Names and categories used to matter when referring to cars. Coupes used to have two doors, period. Porsche got a bunch of flak last week when they called their electric sedan a Turbo. Tesla uses the term Supercharger for a device that isn’t connected to a crankshaft with a big belt.
Click through to Kia’s website (open a new tab, please – don’t leave me here alone!) and you’ll note five distinct categories. Sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and hybrids/electrics all follow the hot one – SUVs and Crossovers. Unsurprisingly, this 2019 Kia Soul sits right atop that list, though by any traditional automotive taxonomy this box is a hatchback. Peel back the sharp edges, however, and the Soul offers many of the advantages of a popular crossover without the compromises.
I’m not quite to the tin foil hat stage, but I’m certain that Google’s ad servers have their cameras trained on me. No, I didn’t get caught up in that face aging app nonsense a couple weeks ago — and I’m not one for selfies. Rather, I’m sure I’m being watched, as with every new gray hair that sprouts on my beard, I seem to get more advertisements for products meant to help with aging.
From retirement planning advice, to literal beard dying products, to (ahem) virility potions and devices, there seems to be no end to the market reminders that I’m much closer to the dirt nap than I am to a nap in a crib. And the vitamin ads never stop.
Maybe this 2019 Kia K900 is yet another solution to my advanced years, with comfort and luxury meant to coddle my aching back. But I like to think of it as one of those once a day vitamins. It’s easy to use, just like a simple daily pill — but like that pill, you don’t think about it much when you’re done swallowing it. And, again like the daily dose, it’s forgettable for Kia, who sold roughly one K900 per day last year.
Leaks of Kia’s new Seltos — a small crossover intended for global sale before 2020 — made their way around the web this week. However, we spent most of our time wondering how much of an accident they actually were. Seemingly on display for a promotional shoot, the Seltos was left uncovered on city streets with its name prominently displayed in large, capital letters. While we’re not accusing the company of encouraging viral marketing, it certainly could have been more careful about keeping the crossover under wraps.
Kia was also quick to issue a response to the leaks by officially announcing the model’s existence and ideology on Monday. This is a car for the masses, but dialed in to engage directly with “youthful, tech-savvy buyers” and named after one of Heracles’ children. Clearly, the Koreans have their finger on the pulse of today’s youth market — as most teens are dying to engage with one another over ancient Greek myths.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A subcompact crossover will appear on U.S. shores next year, Kia claims, in order to create a new entry point below the Sportage. It’s also a vehicle consumers in India are eager to learn more about. Before you start calling it the Korean EcoSport, however, be aware that this is a new crossover, and U.S.-bound production will take place in South Korea, not the subcontinent.
While last year’s release of the Kia Stonic sparked assumptions that the diminutive utility vehicle would find its way here, that proved not to be the case. The new vehicle will be based on Kia’s SP Concept, which shares its mechanicals with the Indian-market Hyundai Creta, a name that inspires as many visions of a Greek island as it does actor Richard Crenna.
Kia has done a remarkable job at building a brand here in the U.S., and has done so without treading the well-worn path of appealing to enthusiasts. No, the Kia brand is built on solid small cars and utilities, with price and a great warranty being top of mind. Not squealing tires.
You knew that had to change. There is plenty of money in Kia’s corporate warchest to move away from the meat-and-potatoes commuter appliances to a nice, exciting cake or pie. Thus, the 2018 Kia Stinger GT — a tasty treat for the eyes and the butt dyno. But does it satisfy?
Yes, yes, yes. This marks the second week in a row for the same manufacturer, almost as long a stretch as Khabib Nurmagomedov has gone without scaling the wall of a UFC cage.
The little Forte sedan (remember those? Ford doesn’t) ups its game in 2019 with a refreshed sense of style and a bucket full of new equipment. This is most definitely our first Ace of Base that includes dual-zone climate control as standard equipment.
A few Beloit College professors have made plenty of hay over the years by publicizing their Mindset Lists — lists of the things each new class of incoming freshmen will not be able to relate to. For example, a new class in college right now doesn’t know a world with Tupac or JonBenet Ramsey.
Kids today, amirite?
I’m of a different mindset when it comes to car prices. As I turn forty later this year — meaning if I had any sort of game in high school, I could have been the daddy of one of those incoming freshmen — I can clearly recall a time when a new car could be had for around $4,000. Not a good car, mind you — that would have been closer to $10k in 1986 — but it gives me an appropriate reference point for a modern car.
