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 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 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” »

Kia Optima goes on sale in NZ at $46,990

March 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Kia Optima has just gone on sale in New Zealand, is certainly a striking looking sedan.

Chief designer Peter Schreyer had a lot to say about the new model, “With the new Optima, we have created a product that people previously would not have expected from Kia and that’s exactly what we set out to achieve!” said Schreyer of the mid-large sedan.

The distinct lines of the new Optima have been well received overseas and Kia Motors is hoping for a similar reception here in New Zealand.

“It is fair to say that there has been more international comment passed on the new Optima than any other Kia model in the past – all of it highly favourable,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand. “In-line with international trends we are expecting a huge demand for the new Optima which may put pressure on our ability to deliver in New Zealand.”

Under the bonnet the new Optima boasts advanced GDI technology in the new 2.4-litre Theta II engine that delivers the power of a V6 with the economy of a four cylinder.

The new 11.3:1 high compression 2.4-litre Theta II GDI unit introduces gasoline direct injection for the first time under the bonnet of a Kia model, power is increased by 11.6% and torque by 8.2% to 148kW @ 6300rpm and 250Nm @ 4250rpm respectively. Continue reading “Kia Optima goes on sale in NZ at $46,990” »

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.

Continue reading “Kia launches Cerato hatchback in New Zealand” »

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.

Continue reading “2011 Kia Sportage officially unveiled for NZ” »

New Kia Optima coming to NZ late 2010

April 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Kia Motors has confirmed that the all-new replacement for the current Magentis large family sedan will be known as the Optima when it arrives in New Zealand later this year.

“The name change is in line with the international profile of this car and suits the New Zealand market since Optima is a name that has been used before and is recognised here,” says Mr Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

“The all new dynamic design makes Optima one of the best looking cars in its class. Our Dealers are already receiving considerable numbers of enquiries from potential customers, along with increased attention from our key customers as we anticipate the arrival of the Optima in the fourth quarter of 2010.”

Unveiled at the recent New York Auto Show, the next generation Optima is a 4-door sedan that continues Kia’s design-led transformation of its product line-up, conveying elegance and athletic confidence from every angle.

Designed at Kia’s studios in Frankfurt and Irvine, California, the all-new Optima is longer, wider and lower than the vehicle it replaces and is based on an all-new mid-size platform that allowed creation of distinctive dimensions and proportions while providing a unique canvas for Kia’s global design team to create a vehicle that stands apart from everything else in its segment.

The Optima will be available with a range of fuel-efficient petrol engines including a 207kW (278hp) 2.0-litre GDI turbo engine that delivers V6 power in a four- cylinder package. A newly developed 2.4-litre hybrid and all-new 1.7-litre VGT turbo diesel will also be available.

All transmissions on the new Optima, both manual and automatic, have six speeds with the automatic gearbox featuring Sportmatic clutchless shifting.

Safety features designed into the new Optima are geared towards achieving a 5-star rating in key European, US and Australian crash tests.

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