Kia Stinger GT

Kia Stinger GTThe latest sports sedan to roll off Kia’s production line is this one … the Kia Stinger GT … and you should be seeing it in Australian showrooms by the end of September.

The Kia Stinger that will arrive in Australia will be powered by a 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo engine that drives the rear wheels via an 8-speed transmission.

Final specs are still undecided by the V6 engine is expected to produce 272kW of power at 6000rpm and an impressive 510Nm of torque from 1300rpm through to 4500rpm.

How will that power handle Australian conditions? That’s yet to be seen but the Australian version will come with a local suspension and tuning package to suit our roads.

And just to add even more incentive to buy the Kia Stinger GT … if you needed any … this car will come with a 7-year warranty, 7-year capped price service and 7 years of roadside assist.

Pricing is yet to be decided but it’s a Kia so it’s probably going to be affordable.

Kia Stinger GT

Front view of the Kia's sports sedan

Dashboard for the Kia Stinger

By | January 17th, 2017|Kia|Comments Off on Kia Stinger GT

Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EVBack in 2011 Kia announced the Kia Ray EV … Kia’s first electric car … but it was only for domestic consumption and not much of that.

To help Kia gather some real-world experience in electric vehicles the Kia Ray EV was supplied to government departs to be operated as just another part of the government fleet.

Kia hasn’t said a great deal about electric vehicles since then but now things are about to change because we’re about to see the Kia Soul EV … an electric car that has been developed for the real world … including overseas markets.

The Kia Soul EV is based on the new 2014 model which Kia says is going to be quite different to the first-generation Soul. The basis of the new Kia Soul will be the latest Kia cee’d with a longer wheelbase, stiffer body shell and upgraded suspension.

An electric car from Kia

While the photos show a heavily wrapped vehicle Kia says that the Soul EV will have “head-turning styling and exterior features that project a cutting-edge image and discreetly highlight it’s electric powertrain.”

What that hype translates into in reality is yet to be seen but what we do know that the Kia Soul EV will come with projection type headlamps, LED positioning lamps, LED rear combination lamps and aerodynamic 16-inch alloy wheels

electric Kia Soul

On the inside
There’s a special Supervision instrument cluster and centre stack with an 8-inch display screen. Recycled materials will be used inside the vehicle wherever possible

Under the hood
The Kia Soul EV is powered by an 81.4kW electric motor that produces 285Nm of torque and drives the front wheels via a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit. 0 to 100km/h in something less than 12 seconds is not mind-blowing but it’s certainly not mind-numbing in a vehicle that is obviously designed for city driving.

Power for the electric motor comes from a high-capacity 27kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that will give the Kia Soul EV a range of around 200km.

Charging time for the battery is quite reasonable too. the Soul EV can be charged from a normal 240 volt household supply in five hours if the battery is fully drained. If you happen to have a 100kW power outlet you can fast-charge the Soul EV in just 25 minutes.

Kia Soul Electric - side view

Safety
These days car makers are thinking more about safety for pedestrians who may not hear an electric vehicle approaching and Kia has decided to add some noise to the Soul EV.

A Virtual Engine Sound System has been included in the Soul EV and this system will emit an audio alert at speeds below 20kim/h or when the car is reversing. At higher speeds there will be no extra noise and Kia says that the Soul EV is “extremely quiet inside.

At the moment the Kia Soul EV is being tested in Korea, Europe and the USA and Kia plans to put the car into production early in 2014

Details such as price and when we’re likely to see the Kia Soul EV in Australia have yet to be announced.

electric soul

By | November 12th, 2013|Featured, Kia|0 Comments

Kia Picanto LPG

Kia Picanto LPGIn the past cars at the Kia Picanto end of the small-car category have been able to produce some impressive fuel economy figures simply because of their size.

Cars of that size don’t need big engines so you almost get great fuel economy by default but we’re starting to see that the market in some countries … especially Europe … are wanting even better fuel economy plus much lower emissions.

Now that can produce some problems for car makers … how do you pack more technology to produce those lower figures into a car this size?

Some car makers are looking at hybrid technology but Kia is going in a different direction … they’ve now released the pilot model of a new addition to the Kia Picanto range … and this Picanto needs two fuel tanks because it operates on petrol and LPG.

The engine
The Kia Picanto LPG is powered by a modified version of the standard three-cylinder 1.0-litre Kappa engine.

This modified version of the standard 1.0-litre engine comes with an additional fuel system to handle the LPG. The extra system includes a solenoid valve, vaporiser (that converts the LPG into a gas) a gas filter and an injector module.

The modified engine for the Kia Picanto LPG shares the same continuously variable valve timing, cast aluminium block, off-set crankshaft, long-life timing chain and low-friction valve springs as the normal fuel powered engine.

kia picanto lpg engine

Two fuel tanks
Obviously if the Kia Picanto LPG runs on two different types of fuel then it’s going to need to fuel tanks. The 35-litre tank for normal fuel is located just ahead of the rear axle … as it is in all Picanto models while a pressurised 27-litre tank for the LPG is located below the boot in the space that was once occupied by the spare tyre.

I guess when you have such limited space to work in if you want to add something extra then you have to take something out and in this case it’s the spare tyre. Instead of a spare tyre you get what Kia refers to as a “tyre-mobility kit” … let’s just hope that if you get a puncture it’s not a really big one.

The extra fuel tank and the extra equipment at the other end of the Picanto adds an extra 51kg to the weight of the vehicle and this much extra weight in a small car is obviously going to have an impact on performance.

To ensure that the Picanto LPG is a lively little performer Kia have lowered the final drive ratio by 8.6%. 0-100kph takes 14.5 seconds and the LPG version of the Picanto has a top speed of 150kph.

kia picanto lpg dashboard

Drivers can switch between fuel tanks on the Kia Picanto LPG simply by pushing a button on the dash and there are a couple of new additions to the instrument cluster on the Picanto LPG dash … two fuel gauges and two warning lamps when the fuel is running low.

