Monthly Archives: March 2017

Kia has a new car that should scare BMW and Audi

Kia unveiled the stunning Stinger four-door coupe on Monday, and it’s truly unlike anything else we’ve seen from the Korean automaker.

Over the past few years, Kia has built a solid reputation by offering stylish, well-made cars and SUVs for the mass market. Now the brand wants to attack the premium market by taking on the likes of Audi and BMW.

Kia StingerKia Stinger. Kia

While Kia did introduce the K900 luxury sedan in 2014, it sold in very limited quantities and was not truly geared to compete in the premium market.

But Kia has learned a lot since then. And for the first time, the company has a product that should be of concern to Germany’s stalwart brands.

Here are the stats.

The standard 2018 Kia Stinger is powered by a 2.0-liter, 255-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the performance spec GT version gets a 365-horsepower, twin-turbo V6. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, putting power to the pavement through either the rear wheels or all four wheels.

Kia StingerKia

All-wheel-drive Stingers get Kia’s Dynamic Torque Vectoring system, while the rear-drive cars get a limited-slip differential. Stopping power comes courtesy of a set of vented Brembo brakes.

According to Kia, the V6 Stinger should be able to hit 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 167 mph.

“I think, for the Kia brand, the Stinger is like a special event,” Albert Biermann, Kia’s head of high-performance development, said in a statement. “Because nobody expects such a car, not just the way it looks but also the way it drives. It’s a wholly different animal.”

(Remember that name — Albert Biermann — he’ll come up again later.)

As a four-door coupe, the Stinger is poised to compete directly with the new Audi A5/S5 Sportback as well as the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe. In addition, shoppers considering such industry heavyweights as the BMW 3-Series, the Mercedes C-Class, the Audi A4, the Cadillac ATS, the Lexus IS, the Infiniti Q50, and the Jaguar XE may also consider the Stinger.

Kia StingerKia/Newsspress

The premium market is brutally competitive, and Kia certainly isn’t coming into this blind to that fact.

The company has spent the past decade or so stockpiling high-priced talent from around Europe — Germany in particular. This includes chief designer Peter Schreyer, the person behind the Stinger’s striking looks, whose résumé includes time as Audi and Volkswagen’s head of design. In addition, Luc Donckerwolke, the former design boss at Bentley and Lamborghini, was brought in to oversee design work at Hyundai-Kia’s Genesis premium brand.

The biggest hiring coup for Kia’s performance ambitions, however, was the arrival of Biermann. The BMW M-division vice president of engineering left Bavaria for South Korea in 2014. During his three decades at BMW, Biermann served as the architect for many of the company’s most respected performance cars. They include the BMW M3, the M4, and the M5 along with countless winning BMW Motorsports racers.

The German engineer was brought in make Kia’s cars drive like the automotive legends he so frequently created at BMW.

Biermann and his team put the Stinger through its paces at the company’s test track in South Korea as well as the notorious Nürburgring in Germany.

Kia StingerKia

In addition, the Stinger was designed at Kia’s European design center in Frankfurt, Germany.

So, the Stinger had a German designer, a German engineer, and was developed at the Nürburgring. It’s a Korean car with a heavy dose of Teutonic DNA.

Why not?

After all, the Stinger is designed to attack the Germans in a market segment they have dominated for decades.

Whether the 2018 Kia Stinger can beat the Germans at their own game remains to be seen. But at first glance at least, the Stinger is as well equipped for battle as anything we’ve ever seen from the Korean auto industry.

The 2018 Kia Stinger is expected to reach showrooms later this year. Official pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.

 

By Benjamin Zhang

Published

Original Article Here

Review: 2017 Kia Niro is the anti-hybrid hybrid ready to take on Prius

Take heed, Toyota Prius. Kia’s new built-from-the-ground up 2017 Niro hybrid crossover is ready to duke it out for your sales title.

Well, yes and no. Kia officials won’t specifically say so, lest it not work out the way they hope.

And while John Adzija, Kia Canada’s national manager of corporate communications, believes the Niro will indeed lure customers away from the Prius, he says the South Korean auto maker isn’t specifically targeting the hybrid universe’s long-time reigning champ.

“No, not per se,” he said, following a product briefing deep in the heart of Texas. “You alienate a lot of people when you focus on the ‘cult’ of Prius customers.”

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Photos by Darren McGee

In other words, Kia believes the Niro will provide sales competition for the Prius and other eco-warriors – free of the geek factor stigma. Electric and hybrid vehicles can be polarizing. Think Chevy Bolt, BMW i3, the Prius, and so on. Many have that funky, green feel with their, uh, often unique, stylings. Kia, however, has gone to great lengths to make the Niro blend in with the conventional SUV pack. It’s a hybrid that conceals the fact that it’s a hybrid.

