Category: Kia

Kia Reviews

A subsidiary of Hyundai, Kia Automotive Group, is South Korea's 2nd largest automobile manufacturer. The name "Kia" is roughly translated as 'Rising out of Asia'. Founded in 1944 as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycles, Kia began building motorcycles, trucks and cars.
By on May 6, 2019

2019 Kia Forte front quarter

I’ll grant that I’ve established a pretty cool second job for myself with this gig writing about cars. What gearhead wouldn’t love to get paid to talk (well, write) about their favorite subject — and often, drive some of the coolest new cars around? It sure beats flipping burgers to put extra cash in the wallet.

The not-so-secret side of this? It’s generally not the coolest cars that generate the most clicks. Most readers tend to care about cars they’ll legitimately consider buying, rather than a $100k sportscar. Thus, reviews of basic commuter cars, while not nearly as fun to drive, are much more important.

My job was made easy for me with the 2019 Kia Forte. It doesn’t overwhelm with outlandish styling. It doesn’t get the juices flowing with incredible performance. It simply makes the daily commute effortless and economical. What else can you ask from a car?

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By on March 22, 2019

2020 Kia Telluride

Life is often a matter of timing. Ask Kia about the difference between the 2020 Kia Telluride crossover and its last attempt at something similar – the Kia Borrego.

Remember the Borrego?

I do. That body-on-frame SUV wasn’t a poor vehicle – I drove one, briefly, and liked it – but it came to market right as the Great Recession and a rapid rise in gas prices were conspiring to work against expensive, gas-guzzling SUVs. Sure, plenty of nameplates survived the carnage, but a newcomer like the Borrego, produced by a brand once known for cheap compact cars, had no chance against those market headwinds.

Enter the Telluride, which is so different from the Borrego that about the only things they have in common are class, amount of seating rows, engine displacement, and door count. Unlike the body-on-frame Borrego, the unibody Telluride is entering a market where the winds are a bit more favorable – crossovers are still hot and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon.

So Kia won’t have to worry about fighting an uphill battle, at least in terms of market forces. It’s going to be all about the product this time. And the product is quite good.

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By on March 5, 2019

That headline has two meanings, at least as pertains to the 2018 Stinger.

One meaning: Watch your right foot. It’s easy to quickly get this car above the speed limit.

Meaning number two: When I first drove the Stinger, I harped about its tendency for greater than desired body roll in corners. Well, that tendency doesn’t show up in urban commuting, because I wasn’t driving the car the way I did in the California mountains during its launch.

Drive it a little less hard, and its biggest flaw stays hidden. Problem solved.

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By on February 25, 2019

2020 Kia Soul

When you look at a Kia Soul, you likely peg it for just what it is – a boxy, utilitarian commuter vehicle. You wouldn’t expect it to be a blast to drive, or full of coddling luxury materials and content.

Sometimes, what you see really is more or less what you get. This is one of those cases, with some pleasant surprises along the way.

The updated Soul has new exterior duds, a re-imagined cabin, and a newly available turbo mill.

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By on January 29, 2019

2019 Kia Sorento front quarter

The three-row crossover has quickly become the bellybutton car. Everyone’s got one. Much as the full-size station wagon was the people hauler of choice in the Seventies and early Eighties, followed by the mighty, mighty minivan, this genre of sorta-big tall wagon is everywhere.

This 2019 Kia Sorento is a refreshed example of a generation first offered in 2016. Kia keeps making impressive strides year after year. The example I sampled was packed to the gills with nearly every luxury bit possible, but does the new Sorento keep up with the competition?

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By on January 14, 2019

Image: Kia Motors

Is it possible to be more American that a Kia Telluride? Probably not. Clint Eastwood drove one in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. John Rambo rolled into a small, Northwestern town behind the wheel of one shortly after his repatriation. John Wayne owned two, and the Telluride was the first vehicle to storm Omaha Beach. From its exhaust pipes come clouds of red, white, and blue.

Folks, this vehicle is more American than a bald eagle eating apple pie on July 4th. It is the three-row SUV that rowed across the Potomac to get to a dealership near you, and don’t you forget it. Read More >

By on December 5, 2018

2018 Kia Niro PHEV front quarter

Life gets in the way. No matter how much you plan, there will always be circumstances that, at the very least, interfere with that plan — if not throw it completely out the window.