Kia

Two versions
The Kia Picanto LPG will be available to three and five-door versions and two equipment levels … LX or EX. Fuel economy in LPG mode is 5.81/100Km with a CO2 emission level of 100g/km. Those numbers drop to 5.61/100Km and 97g/km if the vehicle is equipped with automatic stop-start.

The Kia Picanto LPG will go on sale in parts of Europe later this year. There are no Picanto models in the Kia range here in Australia so it’s unlikely that we’ll see the Kia Picanto LPG but we may see the technology at some time in the future in another Kia model.

And even if Kia doesn’t bring the technology to Australia it may only be a matter of time before some other car maker does.

 

By | September 12th, 2013|Featured, Kia|0 Comments

Kia Track’ster

If you liked the look of the Kia Soul but were a little too embarrassed to drive such a sensitive-new-age-guy kind of car then Kia’s latest concept … the Kia Track’ster – might be more to your liking.It’s a Kia Soul given Kia’s US design studio’s treatment band now we have something that at least it looks like it has more grunt than sensitivity.

And you can have your first look at it at the Australian International Motor Show that opens this month.

While the original Kia Soul looked nice and friendly the Kia Track’ster has a snarl to it that makes it look positively fearsome and from any aspect the new Track’ster reeks of attitude with a capital ‘A’. But it’s definitely at the front where the attitude really grabs you were large LED driving lights frame a mouth that swallows great gulps of air.

The wheelbase of the Kia Track’ster concept has been stretched by 25.4mm compared to the Soul and brakes … 356mm Bembo vented and cross-drilled discs with six-piston calipers suggest that there’s going to be some power under the bonned … to go withg the attitude.

And there is some power hiding under the bonnet in the form of a turbo-charged 2.0-litre engine that puts out 186kW – 66% more that the current production Soul.

 

This is also just a 2-seat coupe with nothing but storage space behind them … something that is unlikely to see the light of day in a production version.

So will the Kia Track’ster concept translate into a production car? Kia says that there are “no firm plans to produce the Track’star” but I think that there are hints in the design … it’s not that futuristic … that suggest that we might see the Track’ster in production at some time not that far into the future.

 

By | October 13th, 2012|Kia|Comments Off on Kia Track’ster

Kia KH

Kia KHThe Kia KH … a simple codename for Kia’s new flagship sedan that we should on the showroom floors in Korea in the next 4 months.

If you’ve ever wondered about how the evolution of a big car maker actually works then Kia is one car maker you should be watching because watching Kia is a bit like watching something come out of a cocoon … every little movement gives you another faint hint of what is still to come.

Kia is owned by Hyundai and for years it was obvious that every new car coming off Kia’s production line was pretty much a knockoff of something that was already in the Hyundai showrooms. Then a few years ago Kia launched a couple of vehicles that were unique … the cee’d and the Soul … and now we might be about to see something else that’s unique to Kia.

The Kia KH is Kia’s first rear-wheel drive car and Kia says that it will combine innovative design with high-tech features that’s “appropriate to a luxury car” and while that may be so the KH will still have Kia’s radiator grille just so you understand that it is part of the Kia family.

Nothing says “luxury” more than lots of chrome and Kia says that they have given the KH a “luxurious bold chrome accent” that gives the KH a “sophisticated and stable rear view”.

Kia KH rear view

I guess we’ll have to take Kia’s word for it because until we get closer to the launch date these drawings are all we’ll see of the KH.

As I said earlier the KH will be launched in Korea first but eventually it will be available in every country where Kia sells motor vehicles.

kia's new flagship model

By | February 13th, 2012|Kia|Comments Off on Kia KH

Kia Ray EV

Now what would happen here in Australia if Kia suddenly announced that it was about to start selling electric vehicles here? Would there be a rush to buy them?

Probably not because we’re still seriously lacking in the infrastructure needed to support a move to electric vehicles. Sure anyone can get whatever they might need to charge their car at home … and maybe that can be as simple as buying a long extension lead … but what about those times when you need to charge your car while you’re away from home?

Well for Koreans that’s not all that much of a problem … they already have 500 fast/slow charging stations and the government plans to increase that number to 3,100 by the end of 2012. I guess that’s why Kia was prepared to launch Korea’s first production electric vehicle just before Christmas.

The Kia Ray EV is based on the conventionally powered Kia Ray CUV a 1.0-litre petrol powered front-wheel drive town car that went on sale in Korea in November and because of that it can share the same production line as its petrol powered sibling.

The engine
The Kia Ray EV is driven by a 50kW electric motor that draws its power from a 16.4kW hour lithium ion polymer battery pack that’s designed to last for 10 years. The battery pack that ‘s designed to fit under the rear seat and under the cabin floor does add an extra 187kg to the weight of the Ray EV but the torque supplied by the electric motor is greater than the torque supplied by the petrol engine in the Ray CUV so the extra weight doesn’t hold the EV back.

In fact the EV out accelerates the conventionally powered CUV.

Range
Of course the range of any electric vehicle is limited and the EV is no exception. It has a range of up to 139km before it needs recharging. That recharging can be done at home in just six hours or 25 minutes if you choose the fast-charge option. The driver can also select B mode for the automatic transmission and that adds some charge to the battery by turning braking force into electricity.

Kia have also introduced a new braking system featuring what they call Active Hydraulic Booster. This feature uses the electric motor to create hydraulic pressure in the brake system and this results in a consistent brake pedal force in a wide variety of driving conditions and also recharges the battery.

