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18
Dec

A car writer’s year in new vehicles [w/video]

Filed under: Budget, Performance, Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, GM, Honda, Jaguar, Kia, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Subaru, Volkswagen, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Diesel, Luxury, Fiat, Autoblog Black



I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I'd never done before.

Christmas is only a week away. The New Year is just around the corner. As 2014 draws to a close, I'm not the only one taking stock of the year that's we're almost shut of.

Depending on who you are or what you do, the end of the year can bring to mind tax bills, school semesters or scheduling dental appointments. For me, for the last eight or nine years, at least a small part of this transitory time is occupied with recalling the cars I've driven over the preceding 12 months.

Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I've done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I've been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures.

Armed with this basic data and a yen for year-end stories, I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I'd never done before. The results are, well, they're a little bizarre, honestly. And I think they'll affect how I approach this gig in 2015.

Continue reading A car writer's year in new vehicles [w/video]

A car writer's year in new vehicles [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18
Dec

2016 Kia Sorento

Filed under: Crossover, Kia, First Drives

2016 Kia Sorento

Teenagers are awkward, predictably provocative and generally horrible to be around - at least unless you, yourself are one. There's just something about those angst-ridden years spent trying on identities, none fitting quite right. Luckily for Kia, the automaker has just celebrated its 20th birthday in America, and fresh out of the driver's seat of its 2016 Sorento - dare we say it - we sense a touch of self-assured maturity. Don't worry; we expect the automaker's antics - including super-freak athletes jumping over an Optima at the NBA All-Star game and the employment of urban hamsters - to continue. Thankfully, offering unremarkable vehicles in pretty competitive segments seems officially a thing of Kia's history e-book.

To be fair, we've seen a pleasing Korean Renaissance for a few years now, and we're not just talking hot pots and bulgogi - 2015 Hyundai Genesis, anyone? Kia Optima SX? Soul? So where exactly does this third-gen 2016 Sorento fit in? Actually, we're not sure Kia knows that either; its product planners tell us that this miraculous crossover competes with variously sized vehicles including the compact Jeep Cherokee, markedly larger Grand Cherokee, and even the family-hauling three-row Toyota Highlander. But Kia is also not completely off its rocker, because the Sorento suffers (benefits?) from severe bipolar disorder in terms of pricing. While you can get a base L model for $25,795 after delivery - there are five trim levels including L, LX, EX, SX, and top-of-the-line SXL - the fancy SXL 2.0T with all-wheel drive we tested was priced at $45,305. That's a difference of almost $20k, with the latter model reaches a completely different, almost premium demographic.

And there's more. Sometimes the Sorento seats five, other times it can party hard with seven. There are three very different engine flavors to choose from: a carryover 2.4-liter four-cylinder will greet entry-level buyers with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. A meatier V6 - good for 290 hp and 252 lb-ft - will come on three-row models only, while the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four option, good for 240 horses and 260 lb-ft comes on two-row models exclusively.

Continue reading 2016 Kia Sorento

2016 Kia Sorento originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24
Nov

Hyundai and Kia to hit record 8M sales for 2014

Filed under: Hyundai, Kia, Earnings/Financials

The logo of Hyundai Motors display durin

Hyundai and Kia are on a sales charge in 2014, and parent company Hyundai Motor Group is increasing projections to a record eight million combined units for the automakers by the end of the year - a bump over the original target of 7.86 million vehicles.

According to Bloomberg, the key to the growth is beating expectations in Brazil, China and India, and strong crossover sales are also helping the bottom line. In the US, both automakers are doing well this year. In October, Hyundai saw a six percent dip in monthly sales, but through the first 10 months it sold 607,539 vehicles, compared to 601,773 at this point last year. Kia has done even better with 489,711 units sold from January to October, versus 456,137 for the period in 2013.

The good news is a welcome antidote to negative headlines like investors' anger over Hyundai's $10 billion land purchase in Seoul, South Korea. The two automakers also had to pay a $300 million penalty to the Environmental Protection Agency for misstating fuel economy on some models.

While sales may reach a new record, profits might not grow as much with them. The strong Korean won means that Hyundai and Kia have a tougher time keeping up profit margins compared to Japanese competitors with a weaker yen.

Hyundai and Kia to hit record 8M sales for 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24
Nov

Kia Sorento bares its claws for X-Men special edition

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Crossover, Kia, TV/Movies

Kia Sorento X-Men Edition

We all know what Batman drives. Chrysler even postulated at what Superman would drive with its special Ram Power Wagon. But what would the X-Men drive? According to Kia, the Sorento you see here.

Unveiled to promote the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, this special Sorento has been done up in a unique livery inspired by one of Marvel's superheroes. Just which one, Kia's not saying, inviting fans to vote on its Facebook page - but unless those claws on the front are magnetized, we're pretty sure you can guess.

The special Kia Sorento will be displayed at the Australian Open, which Kia is also sponsoring, and will be followed by a video of tennis star Rafael Nadal teaming up with the team of mutants and jumping in the Sorento to take on a patrol of Sentinels.

This isn't the first time, of course, that we've seen Kia take inspiration from comic-book superheroes, but its previous collaborations - highlighted by a quintet of show cars unveiled at SEMA two years ago - were with rival DC's Justice League.

