Kia releases teaser images of 2012 Picanto

December 14th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Few carmakers have worked as hard as Kia in the past few years. The Korean company has got busy earning credibility and sales in seemingly all market sectors. Kia is no longer seen as a no-frills brand and now offers higher quality products with attractive styling, but the Picanto is still waiting to join the party with a new model. There has been updates in the past couple of years but it hasn’t been enough. Now Kia is preparing the next-generation model and it is already looking sharp.

With a debut scheduled for the Geneva Motor Show next March, Kia has released a couple of stylised sketches of what we might expect from the new Picanto. If the new model can carry over even half of the edgy styling from these sketches, the Picanto could be reborn as a true player in the city car market.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the current model Kia Picanto.

Kia Sportage dominates NCAP safety tests with 5-Star mark

November 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Kia Sportage has been awarded the maximum 5-Star rating in the latest Euro NCAP safety tests.

In the tests, which were made more stringent last year to reflect the four main areas where injuries occur, vehicles are awarded points for how well they provide passenger and pedestrian protection. In surpassing the tough 2010 tests, the Kia Sportage scored better than premium European luxuries models, including the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5 and VW Tiguan. Sportage obtained scores of 93% for Adult Occupant Protection, 86% for Child Occupant protection, 49% for Pedestrian Protection and 86% for Safety Assist, which are among the highest to be awarded in the compact 4×4 class.  The Sportage received praise for having Electronic Stability Control (ESC) fitted as standard in most markets — all new Kia cars sold New Zealand have been equipped with ESC as standard for at least three years.

“These latest results from Euro NCAP highlight Kia’s commitment to ensuring exceptional levels of safety in its vehicles, which is very comforting to New Zealand customers” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

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Kia launches Cerato hatchback in New Zealand

November 23rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The long-awaited 2011 model Kia Cerato hatchback has just been launched for the New Zealand market.

There’s a good serving of new technology in the hatched Cerato with the 5-door Cerato coming with a 6-speed sequential shift automatic transmission, fitted as standard on all models and sporty steering wheel paddle gear shifters on the top version.

The 5-door Cerato hatchback joins the 4-door sedan and 2- door Koup to boost the range of mid-size cars, all powered by the Theta II, four-cylinder, 2-litre CVVT engine.

According to Kia Motors New Zealand General Manager Todd McDonald, the new Cerato hatchback “is designed to appeal especially to consumers who prefer a five-door hatchback for its style and enhanced practicality, in particular those with young families.”

Whilst sharing the same front profile, overall width, height and wheelbase as the sedan, the new hatchback’s roof, rear side panels, C-pillar, tailgate, rear bumper, light clusters and roof spoiler are all new.

At the front, bold styling incorporates a new radiator grille, new lower air-intake grille and new-shape fog lamps.  The door mirrors now come with LED repeaters and the two hatchback models sold here in New Zealand, LX and SX, wear re-styled ‘double five-spoke’ 16-inch and 17-inch respectively.  The rear combination lamps, which have etching-processed lenses, are split across the tailgate shut line and a sporty rear diffuser allows the exhaust tailpipe to be displayed.

In addition to its high standard equipment level that echoes the sedan and Koup models, the 2011 Cerato 5-door’s interior offers customers several new comfort and convenience features, depending on model. Among these are steering wheel ‘paddle shifters’ are fitted for the first time with the automatic transmission in the SX model and Bluetooth hands-free for mobile phone use, which comes with both models.

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Kia’s unique POP concept showcases future tech

October 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The striking Kia POP concept, just unveiled at the Paris Auto Salon, offers a glimpse of Kia Motors’ take on the future.

The electric-powered, bubble-shaped three-seater has been built to showcase the technology contained within the unusual body. Kia Motors used the Paris show to confirm that its first production electric car will go on sale in late 2011 — it’s tipped to be a small CUV (Compact Utility Vehicle).

Showcasing Kia’s increasing focus on new technologies, the chrome-coloured, three-metre-long, three-seater POP with its electric drivetrain, oblong-shaped side windows and butterfly-hinged doors took centre stage on Kia’s Paris Show stand.

Unconventional features of POP include its side-window design, the dot-pattern head and taillights, back-lit front grille, rear-view cameras in each door, full-length glass roof and the unique wheels — all point to inspiration from outside the usual automotive spheres. Designs have taken cues from as areas such as gliders and high-speed bicycles. Some of these design aspects may well be seen in the designs of future Kia vehicles.

Inside, a small piece of plexi-glass sits in front of the steering wheel and shows a Transparent Organic LED 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 eye-catching, flowing lines, while the rear seat is positioned at an offset angle, resulting in remarkable legroom for a 1,740 mm wide car with a wheelbase of just 2,055 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 head restraint integrated into the headlining.

