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 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 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 bucks trend and records sales increase

June 24th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s new-look model range is catching on with buyers around the world, with sales increasing in a number of markets.

Against the general trend, Kia Motors has recorded an 11.5% increase in international sales in May and for the year to date its sales are now up by 0.5%. Almost every other car maker is continuing to lose sales as economic woes persist.

The success comes on the back of the introduction of new designs, led by the Kia Soul cross-over and Kia Cerato sedan. The new Cerato is only just going on sale now in the world’s largest market, the US.

By region, Kia posted a year-on-year sales increase of 51.3% in China, 44% increase in Korea and a 13% increase in general markets during May. Year-to-date Kia is already ahead of 2008 with 590,934 sales international, led by general markets (up 17%) and the Korean home market (up 14.2%).

Sales of the new Cerato have only just started in most countries, but it is already Kia’s best-selling model for 2009 with 95,883 units, followed by the B-segment Rio. And while 4×4 sales have dropped significantly for other manufacturers, Kia’s recreational vehicles, which include the Sportage and Sorento, achieved an increase of 24.6% during May.

Here in NZ, the new Soul and Cerato are also just starting to make their presence felt, helping Kia to achieve a market share in excess of 4% in May, it’s best result ever. The Kia Carnival also continues to be the best-selling MPV in New Zealand.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the new designs created by chief designer Peter Screyer are definitely paying off, with more buyers now expressing interest in purchasing a Kia.

“We are seeing more people coming into Kia showrooms to see our new models and it is only going to get better from here as Kia continues to introduce a wave of new cars in the coming months,” he says.

Meanwhile, the growing strength of Kia has seen a number of Saab dealers in Sweden approach the Korean company to add the brand to their showrooms. Three Swedish Saab dealers have already signed up and a number of others are expected to follow.

And in the UK, Kia dealers have been surprised by the type of cars that British motorists are wishing to trade on brand new Kias under the Government’s Cash For Clunkers scheme. They report that some Mercedes, Porsche and Jaguar owners have been scrapping their older motors in favour of the Kia Picanto mini car, with their old cars being crushed.

Collectively, British Kia dealers have traded two Porsches, five Jaguars, 53 Mercedes and 30 BMWs since the Government began its scrappage scheme in May. Under the scheme owners get £2,000 (NZ$5200) for their old cars, with 75% of motorists opting for the Picanto, which cost them just £4,195 (NZ$10,900) including the grant.

One Kia dealer refused to accept a classic Singer under the scheme because he didn’t want to see it destroyed, but he helped the lady owner sell it so she could buy a new Picanto.

We recently road tested the new Kia Soul. Click here to check out the review.

Kia bucks trend and records sales increase

June 24th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s new-look model range is catching on with buyers around the world, with sales increasing in a number of markets.

Against the general trend, Kia Motors has recorded an 11.5% increase in international sales in May and for the year to date its sales are now up by 0.5%. Almost every other car maker is continuing to lose sales as economic woes persist.

The success comes on the back of the introduction of new designs, led by the Kia Soul cross-over and Kia Cerato sedan. The new Cerato is only just going on sale now in the world’s largest market, the US.

By region, Kia posted a year-on-year sales increase of 51.3% in China, 44% increase in Korea and a 13% increase in general markets during May. Year-to-date Kia is already ahead of 2008 with 590,934 sales international, led by general markets (up 17%) and the Korean home market (up 14.2%).

Sales of the new Cerato have only just started in most countries, but it is already Kia’s best-selling model for 2009 with 95,883 units, followed by the B-segment Rio. And while 4×4 sales have dropped significantly for other manufacturers, Kia’s recreational vehicles, which include the Sportage and Sorento, achieved an increase of 24.6% during May.

Here in NZ, the new Soul and Cerato are also just starting to make their presence felt, helping Kia to achieve a market share in excess of 4% in May, it’s best result ever. The Kia Carnival also continues to be the best-selling MPV in New Zealand.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the new designs created by chief designer Peter Screyer are definitely paying off, with more buyers now expressing interest in purchasing a Kia.

“We are seeing more people coming into Kia showrooms to see our new models and it is only going to get better from here as Kia continues to introduce a wave of new cars in the coming months,” he says.

Meanwhile, the growing strength of Kia has seen a number of Saab dealers in Sweden approach the Korean company to add the brand to their showrooms. Three Swedish Saab dealers have already signed up and a number of others are expected to follow.

And in the UK, Kia dealers have been surprised by the type of cars that British motorists are wishing to trade on brand new Kias under the Government’s Cash For Clunkers scheme. They report that some Mercedes, Porsche and Jaguar owners have been scrapping their older motors in favour of the Kia Picanto mini car, with their old cars being crushed.

Collectively, British Kia dealers have traded two Porsches, five Jaguars, 53 Mercedes and 30 BMWs since the Government began its scrappage scheme in May. Under the scheme owners get £2,000 (NZ$5200) for their old cars, with 75% of motorists opting for the Picanto, which cost them just £4,195 (NZ$10,900) including the grant.

One Kia dealer refused to accept a classic Singer under the scheme because he didn’t want to see it destroyed, but he helped the lady owner sell it so she could buy a new Picanto.

We recently road tested the new Kia Soul. Click here to check out the review.

Page 1 of 212