That’s not to say the Niro is just another run-of-the-mill ride in an over-populated segment. Au contraire. Technically, it’s a wagon, not a compact crossover, but crossover sounds cooler, and those sell like hotcakes. And it does incorporate several CUV/SUV design cues: it’s aggressive and athletic looking, featuring Kia’s signature tiger nose grille; and the ride is taller than expected, with wonderful sight lines.

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Inside, the Niro features a simple, elegant, upscale look with a clean, uncluttered, and functional console. Everything is where it should be, including an 7-inch infotainment screen which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Now, here’s where the Niro plans to give the Prius a run for its money: gas mileage. Its fuel economy numbers compare favourably with the Prius, although the Prius wins by a slim margin (4.4 litres/100 km city, and 4.6 highway, versus 4.5 city and 4.8 highway for the Niro). The Niro achieves its stellar fuel efficiency thanks to an extensive use of aluminum; additionally, it’s equipped with air curtains, a rear spoiler and active grille shutters to help give it a 0.29 co-efficient of drag, versus 0.24 for the Prius. Still, that’s impressive, especially when the Niro’s high ride is factored in.

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Its powertrain makes a combined 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque and, in sport mode along desolate, twisty country roads outside San Antonio, provided an engaging, entertaining ride. Unfortunately, sport mode will kill some of the fuel efficiency, while the sluggish default eco mode will kill much of the driving enthusiasm.

But here’s where the gloves come off. The Niro’s starting price is $2,195 less than the $27,190 base pricetag for the Prius. Prices for the Niro’s other trim levels (there are four in total) have yet to be announced. And there’s a plug-in Niro hybrid in the works.

So, is it a feasible alternative to the popular Prius? The Niro makes a compelling case for itself and it’s definitely a contender – especially for those who aren’t comfortable displaying their inner geek so publicly.

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TECH SPECS

Base price: $24,995

Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder with a 1.56-kWH lithium-ion battery

Transmission/Drive: Six-speed automatic/Front-wheel drive

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 4.5 city, 4.8 highway

Alternatives: Toyota Prius V, Ford C-Max Energi, Toyota RAV4 hybrid

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RATINGS

Looks: Kia’s aim was to make its new hybrid look mainstream. It succeeded.

Interior: There’s room for five comfortably. A heated steering wheel is standard, as are heated front seats.

Performance: It’s not overwhelming, but the Niro has plenty of giddyup off the line, and for passing prowess.

Technology: Kia’s new Eco-DAS (Driver Assistance System) features Coasting Guide, which advises the driver on when to coast and brake. Predictive Energy Control, meanwhile, uses the nav system and cruise control to anticipate topographical changes on the road ahead to manage energy flow, determining when it’s best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize efficiency. Eco-DAS, however, is only available on the Niro’s highest trim level, the SX Touring.

Cargo: There’s a reasonable amount of space, enough for a full load of groceries or two large golf bags.

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THE VERDICT

8.5

Traditionalists will love this anti-hybrid hybrid.

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The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

 

By DARREN MCGEE

Published

Original Article Here

This Is the Gorgeous, Rear-Wheel Drive Kia Stinger GT

A great name, 365 horsepower, and it looks great. A winner from Kia.

Source: http://www.roadandtrack.com – By Travis Okulski – January 8, 2017

In what has to be a surprise, the best part of Kia’s new performance sedan isn’t that it’s rear-wheel drive, isn’t that it’s beautiful, and not that it has 365 horsepower. It’s the name. The name rocks.

In a world where everyone is going to alphanumerics and boredom, Kia is calling a car the Stinger. Stinger. Yes, it’s the same as a name for a car from GTA 5, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s not a jumble of letters and numbers that mean nothing.

The best thing we've seen so far is, surprisingly, from Kia. The Kia Stinger GT is a 365 horsepower, rear-wheel drive sedan that looks like a mix of many of our favorite cars. We can't wait to drive it.

And the car itself looks pretty damn good too. The Stinger GT is somewhat similar in intent to a BMW 4-series GranCoupe, but it looks better. Look at those lines, it’s aggressive and svelte, and the rear-end with its connected taillights looks even better. It’s the sort of appearance you’d expect from BMW or Audi, not Kia. Yes, parts of it are derivative, but that’s because the man in charge of design at Hyundai/Kia is Peter Schreyer, a former Audi man himself.

And it’s what you’d hope Cadillac would build. Except they haven’t.

Inside, it looks very Mercedes-y, with HVAC vents on the center console and a screen all on its own. The wheel is reminiscent of a BMW. Sure seems like a step up from anything else that Kia has done.

Of course, what really matters is how it drives. It sounds like that’ll be the best part. It’s powered by a 3.3 liter, twin-turbo V6 that has 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. That goes through an eight-speed auto (no manual, sorry), which gets it to 60 in 5.1 seconds. Not too bad. And, of course, it’s rear-wheel drive. There will probably be a lower power version coming too, for those people that want the looks but can’t afford it.