Simulated engine noise
The lack of engine noise in electric cars is seen as a real problem for pedestrians who simply don’t hear an electric vehicle approaching so Kia have added engine noise to the Ray EV. Kia have fitted a virtual engine sound system to the Ray EV and when the vehicle is travelling at speeds below 20kph this system delivers a mixture of engine noises recorded from conventionally powered c ars.

Imagine that … you can have a puny little town car and fit it with the recorded engine noise of a hairy V8. I wonder how long it will take someone to fit something like that to their Kia Ray EV?

Unique dashboard
The dashboard on the Kia Ray EV is interesting … of course it has the usual speedo and it also has a navigation system designed specifically for electric vehicles. You won’t have to worry about where the next charging station might be because the navigation system in the Ray EV will tell you where the charging stations are that are within range of the whatever charge remains in your battery.

Kia plans on making 2,500 Ray EVs in 2012 but none will be coming to Australia. All of those 2,500 units will be passed to Government departments for their use and Kia will monitor the cars as part of a long-term research and development programme.

Maybe if the Government were to do more to develop the infrastructure for electric vehicles we might see the next version of the Kia Ray … but I won’t be holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

By | January 4th, 2012|Kia|Comments Off on Kia Ray EV

Kia GT

Let’s face it … when it comes to sports cars the Korean manufacturers don’t have a whole lot to brag about and we don’t have a whole lot to get excited about.

The Hyundai Tiburon? Hmmm … a bit of a yawn.

The Kia Koup? Looks good but it’s not exactly an adrenalin machine once you put your foot on the accelerator.

But now we have the Kia GT concept and if this reaches production … well maybe things are looking up if you want a real sports car at Korean prices.

The Kia GT looks the part … but then so does the Kia Koup … and looks aren’t everything if you want a real sports car so what’s under the bonnet?

The transmission
The bonnet hides a 3.3-litre turbocharged Lambda V6 GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine that’s coupled to an eight-speed automatic box driving the rear axle.

Before you get too excited about that just remember that this is a concept and if Kia put it into production (which is highly likely) we may not see quite the same engine/transmission set up).

Distinctive body features
Kia understand that if you want to drive a car like this then you want to make a statement … even at night … so the Kia GT concept comes with headlamp units that each house a bank of six recessed LED lights that not only give you a good view of the road at night but are also very distinctive when viewed from an on-coming vehicle.

The body features a trim line made from copper that runs from the base of the A pillar up and along the roofline and ends at the bottom of the rear window. The brake calipers are also finished in copper.

Access to the vehicle is reminiscent of the latest Mazda rotary and make it easy to get in and out of the vehicle despite the size of the transmission tunnel … Kia emphasized the size of that tunnel on purpose.

The seats … well if the Kia GT does go into production you can expect to see something different in the seating department and the dash is probably going to get a makeover to take it back to something more conventional.

The instrument panel features three layers of organic LEDs and, while this panel first appeared on a concept car last year it may not be ready to go into a production car just yet.

It seems that Kia have decided that door-mounted rear-view mirrors are out of date these days and they’ve been replaced with two LED screens that receive information from two rear-view cameras.

So will it go into production? It’s interesting to note that in Kia’s press release their chief design officer described this as “… a very real car … a car that could roll down the road tomorrow.”

By | September 15th, 2011|Kia|Comments Off on Kia GT

2012 Kia Rio

Kia has launched it’s latest version of the very popular Kia Rio and the company is claiming to have set a new benchmark for packaging in the light passenger vehicle category.

The light passenger vehicle market is where some of the fiercest competition among car makers rages and where price point is a critical factor in persuading a buyer to part with their money. So what does the new 2012 Kia Rio offer?

Across the range
Safety features across the range include six airbags, electronic stability control, hillstart assist, ABS brakes, EBD and brake assist.

Bluetooth connectivity and audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel and all models have air conditioning and heated rear-view mirrors.

Kia Rio S
Well for $16,290 plus dealer and government charges you get the base model … the Kia Rio S powered by a 1.4-litre four cylinder double overhead cam petrol engine fitted with variable valve technology coupled to six-speed manual gear box.

A four-speed automatic (Kia calls it a “manumatic”) gearbox is available as an option for an extra $2,000

That 1.4-litre engine produces 79kW of power at 6,300rpm and 135Nm of torque at 4,,200rpm. Fuel consumption on for city running for the manual is 5.7L/100km and 8.2L/100km for the automatic.

Kia Rio Si
The mid-range Kia Rio offers some interesting extras for not a whole lot more cash … $18,990 plus dealer and government charges.

For a start you get the 1.6-litre Gamma GDi (Gasoline Direct injection) petrol engine that produces 103kW of power and 167Nm or torque at 4,850rpm. Kia has coupled that engine to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic box. The manual is standard while the auto is a $2,000 option.

Fuel consumption for the 1.6-litre engine combined with the manual box is 7.7L/100km around town and 8.4L/100km for the automatic version.

Cruise control is standard on the Si and you also get a touch of leather, some extra instrumentation, a slightly upgraded sound system and some fancier trim in the new mid-range Kia Rio.

The Kia Rio Si rides on 16 inch alloy wheels.

Kia Rio SLi
For $19,990 plus dealer and government charges you can step into the top of the range Kia Rio.

For that price you get the same engine and choice of transmissions as you have in the Si but there’s LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights, dusk-sensing headlamps and the knowledge that you’re driving the top-of-the-range Kia Rio (that’s got to be worth something).

The Rio SLi rides on 17 inch alloy wheels fitted with low-profile tyres.

Body styles
The 2012 Kia Rio will be available in 5-door and 3-door hatchbacks and a 4-door sedan but right now only the 5 door hatch is heading for the showrooms. If you want the sedan or 3-door hatch you’re going to have to wait till next year.

