Kia cars

The run up to one of our favorite auto shows has begun and we’re already getting a few looks at some of the cars that are expected to be in attendance.

One of the early reveals is the Kia Rio B-Spec Race Car, the Korean automaker’s very first B-Spec offering. The car was developed by Kinetic Motorsports and will be unveiled at SEMA in a month’s time.

For their part, Kia may not have the same cache as the likes of Toyota and Honda in B-Spec racing, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they’re not looking at breaking into the scene like gangbusters.

The car itself already comes packed with plenty of technical and mechanical modifications, complete with a fully decked red-and-white racing livery, a new suspension set-up comprising of a MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear axle, a roll cage, and plenty of additional racing safety equipment.

As for the powertrain, the car is expected to carry the same engine set-up as its stock counterpart. What that means is that the Rio B-Spec Race Car will carry a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine that produces 138 HP and 123 lb-ft of torque. Kinetic Motorsports will also leave open the option of tweaking the output to squeeze in as much extra horsepower as it could within the rules.

"With the rapid development of the Kia Racing program and the launch of the 2012 Rio five-door, we have a unique opportunity to introduce Kia to a new and passionate racing community," said Michael Sprague Kia Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

UPDATE 11/02/11: This review has been updated with official photos from Kia

UPDATE 11/09/11: We have added new images of the Kia Rio B-Spec Race Car from its debut at the SEMA Show.

Kia GT Concept

Kia unveiled the impressive GT Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and shortly after, the company announced it would be followed by a production version. The production version will be offered as Kia’s halo car and will be targeting a market where German models have been making all the rules.

In an interview with British magazine, AutoExpress, Design Director Peter Schreyer revealed a few details on the next GT: "I think done in the right way, with a smaller engine or hybrid technology, it would work, he explained. "It would still be fast, but return good fuel economy, too. Every company needs a halo car... The coupe market is dominated by German brands, and the GT is Kia’s first step. It’s like putting a foot in the door of the club."

The production GT is said to follow along the same design lines as the concept, which would mean it could include an extended bonnet, powerful rear shoulders, and truncated rear end. The concept also featured a low slung front air intake, jet-themed rear-view cameras, an aerodynamically efficient rear diffuser, winglets that curve in from the front flanks and flow into the headlamps, and multi-piece propeller-style alloy and carbon fiber wheels. We doubt all of the bells and whistles will be on the production model, but it would be interested to see which ones make it.

Source: AutoExpress

One of the many highlights of the Frankfurt Motor Show was a concept car that could potentially lead to a new styling direction from the company that brought the car to Germany.

We’re talking about the Kia GT Concept, a rear-wheel four-door, four-seater sports sedan concept that bares a slight resemblance to the K9 sketch revealed back in 2009.

While we certainly were very surprised by the look of the car - at first, we actually thought it was a Maserati - Kia’s aggressive approach in the design of their future models just goes to show that their designers and engineers have some serious creative chops.

"No matter from which perspective you look at it – this concept car is roaring with energy and ready for take-off," said Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors Chief Design Officer. "I believe the car is a strong statement from Kia: we are ready to fast forward to an all new chapter."

With the aggressive approach the Korean automaker has taken in being more pro-active in the industry, we’re not betting against these guys when it comes to actually seeing this concept through. Who knows, a production version might be in the oven sooner than we think.

UPDATE 12/23/2011: We’ve learned that Kia is set to venture into a whole new market after news broke that they have green-lighted the production of the Kia GT Concept sports car for 2013. We first saw the GT Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show a few months ago and were left breathless at the car’s cutting-edge design and significant - at least for Kia - performance numbers.

For the production GT Concept, Kia is looking at a comprehensive line-up that not only includes a sedan version, but also a two-door coupe variant and, quite possibly, even a station wagon.

Find out more about the Kia GT Concept after the jump

A week after a forgettable fourth episode , Top Gear bounces back with a pretty entertaining penultimate episode that featured a review on the new Jensen Interceptor , a track day for Jeremy Clarkson with the Lotus Exos Type 125 race car , Bob Geldof as the guest celebrity, and a military house destruction challenge.

Comparing it to the previous show, the content for this week was a lot better, but in a weird twist, the show only had 59 minutes on it - the regular slot usually lasts for 62 to 63 minutes - because, apparently, BBC wanted to show the MotoGP race exactly on time.

That became a running gag during the whole episode as Hammond and May kept speeding up Clarkson in order to fill out the entire episode in the 59 minutes they were given.

In the end, the military destruction challenge proved to be the most entertaining segment of the episode - we’d argue that it’s the best one all year, too - filled with child-like shenanigans from the three hosts that make us love the work they’re doing.

Some people might slam them for wasting their precious time on something so inane, but if you were walking in their shoes, you’d be having a ball of time using military vehicles in trying to put down a cement house.

Details on Top Gear Season 17: Episode 5 after the jump

In the past few years, Kia ’s success on the market has increased significantly with models like the SOUL and the Forte becoming leaders in their segment. Taking this under consideration, it’s no wonder that the Korean manufacturer is expanding their market - which as of now consists of coupes, sedans, crossovers, and SUVs - to include a small roadster. The Kia Roadster - name unknown - will set out to compete against one of the only lower end roadsters on the market: the Mazda MX-5 .

