Monthly Archives: June 2017

Kia Stinger returns to the Nurburgring – with guests

By Kia BUZZ Editorial Team June 23, 2017

Source: Kia Buzz

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By now, everyone knows that the Kia Stinger is being put through the paces at the infamous Nurburgring circuit in Germany for fine tuning prior to entering mass production for overseas markets later this year. To prove the prowess of our prized gran turismo, Kia invited guests from the global media to this legendary driving course to test drive the Stinger for themselves.

 

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The Nurburgring – considered a Mecca for racing and car enthusiasts – is famous for its rigorous and merciless Nordschleife race track, also known as “The Green Hell”.

 

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Over a span of three days, influential automotive journalists and industry insiders were given the opportunity to experience the excellent driving dynamics of the Stinger first hand. Albert Biermann, Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development at Kia, was present on the scene to oversee the test drive and provide insight on the Stinger’s performance.

 

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Albert Biermann greets members of the media at the Nurburgring circuit.

 

As expected, our treasured fastback did not disappoint. “I was surprised to attend an event by Kia at Nurburgring and even more surprised at [the] ride & handling,” one guest remarked.

 

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The experience did not end there. Along with the exciting day of race track-paced driving, Kia facilitated a visit to the Kia Motors Europe headquarters and design center to learn about the design process of the Stinger. Peter Schreyer, Chief Designer of Kia Motors, and Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer of the Kia Europe Design Center, led the event and guided visitors through the Stinger’s conception and development.

 

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Peter Schreyer (left) and Gregory Guillaume (right)
present their philosophies about the Stinger design.

 

From the racing track to the design facility, the event attendees were thoroughly impressed by the Stinger and had many wonderful things to say about their experience. Journalists praised the Stinger as a well-designed and well-rounded model with equal merit for its powerful performance. Some even went on to say that it may be Kia’s best creation yet!

Check out the Stinger’s impressive performance capability as it tears through the Nordschleife!

 

 

The Stinger is Kia’s most ambitious project to date and we are pleased that it has been well received by top automotive journalists around the world. As the Stinger prepares to launch worldwide, we cannot wait for global customers to meet and try out our new sports sedan.

Kia Stinger is coming to you soon. Stay tuned for more news about our long-awaited gran turismo!

 

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Kia tops J.D. Power quality rankings amid shake-up

By Michael Wayland June 21, 2017

Source: Automotive News

DETROIT — Kia took the top spot in J.D. Power’s annual report card on vehicle quality for a second consecutive year, as industry ratings reached a new record and domestic brands maintained their edge over foreign rivals.

Kia, with 72 problems reported per 100 vehicles, was able to retain its No. 1 position despite a shake-up in the 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study rankings that included significant shifts with the German and Japanese brands — most notably, Toyota and Lexus — falling behind many U.S. and Korean brands.

“This is without question the best quality the world has ever seen,” Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power, said when releasing the results at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit. “The industry is picking up steam and really improving the quality of their vehicles.”

In its first year as a standalone brand, Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand debuting at No. 2, with 77 problems reported per 100 vehicles. Porsche, with 78 problems, dropped to third — its lowest ranking since 2015.

Ford and Ram, both with 86, rounded out the top five brand positions — marking the highest positions in the study for both brands and the first time since 2011 that two Detroit brands have ranked that high.

Sargent said Ford’s improvement, up from 11th in 2016, was largely because of its new Sync 3 infotainment system, a replacement for its previous Sync and MyFord Touch system that plagued the brand’s rankings in recent years.

Initial Quality Study

Japanese fall

Improvements to infotainment systems greatly helped brands from the Detroit automakers outperform import brands for the second year in a row, according to Sargent. In 2017, domestic brands received a score of 93 compared with 99 for import brands. It’s just the third time since the study was first published in 1987 that domestic brands outperformed their foreign counterparts.

“The domestics have done a pretty good job of wrestling the infotainment issue,” Sargent said. “They have a significant advantage of the imports.”

Toyota’s brands, which for years led or were ranked near the top of the study, had mediocre performances this year, with Lexus ranking one position below the industry average and Toyota ranking one above it. This was the first time in the history of the survey that Lexus scored below average.

Nissan, with a score of 93, was the top-ranked Japanese brand at No. 10 — level in the rankings from a year ago.

At the very bottom of this year’s rankings were Mazda, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Jaguar and Fiat — all with between 125 and 163 problems reported per 100 vehicles.

Many of the low rankings, according to Sargent, are due to the brands launching all-new products, which tend to have more quality issues than older, more refined models.

Record quality

New-vehicle quality overall for the industry reached a new record, improving a significant 8 percent from last year’s previous record-setting year. The industry average for the 2017 study is 97 problems reported per 100 vehicles, down from 105 a year ago.

“For the most part, the industry as a whole has got their arms around this,” Sargent said. “This is the third-straight year of improvement. It’s an accelerating rate of improvement.”

The only category to worsen this year was features, controls and displays. The largest increases in problems were for cruise control (primarily adaptive cruise); lane-departure warning; collision-avoidance/alert systems; and blind-spot warning.

