Monthly Archives: January 2015

Experts weigh in on the upgraded Kia Cadenza with first test drives and reviews

The upgraded Kia Cadenza, which made its North American debut at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, has been making headlines as of late. We wanted to post some test drives and reviews by automotive experts over the past week and share what they have to say about our luxury sedan.

The Cadenza moves the Kia brand further up market by offering customers an impressive list of standard and optional equipment that takes in-car technology and premium features to an entirely new level.

But don’t take our word for it – be sure to check it out for yourself when it’s available in your area, and tell us what you think.

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2014 Kia Cadenza, with features galore, challenges premium sedans

“Buyers looking for a roomy sedan with a lot of luxury features get a new choice this year, and it’s a good-looking, well-powered, impressively mannered four door with a Kia badge on the front.”
“With one engine — a 293-horsepower V-6 — the Cadenza offers more power than the Avalon and the base LaCrosse engine, too.”

Read more: 2014 Kia Cadenza, with features galore, challenges premium sedans – Washington Post – Bruce Benedict/Associated Press

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2014 Kia Cadenza Test Drive

“Sleek and quietly stylish, the Cadenza occupies a new position in the Kia lineup as the company’s first-ever entry luxury sedan. Based on the midsize Optima front-drive sedan architecture, the Cadenza is bigger, roomier, and decidedly posh.”

Read more: 2014 Kia Cadenza Test Drive – Popular Mechanics

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2014 Kia Cadenza first drive from Consumer Reports

“The large Kia Cadenza serves up lots of luxury features at a likable price. Like other Kias, the styling is modern and attractive. First impressions are that the Cadenza is pleasant to drive.”

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The Cadenza proves Kia can do luxury

“Driving the 2014 Kia Cadenza, I contemplated the older-model Mercedes-Benz E320 sitting in front of me, and realized that the Kia had a much better cabin.”

“The thought of comparing Kia favorably with Mercedes-Benz was unheard of 10 years ago.”

“Issues of used versus new aside, this Cadenza’s leather-wrapped steering wheel felt excellent in my hands, while wood trim around the cabin had the substantial look of furniture. And I don’t usually like glossy wood trim. Soft-touch materials covered the dashboard, and the plastic parts had a nice finish that was decidedly un-plasticky.”

Note: The model specifications and trim levels reviewed above are for the North American market. Please stay tuned or contact us for specifications and availability in your market.

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Review on all-new Carens/Rondo

Kia Rondo

The all new Kia Carens (Also known as Rondo in some markets) with a fresh look from the ground up with its sleek design changes made a grand world debut at the Paris Motor Show 2012. We’ve been emphasizing the new Carens’ functionality and spaciousness enough, let’s hear what some of the major automotive reviews had to say about it.

National Post

2014 Kia Rondo a roomy family mover with big style upgrades

“The Rondo is going to find many new fans because it is the antithesis of a minivan. It is attractive, it delivers a superior, almost sporty, drive and it has all the desirable creature comforts for less coin than its key competitors”
Read more: 2014 Kia Rondo a roomy family mover with big style upgrades – Graeme Fletcher

Auto Express

Kia Carens 2 1.7 CRDi

“Family buyers will love the new Kia Carens – it looks great, feels robust inside and is good value. The compact dimensions and light controls make it easy to drive, while the seats offer plenty of flexibility and create enough space for demanding families. Add the competitive price tag, and it’s likely to be given serious consideration by compact MPV buyers.”
Read more: Kia Carens 2 1.7 CRDi – Paul Bond

Meet the all-new Carens starring the Croods:

Learn More:

Check out previous BUZZ postings for more information on Kia Carens/Rondo:

Comparison: The Big Test: Compact Sedans

Dodge Dart vs. Honda Civic vs. Kia Forte vs. Mazda3 vs. Nissan Sentra

...we picked the 2014 Kia Forte as the best all-around car here and the winner of this test

According to the old maxim, Americans don't like small cars. We buy trucks by the truckload and midsize sedans more than any other car segment. But because of gas prices, the tough economy, or both, the compact segment is growing. In 2012, it accounted for roughly 13 percent of the U.S. car market, with most entrants registering sales increases over 2011. With frugality in vogue, automakers expect the segment to keep growing during the next several years.

