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2020 Kia Soul

2020 Kia Soul

The Korean automaker’s funky freshest

It ain’t easy standing out in the overly-saturated subcompact crossover segment, but the Kia Soul does exactly that with its mix of unique and attractive styling, equipment, and overall value. Now the Soul enters its third generation for the 2020 model year with a debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, and its bringing a fresh take on the boxy goodness of the outgoing model, plus loads of gear, fun features, and a stout turbo engine option, plus available AWD.

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2020 Kia Ceed Crossover

2020 Kia Ceed Crossover

Kia will soon launch an all-new high-riding crossover model based on its Ceed hatchback and, thanks to the first batch of spy photos showing a camouflaged prototype, we can start to tell you what it’s going to be like. The plan for this model is to slot in between the Stonic and Sportage in the Kia range, although judging by its overall shape it looks like a more hatchback-like crossover (like the Stonic) and not a more SUV-like model such as the larger Sportage. There’s definitely a new Kia Ceed look about this as of yet unnamed model, although it does look quite a bit higher than the regular hatch model. The automaker really wanted us not to see the details, so it covered the front and rear fascias with especially heavy camouflage that doesn’t really allow us to see anything.

We can, however, spot that it will have a similar face to the Ceed (the latest Kia family face), complete with headlights and grille that look similar to those of the hatch.

This model will go up against models such as the Ford Focus Active or Subaru Crosstrek (also known as the XV), some of which have all-wheel drive, others not - in this example, for instance, the Subaru has it as standard, while the Ford doesn’t get it at all and the big question with this Ceed crossover is whether or not it will be offered as an option; it definitely won’t have standard all-wheel drive like the Subaru, that’s for sure.

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2018 Kia Picanto X-Line

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line

Rugged looks, turbocharged engine

The Kia Picanto came to be in 2003 when it was launched on a shortened platform of the Hyundai Getz. Redesigned in 2011, it grew in size and shared underpinnings with the then-new Hyundai i10. Another update followed in 2015, but 2017 brought the significantly modified third-generation model. About half a year has passed since the new Picanto arrived and Kia just introduced a new model, the X-Line.

A range-topping model alongside the performance-oriented GT-Line, the X-Line is a crossover-inspired model in the vein of the larger Volkswagen Cross Polo and Cross Golf, and the Hyundai i20 Active. Modifications include a slightly higher ride height, black cladding on the wheel arches, and a few extra features compared to the standard model. The X-Line also introduces the new turbocharged 1.0-liter engine that will also motivate the GT-Line version.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Picanto X-Line.

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2017 Kia Sorento SXL – Driven

2017 Kia Sorento SXL – Driven

Kia’s broad stroke at the crossover market

It’s hard to believe the Kia Sorento has been around since 2002, but this body-on-frame SUV turned unibody crossover has gained a respectable foothold in the American market thanks to its growing size and continually improvement refinement with each generation. Kia last reworked the Sorento for the 2016 model year. This third-generation crossover now wears a handsome exterior with a surprisingly supple and spacious interior. A few minor changes happen for the 2017 model year, including the addition of automatic emergency braking and making the Technology Package and V-6 standard equipment in the range-topping SXL.

Kia sent me such a model to test for a week. It came loaded with just about every option available, including all-wheel drive and that 3.3-liter V-6. Also packed in back is the Sorento’s optional third row seat, which actually comes standard on the SXL. Prices have also increased for 2017, with the base trims seeing as little as $290 and a whopping $4,000 for the SXL. The huge price jump on the SXL is patricianly explained by the $2,500 Technology Package being made standard, as well as the V-6. AWD is now the SXL’s only major option, though several smaller accessories can be purchased.

The 2017 Sorento is positioned to compete in two vehicle categories and in a higher pricing bracket than most would expect. It can be stacked against the two-row Ford Flex or the spacious, three-row Dodge Durango. It can compete with the family-friendly and affordable Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or the middle-class Jeep Grand Cherokee. It all depends on how the Kia Sorento is optioned. But how well does the Sorento perform at all these tasks? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2017 Kia Soul Turbo

2017 Kia Soul Turbo

The Soul finally goes Turbo! It’s about time, don’t you think?

The Kia Soul is growing a little bit this year with the addition of a new trim level that is sure to make fans of the unique little crossover very happy. While it’s not quite as exciting as seeing something like the Soul First Class or Ski Gondola being inducted as official production members, it’s really the next best thing. World; I introduce you to the Kia Soul Exclaim – the Soul with that little bit of extra oomph we’ve all been waiting for. Slated to be the range-topping trim level of the Soul range, this model comes well equipped with things like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button start, UVO32 that combines Kia’s e-Services and phone connectivity via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a Harman Kardon 5 premium sound system with eight speakers and an eight-inch touchscreen display. The real news, however, is the 1.6-liter engine lurking under the hood that promises an extra 40 horsepower while maintaining a fuel economy standard of 28 mpg.

