Tag Archive | "Kia"

Hot Wheels From Kia

In the crowded hot hatch sector, enthusiastic drivers have never had so much choice. All the usual suspects are there sporting GTI badges or something similar. Some are better than others; most are pretty good. So why, it is fair to wonder, would Kia try to elbow their way into this testosterone filled motoring mosh pit.

Let’s be frank here. When Kia first appeared on the market they were not, to be charitable, very good cars. Those days are now gone and their automotive offerings are very good indeed; excellent value and a decent drive have meant that the brand has burgeoned in popularity with their range of good value family cars of which the Cee’d stands out. Add to that an impressive seven year warranty across the range and business is looking sweet.

So why then has the company decided to enter the fray up against some mighty and established competition? The Kia pro_cee’d GT goes on sale in three-door form next month and will cost around £20,000. A little more if the buyer opts for the three or five year all inclusive service and care package which looks to be good value. A five door is expected next year.KIA2 Hot Wheels From Kia

OK; so it’s a good looking hot hatch, competitively priced but what makes it special? 0-60mph is achieved in a decent, but not class leading, 7.4 seconds – achieved by flooring the 1.6L T-GDi engine. (Don’t worry – it’s not a diesel, it’s a Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection). This develops 201bhp at 6,000rpm. This is the first problem.

Just as an example the refined SEAT Ibiza Cupra produces less brake horse power but is actually faster, as are most of the opposition. Buyers select these flyers because they deliver great performance for relatively low cost and it is hard to see how Kia can make any inroads into the sector. The GT has a six-speed ’box and there is no paddle option which seems like an oversight.

That said, this car is very well priced and has the Kia seven year warranty which helps to make it a more attractive proposition. Also, it could well appeal to the keen driver who wants a sporty drive but still expects comfort and practicality; something, it has to be said, that is not available on some of the more hairy-chested hot hatches. Insurance is likely to be more keenly priced as well, so maybe KIA are on to something after all. Let’s hope the car is well received upon release.

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It’s Another Motor Show!

Once upon a time in the distant past of the Twentieth Century there was the Earl’s Court Motor Show. Serious looking chaps with pipes wearing serious looking hats would reveal new cars and that was pretty much it for the year. These days it seems that every city has a show. The good councillors of towns like Truro or Scarborough are clearly missing a trick.

This time it’s the turn of Seoul in South Korea and most of the usual suspects rocked up from the Korean branches of worldwide manufacturers and from the indigenous car makers. We were going to show you a picture of the truly magnificent Lexus LF-LC concept car together with gratuitous posing model, but for this article we are concentrating on concept vehicles from the Korean companies so it’ll be the Kia Cub instead.

In many ways the rising stars of the motor industry are companies like Hyundai, Ssangyong and Kia. In the early days these manufacturers were derided for producing third rate cars. This is no longer so. There has been a spectacular rise in quality, so much so that their cars are a match for most offerings from Europe.

Ssangyong are a case in point. This is not a name that has inspired much confidence in potential buyers but the new Korando, for example, is a smart 4×4 that is well made and competitively priced although the world could still probably do without the dire Rodius. Never mind – they have now shown us the LIV-1, a concept SUV that is designed to look robust, purposeful and sporty. The car features a sizeable body with large bumpers front and rear, yet with slim A and B pillars, a glasshouse silhouette and, intriguingly, a full length glass roof.

Hyundai meanwhile have been busy with the HND9, a luxury sports coupé that hints at their future direction in design. HND9 comes with gull-wing doors and a 3.3L GDi (gasoline direct injection) engine driving the rear wheels. A product of the design centre at Namyang it is another evolution of Hyundai’s so called ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ philosophy.

Finally Kia have popped up with an urban design surprise called the Cub. There are no production plans right now but not to build this one seems like a shame. Like the Mini Paceman it has four individual seats but the rear doors open in a rearward direction and there is a complete absence of B-pillars making access easy. The Cub is small and sleek with a turbo-charged GDi engine of 1.6L driven through a six-speed gearbox. We like this very much.

All in all the Seoul Show deserves to be part of the global motor industry experience and it is good to see some interesting designs emanating from the Korean players.

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New Cars At The New York Show

2013 seems to be producing a bumper crop of new cars, despite all the recessionary woe. At the latest show in New York the trend continued with a selection from Kia, Jaguar, Audi, Volvo and Mercedes.

The Kia Soul is a car that is either loved or hated for its looks despite being practical and roomy with a decent boot. It strives for a trendy image but has been let down by a mediocre ride and economy. The company have now announced the replacement which will arrive on our shore early in 2014. That’s it in the picture. It is probably a coincidence but it looks a bit like the new Fiat 500L; not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Suspension and handling have been improved for a better ride and the whole car has a more premium feel to it. Mini owners won’t be trading in but this new car should attract plenty of new fans.