Last year, the Mazda3 went bumper to bumper with the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Volkswagen Jetta in a battle of 40-mpg-capable cars. The Mazda won because we framed the conversation thus: Is there a 40-mpg car you'd want to own? The question was directed at the enthusiast who wants a high-efficiency car that's also fun to drive. In that measure, the Mazda was without question the Goldilocks car. It finished mid-pack on fuel economy, but it was far and away the driver's choice.

Since then, three new pretenders to the throne have arisen, and a fourth made an emergency update to better position it against the competition. More important, we're no longer asking which is the best sports car, but which is the best all-around car for the average consumer. We're looking for the car that offers the best value, content, fuel economy, and safety in addition to performance. It's a whole new ballgame.


Ride and Handling

In claiming its previous victory, the Mazda3 dazzled the judges with its crisp, natural steering feel; responsive, unshakable chassis; and sport sedan handling. It led this competition with the same trump card, at least in the dry. As it happened, rain struck during our evaluation loops, and opinions of the Mazda changed quickly. Those who drove it in the dry were again smitten with its excellent handling on the winding road portion. Those who drove it in the wet, however, told a different tale. Editors found it breaking loose at both ends on wet roads when pushed hard, eroding confidence. One point we all agreed on was the ride quality, which was among the best in the group.

Another car that divided the judges was the Dodge Dart. Opinions were mixed on the thick, meaty steering wheel -- while it felt direct, the steering was surprisingly heavy. Also heavy was the car itself, outweighing the nearest competitor by more than 300 pounds, and it felt heavy from behind the wheel. The Dart threw its heft into a corner, but once the weight transferred, it was a smooth and stable handler. The weight made the car feel planted on the road, but it also hurt the ride quality, though it wasn't the worst in the group.

In terms of ride and handling, the worst was the Nissan Sentra. There wasn't a large difference in ride quality among the group, but the Sentra was at the bottom of the spectrum. Where it really disappointed was in handling. The Sentra received constant complaints of terminal understeer, egregious body roll, and lifeless steering, and it lacked grip. Said associate online editor Karla Sanchez: "This car handled so terribly, I couldn't wait until the loop was over."

…the Kia Forte surprised everyone

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Kia Forte surprised everyone. In general, we've known Kias to have rough rides and elastic-feeling steering, but not this car. The ride was pleasantly firm, almost sporty, and the steering felt naturally weighted and responsive, though it still provided no feedback. Many editors found it the second-most fun car to drive behind the Mazda.

Somewhere in the middle was the Civic. The lightest of the group, it felt that way on the road. Ride quality and handling both fell in the middle of the pack, though the steering took some hits. Editor-in-chief Edward Loh found that the "light steering feels artificial and requires jerky inputs. Initial input doesn't seem to do much, so I kept dialing in more and more steering. Hard to be smooth."


Performance

The Kia surprised us at the track. It was the quickest to 60 mph by half a second and stopped the shortest from the same speed by 2 feet. On our skidpad, it put up respectable grip numbers and was the quickest around our figure-eight course. Out in the real world, we found the power strong compared with the rest of the group, and the transmission shifted quickly and smoothly and seemed to never select the wrong gear.

Less surprising was the poor showing from the Sentra. It was the slowest to reach 60 mph and needed the longest distance to stop. The car also was slow to accelerate and lacked brake bite. The primary culprit in drivetrain complaints was the continuously variable transmission, which all agreed was slow to respond and then provided insufficient additional leverage when it did. Despite its poor handling on the road and lowest average g on the figure-eight test, the Sentra did manage to tie the Dart for the highest average g on the skidpad.