Are we seeing value for money in the new Kia Rio range? I think we are but with the Chinese are coming in at the bottom of the light car market you have to wonder whether the new Rio will sell as well as it once did.

By | September 1st, 2011|Kia|1 Comment

Kia Four-Door Sports Sedan

The Frankfurt Motor Show is coming soon and Kia have something exciting to show the world … a four-door sports sedan.

While Kia isn’t saying a whole lot about this new four-door sedan concept we do have a few reasonable photos and we do know that it’s rear-wheel drive and Kia has a habit of releasing concept cars that are already scheduled for production.

I’m reasonably sure we’ll see more of this one quite soon.

By | August 20th, 2011|Kia|Comments Off on Kia Four-Door Sports Sedan

Kia Naimo – an electric concept

Kia-NaimoOver the years we’ve seen the concept of concept cars change considerably. There was a time when concept cars were truly weird and wonderful designs that really pushed the limits of everyone’s imagination.

Then we seemed to slip into a period where concept cars were more about being test beds for technology that was about to be released in upcoming models and it seems that’s what we can expect in concept cars coming out of Europe right now.

In Japan and Korea we’re in some sort of middle ground where a new concept car can go either way. Some … such as some of Nissan’s latest fantasies are still pushing the limits of imagination while others are obviously just one or two steps away from production.

And then there are some that fall somewhere in the middle and that’s where the Kia Naimo electric concept car seems to sit.

The Kia Naimo has just been released at the Seoul Motor Show and while we’re obviously seeing a car that could easily be turned into a production model we’re also seeing a car that looks at some aspects of automotive design in a different way.

The overall design is clean and simple … even the name is taken from the Korean word “Ne-mo” that means ‘square shape’ … but that simple outer-envelope hides some complex technology and some modern interior design that’s questioning the future of the current trends in what we usually see inside a car.

Kia-Naimo-side

For example there’s nothing terribly challenging about the outside of the vehicle … it really is a simple box on wheels but look at what’s inside the cabin and you will see a very different interior to what we’re accustomed to.

Sure, you would expect the interior of a concept to push the limits of design and imagination but the Kia Naimo manages to do that with a design that could easily be translated into a production car and that’s what makes this car so appealing.

Technical details
The Kia Naimo is the third electric concept car released by Kia in the last 12 months. It’s a five-door, four-seater powered bya Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor … an electric motor with a maximum output of 80kW and a maximum torque of 280Nm. It has a top speed of 150km/h.

The Naimo is 3,890mm long and 1,589mm wide and basically has a wheel in each corner to allow the most head, leg and shoulder room possible … as well as at least some room for luggage.

To maximize that passenger and luggage room the designers have placed the twin-pack 27kWh battery under the floor at the rear of the car. The battery uses Lithium Ion Polymer technology to give the Naimo a driving range of 200km on a single charge.

Recharging time is still nothing to get excited about. On a quick recharging cycle the Naimo’s battery can be brought up to 80 percent in 25 minutes. A normal charging cycle will charge the battery to 100 percent in 5.5 hours.

Kia-Naimo-dashboard

The interior
Inside the car can best be described as clean, functional and definitely not what we’re accustomed to see inside a car. Check out the interior photos in the gallery and see for yourself.

By | April 1st, 2011|Kia|Comments Off on Kia Naimo – an electric concept

New Kia Rio

kia-rioBack in the middle of January Kia released some artist’s impressions of the new fourth generation Kia Rio just to tease us a little. Back then the promise was that we would see more of the new Kia Rio at the Geneva Motor Show.

Kia has kept their promise and what we’ve got is a very classy looking that’s sure to attract plenty of attention from buyers who are looking for something special in a small car. That’s what Kia were aiming for with the new Rio because they plan on using this small car to grow their market share across the globe.

The new Kia Rio is (by 20mm), wider (by 25mm), and lower (by15 mm) and features a wheelbase extended by 70mm (to 2570 mm) than the previous model and for the first time Kia is offering both a three and five door version in Europe. Here in Australia we’ll see a sedan version as well … possibly towards the end of the year and the three-door version arriving early next year.

The engines
In Europe, the new Rio come with a choice of four three- and four-cylinder engines – with a 51-to-80kW power range – and an industry-leading CO2 base-line rating of just 85 g/km, plus fuel consumption as low as 3.2 litres per 100km.

In countries where diesel power is a popular option in this class the Rio will be available with two versions of Kia’s ‘U2’ power unit – both fitted with 16-valves and a WGT. The 1.4-litre generates 66kW and 216Nm of torque, while the 1.1-litre produces 51kW and 162Nm. Both engines deliver maximum torque from just 1750rpm.

Buyers who prefer their new Rio powered by petrol can select from a 1.4-litre Gamma or 1.25-litre Kappa engine.

kia-rio-front

The updated ‘Gamma’ engine has friction-reducing modifications and dual CVVT (continuously variable valve timing), to achieve a responsive performance and competitively modest fuel consumption. With maximum output of 80kW and peak torque of 136Nm, this engine powers the fastest Rio – accelerating to 100kph in 11.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 181kph.

Kia’s ‘Kappa’ family of features dual CVVT, a cast aluminium block, off-set crankshaft, maintenance-free timing chain and low-friction ‘beehive’ valve springs. These technologies significantly improve efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions. The 1.25-litre engine in Rio delivers 63kW and 118Nm of torque, while achieving fuel economy of 4.8 l/100 km.

Regular Rio models will have a CO2 rating of 94-to-124 g/km. In Europe, these figures can be further reduced by specifying Kia’s optional fuel-stretching ISG technologies (automatic stop-start, advanced alternator control, upgraded starter motor and low-rolling resistance tyres) – available on all models.