A surprise addition to the Audi range is a saloon version of their excellent A3. It has to be said that it is hard to understand the purpose of this car but Audi rarely put a foot wrong. The company say that the car is aimed at ‘young professionals’ looking for a ‘sporty but fun car’. So why not choose the brilliant sport back then? Audi see their market for this car to be predominately in Russia and the far East and, to a lesser extent, Europe. Early reports say that it’s a roomy car, slightly longer than the hatchback.

Sweden is represented by Volvo and a new set of R-Design cars based on the recently updated 60 series. All three cars get new faces, a new rear diffuser, sports seats and an R-Design exhaust system. The S60 and V60 models have a sports chassis and lowered suspension whilst the XC60  gets a better handling kit of springs and anti-roll bars.

If all this is a bit tame for you and you feel the need for 355bhp then how about the new Mercedes CLA45 AMG express. This car looks fabulous (especially in white with black) and in the traffic light grand prix will whisk you to 62mph in a ferocious 4.6 seconds. Despite this performance Mercedes are claiming 40mpg and emissions at around 160g/km. If that’s a fact then it is quite an achievement and bodes well for performance cars of the future.

It seems that scarcely a week can go by without there being a new Jaguar – and here it is. This time it’s the super-hot XKR-S GT which the company describe as the ‘ultimate road-going XK’. Presumably until the next one. Only thirty will be built and they are all going to North America. If there’s enough clamour in the UK then a small run of LHD versions could be built but don’t hold your breath.

The Rolls Royce Wraith also featured as did the new Range Rover Sport that Motor Blogger featured on March 20th. As we said – a bumper year!

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Thirteen For 13

Are you superstitious? Would you be entirely happy with the number 13 on your car? Well, unless you can find a way around it – as suggested by Motor Blogger last year – you are just going to have to lump it. Our unwavering government have no intention of ditching this year’s series just to please the likes of you.

Never mind. At least there is going to be a fantastic selection of new cars that you could attach to the back of your new number plate. Honda, for example, are planning a new SUV in line with current trends that will be pitched into the gap between the Civic and the CRV. An interesting point is that it may feature Honda’s next-generation hybrid technology.

If you’re feeling flush with cash you could push the boat out and treat yourself to Jaguar’s forthcoming F Type. This may well be the most anticipated car of the year; full of lovely supercharged goodness. Too tame for your wallet? Fair enough. How about the long-awaited replacement for the Enzo, the F70. Or will it be the F150? We’ll see what Ferrari decide although Ford America won’t be too happy as that’s the designation for their new pick-up!

Back in the real world Fiat are offering the 500L. We’ve mentioned this before. Basically it’s a 500 on steroids. Presumably this is designed to rival the giant Mini and word has it that this could be one of the year’s best sellers. As indeed could the 500 Coupé , a cheeky 2+2 version of the perennial favourite. Meanwhile over the border in France, Citroen’s successful DS3 is taking it’s top off, or at least rolling it up – a feature that really suits this star car.

For hot hatch fans Ford will be selling the long awaited Fiesta ST, sporting at least 180bhp. If a suitable family car is more to your requirements then there’s a new package with the latest Kia Carens SUV (pictured) – the words on the grapevine are ‘surprise’ and ‘delight’. Not content to settle for one new car, the same company will present their first hot hatch in the UK. The Cee’d GT. Boasting a muscular 200bhp it looks like a rival for the ST.

Winner of this year’s daft name award is the mighty Maserati Kubang. Effectively a Ferrari powered Jeep in an Italian designer frock it’s a new departure for a company that is slowly resurrecting its image. The trouble is – is it a car too far for a company noted for beautiful design? The official Kubang website is showing a wonderful old and evocative short film called ‘A story that will overcome time’. Worth a look.

Mazda’s 6 is a good and popular choice, especially if you are not badge conscious but now they’ve produced a coupé version that’s a real looker. Let’s hope it gives a boost to this underrated manufacturer. If you do like a badge then Mercedes are refreshing the E-Class. Not earth-shattering in itself but the company are saying it will be packed with cutting edge technology under the banner ‘intelligent drive’.

In fact, there will be something like sixty new or updated cars being sold or announced in the coming year, but in this brief article there is only one car that can finish of the list. Will we finally be able to get our hands on the Alfa Romeo 4C? Live in hope.

So there you have it – thirteen cars for 2013. So don’t worry your heads about the reputation of the number 13. You know what they say – lucky for some!

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