The Dart was a disappointment. Its raspy exhaust and turbocharged engine seemed to promise performance, but its jog to 60 mph fell right in the middle of the pack, as did its stopping distance. As noted above, it posted the highest average g on the skidpad and the figure eight, but tied the Mazda for second in figure-eight lap time. Where the Dart really fell down was in everyday driving. The dual-clutch transmission was jerky and often seemed confused in automatic mode, whether dicing in the city or carving a canyon. The only remedy was to manually shift using the gear stick, which delivered fairly quick and crisp shifts, though it upshifted automatically at redline.

We were likewise disappointed in the Civic. The engine felt weak at low rpm, but like the Sentra, the fault lies squarely with the transmission. The aging five-speed gearbox was slow to shift and had no manual mode. This carried over to the track, where it was the second slowest to 60 mph and the slowest around the figure eight. Its low curb weight contributed to the second shortest stopping distance, but it posted mid-pack average g numbers.

The Mazda3 was a curiosity rather than a disappointment. Despite its stellar dry performance on the road, it didn't post the big numbers at the track. It was the second quickest to 60 mph and around the figure eight, but dead last on the skidpad. It also finished third in braking. Somehow, though, it all came together on real-world roads, making the Mazda3 the clear driver's favorite.


Effiency

The two cars with the most overt technological approaches to fuel efficiency performed the poorest. An accelerating trend in the automotive industry today is to replace a larger engine with a smaller, turbocharged one that, in theory, provides the same power while using less fuel. This was not the case for the Dart. Its turbocharged 1.4-liter engine was the smallest and offered the most torque and second-highest horsepower rating, but it returned a dismal 19.5 mpg on our evaluation loops, well below its EPA estimates of 27/37 mpg city/highway. It was also the only car that required premium fuel, adding insult to injury.

Likewise unimpressive was the Sentra's continuously variable transmission, which should theoretically always be at the optimum gearing for fuel economy. With the least horsepower and tied for the least torque, you'd expect it wouldn't burn much fuel, but it returned the second-lowest observed fuel economy at 21.2 average mpg. With ratings at 30/39 mpg city/highway, it was a long way off. "Nissan might be on to something," quipped senior features editor Jonny Lieberman. "No one will drive this car quickly and in an inefficient manner, as it actually sounds like you're injuring the car with your right foot."

As much as we knock the Civic for its old five-speed transmission offering no manual control, it still gets the job done. The Civic was the second-least powerful car present and it felt like it, but that little engine and old gearbox know how to use fuel wisely. The Civic returned 23.5 mpg, which, while not stellar, was at least closer to its 28/39-mpg city/highway ratings.

Kia had a rough go of it last year after the EPA unceremoniously lowered the fuel economy ratings on a number of its cars. The Forte was unaffected, but the new car has struck back with a vengeance. Despite having the most horsepower and second-highest torque rating, as well as an conventional six-speed automatic, the Kia returned 24.4 mpg -- falling nicely within the estimated EPA city/highway ratings of 24/36 mpg and good for second best in this comparison.

The big winner, though, was the car that won the fuel economy comparison on handling rather than mpg. The Mazda3, with its funny-sounding Skyactiv badging and no obvious technological tricks (they're all deep inside the engine), was the longest running model in this test and by far the fuel-sipping champ. It handily bested the competition by returning 25.3 average mpg against its 28/40-mpg city/highway ratings.


Cockpit/Efficiency

Many people put a lot of stock in how a car looks, but the truth is, you'll spend far more time looking at the inside of it than the outside, and it greatly shapes your perception of the vehicle. In this category, the Sentra clawed back some favor with the judges. The rear seat and trunk are cavernous for the class, and the navigation and entertainment systems are simple and intuitive to use. Some editors found the design dull, likening it to a doctor's waiting room, but others pointed out that it barely feels down-market from the larger, more expensive Altima, a nice treat for a value-conscious buyer.

