Spy Shots: Next-generation Kia Sorento snapped undergoing testing

Filed under: Spy Photos, Crossover, Kia

Kia Sorento Spy Shots

Kia has been busy – a refreshed Sorento just arrived in showrooms for the 2014 model year and the Korean manufacturer is already out undergoing advanced testing in the next-generation model. How, pray tell, do we know how far along testing is? Notice any cladding, or coverings, aside from the regular vinyl camo? Right.

Our predictive talents aside, there are still a lot of questions about the next Sorento. We don’t have much to go on with the technical specs, although we’ll be thunderstruck if there isn’t some form of the Hyundai/Kia 2.0-liter turbo under hood. Our spies report that this new model is somewhat larger than the current Sorento, hinting that it might be riding atop the same platform as the long-wheelbase Hyundai Santa Fe. That could indicate an available V6 model, as well. Judging by the profile views, we’d bet our bottom dollar this is a three-row model.

The conflicting nature of a refreshed Sorento hitting dealers and an advanced prototype out testing in Europe makes it difficult to pin down a date for the third-generation CUV’s debut. We doubt we’ll be seeing the new Sorento before the end of the year – a 2014 debut with a 2015 on-sale date just seems more likely in light of the newness of the refreshed model.

Next-generation Kia Sorento snapped undergoing testing originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Next-generation Kia Sorento snapped undergoing testing

Filed under: Spy Photos, Crossover, Kia

Kia Sorento Spy Shots

Kia has been busy – a refreshed Sorento just arrived in showrooms for the 2014 model year and the Korean manufacturer is already out undergoing advanced testing in the next-generation model. How, pray tell, do we know how far along testing is? Notice any cladding, or coverings, aside from the regular vinyl camo? Right.

Our predictive talents aside, there are still a lot of questions about the next Sorento. We don’t have much to go on with the technical specs, although we’ll be thunderstruck if there isn’t some form of the Hyundai/Kia 2.0-liter turbo under hood. Our spies report that this new model is somewhat larger than the current Sorento, hinting that it might be riding atop the same platform as the long-wheelbase Hyundai Santa Fe. That could indicate an available V6 model, as well. Judging by the profile views, we’d bet our bottom dollar this is a three-row model.

The conflicting nature of a refreshed Sorento hitting dealers and an advanced prototype out testing in Europe makes it difficult to pin down a date for the third-generation CUV’s debut. We doubt we’ll be seeing the new Sorento before the end of the year – a 2014 debut with a 2015 on-sale date just seems more likely in light of the newness of the refreshed model.

Next-generation Kia Sorento snapped undergoing testing originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Exclusive: Kia Track’ster still on table, Soul turbo possible

Filed under: Concept Cars, Plants/Manufacturing, Hatchback

2012 Kia Track'ster concept live at Chicago Auto Show

The Soul is a massive success – no news there.

We’ve just finished up in San Diego at the launch of the 2014 Kia Soul (sit tight for our First Drive next week), and we’ve learned a few things about the Korean automaker’s box-car future.

In the main, the Soul is a massive success – no news there – with Kia officials telling us that the US is gobbling up 80 to 90 percent of production coming out of the company’s Gwangju plant. Counterintuitively, it’s doing so well that its demand is actually hurting the viability of potential spinoff models like the 2012 Track’ster concept shown above, along with other variants. The issue is production capacity – or rather a lack thereof. In 2012, the Soul sold 112,000 copies here (its best-ever performance) and Michael Sprague, Kia’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, says “we could have sold a lot more.” The problem is, Kia Motors America can’t get any more units, the factory is running flat-out. Thus, with the standard car selling so well, there’s no room and little incentive to develop new models.

Response to the widebody Track’ster was off the charts.

That isn’t going to stop Kia from coming to market with a Soul EV, which is expected to be shown at a US auto show some time this upcoming season, but it is making it hard to justify adding something like the Track’ster or a Soul turbo. This, despite company officials telling Autoblog that they’d love to see the 201-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo from the recently introduced 2014 Forte SX snugged in the Soul’s engine bay. The engine fits and the new K platform is up to the task, but there’s also the question of price – Executive Director of Product Planning, Orth Hedrick, tells us that such a model would likely have to cost around $2,500 more, and the automaker isn’t sure they want the Soul’s pricing bandwidth to extend that high, especially with the turbocharged Sportage already available.

