Kia cars

And you thought gullwing doors were just for supercars and time-traveling vehicles of the Back to the Future variety.

Korean automaker Kia is attempting to break that mold with the KV7, a crossover concept that uses the growing fad of gullwings by incorporating them into a vehicle that’s scheduled to make its debut at the North American Auto Show in January.

Details on the car will be revealed in the days leading up to the auto show, but the concept is just a small taste of what to expect from Kia – and to a bigger extent, it’s Korean brother from another mother, Hyundai – as it attempts to expand its line-up and do away with it’s old conservative perception. Moving forward, the KV7 is the first step in Kia’s attempt to release cars that put a premium on style and quality.

Though it’s scheduled to debut in concept form in Detroit, there’s no telling whether the production version – if it makes it there – will be identical to what the concept is going to look like. We’re not overly optimistic about it – especially those gullwings - but we still have to give credit to Kia for releasing production vehicles that first made headway as concepts. These include the Soul , the Sportage , and the Forte Koup , which bore some striking resemblances to their concept forms.

Nevertheless, Kia is poised to make a pre-emptive strike on the industry in 2011 with the KV7 Concept. It’s a good move for a brand that’s looking to make some serious headway in the coming years.

UPDATE 01/09/11: Days ahead of its major debut at the 2011 NAIAS, Kia has just revealed the first teaser photo of its new concept crossover, the KV-7. Not much can be derived from it except an image of what looks to be an oddly configured headlight with lights that look more like teeth. Apart from that we can also see one side of the front bumper that looks to have come with its own set of lights. Check it out in the gallery!

Short Press Release after the jump.

Source: Kia

We kind of get the feeling that 2011 is going to be a big year for automakers. We don’t have a tangible explanation for it, but there’s something about the air this year that feels like the next 12 months will be filled with more ups than downs and, hopefully, a lot less recalls than 2010.

We’re barely a few days into the new year and we’re already getting excited over the first major event for 2011, the North American International Motor Show . All the happenings will take place at the Cobb Center in Detroit on January 10, 2011 so we felt it was an opportune time to provide a heads-up of what to expect when the floor opens.

The list of vehicles we’ve included on the list are cars that have officially - and unofficially - punched in their tickets for Detroit. Some cars that will appear are still being withheld for suspense purposes, but what’s the fun in having a preview if we can’t dig up the cars that want their presence to be a surprise?

Either way, we’ve included all of these models so head on over past the jump to see which cars to expect when the NAIAS opens its doors next week.

Kia’s Sorento SUV has officially found its way into the recall watch list after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered that certain models of the 2011 Kia SUV carried improperly machined rear brake calipers. As a result, 8,000 models of the Sorento that were manufactured from September 14, 2010 to October 4, 2010 are being subjected to the recall to avoid the risk of accidents happening on the road.

According to the NHTSA, the defective brake calipers will result in the brake fluid leaking, followed by illumination of the malfunction indicator light. That’s going to be followed by a soft or spongy brake pedal feel, which, if not taken care of quickly, will lead to a reduced braking power that will eventually lead to an increased risk of a crash occurring.

Owners of affected Sorento models are encouraged to head over to their Kia dealerships and have the brake calipers fixed. Repair and replacement of the rear brake calipers will come at no cost to the vehicle owner.

NHTSA statement after the jump.

Source: NHTSA

Kia has brought the new generation Picanto at the Geneva Motor Show. The model comes with a fresh design and will be offered in both three and five doors versions. In Europe sales will begin in late spring of 2011.

The new model has been styled by Kia’s European design team based in Frankfurt, Germany, under the direction of Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. Kia describes the Picanto as "exuding self confidence, solidity and maturity, the next generation Picanto is designed to break the city car mould."

The new Kia will be offered in three different versions: a four-cylinder, 1,248 cc engine that delivers a total of 85 HP and 121 Nm of torque for the top version, and two three-cylinder, 998 cc units with a choice of petrol or Bi-fuel technologies (LPG + petrol) and with 69 or 82 HP.

Hit the jump to read more about the new generation Kia Rio.

Ever since its official launch, the Kia SOUL crossover has seen lots of special editions. And what’s one more added to the line-up? British customers will be able to opt for the SOUL Searcher edition starting January 4th. The special edition is priced at £16,965 OTR for the manual and £18,025 for the automatic one.

This special edition will be distinguished by light green metallic paintwork, a high quality cream and brown full leather interior, chrome front grille, chrome door handles, roof rails, black bezel headlights, front and rear mud flaps as well as 18-inch silver alloy wheels.

The list of standard equipment includes: an upgraded 8 speaker sound system (with subwoofer and external amplifier), Bluetooth and iPod connectivity ensure the Searcher has plenty to keep everyone on board satisfied at all times. For the driver a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with cruise control and steering wheel mounted audio controls means that everything is available at close hand.