The Forte received similar praise for being second to the Sentra in rear seat space. It was also dinged, albeit less so, for being cold and dark with some odd ridges on the dash. Those gripes were quickly overlooked, however, in light of the segment-busting list of features, such as heated and cooled front seats and power-folding mirrors.

Also feature-rich was the Dart, with its massive touchscreen infotainment system and high-resolution, reconfigurable gauge display. We appreciated the clear, easy-to-use UConnect infotainment system, even if it did seem a bit cluttered compared with Kia's UVO system. Editors also liked the front-and-back steering wheel controls. Where the Dart struggled was in seating, with hard perches front and rear and compromised rear headroom. The editors complained about the grainy, low-resolution back-up camera.

Riding mid-pack was the Civic, whose bi-level instrument cluster and funky shapes divided editors. It was given high marks for being a strong improvement over the poorly received 2012 model, and we appreciated the better materials and quieter cabin. We took issue, though, with the old, low-resolution navigation system and its tiny buttons, and rear seat space ranked smallest among the competitors.

Receiving some of the harshest criticism was the Mazda3. While we liked its sporty, supportive seats overall, many were disappointed with its small, cramped rear seat. The dashboard also drew fire for looking the oldest and appearing to be made of the cheapest materials. "The split screens are at least well-organized/executed," wrote Loh. However, "none of the screens matches in background colors, fonts, or font colors, not in the instrument panel, infotainment screen, or the two tiny screens above." We were disappointed with the lack of a back-up camera, but equally delighted by the preferred manual shifting orientation of forward for downshifts and backward for upshifts, which the Dart shared.


Safety

With safety a key concern among buyers, it's no surprise all these competitors performed well in crash testing. They were not, however, all created equal. For example, Honda found out about the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new small-offset crash test and designed the new Civic accordingly. As such, the Civic is the only car here to be named a Top Safety Pick+ after receiving a Good score in all tests. (None of the others has yet completed the small-offset test.) The 2013 Civic hasn't been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration yet, but the 2012 car received 5-star front and side ratings and a 4-star rollover rating for 5 stars overall.

Like the Honda, the 2014 Forte hasn't been crash tested yet. In this case, though, the Kia is a thoroughly redesigned car and not a refresh, so it's difficult to say how it will fare. The old Forte, for what it's worth, received 4 stars and Good ratings in all tests and was named a Top Safety Pick.

It's a similar story with the 2013 Sentra, which also has yet to be fully tested. NHTSA has crashed it, and gave it a 5-star side impact rating, 4 stars for front and rollover tests, and 4 stars overall. IIHS hasn't tested it, but the old model was not a Top Safety Pick because of an Acceptable rating in the roof crush test.

There is plenty of information, however, on the oldest car in the test. The Mazda3 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick thanks to Good ratings all around, but it didn't fare quite as well at NHTSA. It's a mixed bag, with a 5-star front impact rating, 4-star rollover rating, and 3-star side impact rating, combined for a 4-star overall rating. Editors also noted and appreciated the optional Blind Spot Warning system.

We appreciated the Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Path Detection systems on the Dart as well, not to mention the only Driver Knee Bolster airbags in the group. That car fared better in crash testing, earning a 5-star overall rating on 5-star front and side impact ratings and a 4-star rollover rating. It is also a Top Safety Pick with Good scores across the board.


Value

In a price-conscious segment like this, value is a major consideration. That's especially true in this test, where all the competitors were heavily equipped with pricey options such as navigation systems, leather seats, keyless entry, and more. None was more heavily loaded than the Mazda3, which rang in just above the Dart at $26,420. Being the oldest model in the test and lacking a back-up camera hurt its value argument, though we enthusiasts found quite a lot of value in its handling and performance.

...the Forte offers all that and more for $805 less

The Dart also became something of a tough sell at $26,415. It was feature-rich with its big display screens, automatic headlights and wipers, heated steering wheel, and more. The problem is, the Forte offers all that and more for $805 less. With by far the worst observed fuel economy, the Dart's value appeal dropped precipitously in the eyes of the judges.

That Forte, though, blew us away.