Thus, I clench a bit when I see a sticker price over $20k for a subcompact hatchback, like the one on this 2018 Kia Rio EX. It takes a mental reset to realize I can’t buy basic transportation so cheap anymore. I have to consider exactly what it is I’m getting for the money, and at that point the numbers start to make sense.
Hyundai has clearly committed itself to sporting models. While we’re positive the new N badge will attach itself to a handful of undeserving models in the years to come, go-fast versions of the overseas i30 and North American Veloster show it won’t be the norm. The brand seems to have hit upon something and intends to keep funneling high-performance models through its N sub-brand.
Now with a sporting model of its own, Kia wants in on the fun. But the Stinger GT looks to be in a safe place as the company’s premiere performance model for a while. Rather than focusing on lap times, the Korean brand intends to build smaller range of GT models with an emphasis on everyday performance. That could be a kinder way of saying “watered down,” or simply an admission that Kia wants fun-loving automobiles but knows it can’t step on Hyundai’s toes.
The sound you hear is more range coming to the Kia Soul EV, but it’s not here yet. As such, the electric version of Kia’s shockingly popular Soul remains pretty much unchanged for 2019, with one exception: you can’t get the least expensive version anymore.
For buyers living outside California, this change won’t mess with plans or cost anyone a cent. They couldn’t get their hands on one, anyway.
When an automaker decides to launch a new station wagon in Europe, it’s usually a pretty safe assumption that we won’t see it in North America. Kia’s new ProCeed, scheduled for a public debut at the Paris Motor Show next month, is the latest example of this relentless phenomenon.
Still, while we’re annoyed we have to go without yet another Eurowagon, maybe this wasn’t the one for us.
By now, you’ve probably read all about Matt’s adventures in fashion, but the unexpected reveal of Kia’s upcoming Telluride SUV during New York City’s Fashion Week has me reeling. And it shouldn’t.
It shouldn’t, because alluring concept vehicle morph into far less savory production vehicles all the time. Or, in the case of Buick and Cadillac’s concepts, they morph back into the invisible nothingness from which they came. Spy photos of the Telluride pointed us towards an expectation of what appeared on Sunday.
Still, it hurts. Why?
There’s a good reason why insurance premiums are rising like your author’s blood pressure while scanning his Twitter feed, and it’s not just because providers really, really like making money. (They do, of course.) Average repair bills in the U.S. rose by about a third in the past three years, mainly due to the proliferation of safety technology, and insurance premiums followed. Country-wide, premiums rose 7.9 percent in 2017.
Cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radar sensors tend to be located in areas of the vehicle most prone to damage, even in even low-speed collisions, and sturdy, exposed 5 mph bumpers are unfortunately a thing of the past. Many would prefer to see all automakers design their cars with repairs in mind, thus lowering future costs and premiums.
As an example of the headache of repairing technology-festooned vehicles, behold the average front-corner collision repair cost of one rare Korean sedan.
Fashion is not a subject this author is particularly familiar with. While I know that a button-up and suit jacket serves me better than an oversized Space Jam t-shirt, the reasons why remain a complete mystery. I just know that people are less likely to ask me to leave their establishment when I’m wearing a tie.
Be that as it may, I am savvy enough to know that Fashion Week is a strange locale in which to introduce a new vehicle. However, fashion designer Brandon Maxwell convinced Kia to donate to his childhood school district in Marfa, Texas, in exchange for the opportunity to showcase the automaker’s giant, unibody SUV. Created by Kia’s American design studio in Irvine, California, the customized Telluride that appeared on the runway drew influence from Texas (where everything is bigger). Fittingly, that was also Maxwell’s inspiration for the Spring/Summer 2019 collection — which I’m told is “fabulous.”
Kia’s message to media assembled in Pittsburgh to sample the 2019 Kia Forte was simple – “Play It Loud.” The Korean brand’s been on a rock n’ roll kick for a while now, trying to play the feisty little sibling to Hyundai. Kia’s the one still on campus, partying it up, while Hyundai plays the part of the elder with the real job and the business-casual wardrobe.
Unfortunately for Kia, loud can be both good and bad. Zeppelin cranked to 11? Good loud. A four-cylinder thrashing under heavy throttle? Bad loud.
Kia is readying the unveiling of its Proceed for European buyers later this month, taking great strides to ensure it matches the concept version. While the Ceed five-door already exists, the Proceed is a full-blown wagon. However, it’ll probably spend the majority of its time referred to as an “estate car” or “shooting brake,” since it’s not supposed to make it out of Europe. That’s slightly tragic, considering the model seems bent on showcasing Kia’s new emphasis on extra-handsome designs.
