Kia unveils V6-powered GT Concept Car

September 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia has officially unveiled its rear-wheel-drive concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It’s a striking machine with some styling cues taken from the muscle car era of the 1960s and 1970s.

The Kia GT is another example of the Korean brand’s new design-led direction and hints at its next generation of cars. The our-door sports sedan draws inspiration from the Kia Kee concept car, first shown at the same event in 2007.

“At the onset of this project,” says Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s European Design Chief, “the design team was inspired by the spirit of iconic 1970s GT cars: sumptuous and elegant vehicles capable of whisking passengers from Paris to the South of France in effortless style and at high speed.  We wanted to create something similarly graceful, athletic and confident, but not aggressive or overbearing.”

The 4.690 mm long and 1.890 mm wide concept car has a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and is given different proportions compared to a front-wheel drive car. Continue reading “Kia unveils V6-powered GT Concept Car” »

Kia Rio 2012 Review

September 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new 2012 Kia Rio was launched to NZ’s motoring media at a special event in the South Island last week and Car and SUV was there to sample this latest compact hatch.

The 2012 Rio will go on sale in NZ from the end of October with pricing starting at $22,990 and comes with fresh-faced design and plenty of equipment for the money. The Rio will be released in NZ in a five-door body shape (as tested) with a four-door sedan and three-door sports hatch following next year.

In terms of styling the new Rio has received Kia’s bold corporate face with the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, raked back headlights and a wide lower air dam.  At the rear, there’s a built in hatch spoiler and a sharp rear windscreen angle giving a dynamic Euro appearance. The Rio has a purposeful, forward-leaning stance and a coupe-inspired roofline that adds to the sporty aesthetic. There’s some eye-catching touches like the door-mounted side mirrors and our tested top spec EX model features 16-inch alloys, privacy glass and LED daytime running lamps. The Rio body shape has grown in size over its predecessor, increasing 20mm in length to 4045mm, in width by 25mm to 1720mm and is 70mm longer in the 2570mm wheelbase. However, it sits 15mm lower in overall height to further the sporty look. Continue reading “Kia Rio 2012 Review” »

Kia Hamsters return to promote facelifted Soul (+video)

August 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia has brought back its body bopping hamsters to push its cosmetically refreshed and mechanically upgraded 2012 Kia Soul which goes on sale in the States this month.

This time around the hip hop inspired hamsters find themselves in a dark, futuristic videogame world where the rodents turn the battle between alien robots and humanoids into a dancing frenzy. The soundtrack is provided by electro-pop group LMFAO’s hit, “Party Rock Anthem”.

“The success and popularity of the Soul continues to grow and attract new customers to the Kia brand, and with music playing an important role in our marketing efforts it is the perfect time for the hamsters to return for a third installment featuring the infectious sounds of LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem’ to highlight the 2012 Soul’s new attributes,” said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. Continue reading “Kia Hamsters return to promote facelifted Soul (+video)” »

Kia pushes ahead with RWD sports sedan concept

August 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There has been rumours floating around for a long time about a mysterious Kia rear-wheel drive sports sedan. Back in July things heated up with reports that this concept may debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Now it’s clear that not only is there a Kia sports sedan concept, but it looks suitably staunch as well. Kia’s latest concept has been announced for a Frankfurt debut and the fist images of the four-door coupe have been released.

The swooping design borrows heavily from the Optima sedan with a high belt line and lengthy chrome strip. The fastback design features four seats in a 2+2 configuration.

“I believe the car is a strong statement from Kia: We are ready to fast forward to an all-new chapter,” says the automaker’s design chief, Peter Schreyer. Continue reading “Kia pushes ahead with RWD sports sedan concept” »

Kia Picanto three-door launched in Europe

August 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The five-door Kia Picanto was launched last month in NZ and now its sportier three-door sibling has just been revealed for the European market.

It’s identical in size with its five-door counterpart, but the three-door Picanto features new front doors, sports-styled bumpers, rear panels and glass aft of the A-pillar, along with a larger front grille that’s available with silver or red trim surrounds, twin exhaust tips and different alloy wheel designs.

Inside, the cabin of the three-door is almost identical to the five-door’s interior, except for the seats which have a sliding and tilting mechanism.

For the European market, the Picanto will be offered in four trim grades: 1, 1 Air, Halo and Equinox. Both Halo and Equinox are unique to the three-door bodystyle. Continue reading “Kia Picanto three-door launched in Europe” »

2011 Kia Picanto Review

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s all new 2011 Picanto was launched at a press event in Auckland yesterday and Car and SUV was given a first drive in this much-improved micro machine.

With a tagline of “Clever Around Town” the new Kia Picanto is designed for city/suburban use and comes with eco credentials, more standard equipment and sharper driving dynamics.

The Picanto’s price tag is also very tempting with the base model available from $18,590. So what do you get for the money?

The Picanto is being sold in NZ in two trim specifications LX and the higher grade EX. The entry model is the LX with a manual transmission, this features a clever ISG (Idle Stop & Go) technology which switches off the engine when idling and instantly re-starts as the clutch is depressed. It’s an impressive feature to offer in a sub $20k vehicle and while it takes some getting used to, it functions well. With this tech and a small 1.2-litre petrol engine the manual Picanto returns a thrifty fuel economy figure of 4.3L/100km. This makes it the most economical petrol dedicated car in the NZ market – so running costs are extremely low. The automatic LX and EX model Picantos return a fuel economy of 5.3l/100km and 5.6l/100km respectively. Continue reading “2011 Kia Picanto Review” »

Kia to build rear-driving V8-powered coupe?

July 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

A rear wheel drive sports coupe with a V8 powerplant will catch the interest of most driving enthusiasts, but what if the car is built by Kia? It’s difficult to know how such a vehicle would be received but the Korean carmaker could be willing to find out, if new reports prove true.

Kia has a new K9 sedan set to go on sale in global markets from next year. The K9 platform could lend itself to a rear-wheel-drive layout and even a V8 motor. But Kia wants to go even sportier and apparently will release a pair of RWD coupe concepts to check public interest and reception. Is it just crazy enough to work? Kia plans to find out at the Frankfurt Motor Show with its first coupe and then reveal a second concept at the Detroit Auto Show next January. If the hard-to-please sportscar crowd think the concepts are a fair punt then a production model could be prepared for sale by 2015.

Kia to sell first global hybrid car – may come to NZ

May 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia Motors is about to launch its first ever global hybrid car with the introduction of the Optima Hybrid into the U.S market next month.

The Optima Hybrid uses a Kia-developed powertrain with lithium polymer batteries that won’t need replacing for up to ten years or 240,000kms.

The Optima Hybrid will be a full parallel hybrid vehicle with its 2.4-litre GDi direct injection petrol engine mated to a small electric motor driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.  A special clutch is fitted between the engine and motor, enabling the petrol engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain so that Optima can be operated in zero-emission, full-electric drive mode from standstill up to 100km/h ( 9.2 seconds) or in a co-operative electric-petrol mode at any speed.

Together, the 2.4-litre petrol engine and 40kW electric motor produce a combined power output of 154kW and 265Nm of torque and when it’s running on electric alone produces no emissions. Overall combined emissions are estimated to be 99 grams of CO2/Kilometre.

Kia says the system’s configuration does not have a requirement for a high-capacity electric motor and generator, saving weight and cost. Fuel economy is rated at 6.2L/100km in the combined cycle. This is aided by lowering the car 5mm and including an ‘active air flap’ in the front grille, smooth under-floor panels, low-drag wheels and low rolling resistance tyres. Continue reading “Kia to sell first global hybrid car – may come to NZ” »