Kia Picanto LX ISG 2011 Review

November 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Working to a budget is an art form in itself; it requires discipline, sacrifice and the ability to hunt down cheaper alternatives. The global recession has increased the legions of budget-conscious kiwis and for these dollar-saving masses there is a new stead – the 2011 Kia Picanto. The Korean city car is now in its second generation and offers a giant leap forward in quality and comfort. Priced from $18,590 the Picanto is one of the cheapest new cars in the country but it is running costs where this micro machine shines brightest. Hyped up by an advertising tagline of “Clever Around Town” Car and SUV decided to put the new Picanto through an examination to see what sort of grades it could achieve.

The Picanto exterior styling has a shrink-wrapped charm and while suitably cute it also features some sporty design cues. There’s an ascending belt line that links colour-matched door handles and gives it a progressive stance. At the rear, uniquely shaped, vertical taillights sit between an integrated hatch spoiler and a chunky bumper. But it’s at the front where the Picanto is a real caricature of Kia’s current design language. The corporate tiger-nose grille sits flanked by huge, raked-back headlights and a gaping low air dam finishes the distinctive look. Our tested base-spec LX manual model received some touches not usually found in a sub-$20k vehicle like front fog lamps, colour-coded mirror caps and 14-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels.   Continue reading “Kia Picanto LX ISG 2011 Review” »

Kia continues quest to build world’s most efficient vehicles

November 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia is continuing its quest to become the producer of the world’s most fuel-efficient and greenest vehicles. New developments will see the Korean carmaker introduce an all-electric city car, along with a range of other technologies to make its cars go further on various fuel sources.

Full technical details on Kia’s new EV haven’t been revealed, but the new model will enter the light CUV segment and is expected to use an advanced LiPoly battery to power an electric motor. Officials says it will be able to travel a 160 kilometres on a single charge and deliver a maximum speed of 130km/h.

The Korean carmaker initially plans to produce 2,000 of its small EV cars in 2012 for use in its domestic market. Automotive commentators say the Kia Naimo concept (pictured), revealed at the Seoul Motor Show earlier this year, could offer a hint for the new EV’s styling. Kia has also confirmed it will introduce a second EV in 2014 in the form of a Soul-sized small car.

In addition to hybrids and all-electric vehicles, Kia Motors has been introducing other fuel-saving technology under its green Eco-Dynamics brand.

New Zealand has already seen elements of this technology in the recently launched Kia Picanto mini car, which features fuel-saving technology called Idle Stop & Go (ISG), which stops the engine when the car is idling at traffic lights and automatically re-starts when the clutch is depressed. Combined with its small 1.25-litre engine, the Picanto ISG is currently New Zealand’s most economical petrol dedicated car with a 4.3L/100km combined economy rating. Continue reading “Kia continues quest to build world’s most efficient vehicles” »

Kia may bring ISG stop-start technology to NZ

October 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Kia cee'd ISG rq

Kia will be among the first to offer fuel saving automatic stop-start technology on a mass-market car when it introduces the new ISG system in the New Year on the European-made cee’d model.

And we may see the system on Kia vehicles coming to New Zealand in the future.

ISG stands for Idle, Stop & Go and is a system designed to sense when the car is sitting idle at traffic lights or in a queue, switching off the engine to conserve fuel. When the clutch is depressed ISG instantly re-starts the engine without any other input from the driver and the car resumes driving as normal.

Kia says the ISG system is likely to make fuel economy savings of around 15%, as well as cutting exhaust emissions.

It will be fitted to the 1.6-litre petrol-powered cee’d manual sold in Europe from the beginning of February next year. Kia says ISG will appear on other models in the future.

No word yet on when the ISG system could be fitted to vehicles aimed at the New Zealand market, although Kia Motors NZ is in discussions with its parent about bringing the cee’d to this country.

“We would be keen to see the ISG technology on Kia models for our market, even if the cee’d doesn’t eventuate — it’s an excellent idea and with the amount of stop-start driving that many city car owners have to endure I am sure it will be a winner when it does arrive,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors NZ.

Kia first showcased the ISG technology on a petrol/electric hybrid concept vehicle last year but decided the system was outstanding enough on its own to introduce to an existing mainstream model.

The innovative ISG system was displayed on the Kia cee’d at the recent Paris Motor Show, alongside Kia’s other eco-friendly developments — a petrol/electric hybrid Kia Soul city car and a zero emission, fuel-cell powered Kia Sportage.

The ISG system incorporates a ‘smart’ starter motor linked to the ECU, which monitors the vehicle’s status at all times. When the car comes to a halt, the ECU uses information from various other control systems around the vehicle to decide if switching off the engine is appropriate — such a calculation is made in milli-seconds. If, for any reason, the car’s battery levels drops below 75% of maximum, or there is insufficient energy available for the next start-up, the system will abort the Stop & Go programme.

The engine automatically re-starts when the clutch is depressed and there is no delay in setting off, because it happens in less time than it takes to select first gear.