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27
Oct

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’

Filed under: Car Buying, Audi, Buick, Honda, Kia, Lincoln, Mazda, Porsche, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Ownership

Auto Sales

2014 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability SurveyThe Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year's list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year's list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.

Acura isn't the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker's reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about "in-car electronics" were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.

The biggest offender was Infiniti's InTouch infotainment system on its new Q50, with over 20 percent of owners reporting problems. The QX60 SUV also was dinged on its reliability. Hence, the Japanese brand dropped 14 places in just a year.

Ford has reason to celebrate, though. Lincoln deserves a gold star for the best improvement by moving up 12 spots to take 15th place. Also, improvements to MyFord Touch helped the Blue Oval to jump three places to 23rd position. According to CR, the Explorer had just a 3-percent complaint rate for its infotainment system, versus a peak of 28 percent for the model in years past.

The data in the table above (click to expand) is based on responses to surveys from CR subscribers. The institute claims that 2014 was its largest one yet, with info gathered for over 1.1 million vehicles. Scroll down to read the full press release about the results.

Continue reading Consumer Reports says infotainment systems 'growing first-year reliability plague'

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems 'growing first-year reliability plague' originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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25
Oct

Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview

Filed under: Aftermarket, SEMA Show, Sedan, Performance, Videos, Kia

Kia K900 SEMA Concept

Kia is getting all set for this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and among its vehicles is something that seems pretty mean.

The Korean company is keeping details quiet about what's under the hood of what it calls the High-Performance K900, but from listening to this video it certainly sounds fantastic with quite a meaty growl. There might be some form of forced induction going on, though we can't say for sure. Elsewhere on the car, Kia isn't being so tight-lipped. The High Performance wears a custom shade of gray paint with a one-off body kit, featuring carbon fiber inserts. It also sports 21-inch gloss black wheels and black chrome trim.

Honestly, we were left scratching our head a little when LeBron James signed on to be the "luxury brand ambassador" for the K900. However, if he were driving this around Cleveland, the endorsement might make a little more sense. Check out the video above to glimpse the concept for SEMA, and read the little that Kia is saying about it in the release below.

Continue reading Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview

Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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25
Oct

Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview

Filed under: Aftermarket, SEMA Show, Sedan, Performance, Videos, Kia

Kia K900 SEMA Concept

Kia is getting all set for this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and among its vehicles is something that seems pretty mean.

The Korean company is keeping details quiet about what's under the hood of what it calls the High-Performance K900, but from listening to this video it certainly sounds fantastic with quite a meaty growl. There might be some form of forced induction going on, though we can't say for sure. Elsewhere on the car, Kia isn't being so tight-lipped. The High Performance wears a custom shade of gray paint with a one-off body kit, featuring carbon fiber inserts. It also sports 21-inch gloss black wheels and black chrome trim.

Honestly, we were left scratching our head a little when LeBron James signed on to be the "luxury brand ambassador" for the K900. However, if he were driving this around Cleveland, the endorsement might make a little more sense. Check out the video above to glimpse the concept for SEMA, and read the little that Kia is saying about it in the release below.

Continue reading Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview

Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18
Oct

What you missed on 10.17.14

Filed under: Spy Photos, Kia, Nissan, Toys/Games, Celebrities

uturn

Review: Driveclub for Playstation 4

Every new video game comes to market with high expectations. But a title like Driveclub - set to be the first PS4-exclusive racing game yet, and already delayed by more than a year - has more to achieve than most. We've been playing the socially augmented racer for the last few weeks, and report in with a full review. Do Forza fans have an excuse to jump systems?


Ladies and gents, your 2016 Nissan Maxima

When Nissan showed off its Sport Sedan Concept at the last Detroit Auto Show, hopes were immediately brightened for the next-generation Maxima that it foretold. Now, thanks to some crafty lens-work, or spies in the field have captured concrete evidence that bits of the concept will make it through to production. Get a glimpse of the future, here.



LeBron James to rep Kia K900

When one thinks about vehicles that all-world pro basketball players drive, names like Range Rover, Mercedes and even Cadillac Escalade come to mind. The Kia K900... not so much. So consider how surprising it was to learn that the best baller in the NBA drove Kia's flagship, even before he got the gig repping it. Find out why King James is such a fan of sensible luxury.


Top Stories Ford Focus RS ready to make our hot hatch dreams real Watch Jimmy Kimmel become an Uber driver for an afternoon Honda accused of not reporting all airbag problems

What you missed on 10.17.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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17
Oct

LeBron James to rep Kia K900

Filed under: Sedan, Marketing/Advertising, Kia, Celebrities, Luxury

LeBron James 2015 Kia K900

"I was a Kia K900 driver and fan before we decided to become partners, so I'm really excited to be Kia's first-ever luxury ambassador." - LeBron James

LeBron James is taking his talents to Kia.