Continue reading Kia Sorento bares its claws for X-Men special edition

Kia Sorento bares its claws for X-Men special edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19
Nov

Kia KX3 crossover concept leaked

Filed under: Concept Cars, China, Crossover, Kia, Misc. Auto Shows

Kia KX35 Concept

Despite all the focus on the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, there's another increasingly important event happening on the other side of the planet. The Guangzho Motor Show is yet another expression of China's growing automotive might. Not only does the show boast a concurrent introduction with the LA Auto Show, in the form of the Mercedes-Maybach S600, but it has at least one exclusive item, with the Kia KX3 Concept.

Looking like a Soul mixed with a Sportage, the KX3 heralds the arrival of a production model based on the Hyundai ix35, known here in the US as the Hyundai Tucson. Whether that model will make Stateside, though, is another story.

If it does, World Car Fans claims it will be with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 1.6-liter turbocharged four, both of which should be familiar to Hyundai/Kia shoppers. While WCF says there will be a manual-transmission option, we shouldn't count on any gearbox beyond a dual-clutch automatic.

We'll have more on the KX3 Concept when it makes its official debut in China.

Kia KX3 crossover concept leaked originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15
Nov

Kia sold 123 North American Soul EVs in October

Filed under: Green, Kia, United States, Electric

How happy were those Kia hamsters last month? We're guessing they were pretty pleased, because reports are out that the South Korean automaker sold 123 Kia Soul electric vehicles in North America during the model's first month of sales on the continent. Now crank up that funky music.

Kia sold 123 North American Soul EVs in October originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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12
Nov

Hyundai, Kia announce buyback plan for angry Korean investors

Filed under: Hyundai, Kia, South Korea

Policemen walk past a logo of Hyundai mo

Hyundai's controversial decision last September to move its Korean headquarters to an expansive (and expensive) new facility was met with a swift backlash by shareholders. After making the biggest land purchase in South Korean history, the company's share price took a nine-point nose dive.

Now, in a bid to get back in the good graces of its stockholders, Hyundai and its subsidiary, Kia, will make a $615-million stock buyback plan. Reuters claims this is the first time in ten years that Hyundai has made a buyback offer with the explicit purpose of pumping up share prices.

The total deal bumped up Hyundai's share prices 5.7 percent while Kia is up two percent, although neither company has fully recovered from the battering that followed the headquarters announcement. It's unclear what else it will take for Hyundai to recover the ground it lost during the land deal.

Hyundai, Kia announce buyback plan for angry Korean investors originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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8
Nov

Hyundai, Kia want to improve fuel economy by 25 percent

Filed under: Green, Hyundai, Kia, Manufacturing/Plants

Hyundai and sister company Kia are giving themselves a little bit of time to make up a lot of ground in the fight for better fuel economy. We wonder if a recent multi-million fine might have something to do with this public target.

Hyundai, Kia want to improve fuel economy by 25 percent originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 08 Nov 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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8
Nov

Weekly Recap: Kia forges fresh identity with LeBron James, racing and a luxury car

Filed under: Motorsports, SEMA Show, Marketing/Advertising, Chrysler, Jaguar, Kia, Design/Style, Luxury, Fiat

Lebron James 2015 Kia K900

"The truth of the matter is we have some pretty damn good quality." - Michael Sprague

Kia is on pace to post it best-ever sales year in the United States, yet executives admit the company is still hampered by the lingering memories of its old products, which were often viewed as cheap and unreliable.

"Quality continues to be an issue for us from a perception standpoint - not from a reality standpoint," said Michael Sprague, Kia's executive vice president of sales and marketing.

For emphasis he added: "The truth of the matter is we have some pretty damn good quality."

Scores from J.D. Power and others bear this out, though Kia is still frustrated that public perception has lagged. This has led to a number of high profile - and expensive - efforts to change the hearts and minds of consumers, including signing NBA mega star LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers as a spokesman. James, a noted car aficionado, is being used to pitch the K900, Kia's first luxury sedan. Though the K900 isn't expected to generate a large sales volume, Kia hopes the V8-powered, rear-wheel drive luxury car will burnish the brand's image.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Kia forges fresh identity with LeBron James, racing and a luxury car

Weekly Recap: Kia forges fresh identity with LeBron James, racing and a luxury car originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 08 Nov 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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8
Nov

Weekly Recap: Kia forges fresh identity with LeBron James, racing and a luxury car

Filed under: Motorsports, SEMA Show, Marketing/Advertising, Chrysler, Jaguar, Kia, Design/Style, Luxury, Fiat

Lebron James 2015 Kia K900

"The truth of the matter is we have some pretty damn good quality." - Michael Sprague

Kia is on pace to post it best-ever sales year in the United States, yet executives admit the company is still hampered by the lingering memories of its old products, which were often viewed as cheap and unreliable.

"Quality continues to be an issue for us from a perception standpoint - not from a reality standpoint," said Michael Sprague, Kia's executive vice president of sales and marketing.

For emphasis he added: "The truth of the matter is we have some pretty damn good quality."

Scores from J.D. Power and others bear this out, though Kia is still frustrated that public perception has lagged. This has led to a number of high profile - and expensive - efforts to change the hearts and minds of consumers, including signing NBA mega star LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers as a spokesman. James, a noted car aficionado, is being used to pitch the K900, Kia's first luxury sedan. Though the K900 isn't expected to generate a large sales volume, Kia hopes the V8-powered, rear-wheel drive luxury car will burnish the brand's image.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Kia forges fresh identity with LeBron James, racing and a luxury car

Weekly Recap: Kia forges fresh identity with LeBron James, racing and a luxury car originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 08 Nov 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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