We’re yet to see if it’s great to drive, but judging on the emphasis Kia has put on this car’s Nurburgring performance, we’re cautiously optimistic that it’ll be competitive with others in its class.

We’re yet to see it in person, but color us smitten. We’ll have a more in-depth look at the car when we see it on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show tomorrow.

Kia’s new Niro is perky hybrid crossover with excellent fuel economy and surprising performance

Source: Driving.ca By Graeme Fletcher – February 2, 2017

 

Fuel economy standards are getting tougher every year, so all manufacturers are being forced to look for ways to reduce the reliance on gasoline. In 2025, the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards in the United States will hit 54.5 miles per gallon, or 4.3 L/100 km. The only real solution is the electrification of the drivetrain – and Kia’s latest hybrid, the new Niro, is aimed at meeting that goal without killing the fun of the drive.

From the headlights to the rear roof-mounted spoiler, the Niro is a cute-ute that’s reminiscent of the Rondo, but with an edgier visage. It’s also destined to do battle with the likes of the Toyota Prius V and Ford C-Max hybrids. Tough competition, but as the drive proved, the Niro has the wherewithal to be a player.

Riding on a 2,700-millimetre wheelbase, there’s plenty of legroom in all spots and the tall roofline means enough headroom for a 6-foot-2 rider. Likewise, the cargo space is plentiful – 635 litres with the seats upright and 1,789 with them dropped. And, as the 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery sits beneath the rear seat, it does not eat into the space or utility.

 

2018 Kia Niro

 

The cabin is also marked by the quality of its materials — they look like they belong in a richer ride. The dash is simple in its elegance, with the left side of the instrumentation giving the charge state of the battery, fuel level and the combined distance to empty. This information is ringed with a charge/eco/power meter that shows what the system is doing.

The SX tested brought comfortable leather-wrapped front seats and a lengthy list of standard fare, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which are accessed through an eight-inch touchscreen, as well as GPS navigation and eight gigabytes of built-in music storage. Safety-wise, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning system with lane-change assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking are all part of the SX trim as well.

The Niro is powered by a 1.6-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder that puts out 104 horsepower and 108.5 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s married to a six-speed twin-clutch transmission and a 43-horsepower electric motor; the plus is it twists out 125 lb.-ft. of torque. The net result is a combined system output of 139 hp and, more importantly, 195 lb.-ft. torque from 1,000 rpm. This explains the Niro’s perky performance.

 

2018 Kia Niro

 

A big part of the driving feel is due to the efficiency and shift speed of the twin-clutch transmission. Goose the gas and the Niro canters off the line with spirit and it holds this ethic through the midrange and on to speed. On the drive route it stayed with some pretty quick traffic without missing a beat. The selectable Drive modes help; in this case, everything is accessed through the shifter. Drive equals Eco mode, while moving the shifter into the manual gate engages Sport, and bumping it back/forth brings manual. Eco is peppy and willing to do what the driver demands, and so it proved to be the mode of choice. However, move to Sport and efficiency takes a back seat because it locks out sixth gear unless shifted manually. Regardless, in Sport mode, the Niro scampers to 100 km/h in 9.5 seconds – two seconds faster than the Prius V.

New to Kia is the Eco Driver Assistance System, featuring Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control. The former maximizes fuel economy by coaching the driver on the best times to coast and brake. The latter taps into the navigation system to look for topographical changes on the road ahead. It then actively manages energy use, to determine the right place to recharge the battery and when to use the stored energy to improve efficiency; it is an interesting take on battery management.

All of this technology brings a claimed fuel economy of 5.1 L/100 km in the city and 5.8 on the highway for the SX. The base Niro, for that matter, is 270 kilograms lighter; it’s rated at 4.5 city and 4.8 highway. On our drive route, the SX yielded a stellar average of 5.4 L/100 km, which is better than the claimed number. On a straight town drive, it returned – if you can believe it – 3.7 L/100 km.

 

The efficiency thrust might make the Niro a bit of a dullard to drive. However, the strong platform gives the suspension a good base of operations and surprisingly tight handling. Throw in a nicely weighted steering setup and the grip provided by the SX’s P225/45R18 tires, and the Niro proved to be an entertaining drive. Remember, this is a hybrid crossover! The Niro also gets a thumbs-up for the brake pedal feel; so many hybrids feel mushy under foot, which makes a smooth stop a tougher task than it should be. The Niro’s pedal is firm and, consequently, easily modulated.

Kia’s new Niro is a perky drive that delivers excellent fuel economy and better performance than is expected of a traditional hybrid. Of more interest is the fact it will be joined by a plug-in version down the road, which promises even better economy.

The lone disappointment is pricing. The Niro L starts at $24,995 and goes up from there. The pricing was not given for the top-of-the-line SX tested, but with all of its added amenities/safety technology, it could sneak up on being rich.

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