 2.0L engine. Subcompact-like dimensions and 164 horsepower sounds fun at first. This Soul, however, is carrying around 3100 pounds, and it’s fitted with a 6-speed automatic that favours smoothness over swiftness. The 2.0L-powered Soul Exclamation Point isn’t slow, but there is a sense of weight you don’t expect in a car that’s only 163 inches long.
Regardless of its on-road characteristics, the Soul has proven to be a winner because of its engaging design, outside and in, and its vast interior. Rear leg room is terrific, and thanks to our slim Diono car seat, two adults could sit in the back with the baby and voice no complaints. The driver’s seat doesn’t have the top-end Forte’s extendable seat cushion, but I still enjoyed the chair-like seating position and the improved material quality in all the places no car owner ever touches except when cleaning. The driver’s seat is powered in all sorts of ways, including lumbar, but the passenger makes do with basic manual adjustments. Both receive heated and cooled cushions, however. Living alongside the north Atlantic as I do, those ventilated front seats sure do come in handy for a long stretch during, well, the first week of August.
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A bit longer than a Rio hatchback and a bit shorter than a Forte hatchback, the Soul’s interior only forces you to sacrifice when it comes to seats-up cargo capacity. It’s decidedly more subcompact-like than compact-like (18.8 height-assisted cubic feet compared with 15 in the Rio hatch and 23.2 in the Forte) until you fold the seats down. At which point, the Soul’s boxy shape creates greater space than you’d get in, say, hatchback versions of the Mazda 3 or Ford Focus.
The Soul also feels like a much better-built car than the majority of, if not all, subcompacts. The rear doors thunk just as well as the front doors, rather than the thunk/thwack front/rear disagreement endured in many small cars. Kia’s UVO system continues to operate at an above-average level, with multiple menus visible on the screen at any given time, quick responses, and conventional controls for most features.
For way less than $30,000, the level of luxury content in this Whole Shabanged Exclamation Point Soul is impressive, from the panoramic sunroof to the upgraded Infinity stereo, navigation, and heated rear seats. Plus, power-folding mirrors that unfolded and folded back a thousand times while I did yardwork beside our driveway with keys in my pocket, wondering all the while what that faint buzzing sound was.
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The Soul still isn’t sufficiently fuel efficient relative to most small cars, with EPA ratings of just 23/31 mpg. There is also genuine potential for a hot hatch here, and it would be wonderful if the Forte’s turbo and manual transmission made the trek over to the Soul. It’s easy to suggest that halo models are insisted upon only by non-buying enthusiasts but won’t turn out to be profit generators. Yet the Soul’s audience has become so numerous that I have to believe a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, sport-suspended Soul would gain more than just a small cult following.
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Perhaps not. I won’t argue with the merits of the car in its current state, nor the level of success Kia has stumbled upon with the Soul since it arrived in 2009. Through the end of May, Americans have registered nearly 500,000 Souls. Sales have improved every year, rising above 118,000 units in 2013. So far this year, U.S. Soul volume is up 21%, and it’s outselling all “small” cars other than the Corolla, Civic, Cruze, Elantra, Focus, Sentra, and Jetta.
Kia Canada provided the vehicle and insurance for this review.
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Kia Building First Mexican Plant To Alleviate Strained U.S. Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840426 In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America. Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s […]

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In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America.

Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s compacts — the Forte and Rio — at first before taking on work from the brand’s sole U.S. factory in Georgia, where the Optima, Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are assembled, and from Hyundai’s Alabama plant, where the Sonata and Elantra are built. No word was given on when the first shovels would break the earth.

Aside from supply-and-demand issues in the U.S., Kia is likely building the Monterrey plant — to go with Hyundai’s production expansion into Chongqing, China — in order to maintain its market share around the globe. The duo together hold fifth place in the global auto sales race, a position it could lose by 2016 if no more capacity is added, according to Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon.

The capacity limit was unofficially put in place by Hyundai/Kia chair Chung Mong-koo over two years ago, fearing his two brands would end up like Toyota in the 2000s if they expanded as aggressively as had the Japanese automaker.

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New York 2014: 2015 Kia Sedona Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-kia-sedona-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-kia-sedona-live-shots/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:34:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=803610 The 2015 Kia Sedona quietly made its public debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show, ready to take up to eight passengers to the nearest Trader Joe’s after soccer practice. Behind the tiger nose, Kia dropped in a 3.3-liter V6 pushing 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a […]

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The 2015 Kia Sedona quietly made its public debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show, ready to take up to eight passengers to the nearest Trader Joe’s after soccer practice.

Behind the tiger nose, Kia dropped in a 3.3-liter V6 pushing 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic.

Inside, up eight passengers can pile in depending on configuration, with third-row riders receiving 34.8 inches of legroom, second-row gaining 41.1 inches, and the parents enjoying 43.1 inches up front. Access to the third row is enabled by the Sedona’s Slide-n-Stow system in the second row, which also allows for increased storage room if needed.

Other features include auto-opening tailgate, surround-view monitoring, electronic stability control and ABS.

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