Press release after the jump.

Kia has unveiled the company’s first ever hybrid model at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new Optima Hybrid will go on sale early next year and targets models like the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The 2011 Optima Hybrid features a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive (TMED) layout with the electric motor separated from the transmission gear-set. The new model will also be among the first full hybrid systems on the market to use a typical step-ratio automatic transmission.

The Optima can be driven in zero emission, full-electric drive mode at speeds up to 62 mph or in blended gas-electric mode at any speed. As for the look of the vehicle, the hybrid model will have many features that the standard Optima lacks. For starters, the front of the car will get a new front grille with a completely new design, as well as a new front lower bumper and new headlamps. There will also be new fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, chrome accents on the exterior door handles, and side sills. The back of the car will see a new rear lower bumper, LED tail lamp design, and a rear lip spoiler. The wheels will be a 16-inch alloy wheel design. Customers will also have the option for a Premium Technology Package that will add extra features to their model.

Press release after the jump.

Sometimes, it’s just about letting our imaginations run wild. Without the restrictions of real world regulations, there’s no telling what kind of concept car lurks in the deep recesses of our minds. For designers like Mohammad R. Shojaie, channeling those thoughts and putting ink on them is easier compared to the less-capable designers out there like us.

In this instance, Shojaie takes a brand that’s not known for being sporty and gives them a concept car that’s got edge and aggression written all over it. Calling it the Kia Proport – it’s an amalgamation of Pro plus Sport without the “S” – Shojale’s concept is a completely different take from the current design language Kia is doing these days. Translation: you won’t mistake this concept for a family car.

The swooping lines and aggressive treatment define Shojale’s work of art. The artist didn’t mention any technical specifications, but he did come out with something that all of us would want Kia to make someday. And since, the brand is looking into building a sports car in the near future, let’s all hope that they take a look at what MR. Shojaie has done for them.

Source: Mr-Shojaie

It wasn’t that long ago when Kias were parading around our streets in those little Pride hatchbacks. Simple, discrete, and plain bland, these cars never got your attention because, quite frankly, it didn’t warrant them.

Times have sure changed, haven’t they?

Since those humble times, Kia has grown to become a major force in the automotive industry and one that has seen its vehicular portfolio expand at an increasingly rapid rate.

According to Automotive News, the Korean manufacturer just might be preparing for another company breakthrough in the near future.

In an interview with Peter Schreyer, Kia’s design head mentioned that “sooner or later”, the Korean-based company would develop a sports car that will become its new halo model. Schreyer stopped short of making any promises or guarantees, but did stress that at some point, Kia needs to take its brand and make it edgier and sportier that it has ever been.

And given Schreyer’s background as the man behind the highly successful Audi TT , we have no qualms about him taking the lead in building and developing this soon-to-be Kia sports car. Let’s just hope that he still has that ‘Schreyer design magic’ that has made him one of the top auto designers in the world.

Kia brought a hybrid version of the Forte sedan to this year’s SEMA Auto Show with the intent to show the world that a compact hybrid sedan can be anything but boring. The model revealed in Las Vegas is just a concept, but if enough customers show enough interest in this hybrid concept, then we can’t imagine that Kia wouldn’t run to the production line with this one.

The hybrid concept was designed by Kinetic Motorsports and its hybrid system combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine fueled by liquefied petroleum gas (propane) and lithium polymer battery with accentuated design characteristics, including body panel enhancements and a lowered stance, to create a one-of-a-kind personality for the environmentally-friendly sedan.

The package is finished by cast aluminum alloy wheels and low-rolling resistance tires for improved fuel economy and reduced road noise. On the inside, interior panel treatments feature custom enhancements, while a 1200 watt Infinity®2 audio system will entertain passengers.

Press release after the jump.

Kia is bringing back the days where if two men had a problem with each other, they would choose their weapons, count to ten, and do battle. What the heck are we talking about? Two custom Sportage concepts that were created by Antenna Magazine for taking part in "The Duel." One of the concepts is painted in matte red and is called "Play" while the other is in metallic blue and is called "Work".

The Sportage Play gets new 20-inch MRR HR4 wheels, a custom Yakima roof rack outfitted with a red and black Cannondale QuikFX Bike with unique bike pedals and seat. Illuminating the path to the technological future is the iPod Touch fitted right in the center control. The cargo area out back gets transformed by a custom-painted locker, motorized stainless steel barbecue grill, and a 22-inch LCD television. Tailgating anyone?

The Work version gets a full closet and dressing station fitted nicely within Sportage’s spacious cargo area. This allows the professionals of the world to have their option of up to two suits, five shirts, and five belts for any work situation.

The classic battle. So, which is it? Work or Play?

Press release after the jump.

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