Equipped with ISG, Rio’s emissions will range from 85-to-114 g/km, so the two diesel models (under 100 g/km) qualify for local emissions-based tax savings, where available. For these models, fuel economy will range from 3.2 to 4.8 litres per 100 km, contributing to lower running costs.

Standard transmission for both diesels and the larger gasoline engine will be a six-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.25-litre 63kW engine has a five-speed box. A four-speed automatic gearbox will be available as an option on the 1.4-litre 80kW gasoline engine.

In this category performance is not always a selling factor so acceleration is not going to be what you might describe as sparkling. The fastest you’ll get from a standing start to 100km/h is 11.5 seconds in the 1.4-litre petrol version while the slowest is 16.4 seconds in the 1.1-litre diesel version.

Those times show that the new Kia Rio may not be fast off the mark but it certainly is going to be fuel efficient and less polluting for the atmosphere.

kia-rio-rear

The exterior
Kia describes the changes to the exterior of the Rio as a revolution rather than an evolution but at the same time they want the Kia family lines to be recognized.

To lower fuel consumption and help achieve Rio’s class-leading emissions, Kia engineers have carried out an extensive programme to shed weight across a broad range of components. As a result, its weight-gain has been kept to a minimum.

An entirely new range of 10 body colours are now available in the Kia Rio range.

The interior
The interior for the new Kia Rio has also been redesigned. The basic dashboard has been retained but now there is a block of centrally located toggle switches intergrated into the central heating unit. These switches control some secondary functions.

Buyers can now choose from a choice of two-tone colours with Cognac Brown or Desert Grey combinations and high quality interior décor.

kia-rio-interior

Optional features available on new Rio cars for the European market will include smart-key entry system with engine start/stop button, RDS radio CD player with MP3 compatibility plus AUX, iPod and USB connections, Bluetooth® handsfree (with voice recognition available from December 2011), cruise control, climate-control air-conditioning, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. In some markets, the dashboard will come pre-wired to accept the optional portable navigation system.

Even the luggage area has been improved in the new Kia Rio and it now has a 7 per cent larger carrying capacity than the previous model. The backrest of the rear seat is split 60/40 for maximum versatility. Users can fold the backrest down, to create an almost flat-floored load area.

Cabin storage includes a larger, 15-litre glove box, a larger centre console with 3-litres of extra capacity and pockets to hold a 1.5-litre bottle in the front doors and a 0.5-litre bottle in the rear doors.

Safety
In Europe, standard safety equipment will include up to six airbags and ‘active’ front seat head restraints (to protect against whiplash injury in a rear impact).

Available optional safety equipment will include electronic stability control (standard in some markets including Australia), hill-start assist (to prevent roll-back when moving off on gradients), new front ‘cornering’ lamps, an adjustable speed-limiter, rear parking sensors, and tyre pressure monitoring system.

A new system called ‘ESS’ (Emergency Stop Signal) will be available for additional safety. To alert following drivers that the car is slowing rapidly, sensors detect when the driver is braking suddenly and hard, and then automatically flash the brake lights three times.

Night time driving is made safer by the availability of Xenon projection headlamps, new front ‘cornering’ lamps, and LED daytime running lights and LED lights rear lights.

Disck brakes on all four wheels is now standard across the Rio range and these are complimented by ABS anti-lock, electronic brake force distribution and emergency ‘brake assist’ systems.

Prices
There’s no information available just yet on what the pricing levels will be for the new Kia Rio … they will be announced closer to the Australian release date.

By | March 3rd, 2011|Kia|Comments Off on New Kia Rio

Kia Optima Hybrid

kia-optima-hybridMove over Toyota Kia wants to offer a little competition for you in the hybrid market and they’re going to do it with the Kia Optima Hybrid.

The Kia Optima Hybrid was introduced to the world today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Unfortunately there’s no immediate plans to offer the Optima Hybrid here in Australia … the standard Optima won’t reach Australia till January 2011 … but Kia is definitely looking to take on the opposition in the United States and with a combined fuel consumption of just 6.2L/100km it’s sure to do just that.

The Optima Hybrid is fitted with a parallel hybrid system that combines and electric motor with a 2.4-litre petrol motor – similar to what you see in the Hybrid Camry. Both motors drive the front wheels via a six-speet automatic transmission without the traditional torque converter.

kia-optima-hybrid-side

The electric motor can be used in full-electric mode right up to almost 100km/h but in normal operation the electric motor gets the car moving and then the petrol motor cuts in. Once the petrol motor is pushing the car along the electric motor goes back to hybrid operation and either charges the battery or assists in acceleration.

To further enhance fuel efficiency and reduce emissions the petrol motor cuts out if the vehicle is stationery for more than a few seconds.

kia-optima-hybrid-dash

The battery
The battery that’s such an important part of every hybrid vehicle was developed by Kia in partnership with LG. It’s a lithium polymer battery that weighs 20-to-30% less than a nickel-metal hydride battery and occupies 40% less .

The lithium polymer battery developed by Kia and LG holds its charge for 25% longer than nickel metal hydride batteries and Kia believes that it is so reliable that the Optima’s battery pack will not require replacing during the vehicle’s lifespan – at least 10 years and 250,000 kiometres.

Control System
Once again, as with the Hybrid Camry, Kia have mounted the battery in the boot.

The complete hybrid system is controlled by the Optima’s Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) which acts as the car’s mastermind and integrates the smooth operation of the engine’s ECU, transmission’s TCU, battery management system (BMS), low voltage converter (LDC). This brain also gives the Optima a ‘Fail-Safe’ back-up capability and a ‘Limp-home’ mode.

kia-optima-hybrid-engine

The engine
Just as Toyota did with the Hybrid Camry Kia has modified the 2.4-litre Theta II engine to operate on an Atkinson cycle. This raises the compression ratio by 20% and reduces fuel consumption by around 10 percent. On an Atkinson cycle the motor does lose some of its torque but the added power provided by the electric motor more than makes up for that torque reduction.

