SEMA OEM Report: Scionara?
Kia’s booth at SEMA was quiet and empty compared to the Genesis-fest at sister firm Hyundai’s space. But fewer fans meant a chance for a closer look at several near-production concepts that point the way forward for the “other” Korean budget automaker. And though Hyundai seems to have Lexus in its crosshairs, Kia appears to be gunning directly after another Toyota’s Scion. First up, Kia’s Soul Burner concept looks like a (not quite production-ready) alternative to Scion’s xD. Strip away the flame-tread show tires, and a few other tuner-show fripperies, and it’s a practical, flexible, stylish little hatch. The styling doesn’t exactly put the “b” in subtle, but it’s a reasonable compromise between practicality and urban chic. Fit-and-finish clearly needs some work (paint bubbles on a show car?). But a cheaper, better-looking (in the eyes of this beholder) xD should have Toyota sweating more than a little. Kia’s Koup Concept has an equally laserlike-focus on stealing sales from the Scion tC. The stylishly unisex Koup sports clean lines, sharp-looking head- and tail lights, and a surprising impression of quality compared to the Soul Burner. Slap a Honda badge on the Koup and you might think it was the next Civic Si. Put it next to a tC with no badges at all, and you might have a hard time guessing which came from the world’s most successful automaker.
Join the conversation
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
- Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.
- Stuart de Baker Chris! When asked for car advice, I just ask 'em what they want out of a car. And I have my prompts: fun to drive, safety, economy, longevity (I have Consumer Reports annual auto issues going back so I can help people with used cars, too), road trips vs in town, etc, and what sort of body style do they want and why. (If they want an SUV because they think it's safer, I'll suggest they consider large sedans, but if they put major emphasis on safety, I'll check the latest safety stats for whatever cars might satisfy their other desires.
- Stuart de Baker I don't speak to Jeeps and I don't approve of driving off road, especially in places like Utah where the vegetation won't come back for years.
- Kanu Actually, I think this makes a certain amount of sense.The average age of light vehicles in operation in the US is now 12.2 years. This means that the typical useful life of a light vehicle is around 25 years.The big virtue of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is that the infotainment system in your car uses the relatively up-to-date technology of your smartphone rather than the vintage technology that existed when your car was built.But the useful life of EVs is nowhere near 25 years. It’s more like 8 years. That’s when the battery needs to be replaced, and that’s when you discover that the price of the new battery is more than the market value of your eight-year-old car with a new battery.So if your EV has built-in infotainment technology, that technology will still be relatively up-to-date when your EV goes to the scrap yard.
Kia would benefit from bringing over the Ceed/Proceed sooner rather than later. Doing something to push the Rondo might not be a bad idea, either. Hyundai doesn't seem to understand that it needs to keep Kia and itself separate, which leads to: However, I think the Genesis Coupe should have been a Kia as well… I'd be ok with the Genesis as a Hyundai, but Hyundai needs to forget the Tiburon and allow Kia and the Koup to stand alone. The Borrego was a stupid choice as a Kia, but would have made sense as a Hyundai; vice-versa the Elantra wagon/i30: it's a better Kia than a Hyundai. And there's others: Better Hyundais: Amanti, Magentis/Optima, Sedona Better Kias: Tiburon, Santa Fe, Accent, Getz
I must agree with MrDot and BlueBrat, the Koup looks particularly nice. Too bad we don't have any shots of the headlights. If it makes it to the US, I'd look at it. The Soul Burner, not so much. Just doesn't do it for me.