Sprague admits response to the widebody Track’ster was off the charts and the project is still very much on the table, but to hear him tell it, the model sounds unlikely as long as the Soul continues to be capacity constrained. Reading between the lines a bit, it would seem that if US demand continues to be as robust as it has been, Kia is going to have to find a way to build the Soul in North America soon – possibly by expanding its West Point, Georgia plant, which is itself maxxed out building the Optima and Sorento. Given how long it would take to build out and tool up West Point, though, it seems like the Track’ster’s window of viability is closing. In the meantime, the buying public will have to be happy with the redone styling of the Track’ster-influenced 2014 Soul.

Kia Track’ster still on table, Soul turbo possible originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Hyundai, Kia and U of M studying ‘highway hypnosis’

Filed under: Safety, Hyundai, Kia

Female car driver is yawning

Next up on the hot-button list of things that can kill you behind the wheel: “highway hypnosis.” That’s the zombie-like, autopilot phase you get into on a long highway drive when there isn’t much to distract you, like curves or traffic. Digging further into what it is and how to combat it, Hyundai-Kia engineers and the University of Michigan are commencing a study that will measure brainwave activity in order to track the body’s slide into highway hypnosis.

We’re not sure how much overlap this has with Mercedes-Benz’s Attention Assist, which tracks more than 70 in-car parameters to determine when you’re not focused on the road anymore. That system is billed as an alarm against fatigue, in our experience it does more than that – if you use your phone while driving, for instance, it will chirp.

They don’t know what form a warning system will take yet, but Hyundai-Kia plans to develop a method for warning drivers when they being to zone out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than three thousand deaths and nearly 400,000 injuries due to distracted driving in 2011.

Hyundai, Kia and U of M studying ‘highway hypnosis’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Kia Soul priced from $14,700*

Filed under: Car Buying, Budget, Crossover, Kia

2014 Kia Soul

Kia has announced pricing on the refreshed 2014 Soul. At $14,700 (*plus a destination charge of $795), the new funky crossover undercuts its two primary competitors, the Scion xB and Nissan Cube, by $2,850 and $2,060, respectively. That base model includes 16-inch alloys, cruise control, wheel-mounted audio controls and a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque.

The mid-range model, the Soul Plus, demands $18,200 and adds a spate of exterior items, like 17-inch wheels and chrome trim, to class up the Soul’s look, not to mention a 164-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Plus customers also have access to a number of option packages, including a $400 pack that adds Kia’s UVO infotainment system and a backup camera. A $1,400 Audio Package adds navigation, an eight-inch display, an Infinity stereo and automatic temperature controls. A $3,000 Primo Package adds a few notable luxury items, like a panoramic sunroof, heated leather seats, and push-button start. Finally, a $400 Eco Package adds stop-start technology and replaces the 17-inch wheels with 16s shod in low-rolling-resistance tires.

The top-of-the-line Soul Exclaim starts at $20,300 and comes with LED running lights, LED taillights, 18-inch wheels and the Plus’s UVO Package as standard. Buyers can opt for The Whole Shebang, a $2,500 option pack that apes the Primo Package from the Plus. Weirdly, the Audio Package from the Soul Plus is an extra $1,200 on the Exclaim, and has been rebranded the Sun and Sand Package. Feel free to peruse the press release below for more.

Continue reading 2014 Kia Soul priced from $14,700*

2014 Kia Soul priced from $14,700* originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Kia Soul to get quasi-SUV look for Europe [w/poll]

Filed under: Budget, Europe, Crossover, Kia, Design/Style

European 2014 Kia Soul will come standard with a SUV Styling pack that won't be available in the US.

The 2014 Soul is bigger and more refined, and Kia says its look has been inspired in part by the Track’ster concept. Interestingly, European buyers will get the option of a different look than what we’ll see in our showrooms. They’ll be able to specify the SUV Styling Pack seen here, which includes matte-black cladding on the front and rear fascias, along with what Kia refers to as piano-black trim on the wheel wells and side skirts. The roof is available painted black, white or red. With all of that black trim and slightly tougher look, the styling reminds us of the Fiat 500L Trekking, a model the Soul will compete directly against.