The 10-time NBA all-star has signed on with the Korean automaker as a spokesman for Kia's first luxury sedan, the 2015 K900. While the move isn't as shocking as his 2010 defection from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat (he re-signed with the Cavs this summer), it has raised eyebrows, as James is a noted car collector who has owned a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and other high-end models.

Still, James said that he was a fan of the K900 before he signed on as a pitchman. Perhaps telegraphing the upcoming deal, he posted a photo of himself in the car in August, saying: "Rolling around in my K900. Love this car!"

Kia said James reach out to the company to sample the K900. "I was a Kia K900 driver and fan before we decided to become partners, so I'm really excited to be Kia's first-ever luxury ambassador," he said in a statement. He added: "For me, a partnership has to be authentic and real to who I am, and that's what makes this one so special."

Kia is a longtime sponsor of the NBA and serves as its "official automotive partner." In 2009, James received a Kia Borrego for earning MVP honors, though he donated it to the Akron (OH) Urban League.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. James, who will officially be called a "luxury brand ambassador," joins fellow NBA star Blake Griffin, tennis player Rafael Nadal and professional golfer Michelle Wie in Kia's lineup of celebrity endorsers. James will appear in TV advertisements, including a spot called Fit For A King, which launches in November as the NBA season tips off.

Kia hopes the partnership with James will raise the profile of the K900. Though it's expected to be a relatively low-volume car, Kia sold just 56 of them in September and has sold 1,106 units this year. As Kia's flagship, the K900 aspires to compete with sedans from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and others. It offers powerful V6 and V8 engines paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, a luxurious cabin with wood and leather features, and design flourishes like LED lights and a prominent chrome grille. It starts at $59,500.

For more, scroll through Kia's press release down below.

Continue reading LeBron James to rep Kia K900

LeBron James to rep Kia K900 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11
Oct

Kia’s brand perception still painfully lags behind reality

Filed under: Car Buying, Kia

Kia K900

I can't tell you how many times I've been driving with friends or family in a decidedly nice Korean press car, only to have a passenger notice the logo on the steering wheel and exclaim, "Wait... this is a Kia?" For every time I roll my eyes at a story with a lede about how Hyundai "is really gaining momentum these days," I get equally annoyed when people comment on how Kia is finally starting to make decent cars. This is hardly news. The brand has been pumping out really solid stuff for a while now.

But as it turns out, not everyone knows that. According to Ward's Auto, speaking to Kia marketing chief Michael Sprague, the automaker recently placed third-to-last in a recent ALG Brand Perception of Quality study, only besting Suzuki and Smart. Wow.

Ward's notes that Kia recently earned a credible sixth place in J.D. Power & Associates' Initial Quality Study, and yet still fell way behind pretty much every other brand in the ALG study. The Korean automaker's cars have also won numerous awards in recent years, and have generally earned positive reviews from the media, Autoblog included.

So, what is Kia doing to change this? "It's doing ride-and-drives at the auto shows, it's showing up at food-and-wine events with vehicles like the K900," Sprague told Ward's. He also cited the company's growing presence in motorsports, and its major advertising push in recent years as part of its effort to improve its reputation.

After 20 years in the US, you'd think Kia's perception would certainly be higher, but Sprague's Kia indeed has a long road ahead. "When I came into the position six years ago, in my head I thought it was going to be about a five-year period of time to change (Americans' perception of us)," he told Ward's. "And it has changed. But I'd like it to go faster. I haven't gotten everybody yet."

Kia's brand perception still painfully lags behind reality originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 11 Oct 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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9
Oct

Kia GT five-door approved, will tackle A7, Panamera

Filed under: Sedan, Kia, Design/Style, Luxury

Kia GT Concept

Kia might finally be entering the four-door coupe market in the near future with a production version of its GT Concept from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. According to Edmunds, Kia execs at that Paris Motor Show confirmed that the swoopy model finally has been given the green light to go on sale, and that would likely be sometime in 2016 in the US.

Kia would reportedly focus the GT on the US market, but a European version with a diesel is also a possibility. As with the K900 premium sedan, the brand is taking on some established competition with the new model, including the likes of the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera. Judging from the rest of the Korean company's range, an attractive feature for many buyers would likely be a price several grand lower than the challengers in the segment.

"Four-door coupes aren't necessarily sales champs, but right now they are popular, just as the retro theme was the "in thing" 15 years ago," said auto industry analyst Dave Sullivan from AutoPacific to Autoblog. Something like the GT would also help with Kia's increasing focus on improving its design design because it can "make a statement about what your brand stands for."

In concept form, the GT sports a 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 making 389 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque and routes power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Edmunds, the prototype's suicide doors wouldn't make it to production. That's hardly a surprise since they're generally the first thing cut in the transition to the showroom. Hopefully, it's weird, flying buttress air intakes at the front make it to the final form, though.

