Kia Shows Off New Transmission Technology

March 23rd, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Kia has unveiled a new type of automatic transmission in its second-generation Europe-only cee’d that is likely to be seen in other vehicles, including those coming to New Zealand.

The much-anticipated Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) is a feature of the all-new cee’d that was shown publically for the first time at the recent Geneva Auto Salon in Switzerland.

Utilising two separate transmissions contained within a single housing, Kia says the 6-speed DCT delivers smooth gear shifts for maximum driving comfort, lowers fuel consumption and reduces CO2 emissions compared with the previous conventional automatic transmission.

Todd McDonald, General Manager for Kia Motors New Zealand, says the unveiling of the Dual Clutch Transmission is an exciting step and underlines the brand’s growing technology credentials and ongoing investment in R&D.

“I am looking forward to seeing DCT technology in models that will be sold in the New Zealand market,” he says.

The introduction of the cee’d also marks the evolution of the much-acclaimed vehicle design process at Kia Motors.

The original cee’d was among the first models to showcase the new design DNA that Kia has been injecting into its entire range over the past five years, although it appeared just ahead of the appointment of Chief Designer Peter Schreyer, who has since spearheaded the company’s design direction.

His influence in re-shaping the next-generation cee’d is unmistakable, applying more sophistication and dynamism to the character of what had already been described as one of the most desirable cars in its class.

The new Kia cee’d combines styling typically found on a sporty coupe with the space and functionality of a five-door hatch. It’s longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with the same long wheelbase. The new elegant design’s coupe-like proportions are emphasised by the steeply raked A-pillar, a very low belt-line in the front and lengthened side windows.

The front is dominated by the latest interpretation of Kia’s trademark tiger nose grille and aggressive, wraparound headlamp clusters housing LED daytime running lights.

New cee’d features a completely re-designed interior hallmarked by a more premium look and feel, improved switchgear, touch-screen technology and enhanced driving position ergonomics.

The dashboard layout incorporates a cockpit-like design with an aircraft-themed, driver-oriented fascia. The main control panel wraps around the steering wheel, placing all switchgear within easy reach of the driver and the main control groups such as audio and air-conditioning have been segregated to bring a more premium and luxurious feel to the interior.

Mr McDonald is impressed with how Kia’s design DNA has progressed in the second-generation cee’d, adding: “It is instantly recognisable as a Kia, with the signature tiger nose grille, and has the elegance and sophistication of a larger, more luxurious car.”

Kia Unveils Luxury Flagship

March 2nd, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The all-new Kia luxury flagship model has finally been revealed in the metal.

A couple of weeks after teasing the public with partially disguised drawings of its forthcoming top-of-the-line model, code named KH, Kia Motors has now released the first official photos of the car. The luxury flagship model will be called K9 in its home market and the vehicle will have another name when it goes on sale overseas.

The photos of the K9 reveal a dramatic four-door sedan with a swooping style that in Kia’s own words represents the “best of the best”.

The K9 will be the latest rear-wheel-drive car produced by Kia, a development hinted at in the rear-drive Kia GT concept car that wowed the auto industry at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

The K9 takes some of its styling cues from the GT concept, including the bold treatment to the family tiger nose grille and the car’s lowered, sporty stance. It’s a clear continuation of Kia’s evolving design DNA, further enhanced by ‘high-tech luxury car’ style LED headlamps, with classic design echoes in its voluminous bonnet and sloping roofline, LED lamps and bumper-integrated exhausts.

The hand of Kia’s Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer is evident in the sophisticated profile with its simple, but strong character line.
Kia says the Continue reading “Kia Unveils Luxury Flagship” »

Kia Teaser Is New Flagship Model

February 17th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

A set of teaser photos from Kia Motors provides a tantalising glimpse of the all-new flagship model from the Korean company.

The sketches reveal a sleek and gracious four-door sedan that is expected to establish new standards for design flair in this segment.

The car, codenamed KH, is Kia’s first ever rear-wheel drive sedan and combines innovative design with high-tech features, as Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer takes styling cues from the Optima and moves it to a whole new level. KH is among the company’s most eagerly anticipated new models and will be launched in Kia’s domestic market in the first half of 2012.

Kia describes the design concept behind KH as ”distinctive, modern and classic”, which is expressed through sophisticated, technically-advanced elements combined with Kia’s existing dynamic design language aimed at creating vehicles that truly stand out from competitors.

The new model features a bold front-end design that hints at the performance of the car, as well as hallmarking its luxury status. It incorporates Kia’s charismatic family-look radiator grille, flanked by streamlined headlamps that reinforce the brand’s innovative challenger image and the proportions of the unique bonnet design give KH a classic car-like feel.