The Kia Optima Hybrid uses two independent cooling systems. The first is the normal cooling system that we’re all accustomed to with the radiator/coolant for the petrol engine. The second is a low-temperature system for the starter-generator and the power electronics.

For city driving Kia says that you should expect a fuel consumption of 6.5L/100km and 5.8L/100km on the highway.

The body
As you would expect Kia started with the standard Optima body so there will always be a family resemblance but some changes have been made for the Optima Hybrid

To increase energy and fuel savings the Optima Hybrid has been lowered by 5mm, underfloor panels have been smoothed to reduce drag and low rolling resistance tyres have been fitted to low-drag wheels. Kia has also fitted what it describes as an ‘active air flap’ to the front grill to reduce drag too.

kia-optima-hybrid-interior

Interior
The Optima Hybrid version released in the United States incorporates all the same technical features and equipment levels offered in the non-hybrid version. About the only difference worth noting is what Kia describes as an ECO Guide to help drives obtain the most economical fuel consumption.

There’s no doubt that the Kia Optima Hybrid sounds like an interesting vehicle but the further I got into writing this report the more it began to sound like a Hybrid Camry. I’m sure there are differences so it will be interesting to get up close and personal to one when … and if … they arrive in Australia.

As I said at the start of the article, at the moment there’s no guarantee that Kia will bring the Optima Hybrid to Australia but we should keep our fingers crossed.

By | November 18th, 2010|Kia|1 Comment

Kia Sorento Upgrades

kia-sorentoKia has just announced some tech upgrades for the 2011 Kia Sorento and while they claim that there is a long list of enhancements to the Sorento range the number listed in their press release is a little underwhelming.

At the top of the list is Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile phone and media streaming for the entire range from the base model Si right through to the Platinum. Controls for this feature will be mounted on the steering wheel.

All vehicles in the Sorento range will also have what Kia describes as a headlamp escort function where the headlights will illuminate the ground in front of the car at night after it has been turned off. Kia believes that will provide enough light for people to get from the car to the house with safety.

The two top models in the Sorento range will receive upgraded displays for the rear-view camera. As in the previous model these displays are in the rear-view mirror … just where there’s plenty of light and plenty of reflection to make seeing the displays quite difficult.

The SLi and Platinum models also get a new leather wrap for the instrument cluster and the front passenger window is now automatic when you press the button to open or close the window. There’s also a built-in safety feature … but the Kia press release doesn’t actually say what that safety feature is.

The Platinum’s sunroof also gets some attention with the inclusion of an alarm that is activated when the sunroof is open, the ignition has been switched off and the driver’s door has been opened.

And that’s all there is … a total of seven upgrades … not a long list by any stretch of the imagination.

Thanks to the strong Australian dollar prices on the 2WD petrol and diesel models remain the same but Kia will charge you an extra $200 for the SLi and Platinum models.

By | November 12th, 2010|Kia|Comments Off on Kia Sorento Upgrades

Kia Soul Flex

kia-soul-flexKia has just launched the Soul Flex – a flexible fuel vehicle that can run on 100 percent petrol … an ethanol/petrol mix … or 100 percent ethanol.

The Soul Flex has been especially designed for the Brazilian market where vehicles that will operate on an ethanol/petrol mix account for more than 85 percent of new car sales. That high percentage should come as no surprise … in Brazil ethanol based fuels are priced 40 percent below petrol and vehicles that can handle straight ethanol or an ethanol/petrol mix attract a lower sales tax.

Despite being designed to run on anything up to straight ethanol the new Kia Soul Flex has 3.2 percent more power and 3.7 percent more torque than previous models and it’s also 44 percent more fuel efficient too.

To achieve those sort of figures Kia engineers made changes to the fuel injection and catalyst systems as well as altering the engine compression ratio.

Of course ethanol based fuels are not as gentle on some parts of a car as normal petrol is. In fact Kia describes ethanol based fuels as being abrasive and to cope with that abrasive fuel Kia has had to reinforce the fuel pump, pillar cap and fuel lines as well as fitting what they describe as “a gasoline tank assistance system” to assist with engine ignition at low temperatures.

The first of the new Kia Soul Flex models will go on sale in Brazil early next year and Kia plans on introducing a Kia Sportage Flex at the end of next year.

And why is Kia launching these vehicles in Brazil? Well it’s not just the tax breaks that make the market so attractive. It seems that the Brazilian people have a love affair going with Kia and sales of Kia vehicles in Brazil are skyrocketing.

By | October 31st, 2010|Kia|2 Comments

Kia Cerato 5-door Hatchback

kia-cerato-hatchKia sells more of it’s two and four-door model Ceratos worldwide than any other and … over 226,000 in the first seven months of this year … now it wants to add even more Cerato sales with it’s new Kia Cerato Hatchback.

Kia sees the five-door hatchback market as a growth area and it wants to grab it’s share of the 1.2 million hatchback sales expected by 2012.

While the Kia Cerato Hatchback sold in Australia will look like all the other Cerato Hatch models sold throughout the world Kia Australia have ensured that it will be modified for Australian road conditions.

cerato-hatch-side

The new Kia Cerato Hatchback will also see the instruction of new styling, equipment, technical and refinement improvements. These changes will also filter through to the current Cerato sedan and Koup models during 2011.

While the Cerato Hatchback will share the same overall width, height and wheelbase as the Cerato sedan and Koup the rear overhang will be reduced by 190mm and the overall length will be 4,340 mm.

cerato-hatch-interior

Equipment levels
In addition to the current equipment levels found on the Cerato sedan and Koup the Cerato Hatch will feature paddle shifters with the automatic transmission on the SLi model and keyless entry and Bluetooth will be available on both the SLi and the entry-level Si variants.