Kia revealed the Proceed Concept last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show to much praise from the media. The brand claimed it would foreshadow the future of the Ceed lineup’s styling, which bodes well, as the car looks like a Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo and Nissan GT-R put up their bastard offspring for adoption in South Korea.
We told you recently about an odd issue Kia’s having with a select group of rear-drive Stinger sports sedans. It seems those painted in eye-catching Sunset Yellow have a tendency to flake and peel — like a Canadian at the beach. In short, the paint won’t stay on, and Kia traced the source back to some oil residue that made its way into the vibrant coating sprayed on a small number of Stingers.
In the U.S., just 400 special edition Sunset Yellow Stingers found buyers, making the issue quite limited in scope, but nonetheless troubling. Buyers won’t be happy once the sedan starts shedding its skin. Luckily, Kia has a plan.
Kia’s Stinger burst onto the automotive landscape in what seems like the rear-drive sedan’s twilight years, enlivening the lower end of the market with its pleasing profile, available twin-turbo V6, and palate of eye-catching colors. It’s one of those colors — Sunset Yellow — that’s causing headaches for the automaker.
Apparently, the Stinger might decide to shed that paint one day.
Following a March investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Kia Motors is recalling more than 507,000 vehicles in the United States to solve an electronic glitch that may prevent airbags from deploying in the event of a collision.
The NHTSA launched the probe after four people died in accidents involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles with airbags that failed to inflate. In total, the agency’s investigation noted failed deployments in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2012-2013 Kia Forte in the U.S. There was also an incident involving the Forte in Canada.
Kia Motors, the brand that entered the U.S. with the Sephia and improved drastically from there, has a new chief operating officer — one it hopes can guide the automaker’s domestic division to greater sales heights.
It’s a reasonable expectation, as Michael Cole helped grow Kia Motors Europe’s sales 40 percent during his time as COO. Cole took on that role back in 2012. With a new executive to guide its sales, marketing, and product planning, Kia hopes last year’s U.S. sales slide is a one-time blip.
While it seems a little early for Kia’s Sportage to gain a visual refresh, the manufacturer apparently didn’t feel its new engine option should arrive unaccompanied. The automaker is launching a 48-volt diesel mild hybrid system in Europe for 2019, and chucked in a handful of aesthetic enhancements for good measure.
The jury’s still out on the motor’s availability in North America. While the diesel decline in Europe is palpable, they still sell a lot more passenger cars equipped with them than we do. However, since it does fall into that weird hybrid category, there’s a chance it could crop up in extremely limited numbers. We’d bank on seeing a mild hybrid system from Kia make its way to the U.S. and Canada soon, only coupled to a gasoline motor. But expect to see some upgraded bodywork and interior touches for the coming model year.
It isn’t a model, it’s simply a powertrain. After the recent announcement of the Niro Electric and earlier hybrid and plug-in hybrid applications, Kia’s ready to dial it way back for the masses.
The automaker has announced a 48-volt mild hybrid system that shouldn’t confuse unsavvy buyers, providing it never uses the word “hybrid” in their company. The system’s name? EcoDynamics +.
You’ve already forgotten about the Borrego, so this large, hulking Kia is sure to impress, if for no other reason than its dimensions.
Photographed in Orange County, the square-rigged three-row you see above is the upcoming Kia Telluride, a range-topping crossover first teased in concept form at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. At the time, the concept’s almost showroom-ready outward appearance (normal side mirrors!) signalled Kia’s intent to put the Telluride into production. Two Kia execs essentially confirmed it earlier this year.
Expected to debut next year as a 2020 model, this is our first glimpse of Kia’s newest beast.
Hyundai and Kia need to start making outlandish promises if the automakers hope to generate the kind of press once (and maybe still) enjoyed by a certain American electric carmaker. Instead, Hyundai Motor Group quietly putters along the road to electrification, issuing well-established timelines for its vehicle introductions, then following through.
There’s so little drama, it’s painful.
Ahead of a global debut at September’s Paris Motor Show, Kia launched its newest green vehicle at the 5th International Electric Vehicle Expo in Jeju, Korea — a practical EV made for practical, not all that wealthy people.
Cheap cars often get a bad rap. That’s not surprising – our status-obsessed society tends to look down upon any low-cost product, unless that product is so superior to its competition that it can be labeled a “value” or a “bargain.”