KH’s profile, which was a key focus for Schreyer and his design team during development, features a simple side character line to give a feeling of spaciousness, while emphasising the new model’s bold and dynamic image – the epitome of Schreyer’s philosophy about the “power of a straight line”. The high-tech, rear combination lamp clusters, plus the luxurious, bold chrome accent give KH a sophisticated and stable rear view.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says KH will provide more proof of the dedication to striking design that has become a feature of all Kia vehicles in recent times.

“There aren’t many cars you can describe as beautiful, but from the teaser photos you have to say that KH will be a superb head-turner when it is eventually unveiled – I can’t wait,” he adds.

Kia says plans to release the striking newcomer to overseas markets are still to be finalised, but a company spokesperson confirms this all-new, rear-wheel drive large sedan will “definitely become the leading model of our line-up around the world, showcasing the best of the best of Kia”.

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 sizes up record sales year in 2011

October 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia is on target to achieve a year of record sales both in New Zealand and globally as it continues to ship more vehicles to customers around the world.

With Kia sales increasing in growth markets like China (40.9% up in August) and the United States (up 37% in September), Kia Motors is on course to push past the 2 million vehicles sold in all markets in 2010. Global sales were already ahead by 13.8% at the end of August, reaching in excess of 1.6 million units. At the beginning of the year Kia said it hoped to achieve a 12% increase by the end of 2011 and it’s now clear that target will be reached, barring a major sales slump.

Whilst year-to-date sales of Kia vehicles here in New Zealand to the end September are 15% ahead of the same nine-month period last year, they could have been higher if the local company had been allocated more cars and light commercials.

“There is no doubt that our sales have been hampered by a shortage of key models, particularly during the beginning and middle part of the year, but supply issues are now starting to ease and we are hoping to end 2011 with a hiss and a roar and we’re looking forward to an even better 2012,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand. Continue reading “Kia sizes up record sales year in 2011” »

Kia sets new world record for Hybrid vehicle economy

September 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia has broken the world record for the lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid petrol vehicle, while driving through 48 adjoining states in the USA.

After a 14-day journey that started at the company’s manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia and finished in Greenville, South Carolina, the Kia Optima Hybrid achieved a fuel consumption of 3.64L/100km, beating the car’s official EPA highway fuel consumption figure by 61.37%.

The car was completely standard and to comply with Guinness World Record guidelines, the Optima Hybrid had to carry two people (drivers Wayne Gerdes and Chris Berniues) and their luggage throughout the journey.

The pair drove an average of 902 kilometres per day and the Optima Hybrid used just over 5.5 tanks of petrol to complete the route, recording an average distance of 2268.8 kilometres between re-fills.

Their lengthy journey took in every adjoining state in the country, followed in a clockwise direction, through all kinds of terrain and weather, from temperatures exceeding 47.7°C in the deserts of Arizona down to sub zero in the Rocky Mountains. And it wasn’t just highway driving the Optima also faced rush-hour traffic jams in Chicago, New York and Las Vegas. Continue reading “Kia sets new world record for Hybrid vehicle economy” »

Kia Optima EX 2011 Review

September 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

First there were the days of Kia vehicles being a no-frills low cost alternative to the major Japanese brands, but that didn’t last. Kia then became a genuinely viable option against Japanese competitors albeit at a lower price point. But Kia isn’t content just to stop there and with models like the new Optima it’s making an ambitious play at moving ahead of the pack. However, getting the formula exactly right in medium sedan segment comes with a high degree of difficulty. Medium sedans aren’t increasing in popularity in this country so Kia is hedging its bets with a single model offering; the well equipped EX. Does this Korean cruiser have the mechanical package to back up its striking looks? After a week piloting the 2011 Optima, Car and SUV thinks so – here are the reasons why.

Exterior Design – Dead Set Stunner
The Optima’s dimensions and wheelbase are larger than its predecessor but its styling is much tighter. There’s plenty of Euro influence, from the chrome trim around the window line to the vents on the front wheel guards. The Optima also showcases the best elements of Kia’s current design language lead out by the now distinctive ‘tiger nose’ grille. Bordered with chrome the grille sits above a wrap-around lower intake, recessed fog lamps and LED running lights. A coupe-like roofline and scalloped lower door panels define the Optima’s flanks. Upswept C-pillars and an advanced stance finish off the dynamic bodywork.  Filling the guards are distinctive 18-inch alloys retained from the concept version of the Optima, they will divide opinion but are unique and certainly add extra bling. Continue reading “Kia Optima EX 2011 Review” »