Orth Hedrick, the VP of Product Planning at KMA, said, “We wanted to provide loyal Soul lovers and new buyers a sportier option,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning KMA. “The 2017 Soul Exclaim with its turbocharged engine gives the car’s fans another wonderful choice from an already wonderful line-up.”

Entering is second generation for the 2014 model year, the Kia Soul is still a spring chicken in some regards, but that second generation brought a slew of enhancements that included a new chassis that was much stiffer than before, a one-piece steering system, revised exterior that brought new exterior light units and fascia’s that were simply more attractive than before, and a more upscale interior that features lots of soft-touch surfaces to help give the cabin more of a premium feel. Everyone was happy with the second-gen model except for the fact that it was somewhat underpowered, even in this niche, with just two engine options that brought no more than 164 horsepower at best.

Has Kia finally found the solution to this lack of power by introducing a new range-topping model? Well, we can’t predict the future, but let’s take a closer look and talk more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Kia Soul Turbo.

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2016 Kia Soul First Class

2016 Kia Soul First Class

The vehicle to make you rethink the use of autonomous technology

Like it or not, self-driving cars are coming, and they are coming fast. If you have fear of giving up the steering wheel, I feel you, as I don’t fancy the idea of giving up control either. Some automakers are pushing to allow a choice in the matter, while other manufacturers like Kia believe that cars of the future will be completely void of a steering wheel. But, what if there was a fair trade off that could make you forget that you hate the idea so much? Take the Kia Soul First Class concept that Kia built specifically for the 2016 SEMA show. This concept takes autonomous technology and mixes it with first class luxury in ways you’ve never seen before. And, outside of actually offering level-five autonomy, the concept is full of technology that could be used in new cars today. Highlights include rear facing front seats, a massive rear view screen, in-floor leg rests, and a cabin that is so inviting that you’ll start to rethink your stance on trusting AI to safely drive you from one destination to the other.

The funky little SUV that is so unique in an overcrowded segment has only been around since 2008 when it debuted at the Paris Motor Show. It evolved into a second generation model for the 2014 model year which brought a more balanced, modern look through the means of strategic nips and tucks here and there. Things like the grille, air dam, and fog lights were all revised while its width increased by 0.6 inches and the wheelbase was extended by 0.8 inches. The interior also went through a strategic redesign that brought new, soft-touch materials and a more premium feel over the outgoing model. The second-gen model that the First Class Soul is based on is set to be facelifted for the 2018 model year, but until then, sink your eyes into what the future of Kia looks like in our full review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Soul First Class.

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2016 Kia Niro Triathlon

2016 Kia Niro Triathlon

It’s a very utilitarian take on the Kia Niro

For the SEMA show this year, Kia had one major theme: Autonomy. Models like the Kia Soul First Class exposes what the self-driving Kia models of the future will offer for the daily driver. Then you’ve got a handful of models that are catered to a specific breed of people. The Kia Soul Ski Gondola is all about going off-road and hitting the slopes in autonomous style and excessive comfort. And then there’s this crazy concept that is based on the Kia Niro, a model that isn’t even on sale yet. Focused on athletes that train every day, this SUV has been transformed into, well, a mini, four-door truck of sorts. It’s fully autonomous and features things like a custom bed in the rear, suicide doors, a completely custom cabin, and is ready to give just about any athlete an extra edge in the training department.

I know that sounds like PR talk, but once you get a good look at this thing, you’ll understand why it’s just that cool. When you consider the Niro isn’t even on sale quite yet, being introduced just recently for the 2017 model year, it’s pretty wild to see Kia put so much custom work into it. It’s certainly a way to garner attention for a model that competes in a pretty competitive segment, and this crazy concept is certainly doing that. Keep in mind; it’s being displayed in the same building as concepts like the Dodge Durango Shaker, Chevy Camaro Slammer, and the Toyota Extreme Sienna, to name a few. But, what is really giving it that edge is that it is utilitarian in nature in a large crowd of vehicles aimed at showing off various accessories that are already on sale or could be in the near future.

With that said, let’s kick off the running shoes, and take a look at the one concept at SEMA that is designed to help you better yourself and not your ego.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Niro Triathlon.

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2017 Kia Sportage

2017 Kia Sportage

Kia is unleashing the third generation of the Sportage for the 2017 model year with updated styling outside, including a redefined grille, new fog lamps, new headlights, new taillights and an overall sleek appearance. Inside, the passenger cabin is more driver-oriented, and the dash takes on the same look of width as the exterior. A new instrument cluster boasts a small LCD screen in the middle with the option for different color schemes and the infotainment system is available with a seven- or eight-inch display screen. We have yet to receive engine specifications for the U.S. market, but over in Europe, customers have the option between two gasoline engines and three diesels with output ranging anywhere between 113 horsepower and 182 horsepower.