The study was based on nearly 80,000 responses from owners and lessees of 2017 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Consumers were surveyed from February through May.

Awards

Hyundai Motor Co., which includes Kia, was awarded the most model-level awards. They included the Kia Cadenza; Kia Forte; Kia Niro; Kia Sorento; and Kia Soul.

Following the South Korean’s five awards were General Motors Co. (Chevrolet Silverado; Chevrolet Silverado HD; Chevrolet Sonic; and GMC Terrain) and BMW Group (BMW 2 Series; BMW 4 Series; BMW X6; and MINI Cooper) both with four awards.

Top three models per segment

Segment Highest ranked Others ranked
Small Car Chevrolet Sonic Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit
Small Premium Car BMW 2 Series BMW i3, Lexus CT
Compact Car Kia Forte Chevrolet Cruze (tie), Toyota Corolla (tie), Volkswagen Jetta (tie)
Compact Sporty Car* Mini Cooper  
Compact MPV* Kia Soul  
Compact Premium Car BMW 4 Series Lexus ES, Cadillac ATS
Midsize Car Toyota Camry Kia Optima, Nissan Altima
Midsize Sporty Car* Ford Mustang Dodge Challenger
Minivan* Chrysler Pacifica Dodge Grand Caravan
Midsize Premium Car Lexus GS Lincoln Continental, Audi A7
Midsize Premium Sporty Car* Porsche 911  
Large Car Kia Cadenza Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima
Small SUV Kia Niro Kia Sportage, Buick Encore (tie), Volkswagen Tiguan (tie)
Small Premium SUV* Mercedes-Benz GLA BMW X1
Compact SUV GMC Terrain Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox
Compact Premium SUV Porsche Macan BMW X3, BMW X4
Midsize SUV Kia Sorento Toyota Highlander, Buick Enclave
Midsize Premium SUV BMW X6 BMW X5, Porsche Cayanne
Midsize Pickup Nissan Frontier Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline
Large SUV Ford Expedition Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia
Large Premium SUV Infiniti QX80 Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS
Large Light Duty Pickup Chevrolet Silverado Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra
Large Heavy Duty Pickup* Chevrolet Silverado HD Ford Super Duty
*No other model in this segment performs above segment average.
There must be at least three models with 80% of market sales in any given award segment for an award to be presented. The Large Premium Car segment did not meet criteria to be award eligible, thus no awards will be issued.

2017 Kia Niro

By John Davis May 4, 2017

Source: MotorWeek

Say “Hybrid”, and the first name that comes to most minds is Prius. In truth Toyota’s original 5-door Prius Hatchback has not had a competitor, likewise built on a chassis built specifically to be a hybrid, until now. That changes with the 2017 Kia Niro.

Niro is a small, dedicated hybrid that also plays to the current popularity of crossover utilities. Indeed, acording to Kia, it’s the first of its kind; an Urban Crossover Hybrid Vehicle.

They obviously hope that adding the term crossover will spur some additional sales. But to us, the Niro is more of a squarer rival to the Prius hatchback, as well as the Prius V, while also being reminiscent of the short-lived Kia Rondo wagon.

Whatever you call it, the Niro is actually a great looking vehicle that has plenty of substance as well. The hybrid powertrain is a 32kW electric motor sandwiched between a 1.6-liter I4 gasoline engine and a real 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. Total output is 139-horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque.

While a dedicated hybrid, the Niro does share its platform with the Hyundai Ioniq, and the fact that it is front-wheel-drive cast more doubt on the crossover title. But then, so does the very successful Kia Soul.

Out on the road, the Niro delivers good pickup with no harsh regen braking feel. The DCT operates smoothly, but engine noise can be pronounced at times.

Outside, the Niro looks most like a cute yet sporty station wagon; with virtually no indications of it being a hybrid. Compared to the Soul, it’s classier, and less aimed at the youngest buyers.

We think the interior also looks fantastic. Not in a flashy way, but with an understated, almost classy quality. Materials look upscale, and feel good to the touch. The seats are also more comfortable than Prius.

As to overall practicality, Niro’s seat up luggage space rates a very good 19.4 cubic feet, with 54.5 cubic when the seats are folded. Not bad for any vehicle this size.

Now lets turn to the all-important fuel economy numbers. Kia’s top drawer Niro Touring rates 46 MPG City, 40 MPG Highway, and 43 MPG Combined. Kia also offers a stripped down Niro FE rated at 50-Combined, just shy of the least expensive Prius hatch.

Braking from 60 averaged just 112-feet, which is quite good; as was overall stability while stopping. Pedal feel was a bit disconcerting though, as it goes right towards the floor with little resistance.

For our complete test of the 2017 Kia Niro, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3638 that begins airing on May 26, 2017. For a listing of the public television stations that boradcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.

The 2017 Kia Niro is truly a product of its time. it is part sport utility, part hatchback, part marketing strategy; all with a strong emphasis on high fuel economy. Even with today’s cheap gas, it should do well, and is another all-around fine product from Kia.