For instance, when I test a car that specifically touts efficiency, I always plan a relatively rigorous regimen of fuel economy measurements, including filling and refilling the tank at the same pump, and maintaining a consistent driving style. But then a school bus is late and I have to rush to the office, keeping me from the fuel pump before the car goes away — and keeping my foot to the floor a bit more than ideal. Or a charging plug falls out of the wall socket you’ve been meaning to replace for a decade.

But this time, as I tested the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV, everything went right. I was able to drive and charge this plug-in hybrid like a normal person who has to keep it for more than a week. Full charges greeted me each morning. And, at the end of my test, some seriously impressive fuel economy blew my mind.

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By on November 30, 2018

gladiator

Outside of a Nissan-hosted panel preceding the first media day, the typically mobility discussion was muted at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show (and even that panel wasn’t nearly as eye-roll inducing as the usual Ford pronouncements — at least this panel included actual experts making reasonable points, even if I disagree with some of them.)

L.A. was all about the cars – cars you’ll soon be able to buy, should you have the means.

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By on November 29, 2018

2019 Niro EV

The electric vehicle onslaught from Kia continues with the introduction of its 2019 Kia Niro EV. A far larger battery than the Niro PHEV and fast-charge capability conspire to give owners more time behind the wheel and less time juicing up.

We suppose one of the goals of Kia’s Niro EV is to offer an all-electric alternative to those not enamored by the Soul EV’s inspired-by-a-toaster styling cues. After, all both share a lot when it comes to their powertrains.

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By on November 29, 2018

2020 Soul EV

Along with the high-volume version which debuted at the L.A. Auto Show this week, Kia has dropped an all-electric, battery-powered Soul EV.

Compared to the old car, its battery has doubled in capacity, while the electric motor now spits out nearly 300 lb-ft of torque. And, like its conventionally powered brother, the works of it are wrapped up in a snappy new set of duds.

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By on November 29, 2018

Image: Kia

Forget about the “+” and “!” trim levels you’ve grown used to — they’re gone come the 2020 model year. For its upcoming redesign, the long-running Kia Soul subcompact (dare we call it a crossover?) grows slightly in length but much more in maturity, adopting a meaner visage and a trim roster mimicking that seen on other Kia models.

The new face, which calls to mind the Dodge Charger of all vehicles, is but one of a host of changes for 2020. One thing that doesn’t change is the model’s inherent funkiness. This thing hasn’t become staid. Read More >

By on November 14, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

Believe it or not, the Kia Soul has been around for nearly 10 years now, carving a nice niche for itself in the subcompact crossover market and lining corporate coffers with plenty of cash.

Later this month, the company will show its third-gen Soul at the LA Auto Show. It’ll retain a familiar shape if the teaser image is anything to go by. One neat detail buried toward the bottom of the press release? A promise of “several drivetrains,” including what the company calls a “gas-free electric.”

Does this mean we’ll finally see an all-wheel drive Soul? The TTAC magic eight-ball tells us Signs Point to Yes.

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By on November 14, 2018

The South Korean automaker has no qualms about upending the status quo – witness the Stinger GT. Kia’s Niro hybrid might not look radical, but it’s a fuel-efficient dart hurled directly at the almighty Toyota Prius. Not everyone wants to loudly advertise their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, after all.

Fe might stand for iron on the periodic table, but can this FE iron out some traditional hybrid wrinkles? Let’s find out.

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By on November 8, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

A hearing that was expected to bring together representatives of Hyundai and Kia and the Senate Commerce Committee, scheduled for November 14th, has been called off.

The committee hoped to gleam information and answers on reports of engine fires in certain Hyundai/Kia products — a long-burning issue, pardon the pun, that’s increasing ever greater attention, especially from public safety groups. Recent media reports made it look like representatives didn’t plan to attend. Read More >

By on October 30, 2018

Automotive enthusiast come in a wider variety of flavors than automakers are sometimes willing to admit. You have the well-heeled supercar community, hot rod fans, off-roaders, van people, and so on and so forth, and what have you. The point is: there’s a diverse array of customers out there, and one segment that has been neglected of late are people who love an unassuming car with a surprising amount of pep.

We need more cars like the Volvo V70 R, Mercury Marauder, and especially the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

While Kia isn’t giving enthusiasts who prefer flying under the radar at breakneck speed everything they ever wished for, its surprise announcement of the 2020 Forte GT was a solid start. Think of it as the modern and Korean equivalent of the Dodge Dart GTS 440 — or, perhaps more accurately, the Dart Swinger 340.  Read More >

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