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Kia to ‘POP’ off new concept at Paris Motor Show

August 24th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Kia Motors has released a set of teaser images that preview an advanced green technology concept car called POP, which is scheduled to officially debut at the upcoming Paris Auto Salon in September.

Continuing its recent tradition of producing eye-catching concept vehicles, Kia is taking POP even further by show-casing environmental technology that could be powering new Kia cars in the future. Kia first began researching electric power more than 25 years ago, when it released its first concept vehicle using hydrogen as a fuel source. But it’s only now that the technology and cost issues have been overcome and Kia expects to release its first 100% green production vehicle to the public within the next two years.

Kia claims it’s POP is a zero-emission all-electric vehicle powered by an advanced electric drivetrain and next-generation lithium polymer batteries that take up much less space and weigh less than traditional battery arrays.

Smaller than the current Kia Picanto, the forthcoming concept is inspired by the Kia Ray electric concept car that was unveiled earlier this year at New York Auto Show. Among the features of the POP concept to watch out for are LED lightning and a large panoramic roof that reveals the vehicle’s purple colored interior and chromed dashboard.

The Kia POP concept will be unveiled at a special media event at the 2010 Paris Auto Salon on September 30, when full details will be provided.

Kia delivers ‘The Message’ on the Sportage with hip hop ad (+video)

August 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Korean car maker Kia has been working overtime on generating street cred recently. Firstly, there was a American commercial for the strangely-shaped Kia Soul that featured hip hop hamsters singing a classic Black Sheep track called “The Choice is Yours,”. Now, Kia Australia has followed up with some more old school hip hop in an advertising campaign for the new Kia Sportage. While the SUV vehicle isn’t too exciting in terms of performance the 1982 early-rap classic song “The Message” by Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five makes the commercial something special.

Instead of rocking some overplayed rodents, the ad folks across the ditch have put the original Grandmaster and Scorpio in the car with a suburbanite dad who lip syncs along with the forefathers of rap.

Will we see the commercial here in NZ? Perhaps, but why wait when you can watch it below. There’s also a making of video, as well which sees the old school hip hoppers waxing lyrical about the ad. Continue reading “Kia delivers ‘The Message’ on the Sportage with hip hop ad (+video)” »

2011 Kia Sportage officially unveiled for NZ

August 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Kia NZ has officially announced the arrival of it’s third generation Kia Sportage, that comes with a suspension system tuned for NZ roads. The 2011 Kia Sportage will go on sale in New Zealand from October 1, with the launch date taking into account the rise in GST, thus avoiding buyer confusion over fluctuating pricing. Firm prices are yet to be announced, but they are expected to be competitive, with the entry model targeting the $32,990-to-$34,990 bracket.

“New Sportage couldn’t arrive at a better time — the market is picking up and buyers are looking for excitement and inspirational styling, which Sportage has in abundance,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

“It’s an active lifestyle vehicle with attitude. The styling is edgy, resembling a sports coupe, yet when you climb inside, the new Sportage is extremely roomy, practical and packed with thoughtful features, such as a reversing camera on most models.

“With the recently introduced Sorento R, Cerato sedan and Koup, and now Sportage, we can now offer among the most advanced and stylish range of vehicles in New Zealand.”

The rakish European styling of the 2011 Sportage continues Kia’s efforts to be seen as a “youthful and sporting” brand. Its lines have been taken from the adventurous Kia Kue concept vehicle that did the motor show rounds throughout 2007, including the unusual rear slanting C-pillar that increases the view of rear passengers.

Longer, wider and lower than the previous model — by 90mm, 15mm and 60mm respectively — and with a 10mm longer wheelbase, the third generation Sportage is roomier and more powerful than previous models.

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Third-generation Kia Sportage arriving in NZ soon

July 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

With a new bodyshell, new engines and fresh styling the upcoming Kia Sportage is an urban-friendly compact CUV that is ready for New Zealand lifestyles and will consume less fuel and emitting less CO2.

Set to go on sale in NZ this October the Sportage is longer, wider and lower than the previous model — by 90 mm, 15 mm and 60 mm respectively — but the all-new design successfully retains the key SUV features — a commanding driving position, heightened sense of security and powerful road presence — that made the second-generation Kia Sportage so popular.

The previous Sportage was introduced in 2004 (2005 in New Zealand) and marked a huge step forward for Kia. Over the next six years, Sportage attracted thousands of new customers to Kia, and achieved global sales of more than 860,000 units.

Now, under the direction of Kia’s Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, the Kia design teams have created a third-generation Sportage, incorporating Kia’s new design DNA and many features from the 2007 Kia Kue concept car, to make the new Sportage immediately identifiable.

“With the all-new Sportage, we have created a five-seat compact SUV with maximised customer appeal. It is urban-friendly and fully in tune with changing consumer expectations and demands,” says Hyoung-Keun Lee, President, Kia Motors Corporation.

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