Kia cars

Kia geared up for the 2011 SEMA Auto Show with an armada of presentations starting with this fascinating surf and skate-themed Rio hatchback. The car was built in cooperation with Antenna Magazine and was designed to be a “one-of-a-kind retro ride aimed at totally radical surfing enthusiasts.”

The exterior of the Rio 5-door was treated to a sunset-metallic golden-brown paint and a custom body kit that includes a front splitter made of wood that matches the Thule roof rack and hand-made wood surfboard mounted on top. The car has also been lowered with a modified suspension for better handling while a new set of 17" three-piece gold wheels finish off the exterior details.

Inside, the Antenna Rio 5-door comes with custom front and rear seats and dash and door panels that are dressed in brown and beige plaid waterproof bathing suit fabric. There’s also a wood grain center console and a headliner upholstered in dark brown suede with a towel holder built in that rounds out the car’s themed retro-surf look. Meanwhile, the rear center console was turned into a shelf that can hold beach accessories, including sun tan lotion, surfboard wax, and bottled water. Then, there’s the rear hatch, which has been modified to hold a retro gaming console that plays 80’s-style arcade games, a retro-looking record player to play music, mood lighting, and shelves to hold sandals and clothing.

Needless to say, this particular Rio is more about its looks than it is about its performance capabilities. Don’t expect it to burn some rubber on the road, but when it comes to the perfect chill-out ride, Antenna Magazine’s Kia Rio "Retro Surf" is a retro hot spot on wheels.

Updated 11/09/2011: Check the picture gallery to see new images of the Rio 5-Door "Retro Surf" by Antenna Magazine from its official debut at the SEMA Show.

Kia ’s burgeoning quirky reputation is about to be taken to a whole new level at the coming SEMA Auto Show next month after announcing that they’re bringing six "sports-themed" projects to the world’s biggest aftermarket auto event.

We sincerely hope that we don’t see any rapping hamsters and from what we’ve been told, there won’t be any. Instead, the Korean automaker will be fielding a couple of custom-modded 2012 Kia Souls inspired by some of the world’s best athletes, including golf star Michelle Wie and NBA dynamo Blake Griffin.

In the case of the hotshot golfer, Kia dressed up the Soul - with the help of West Coast Customs - using a funky "So Blue" exterior paint scheme, the same colorful artwork she uses on her golf bags. In addition to that, the
Soul also carries a new set of 20" five-spoke wheels that incorporate her original artwork. Inside, the modifications include the golfer’s artwork and personal logo also that have been integrated into the Soul’s "Snow White" leather headrests. There’s also a baby blue painted dash and pink headliner and seating accents, completing the interior’s whimsical look. There’s also an artificial glass flooring and at the back, you’ll find a 26" LED TV monitor mounted into the rear hatch with a Microsoft X-Box 360 console and Microsoft Kinect system to play golf out of the back of the vehicle. Two of Wie’s tournament-used golf bags are also mounted behind the TV, which conceals the car’s eight-inch speakers and subwoofer.

UPDATE: 11/01/11: This review has been updated with official photos from Kia

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.

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