The new Kia Roadster will weigh no more than 2200 lbs and will come with a rear wheel drive system. Engine specifications are not exact, but we should be getting about 200 HP out of a turbo petrol engine. About a year after the Kia debuts, we should also be seeing a Hyundai version of the same vehicle. Think along the lines of the relationship between the Toyota FT-86 and Scion FR-S .

The path has been set, but don’t expect this sporty model to show up anytime before 2013; building a model that will be "fun, dynamic and addressed to young buyers" will surely take some time.

Hit the jump to read more about the future Kia Roadster.

In addition to the Kia Soul Hamster unveiled earlier, Kia has brought another concept from the 2010 SEMA Auto Show to production form: the Soul White Tiger Concept . This new special edition will join not only the Hamster, but also the Denim , Ignition , Shadow Dragon , and Ghost Souls. It will go on sale in late May 2011 at a starting price of $20,695.

The new Kia Soul White Tiger Special Edition will be distinguished by a bright white exterior with gray graphics, color-keyed bumpers, a sporty rear spoiler, 18" black alloy wheels, black fender exits, a rear bumper applique, and door alloy fuel. The interior was not left untouched as it received black leather seats, heated front seats, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, a smart key to press the start button, illuminated sill plates, automatic climate control, and front fog lamps.

It seems Kia is taking the Soul’s popularity to a whole new level with as many special edition models as the public can take. Haven’t they ever heard of too much of a good thing?

Kia ’s highly popular ’Hamster’ campaign drew some rave reviews from a lot of people when it began airing a couple of years ago. It’s become so popular that Kia actually developed a special edition Soul late last year, which it previewed at SEMA last October.

What we didn’t know and what the Korean automaker recently announced is that they’re in the process of releasing a special edition Kia Soul called the ’Hamster Edition’ in the very near future. Details behind the special edition model have yet to be announced, but there have been whispers saying that the Hamster Edition will come with black exterior graphics, a rear spoiler, and a set of 18" alloy wheels outside while its interior will boast of a push-button ignition, automatic climate control, black leather seats, and special edition floor mats commemorating the car’s exclusivity.

It’s very rare that a commercial can be so popular that it leads to a special edition car being built to celebrate it. Kia’s "This or That" ads paved the way for the Soul Hamster Edition, proving that the auto industry won’t hesitate on riding a popular campaign and milking it for all its worth.

Note: Photos are of the 2010 Kia Soul Hamster Concept.

Kia has expanded its Rio line-up with the revealing of a new sedan version at the 2011 New York Auto Show. The new model will go on sale later this fall and will be offered in three trims – LX, EX and SX - all with a 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine.

The 2012 Kia Sedan follows along the same design language as the 2011 Optima and Sportage. The major work will be done inside the vehicle where it will receive a bold and modern cabin, high quality materials, and the latest technologies available on the market.

"The all-new Rio brings Kia’s successful combination of world-class styling, outstanding fuel economy, advanced technologies and tremendous value to the smallest and most economical vehicle in the Kia lineup," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "With gas prices rising, sub-compacts are becoming increasingly more popular and with more power, up to 40 miles per gallon fuel economy and stunning design, the all-new Rio sets the standard in the sub-compact class and becomes a vehicle that is not only affordable, but one that people will aspire to own."

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Kia Rio Sedan.

It didn’t take long for Kia to release a facelift version of the Soul , did it?

After only three model years, the Korean automaker has decided that their K-pop crossover needed a facelift, and so they gave it one, providing the 2012 Soul with all the styling, power, and fuel economy improvements needed to satisfy the vehicle’s growing number of fans.

While the car already looked the part of something eclectic, Kia went the subtle route with their changes, opting to give it improvements that are less about style than they were about substance. This substance is provided with a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower and 143 lb/ft of torque with an improved fuel economy rating of 27 mpg on the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

"The Soul crossover vehicle has always stood out from the crowd and was responsible for bringing new customers to the Kia brand and positioning the company for a series of record-breaking successes," said Michael Sprague, vice president of Marketing & Communications at Kia Motors America.

"With gas prices on the rise, this refresh adds even more style and fun-to-drive performance, while also improving fuel economy by 10 percent."

Details on the Kia Soul after the jump.

Kia has unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show a new sedan model based on the Rio platform. It will be called K2 and was designed and engineered specifically for the Chinese market. Sales will begin this June, and it will be followed by a five-door hatchback later in August.

Speaking at the Kia press conference at the Shanghai Motor Show, Hyoung-Keun Lee, Vice Chairman of Kia Motors, said, "We are confident that this all-new model for China will provide the momentum needed for Kia not only to remain as one of China’s fastest growing automotive brands but also to become a top 10 automaker in the local market in terms of quality and customer satisfaction."

The new K2 sedan takes its inspiration from the popular K5 sedan, or Optima as you might know it, including sophisticated lines that create a dynamic, bold and sophisticated exterior appearance. The Chinese customers will have to choose between a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter Gamma petrol engine mated to a manual or automatic transmission.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Kia K2 sedan.

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