The Kia Rio probably isn’t good enough for that status, and there are other relatively inexpensive automobiles that perform better across various metrics, but if you need cheap wheels and don’t want to be punished, you could do worse.
April wasn’t a hot month for auto sales, what with two less selling days than the same period last year. Overall, the industry was down nearly 5 percent last month, with — in many cases — only the hottest-selling models, many of them recently revamped SUVs, posting a net gain.
April held some surprises, though, and one had to do with a pair of vehicles that should be on their way to the funeral home. That is, if all automakers acted on what they saw in the tea leaves. Certain automakers, Toyota and Kia among them, aren’t quite as eager to hop onto the all-crossovers-and-trucks bandwagon. Because of this, there’s still choice for someone looking for a large, front-wheel-drive sedan with plenty of content, but not luxury vehicle levels of it.
These people actually exist, albeit in ever smaller numbers. And these people apparently like what they see in two particular models.
This will be our third Sedan Showdown in a row. Kicking us off were some basic full-size models, and through the “Not nice enough!” complaints, the Charger took home the win. Giving the people what they want, we turned the budget up to $45,000 and presented some luxury full-size sedans instead. Again, FCA took home a win; the Chrysler 300 easily overpowered the base Lincoln Continental, and pipped the top-trim Buick LaCrosse.
All the while, this third commenter-sourced trio waited in the wings, ready to pounce. Smaller than our previous two sets of cars, Bumpy ii wants to see you squirm and set fires. You ready? This couple is.
Outside of my hometown of Chicago, New York City remains one of my favorite metropolises. I don’t know why – Manhattan is overstuffed with cars and people, garbage is put out on the sidewalks, hotel rooms are no oasis from street noise, and most goods and services are way too expensive.
Perhaps New York has a unique sort of charm that compensates for all its flaws, some sort of charisma that continues to exist despite the continuing transformation of Manhattan into a living Disney city for the wealthy.
I mean, in what other city would I be brazenly approached by a young man trying to sell me cocaine as I walked back to my hotel after some late-night pizza (partake, I did not. Drugs aren’t my thing. Pizza was good, though) while almost within sight of the most famous urban intersection in the world – one that was undoubtedly crowded to the gills even at that hour? In what other city would I have a surreal on-street argument with a fellow pedestrian over an innocent, touristy picture I took of a street sign? There’s this “only in New York” feeling, a sense that certain things happen to you that just wouldn’t elsewhere.
It’s the kind of place where you can swear bloody murder because the F train didn’t show, but find value in the 40-minute walk across lower Manhattan you undertake instead, all because you don’t feel like doing the logical thing and hailing a cab. SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown all look much better from on foot.
In the midst of a market that apparently abhors the traditional four-door sedan, Kia showrooms are awash with them. The new K900 appeared in New York this week, the Cadenza occupies a sliver of segment, the Stinger is taking care of the sporty crowd, and the Optima goes head-to-head with Camcords.
For 2019, Kia has bestowed the latter with new driver assists, some infotainment tweaks, and a choice of no fewer than three different engines. If a sedan is on your shopping list, it would seem the Korean automaker has plenty of choices (and choices within those choices) from which to select. As for visual clues that you’re looking at a 2019, well, meet the new 보스, same as the old 보스.
“Hey, what are you doing with my car?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was my Kia K900.”
That’s the scene Kia Motors wants to see play out in parking lots across America, now that the second generation of the brand’s flagship has seen the spotlight at the New York International Auto Show.
On sale later this year, the 2019 K900 — which sounds like the name of a Soviet submarine — aims to attract the buyers its predecessor lacked through understated style, piles of luxury features, attractive interior fittings, and improved driving dynamics. Kia’s an eternal optimist, we’ll give it that.
Automotive trade shows typically provide little more than early access to vehicles you’ve already read about for months. But every so often details emerge that are so incredibly hot, you can’t even begin to fathom why God chose to trust you with them.
At this week’s 2018 New York International Auto Show, Kia Motors America unveiled a refreshed 2019 Sedona minivan, which — get a load of this — has totally new fog lamps. These babies aren’t even remotely the same shape as the outgoing version’s bulbs. Those old round heaps are over and done with; we’re entering an entirely new era of illumination, folks.