Rumblings about the GT seeing production go back several years and even include the possibility of wagon and coupe variants. However, anything beyond the four-door coupe version is pure speculation at this point because Kia has to figure out whether it's a success or not first.

Kia GT five-door approved, will tackle A7, Panamera originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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3
Oct

2015 Kia Sorento shows its new face in fashion-forward Paris

Filed under: Paris Motor Show, Crossover, Kia, Diesel

The 2015 Kia Sorento at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

It seems like we've been catching glimpses of the 2015 Sorento for ages now, but Kia has finally revealed the European version of its revised crossover at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

For the latest Sorento, Kia a few of the elements from the Cross GT concept and adapts them for the road. The production model has the brand's familiar mesh grille up front and headlights that wrap around the body with large foglights below. It features a modified version of the concept's swept-back stance that thankfully removes the awkwardness from the original design. Kia says that shaping the latest crossover was truly a global effort with input coming from Korea, Germany and the US.

For Europe, powertrains amount to a trio of four-cylinder engines with a 2.4-liter gasoline unit with 185 horsepower, a 2.0-liter diesel with 182 hp and 2.2-liter diesel with 197 hp. They're all available with a six-speed automatic, and a six-speed manual is offered on the petrol mill and 2.2-liter oil-burner.

Both five- and seven-seat variants are both available in Europe, but the exterior dimensions are the same either way. The new model grows by about 3.7 inches overall with roughly three inches more wheelbase. All of the extra length translates to more room to haul stuff inside with Kia claiming over 17 percent more cargo room than before with the third row folded down, plus new under-floor storage compartment.

Kia is definitely showing a big focus on styling and design for the new Sorento. With the crossover market getting so packed, every model has to find some way to stand out from the crowd. Scroll down to read the company's full announcement.

Continue reading 2015 Kia Sorento shows its new face in fashion-forward Paris

2015 Kia Sorento shows its new face in fashion-forward Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 03 Oct 2014 05:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2
Oct

2015 Kia Rio freshens up for France

Filed under: Budget, Europe, Hatchback, Kia

2015 Kia Rio at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

We've always felt that the current-generation Rio is styled with European flair, so good on Kia for showing its refreshed new look here at the Paris Motor Show.

The B-segment hatchback's aggressive looks get modestly more so for the new model year, with a revamped tiger nose grille and new light fixtures, along with a pair of hash marks in the fog lamp area. To us, the current car, introduced for 2012, still looks quite fresh, but we like the subtly new light fixtures and suite of new wheel designs.

Interior highlights include a rationalized center stack with updated audio and navigation systems, revised cloth on EX models and additional brightwork around the air vents.

Mechanically, the European-spec Rio will offer a range of four engines ranging from 74 to 108 horsepower and benefit from an available stop/start system to maximize fuel economy. We're not sure if the latter technology will be available in our market, but we fully expect the North American model to continue with its 1.6-liter Gamma four, which in the 2014 model generates 138 hp and 123 lb-ft and is paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.

The updated Sohari, Korea-built Rio goes on sale in Europe early next year as a 2015 model. For our part, we've reached out to Kia Motors America to find out if and when North American customers can expect to see these exterior and cabin upgrades, and will update this story when we hear more. In the meantime, check out our high-res gallery above and the official press release below.

Continue reading 2015 Kia Rio freshens up for France

2015 Kia Rio freshens up for France originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 14:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30
Sep

Kia bringing updated Rio, Venga to Paris

Filed under: Budget, Minivan/Van, Europe, Paris Motor Show, Hatchback, Kia

2015 Kia Rio

The Rio may not be the most popular Kia in the United States - not by a long shot - but it was the brand's top seller globally last year. Little wonder, then, that although the current fourth-generation model was only introduced in 2011, the Korean automaker is already rolling out a facelifted version.

Set to be revealed later this week at the Paris Motor Show, the 2015 Kia Rio has been updated inside, out and under the hood. The front end gets a new grille, bumper and foglights, there's a new bumper around back, and a fresh array of alloy wheels ranging in size from 15 inches to 17. There are also two new colors on offer, and the interior has been updated with a new center stack and chrome trim.

Powertrain options depend on local market demands but range from 74 horsepower to 107, driving the front wheels through a five- or six-speed manual or four-speed automatic and available with stop/start ignition. The updates were announced for the European-spec model; we're waiting for confirmation on what, if any, of these revisions will reach US showrooms, so watch this space.

While it's at it, Kia has also revealed an updated Venga, the mini-minivan based on the same platform as the Kia Soul and Hyundai i20, introduced in Europe five years ago. Scope out the full details of both models in the press releases below.

Continue reading Kia bringing updated Rio, Venga to Paris

Kia bringing updated Rio, Venga to Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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