That Forte, though, blew us away. Power front seats that are both heated and cooled, heated rear seats, power-folding side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, multiple steering modes, and more, all for a mid-pack price of $25,610. Add to that the second-best fuel economy in the test and far and away the best warranty, and the Kia makes a serious value proposition.

The Civic was a tougher case to make. It offered many of the features the others did, but the clunky navigation system and poor observed fuel economy hurt it. On the other hand, it was very nearly the least expensive car here at $24,555, and it got high marks for its quality interior materials.

The Sentra fell into the same trap as the Civic, offering the lowest as-tested price by just over a hundred dollars at $23,715. While that appealed to our wallets, the second-worst observed fuel economy and the poor handling made us reconsider how our hypothetical money was being spent.


Conclusion

Some comparison tests are blowouts, and those are easy to judge. Then there are tests like this, where the field is closely matched in nearly every category. Each car had strengths and weaknesses and none completely ran away with the award. There wasn't a "perfect" car in the bunch, but several that would be very good choices depending on your priorities.

If, for example, you're an enthusiast like us, you'll be happiest with the sporty Mazda. It would also appeal to those who value fuel economy above all else. If safety is your priority, you'll be comforted by the Honda's class-topping crash test scores. Those who love features will be very happy with the Dart and Forte, and the buyer shopping on price will find the Sentra's low as-tested price very appealing.

After weighing the contenders in each category against what would best serve the average compact car buyer, we picked the 2014 Kia Forte as the best all-around car here and the winner of this test. Its combination of performance, fuel efficiency, reasonable pricing, and endless feature list had our judges agreeing it's the car we'd recommend to our friends and family.


Ranking

5th Place: Nissan Sentra

Poor handling, poor fuel economy, and a shorter feature list outweigh a low price and big back seat.

4th Place: Honda Civic

A weak drivetrain, poor fuel economy, and frustrating nav system sank a solid entry.

3rd Place: Dodge Dart

Sport handling and a long list of features weren't enough to overcome a high price and terrible gas mileage.

2nd Place: Mazda3

An enthusiast's special and fuel-sipper to boot, weighed down by a heavy price tag and missing features.

1st Place: Kia Forte

Handles well, sips fuel, loaded with exclusive features, and priced just right. What's not to like?


Notable Features

Dodge Dart: The only car rolling on chromies made the Dart stand out amongst all the alloys.

Honda Civic: Not just a back-up camera, the Civic gives you multiple camera angles including panoramic and straight down for maximum visibility.

Kia Forte: Power-folding mirrors on a $25,610 car? We love it when features trickle down.

Mazda3: We think this is the proper way to orient a manual shifting feature, and we're glad Mazda (and Dodge) agree.

Nissan Sentra: There was no question, the Sentra had the most rear seat room by far, with more than some midsize sedans.

Loaded Kia Cadenza sedan beats rivals feature for feature

You gotta like it when an auto maker steps up with a statement car like the 2014 Kia Cadenza. Not long ago, we were calling Kia an upstart among car brands, a comeback story filled with hopes, dreams and ambition. Now Kia has a flagship sedan aimed squarely at the Acura TL, Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Maxima, Lincoln MKZ and Toyota Avalon.

That from the Kia Soul company, the little rig that starts at less than $17,000 and is to Kia what the Beetle is to Volkswagen, says Kia chief designer Peter Schreyer. And just as the Bug company went all Passat on us, Kia has the Cadenza, a $37,995-$44,995 premium sedan bulging with a 293-horsepower, direct-injection V–6, standard leather upholstery, navigation system, rain-sensing wipers, fancy 18-inch wheels and power folding mirrors.

This is the formula Kia has been working with for the past decade or so: give the buyer more for less and in a sexy package.

You can decide on the looks, though I like them, from the stylish shapes in the doors to the LED lighting up front. But the facts say that almost none of the cars targeted by the Cadenza have a standard 12-speaker stereo, or a no-cost rear-view camera. The Avalon in base trim comes close to the Cadenza starter, but not quite.