The new Cerato 5-door Hatchback comes with two standard trim levels with the Si fitted with a black fabric tricot finish while the range topping SLi comes with the black fabric Mesh Rachel with red stitching and the option of black leather trim.

cerato-hatch-dash2

In both trim levels the rear seat cushion and backrest are split 60/40 with the cushion flipping forwards and the backrest folding down to create a flat cargo floor.

cerato-hatch-engine

Engine
The new Cerato Hatchback will come fitted with the standard 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine coupled to a six-speed manual or automatic gear box. This is the Theta II engine that generates 115kW and it will give you 7.5L/100km in the manual version and 7.7L/100km in the automatic version.

I find the lack of a temperature gauge to be rather strange.

I find the lack of a temperature gauge to be rather strange.

Acceleration from 0 to 100kph in 9.1 seconds isn’t fantastic but it does have a top speed of 190kph … if you can find somewhere to reach that sort of speed.

Safety
The Cerato Hatchback comes with a full suite of safety systems and equipment. There’s electronic stability control to enhance cornering (although at 190kph nothing is going to help you if you try to take a corner) and several different braking systems to help you stop.

cerato-hatch-rear

The SLi also comes with obstacle sensors in the rear bumper to help you avoid pedestrians and other cars while you’re reversing (just in case you don’t actually see people walking behind you and other vehicles that may be there.)

Prices
Recommended retail prices (on road and dealer deliver charges are extra) start at $20,240 for the Si Manual and peak at $26,240 for the SLi automatic.

By | October 20th, 2010|Kia|1 Comment

Kia Pop – it’s a concept

kia-popIn case you hadn’t noticed, in the past Kia produced fairly conventional cars. They weren’t big on technological innovation and they certainly weren’t pushing the design envelope but things are changing.

Now that Kia has established itself as a major player in the international car industry Kia is starting to play with technology and design and their latest concept car is right out there on the cutting edge for both design and technology. As with most concept cars, the Kia Pop is unlikely to ever go into production but it’s displaying some interesting pointers of what the future might be like for Kia.

Obviously at just three metres long, electrically driven and fitted with just three seats the Kia Pop is designed as a city car but that’s just the start. … and it’s not slow either.

the striking side-window design, the high-tech feel of the dot-pattern head and taillights, back-lit front grille, rear-view cameras in each door, full-length glass roof, and the simplistic look of the wheels – all point to inspiration from outside the usual automotive spheres, such as gliders and high-speed bicycles.

Inside, the purple colour scheme creates a calm and peaceful environment within the space-ship like cabin. Facing the driver, a small piece of plexi-glass in front of the steering wheel shows a Transparent Organic LED (TOLED) display for speed, battery charge, and the other main readouts, when the car is running. At other times it is totally transparent.

To the right of the steering wheel, a sculpted, chrome-look panel features only one button, with every other function (audio, sat-nav, climate control, etc) controlled via an animated touch screen.

The front seat is a sculpted bench, with interesting, flowing lines, while the rear seat is positioned at an offset angle, resulting in remarkable legroom for a 1740 mm wide car with a wheelbase of just 2055 mm. Designed to accommodate a single passenger, this seat is a two-part affair, with a base that flips up when not in use and a backrest and a headrestraint integrated into the headlining.

POP is a fully-electric, zero-emissions car with a 50kW, 190Nm motor. It’s powered by highly efficient, compact lithium polymer gel batteries and is fully rechargeable in just six hours. Top speed is 140 kph, with a maximum range of 160 km on a single charge.

The POP concept was designed by Kia’s European design team under the direction of Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer, and Gregory Guillaume, Kia Europe’s Chief Designer.

By | October 12th, 2010|Kia|Comments Off on Kia Pop – it’s a concept

A New Large Car for Kia?

kia-optimaHere in Australia the Kia range seems to be currently lacking in anything approaching a large car … there are certainly none listed on the Kia website.

However that may soon change if Kia decided to import their latest version of the Kia Optima … also known as the Kia Magentis in some markets.

The Kia Optima … or Kia Magentis is set to make it’s debut next month at the New York International Auto Show.

“The next generation Optima possesses the power to surprise,” says Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer. “It’s a car that people will simply not expect from Kia – and that’s exactly what we set out to achieve.”

kia-optima-side

Kia says that the Optima “exudes an athletic confidence from every angle and shutline – its raked roofline, the high and pronounced shoulder line of its sculpted flanks and its extended wheelbase are complemented by boldly flared wheelarches and a shallow glasshouse that create a saloon with a muscular and self-assured stance.

“The striking visage of the Optima features a new interpretation of Kia’s bold ‘tiger’ family face that’s edged by piercing projector headlamps.

“Longer, wider and lower than before, the Kia’s coupe-like profile is enhanced by the sweeping chrome arc that flows from A to C pillar, a distinctive design motif that visually lowers the car further still and enhances its cab-backwards proportions.”

By | March 14th, 2010|Kia|Comments Off on A New Large Car for Kia?

The New Kia Sportage

kia-sportageThe new Kia Sportage will make it’s first appearance at the Geneva Motor Show on March 2.

While Kia’s press release tends to be more than a little lyrical about the new design there is now doubt that the new Kia Sportage is stylish and in line with the design that seems popular for the current crop of small SUVs.

While the new Sportage is longer, lower and wider than the model it replaces Kia has still managed to increase the ground clearance and perhaps give drivers an even better driving position.

the new Kia Sportage

The photos released by Kia show the new Kia Sportage as it will comply with European specifications but Kia does plan on having it available in showrooms around the world later this year. It will be available with diesel or petrol engines but Kia is still to release details on what capacity those engines will have.