To be accurate, the new Sedona actually has entirely new front and rear fascias but, after staring at the 2019 model for several minutes, the only standout upgrade seems to be the fog lights. Which is strange because, when compared with the older model, it becomes immediately apparent that the refresh worked some legitimate magic on the family wagon. Don’t believe us? Well, here is a visual sample of the 2018 Kia Sedona:
Our last few entries in the Buy/Drive/Burn series have been stuck in the 1990s, and we’ve had a request recently to talk about something a bit newer, perhaps even… current. While you recover from your immediate shock, I can assure you we aren’t going completely mainstream. No talking about boring everyday things. No, these three will likely all qualify as Rare Rides subjects in the future, assuming I’m 70 years old and there’s still an Internet media (hopefully there isn’t).
Three untouchable large sedans, all of them trading on their luxury intentions. Remember, you only get to burn one, and one has to go home to your garage.
Yesterday, TTAC covered news of the launch of a second-generation K900 model in the United States at the upcoming New York International Auto Show and Mobility Conference. Upon considering the K900 and its potential for success, some questions arose about the three different badges on offer from the Hyundai-Kia conglomerate, and what we might do with them.
Where does Hyundai go from here?
Everyone’s favourite full-size, rear-drive Kia sedan returns with all-new clothing for 2019, and the Korean brand has seen fit to show us the car’s exterior before its debut at this month’s New York Auto Show. That’s good, as we’re not likely to invest much time in it at the show. Sorry, Kia.
Stubbornly refusing to vacate the full-size luxury field, Kia’s new K900 — sold as the prestigious K9 in the automaker’s home market — looks to bump up refinement in areas drivers found lacking. Given that the K900 is widely expected to borrow the Genesis G90’s platform and powertrains, ride quality and muscle shouldn’t be an issue.
Corporate cousins Hyundai and Kia are an interesting pair, as neither division seems content to emulate the other. It seems odd at first, given how closely matched both brands are in purpose and reputation, but badge engineering fell out of favor long ago.
These are not the stereotypical twins you can’t tell apart without asking to see a birthmark. Kia fields a large front-drive sedan above the midsize class, and a premium rear-drive sedan above that. Hyundai is content to have its new Genesis brand handle all luxury big car activity. Kia sells a minivan, Hyundai’s short-lived Entourage is a fading memory. Kia offers a funky neo-ute, the Soul, and a dedicated hybrid sort-of crossover, the Niro; Hyundai’s utility stable plays by the rules. The Hyundai Elantra GT hatch, based on the overseas i30, does not have a doppelgänger in the Kia ranks, nor does the Kia Stinger have a double in the Hyundai showroom (that’s Genesis’ responsibility).
As we learned from Kia’s VP of product planning yesterday, there are some things the brand won’t copy from its Hyundai Motor Group companion. Which begs the question: what’s something Kia should be doing, but isn’t?
As market share swings rapidly towards SUVs and crossovers, automakers have had to sit down with their accountants and crystal ball to map out a product strategy for the future. The questions swirling in an executive’s mind are easy to imagine: Are cars worth it? Is it still useful having a minivan in the lineup? Does the future call for crossovers, not cars, in every size class?
Fiat Chrysler’s American divisions have already pulled out of the compact and midsize car market, and forget about the possibility of a subcompact. Minivans? Nah. Ford Motor Company’s non-truck lineup looks to be headed down a similar road. At Kia, however, there’s not one or two, but six passenger cars on offer, spanning the subcompact to full-size premium segments. Like minivans? They’ve got ’em, too.
Is this a smart strategy for a brand that saw its sales fall 8.9 percent in the U.S. last year? Sure, says Kia’s vice president of product planning — it means certain buyers aren’t being forgotten. Not everyone wants a crossover. One thing Kia won’t do, however, is follow its corporate sibling Hyundai down certain product paths.
The photo you see above is your first glimpse of the 2019 Kia K900 — the second generation of the Korean automaker’s full-size flagship sedan. If Kia’s lucky, it won’t be your last time seeing it.
Sold overseas as the K9 or Quoris, the first-gen model appeared on U.S. shores in early 2014 with Hyundai Equus underpinnings, rear-wheel motivation, a choice of V6 and V8 engine, and LeBron James as a spokesman. Sales crested the 2,500-unit mark in 2015 before falling to 455 in 2017. Like Bigfoot, the K900 is large and rarely spotted.
Kia hopes to change that with the new model.
There are few things sweeter in life than bragging to your friends and family about the good deal you just negotiated on a new car. They certainly won’t care, but the amount of self-satisfaction received from reminding yourself that you are a force to be reckoned with at the dealership is immeasurable.