European markets also have the ability to spec their Souls like our North American version, which substitutes body-color trim for most of the black pieces. Currently, there are no plans to bring the SUV Styling Pack to the US. But that doesn’t mean we’ll never be able to buy this butch-look Soul on our side of the Atlantic. Company spokesperson James Hope confirms to Autoblog, “[Kia] has no plans to offer something similar to the EU-spec Soul at this time. However, we are always monitoring the market and if we saw an opportunity we would certainly look into it.”

Feel free to peruse the press release below for more details on the Euro-spec Soul – which is slated to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show – and then let Kia know if they should bring the SUV Styling Pack here by participating in our poll below.

View Poll

Continue reading 2014 Kia Soul to get quasi-SUV look for Europe [w/poll]

2014 Kia Soul to get quasi-SUV look for Europe [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: 2014 Kia Soul gets new ‘Totally Transformed’ hamster commercial

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Crossover, Kia, Humor

Kia Hamsters

The lovable, anthropomorphic hamsters from Kia are known for electronic dance music, head bopping, and of course, a certain funktastic Korean box-on-wheels. With a new Soul on the way, the adorable rodents need to be ready to appear alongside the resculpted crossover. Only one thing could get them ready in time – cue the training montage.

The commercial, called Totally Transformed, features Lady Gaga playing in the background, along with gratuitous footage of the hamsters shedding some weight. The Kia designers also get some attention, as they’re hard at work designing the hamsters’ new ride. Take a look below for the full, 91-second spot.

Continue reading 2014 Kia Soul gets new ‘Totally Transformed’ hamster commercial

2014 Kia Soul gets new ‘Totally Transformed’ hamster commercial originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Aug 2013 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kia recalls 9,700 new Sorento models for potential front axle failures

Filed under: Government/Legal, Recalls, Safety, Crossover, Kia

2014 Kia Sorento

Kia has announced a recall on the 2014 Sorento due to an issue that could lead to a broken right front driveshaft on certain models. Only models equipped with the 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive are affected by the campaign.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that Sorento models built between January 7 through March 12 of this year may experience broken axle shafts that could lead to loss of power or cause the vehicle to roll if parked. According to the Detroit Free Press, a total of close to 9,700 units are being recalled, but that number is closer to 9,300 for customers in the US.

Kia says that it has had one incident with an internal vehicle that experienced a separated axle shaft in addition to 10 related warranty claims, but it says no accidents or injuries have been reported. The recall campaign will begin next month. Scroll down for the NHTSA recall notice as well as an official statement from Kia.

Continue reading Kia recalls 9,700 new Sorento models for potential front axle failures

Kia recalls 9,700 new Sorento models for potential front axle failures originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 15:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Kia teases B-segment concept headed to Frankfurt

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Kia, Design/Style

Kia Concept Frankfurt Motor Show

It’s not uncommon to see an automaker go a little outside of its comfort zone when creating a concept car, but Kia seems to be going all out for a new small concept it plans to unveil at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Although there is not much information to go on about this unnamed concept, Kia does say that it “hints at a possible future B-segment contender.”

With headlights that would look at home on a C7 Corvette or Jaguar F-Type and door cut lines reminiscent of a Ford GT, we can only imagine how sporty this car will look in the flesh. The wide door openings also give a good glimpse inside the car revealing details deep, flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters and the peculiar rotary-style shifter, but our attention is on the instrument panel switches. If you look closely, the second switch from the left seems to be for a center differential possibly hinting at a future sporty all-wheel-drive Kia. Yes, please! Scroll down for the brief press release on the car, and stay tuned for more info as we’ll be on hand covering the show next month.

Continue reading Kia teases B-segment concept headed to Frankfurt

Kia teases B-segment concept headed to Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Kia Hotbots come back out to play with 2014 Forte

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Kia

Kia Hotbot ad

Kia is bringing back its so-called “hotbots,” the slightly disturbing female robots that traipse about the uncanny valley while hustling the new Forte and “respecting the tech,” for three new, humorous animated spots.

The Hotbots first debuted during Kia’s latest Super Bowl spot, which followed the debut of the 2014 Forte sedan at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. Each new spot follows the premise of the two originals, with the hotbots protecting the Forte while the oblivious owner stands by. Take a look at all three ads below, along with the two originals that kicked the series off.

Continue reading Kia Hotbots come back out to play with 2014 Forte

Kia Hotbots come back out to play with 2014 Forte originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 Aug 2013 13:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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