Then if you go upstream to the most expensive Premium Cadenza ($44,995), only the Avalon matches the Kia’s rear heated seats. Among this set of sedans, only the Avalon and MKZ also come with “smart” cruise control at no extra charge. You could make the argument that a $45,000 Cadenza is delightfully well-equipped: power expandable leg cushion, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, panoramic sunroom, high-grade leather upholstery, a power rear window curtain – the list is numbingly long and meant to be.

The Kia types don’t blanche at the brass of this latest step up the automotive rung. And they most certainly want you to make a list of what their vehicles have that the competition lacks.

But just throwing features into a tin can with pretty shapes would mean nothing if Kia hadn’t spent the better part of the last decade reinventing itself. That started with the basics, too.

Take safety. The Soul and Rio are Top Safety Picks of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, meaning they have scored well in the demanding crash tests done by the research arm of the U.S. insurance lobby. The Optima, too, is a Top Safety Pick, as are the Sportage and Sorento. So Kias are robust and they come equipped with the latest safety gear.

In the Cadenza, that means eight standard airbags and a numbingly long list of active safety equipment, from the usual such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, to a brake assist system that helps you avoid rear-enders in panic stops.

The smart cruise control is a radar-based system that automatically maintains the distance between you and the car in front. Blind spot detection, similarly, uses radar to warn you about traffic where you might not normally see it and a windshield-mounted camera spots when you’re drifting over the line and warns you. Adaptive lighting, also on the pricier Cadenzas, steers your headlamps around a corner as you do.

Now cool as these gizmos sound, they are standard fare in $40,000 luxury cars, even $40,000 luxury cars from Kia. Nothing special in and of themselves. Except all of them haven’t been sold in one Kia before, not in one car at a price that is highly competitive with the best in the segment. Though to be fair, only the base version of the Maxima ($37,880) starts at a higher sticker than the Cadenza in Kia’s target group. So the Cadenza is well-equipped but still not cheap.

Reliable? Research says Kia still has some work to do. In the latest J.D. Power and Associates three-year Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), the Kia brand finished well below average. But then, so did BMW, Mini, Infiniti, Mazda and Volkswagen. On the other hand, in the most recent Consumer Reports reliability report, the Kia brand finished 10th overall and slightly above the average.

If the Cadenza is any indication, fit and finish issues will not emerge as a trouble spot. The materials in the Premium version, in particular, are first-rate. The gaps between panels and components are as tight as anything in the industry, too. The whole package looks and feels as expensive as the price tag.

And the car behaves on the road on a par with its main rivals, too. Perhaps even a little sportier than most. Loads of power, too.

Yes, the Kia brand remains a work in progress, but the Cadenza suggests that the progress, while slow, is steady. This company clearly has a plan to overtake and beat down the best in the business. For those rivals not paying attention, this could be painful.

Tech specs

2014 Kia Cadenza

Type: Premium sedan

Price range: $37,995-$44,995 (freight $1,455)

Engine: 3.3-litre V–6

Horsepower/torque: 293 hp/255 lb-ft

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Drive: Front-wheel

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 11.2 city/7.4 highway; regular gas

Alternatives: Acura TL, Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Maxima, Lincoln MKZ, Toyota Avalon

Comparison: The Big Test: 2013/2014 Full-Size Sedans

Full-size-sedans-front-three-quarters

The full-size segment should mean comfort, interior space, and lots of features

Motor Trend magazine recently put the Kia Cadenza head to again against some other full size sedans, and the Kia Cadenza came out on top! We've pulled some quotes from the article and listed them below. Click here to read the full article.

But what of the Kia? Associate online editor Nate Martinez noted of the Cadenza, "It's extremely smooth, well-sorted, and amazingly comfortable."

Kia's Cadenza also impressed with its eager 3.3-liter mill and paddle-shiftable six-speed auto.

