Kia Rio LX ISG Diesel Review

November 16th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

You can hear the silence of this Kia Rio saving fuel every time you pull up to an intersection, put it in neutral and take your foot off the clutch. It’s because the engine quickly shudders to a stop meaning you’re not burning up precious diesel while waiting for all those other idiots who decided to take their journey (inconsiderately) right at the same time you did.

Push the clutch in again and the engine fires into life in a split second – about the same time as it takes to put it into gear – and you’re away. This is Idle, Stop and Go, or ISG in Kia’s vernacular, and it enables the Rio’s to get down to Continue reading “Kia Rio LX ISG Diesel Review” »

Kia Sportage Ltd Diesel 2012 Review

October 1st, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Massimo Frascella’s chunky wheel arches and chopped roof design gives Kia’s Sportage Ltd the right attitude for a go-anywhere compact SUV.

The exterior is lead by Kia’s Tiger nose. LED daytime running lights underline the headlights, which themselves form a strong pointer along the prominent shoulder line extending to the rear lights. The design of the front is one that is very coherent where others can sometimes be messy and disjointed.

The side profile is enhanced by Continue reading “Kia Sportage Ltd Diesel 2012 Review” »

Kia Unveils Carens ‘Teaser’

July 27th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Kia has released ‘teaser’ photos of the next generation Carens compact people mover, which is to make its world premier at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September.

The photos – shown in a colour negative format – depict a complete fresh and sleek design with a new cab-forward architecture that promises to deliver more room for passengers on the lengthened wheelbase.

The upcoming Carens also looks much sportier than the vehicle it replaces, thanks to a lower roofline and larger (up to 18 inch) wheels that fill the arches.

Kia Motors says the new Carens has been conceived around the theme “responsive space”, a term that describes more spacious functionality within the vehicle.

The company adds that the newcomer’s sporty looks will garner the sort of “emotional appeal” that is becoming a regular feature of Kia products.

The previous seven seater Carens model was sold in New Zealand for a period of time and Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand says the new version is an exciting progression of that concept.

“It has all the hallmarks of advanced design and fresh thinking that we have come to expect from Kia and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer,” says Mr McDonald, adding that while details of the Carens are still to be released, it will certainly be evaluated for our market.

The new Kia Carens will be unveiled at a special media preview in Paris on September 27 and then remain on public display for the duration of the motor show, which ends on October 14.

Thrifty Diesel Joins Kia Rio Range In New Zealand

June 26th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The diesel version of the all-new Kia Rio has now gone on sale in New Zealand and is one of the most economical new cars in the country, priced at just $24,990.

Equipped with an advanced 1.4-litre diesel engine and Kia’s EcoDynamics package, which includes intelligent Idle Stop & Go technology to significantly reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions, the Rio CRDi achieves an impressive 4.3L/100km (55mpg) and a low CO2 level of 113g/km.

The new generation, four-cylinder 1.4-litre diesel engine was developed especially for Kia in Europe and features a double overhead camshaft design with the latest common-rail high-pressure fuel injection system. With a swept volume of 1,396cc, it is equipped with a wastegate turbocharger that is reduced in size to deliver a more compressed forced air charge into the engine, for greater efficiency and responsiveness.

Derived from Kia’s U2 diesel family, it develops 66kW at 4,000rpm and 220Nm of torque across a broad 1,750 to 2,750rpm range, giving the new Rio a flexible and lively performance, combined with great fuel economy.

In addition to the Stop & Go technology, the EcoDynamics package also includes low rolling resistance tyres, a drag-reducing front grille, a gearshift indicator and rear spoiler. A smooth, six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the arrival of the diesel model provides a further boost to the Rio range, which is already one of the brand’s best sellers in this market.

“Rio is going remarkably well for us in New Zealand, thanks to the desirability of the sporty design, high specification level and attractive price point. And with petrol prices set to rise again shortly, the appeal of the diesel model has just got better,” he says.

Like the rest of the Rio range, the CRDi benefits from a re-engineered suspension system that is based on European specifications, with the emphasis on sporty handling and an assured ride. Brakes are all-round discs, providing superior braking performance. And in addition to the safety of ESC stability control, like all Rio models the CRDi features Hill Assist Control to prevent it momentarily rolling backwards when pulling away up steep gradients.

Equipment levels within the roomy cabin are high and the standard features on the Rio CRDi include high-tech daytime running lights for increased safety, reverse warning sensors, heated/powered door mirrors, remote locking with in-built car alarm, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, two-way steering column adjustment, split folding rear seats, rear luggage cover, trip computer, Bluetooth and a MP3-compatible/radio/CD audio system with USB and AUX ports.

In common with all Kia passenger cars, the Rio CRDI is covered by a comprehensive Five Year/100,000km Warranty Programme and a 24/7 Roadside Assistance Programme.

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” »