By | February 4th, 2010|Kia|Comments Off on The New Kia Sportage

Kia and Microsoft Combine to Produce Uvo

uvo-logoKia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled an innovative and intelligent in-car communications and entertainment system, ‘UVO powered by Microsoft®,’ to be available in select Kia vehicles in the US starting around June.

UVO provides voice- and touch-activated experiences for simple management of music files and hands-free mobile phone operation. Co-developed with Microsoft® and based on Windows Embedded Auto software, UVO is an easy-to-use, hands-free solution that allows drivers and passengers to answer and place phone calls, receive and respond to SMS text messages, access music from a variety of media sources and create custom music experiences.

Understanding drivers want and need intuitive controls, Kia Motors and Microsoft® designed UVO to enable a new level of voice recognition through Microsoft® speech technology. UVO users will be able to access media content and connect with people through simple, quick voice commands without having to navigate through menus.

By supporting complex grammar, UVO needs only short voice commands to connect drivers and passengers with their desired functions. An interactive system, UVO responds to inquiries such as ‘What’s playing?’ and provides audible answers and related functions, helping to keep drivers’ eyes safely focused on the road.

UVO also brings advancements to in-car technology through an immersive user experience. The interface features a 4.3-inch, full-color display that provides detailed information on media content, phonebook data and vehicle information; the screen also doubles as a rear-view camera when the shifter is put in reverse. UVO is an open platform that seamlessly integrates with a wide variety of mobile phones, music players and other devices, making it easy for drivers to quickly pair devices.

“UVO powered by Microsoft® is a breakthrough for in-vehicle infotainment that helps allow drivers and passengers to safely and easily use all of their personal technologies to create personalized in-vehicle communications and entertainment experiences,” says Michael Sprague, Vice President, Marketing, KMA. “Collaborating with Microsoft®, Kia Motors is able to offer drivers an experience that will provide our cars with a clear competitive advantage.”

“We are very excited with the customized approach Kia Motors is bringing to in-car infotainment,” says Kevin Dallas, General Manager of Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Business division. “Kia’s UVO system demonstrates how the power of Windows Embedded technology can keep consumers connected to the devices, information and entertainment that matters to them most.”

Based on the award-winning Windows Embedded Auto platform, UVO can be updated easily as new consumer devices continue to be introduced to the market.

UVO will debut this summer in the all-new Kia Sorento and will be extended to additional Kia vehicles as part of the brand’s technological evolution. Kia Sorento, Soul, Forte and Forte Koup already come standard and at no extra cost with Bluetooth® wireless technology connectivity, iPod®/MP3/USB connectivity, and a three-month SIRIUS® satellite radio subscription.[1]

UVO will be shown for the first time at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, January 7-10, in both Kia Motors and Microsoft® booths; representatives from both companies will be on-hand for demonstrations.

Key features of UVO, powered by Microsoft®:

  • Advanced Speech Recognition: Intelligent Microsoft® speech technology is trained to the system operator’s voice, creating a personal profile and allowing for up to two different voice profiles in various languages. Support for large grammar commands and faster response time means the content is delivered when you ask for it. Kia Motors’ UVO system is the first in-vehicle solution to integrate full Microsoft® speech engine technology.
  • Natural Interface Advancements: A full-color, easy-to-use in-dash monitor allows occupants to quickly scroll through media and mobile device content through intuitive voice and touch-screen commands.
  • Custom Media Experiences with MyMusic: UVO’s ‘Jukebox’ function features a 1GB hard drive for media storage, allowing users to rip music from CDs or an MP3 player into personal MyMusic folders and store up to 250 songs sorted by title and/or artist – all through voice commands. The system can shuffle through an MP3 player or AM/FM and SIRIUS® radio stations and instantly identify what’s playing all through simple voice commands.
  • Rear Backup Camera: When the vehicle is put in reverse, a built-in rear backup camera uses UVO’s in-dash display to provide clearer images of the environment behind the car assisting the driver to identify certain objects that otherwise may be difficult to see.
  • Ability to Continuously Update Features and Services: Based on a flexible Windows Embedded Auto platform, updates and services can be delivered in a number of ways (over-the-air, over-the-Web) for Kia to continue to provide a superior user experience after the system enters the market.

[1] The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc., and any use of such marks by Kia is under license. A BLUETOOTH® Wireless Technology-enabled cell phone is required to use BLUETOOTH® wireless technology. Ipod® mobile digital device connectivity requires Kia accessory cable, sold separately. iPod is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. Sirius®, XM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. and its subsidiaries. SIRIUS® radio requires a subscription, sold separately, after 3-month subscription included with vehicle purchase. Not available in Canada, Alaska and Hawaii.

By | January 6th, 2010|Kia, News|1 Comment

Kia’s Future is Hydrogen Power

While many other car makers see the future as electric vehicles powered by battery Kia is among the few who see battery power as an interesting side issue and the real future of electric vehicles being all about hydrogen power.

Kia is currently testing a Borrego (not available in Australia?) they call they Mohave FCEV powered by a hydrogen cell and plans to put the vehicle into small-scale production in 2012 with full production starting in 2015.

The current test vehicle will run at speeds of up to 160kph and can travel around 600km on one hydrogen charge. A refill takes just five minutes and that’s definitely a point in favour of hydrogen vehicles compared to the recharge times for electric vehicles.

The hydrogen Borrego isn’t cheap though … Kia expects the vehicle to arrive in the showrooms in 2012 with a price tag of around $US50,000.

Kia have produced this short video that clearly explains how they will use hydrogen power and, if you can look beyond the hype, it’s really worth watching.

By | December 30th, 2009|Electric Vehicles, Kia|1 Comment