Of course, the bargain in the driveway can turn into a money pit once you calculate all the costs associated with vehicle ownership. Fuel costs, financing, insurance, and depreciation can all add up — especially if you purchased the wrong model. So what’s a thrift-obsessed shopper to do, calculate the total cost of ownership on every model in every segment over a five-year period to determine which is the best value overall?
Don’t be ridiculous, someone has already done that.
You’re probably picking your toast up off the floor right now, so we apologize for not softening the shock of that headline. But it’s true, and it comes straight from Kia Motors America’s product boss.
The other day, we told you the Korean automaker is poised to announce the production of a bigger, butchier crossover aimed at tempting buyers in the largest utility class. While the looming Telluride soaked up the lion’s share of a Wards Auto interview with Orth Hedrick, Kia’s North American vice president of product planning, a brief mention at the end of the article caught our eye.
According to Wards, Hendrick “hints the [second-generation K900] will be shown at the New York auto show in late March.”
Hey, pick up your toast again!
Last week we brought you a story about the Kia Telluride and comments made by company execs about its production chances. Hyundai-Kia chief design officer Peter Schreyer reportedly said, “For sure, we are working on that car” to a group of Aussie journos.
Now, WardsAuto is furthering the narrative, reporting that Orth Hedrick, Kia America’s product planning veep, told them the brand will “have some announcements soon” on a production version of the seven-passenger Telluride.
You’ll recall the Kia Borrego, a body-on-frame SUV introduced by the Korean manufacturer at the colossally wrong moment. Fuel prices skyrocketed, the economy tanked, and the Borrego was shuffled off to the glue factory after a single model year. Hardly the machine’s fault, then.
In 2016, Kia showed off the Telluride concept, a full-sized SUV with a lantern jaw. With American buying habits consistently trending in that direction, it may be an opportune moment for Kia to re-enter the segment. According to Aussie site motoring.com.au, that time may be now.
Today at the North American International Auto Show, Kia Motors bestowed the all-new 2019 Forte upon the world. Granted, it’ll mainly be in the hands those entering the workforce for the first time, but those budget-minded youngsters will be please to learn that the third-generation Forte boasts improved fuel economy and features.
It’s not all touchscreens and gas savings, however. It doesn’t look like the new model has had to make many sacrifices, but Kia is launching the base Forte with a CVT instead of the six-speed automatic the current generation uses. That has us a little uneasy, though Kia promises it won’t be an abysmal substitute and that the rest of the improvements should help deliver a vehicle that represents a net gain in refinement.
Kia revealed a few design renderings of the 2019 Kia Forte ahead of its debut at the fast-approaching North American International Auto Show. While highly reminiscent of the second generation of the Korean compact, the third-gen model offers a sexed-up profile and more sophisticated looks.
The headlights taper upward, set into creased bodywork, while large air inlets evoke a sense of sportiness. Kia says that’s intentional; it wanted the new Forte to borrow some of the spirit of the Stinger fastback sedan. For the most part, it seems to have done that gracefully.
Earlier this year, Tim tested the new Kia Niro, finding it to be a perfectly non-offensive crossover, one that goes about its business with little fuss – which, let’s be honest, is what a good slice of the buying public looks for in a new car.
At the Consumer Electronic Show in Vegas this week, Kia added to the Niro’s lineage with an all-electric version of the compact machine, saying it will offer a range of 238 miles. If that number sounds familiar, it should. It is the exact figure Chevrolet promises for the Bolt.
Some years ago, product planners at Nissan, Honda, and Kia each decided to cut stylists out of the design process for a new car line and hand everything over to engineers. Those engineers, looking for the most practical and efficient shape to haul maximum cargo – fleshy or otherwise – each decided to use a cube for inspiration. Nissan didn’t stray far even for a name.
Each of those boxes was marketed toward the youth of the day – when they came out, I was part of that target demographic. Problem was, the kids didn’t have money to spend on a new car. That’s why many Elements, Cubes, and Souls tend to be driven by older, somewhat more affluent folks who appreciate the practicality, and can also afford it.
Well, I’m now approaching that second demographic. My forties are within sight. Is the 2017 Kia Soul right for me? In other words, is an old soul right for a new Soul?
Positioned as a mainstream offering for green yet thrifty families, both Niro and Niro Plug-in offer more than 100 cubic feet of passenger volume in an incognito body while delivering fuel economy approaching that of the Toyota Prius. In plug-in form, the Niro travels 26 miles before requiring the assistance of gasoline.
While the Niro Plug-in’s price tops that of a base Prius Prime, we’ve learned Kia has a strategy for scoring value-minded buyers.