Then we talked about how Kia had managed to build a car utilizing roughly the same engine and platform as its upscale brother, Hyundai, and somehow managed to do a better job. While the Kia wasn't the best in every category, it was strong in those that make the most difference: ride comfort, interior space, and fuel economy. It has a features list that could rival an $80K BMW's and value that places it above its full-size brethren. For those reasons, the Kia Cadenza is our full-size champ.

1st place: Kia Cadenza

A huge value proposition, solid fuel efficiency, near-luxury ride, and pretty sheetmetal make the Kia our near-unanimous choice for first place.

2nd place: Chevrolet Impala

Despite a few flaws, the Impala offers a well-thought-out package at a reasonable cost. This is a solid step forward for the American sedan.

3rd place: Toyota Avalon

Extremely efficient and generous in interior room and features, the Avalon is let down by a bone-shaking ride and an uninspiring drive.

4th place: Chrysler 300S

A pretty face goes a long way, but it can't argue with reality. Poor fuel economy and interior room relegate the good-looking Chrysler to fourth.

5th place: Ford Taurus

The Taurus needs more than a refresh to compete in this segment. If you're on a budget, shop for something in the midsize category.

Read the full article

2013 Kia Soul ranked highest in class for compact MPV in J.D. Power APEAL study

Soul_2013-1024x696

Kia Motors has been one of the fastest growing automotive companies in the U.S. in recent years, and three of its vehicles – the 2013 Optima, Rio and Soul – recently ranked at or near the top of their respective segments within the J.D. Power 2013 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The Soul claimed the highest ranking in the “Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV)” category for the second year in a row, while the Optima and Rio came in second in the “Midsize” and “Sub-Compact” car segments, respectively. The APEAL Study measures new-vehicle buyers’ satisfaction based on ratings of Design, Performance, Comfort, Features and Style.

“Kia’s rankings in the J.D. Power APEAL Study are a tribute to the tremendous strength of our model line,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing and communications, Kia Motors America. “Kia has become an industry leader for design, quality, safety and user-friendly technology, and delivering all of these world-class attributes at a great value is central to our brand promise. Being recognized in the APEAL Study strongly reinforces to consumers that Kia is offering the right model mix with the right feature set.”

This years’ study emphasizes the importance of technology in todays’ cars. With a variety of features being offered in its base, Plus and Exclaim trim levels, the Kia Soul was awarded the highest ranking in the Compact MPV segment.

The 2013 APEAL Study ranks cars based on responses from over 83,000 purchasers and lessees who are surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership between February and May of 2013. The vehicles are evaluated across 77 attributes, including overall mechanical, performance and design quality.

Kia Receives Top-10 Ranking For Initial Quality In 2013 J.D. Power And Associates Study

J.D. Power and Associates' 2013 Initial Quality Study (IQS) has ranked the Kia Soul and Kia Sportage as leaders in the Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle and Sub-Compact CUV segments, respectively. And, for the first time, Kia ranks among the automotive industry's top 10 nameplates for initial quality. The 2013 Soul ranked first in the Compact MPV segment for the second consecutive year, and the Sportage tied for the highest ranking in the Sub-Compact CUV category.

"Kia Motors is committed to building vehicles that are defined by award-winning design, fun-to-drive performance and world-class quality, and the Soul and Sportage epitomize these attributes," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO, Kia Motors America (KMA) and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG). "Achieving top-ten status within the industry reflects just how far the Kia brand has come in improving the ownership experience and vehicle quality for our customers and advancing value to new levels of sophistication across our entire model line."

According to the IQS study, Kia made substantial improvements with gains that outpaced the industry average and resulted in the brand's best-ever score. The annual report analyzed responses from 83,442 respondents about 230 vehicle models and attributes across eight categories, including the driving experience, engine and transmission and a broad range of quality problem symptoms reported by vehicle owners.

About the 2013 Soul

Refreshed for the 2013 model year the Soul features technology and styling upgrades, bringing a new level of cool with enhanced power and efficiency. New for 2013 are power-folding side mirrors, darkened chrome around the signature grille, upgraded leather on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, standard Bluetooth® wireless technology[1] with steering wheel-mounted controls, standard steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and cruise control. The Soul also offers Idle Stop and Go (ISG) technology as part of the Eco Package, which senses when the vehicle is stopped and shuts off the engine to maximize efficiency and results in reduced engine load and less fuel consumption.

About the 2013 Sportage

Starting with the base trim, Sportage offers numerous standard features, including 16-inch alloy wheels matched with 215/70R16 low-rolling-resistance silica tires, body-color door handles, body-color and electronically adjustable side mirrors and a six-speed manual transmission. Moving to the LX adds standard 17-inch alloy wheels, LED turn signals on the outside mirrors, keyless entry with folding key, six-speed electronically controlled Sportmatic™ automatic transmission, solar glass, privacy glass, and LED accent lighting along the headlamps for a sportier, more upscale appearance. The popularly-equipped EX trim offers stylish 18-inch alloy wheels mated with 235/55R18 tires, high-performance dampers, LED daytime running lights, roof rails, a rear spoiler, fog lamps and chrome body trim and door handles. The top-of-the-line Sportage SX adds a powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine producing 260-horsepower, unique 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust, sculpted side sill moldings and unique SX grille.

Kia: One of the World's Fastest Moving Global Automotive Brands

Kia Motors America is one of only three auto brands to increase U.S. sales in each of the past four years, and in 2012 the company surpassed the 500,000 unit mark for the first time. With a full line of fun-to-drive cars and CUVs, Kia is advancing value to new levels of sophistication by combining European-influenced styling – under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer – with cutting-edge technologies, premium amenities, affordable pricing and the lowest cost of ownership in the industry. Kia recently joined the exclusive ranks of Interbrand's "Top 100 Best Global Brands," and is poised to continue its momentum with seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles scheduled to arrive in showrooms in 2013. Over the past decade Kia Motors has invested more than $1.4 billion in the U.S., including the company's first U.S. assembly plant in West Point, Georgia – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – which is responsible for the creation of more than 11,000 plant and supplier jobs. The success of the U.S.-built* Optima and Sorento in two of the industry's largest segments has fueled Kia's rapid growth and is complemented by Kia's comprehensive lineup which includes the Cadenza flagship sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima Hybrid, the Forte sedan, 5-door and Koup compacts, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona minivan.

About Kia Motors America

Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 765 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2012, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and gained U.S. market share for the 18th consecutive year. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.

Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its website – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at http://www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.

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  • The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX Trims and certain LX Trims only) and GDI Turbo are built in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts
  • [1] The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Kia is under license. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners. A compatible Bluetooth® enabled cell phone is required to use Bluetooth® wireless technology

The 2014 Kia Cadenza nabs International Car of the Year Award

Every year, the North American International Auto Show has everyone in the auto industry bringing their best—so it’s no surprise that Kia is showcasing the 2014 Cadenza in Detroit, too. The 2014 Kia Cadenza was named the International Car of the Year (ICOTY) by Road & Travel Magazine (RTM), which names the ICOTY every year based on style, comfort, performance and brand-consumer connection.

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2014 also rings in Kia’s 20th anniversary in North America, and RTM’s 2014 ICOTY distinction is the icing on the cake.
“The Kia Cadenza wins in this category for a variety of reasons, including Kia’s remarkable effort to emerge in the entry-lux category,” said Courtney Caldwell, editor-in-chief of Road & Travel Magazine. “Overall, the car is beautiful and affordable, making upscale style and performance attainable to mid-America. We applaud Kia’s rapid rise from underdog to unbelievable!”

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This isn’t the first time Kia’s topped the list. RTM presents two “Of the Year” awards annually; one for cars and one for trucks. Last year, the Kia Optima was named the 2013 International Car of the Year, and three years ago, the Kia Sportage was named 2011 International Truck of the Year.

Check out the 2014 Cadenza in more detail below.