As a competitor to models like the Nissan Rogue and the Mazda CX-5, the Sportage looks to push the envelope for quality and economy without being too expensive in such a competitive segment. With that said, the Sportage is available in three trim levels with prices ranging from $22,990 for the entry-level LX trim, all the way up to $34,000 for the range-topping Sportage SX. With a long list of optional packages and add-ons, the Sportage could end up being fairly cheap or somewhat expensive if you go for a fully loaded crossover.

The sportage is now and its third generation and only time will tell how well it performs during its lifecycle. But, you can make your own decision about the Sportage for yourself by checking out our detailed review below.

Updated 02/22/2016: Kia announced prices for the all new 2017 Sportgae which will go on sale later this spring. Prices will range from $22,990 to $34,000 depending on the trim version.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2017 Kia Sportage.

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2017 Kia Niro

2017 Kia Niro

Kia’s first hybrid vehicle built on a dedicated platform.

Kia keeps hitting homerun after homerun with the new models it has been releasing lately, but its newest addition will take the brand into a previously unexplored segment. When it comes to the red-hot subcompact crossover market, the Kia Soul is probably the closest thing Kia has to compete in, but a more traditional crossover is about to slot in below the compact Sportage. It goes by the name Niro and, more important, it’s a hybrid.

Previewed by the KX3 Concept that was unveiled at the 2014 Guangzhou Motor Show in China (itself inspired by the 2013 Kia Niro Concept), the Niro was unveiled at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, where Kia showcased a range of green vehicles that also includes hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Optima. But unlike the four-door sedan, the Niro rides on the company’s first dedicated hybrid architecture, one that’s supposed to triple Kia’s global green car lineup by 2020.

"The Niro hits the sweet spot by offering the best combination of outstanding mpg, an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn’t shout ‘hybrid,’" said Orth Hedrick, vice president product planning KMA. “The subcompact CUV market continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, and the Niro offers a uniquely alluring yet practical package that consumers haven’t seen before.”

Granted, the Niro makes a lot of sense in today’s growing crossover market, but does it have what it takes to draw in customers from the established nameplates? Keep reading to find out more about that.

Updated 02/16/2016: We added a series of new images taken during the cars official debut at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. Check the "Pictures" tab to see them.

Continue reading to find out more about the Kia Niro.

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2015 Kia Forte Koup Mud Bogger

2015 Kia Forte Koup Mud Bogger

You can always count on Kia to make its presence felt at the SEMA Auto Show. Over the years, the Korean automaker has to some of the wildest concepts you’ll ever see. Some of the luminaries on this incredibly long list include the Kia DJ Booth Soul, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Dee Edition, and lest we forget the entire roster of Justice League-inspired Kias that stole the show back in 2013. This year, Kia’s not bringing any super heroes to Las Vegas, but it is bringing the Mud Bogger, a heavily modified Forte Koup that draws its inspiration from mud racing.

The Forte Koup Mud Bogger is the brainchild of Kia and Lux Motorwerks, a New Jersey-based auto shop known for its aftermarket projects. That expertise was on full display in the creation of this racy, one-off Forte Koup. Every inch of the Forte was given some form of modification, be it the exterior, interior, or the chassis.

There’s something to be said for an otherwise normal Kia to be turned into a race car that can get down and dirty without hesitation. It may not be the craziest Kia concept we’ve seen at SEMA, but it definitely ranks right up there as arguably one of the most fun to drive. I’ll take that over a Kia Soul that doubles as a mobile DJ booth, thank you very much.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Forte Koup Mud Bogger.

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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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2015 Kia Soul Electric - Driven

2015 Kia Soul Electric - Driven

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels is one of the latest good-guy crusades for automobiles. Perhaps that’s why Kia’s 2015 Kia Soul EV arrived in my driveway wearing a white hat. The Soul EV is just what the name suggests—a Kia Soul with a battery-powered soul. Is electric power the way of transportation’s future? Tesla and others would certainly have you believe so. Cars like the Soul EV seem to suggest that the way forward need not be an unfamiliar one.

The Soul’s an interesting vehicle, from a marketing standpoint. Though it’s neither the most luxurious nor the most high-performance car in the lineup, it’s become Kia’s flagship, and the source from which all of the brand’s funky, rebellious spirit seems to issue. The Soul remains the most extravagantly styled and recognizable Kia. That’s probably why the brand chose it as the platform for its first all-electric vehicle in North America. I spent a week with the Soul to see how it stacks up against its peers in the growing full-electric market, and found it to be a brave little toaster indeed.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2015 Kia Trail'ster e-AWD Concept

2015 Kia Trail’ster e-AWD Concept

Turbocharged. All-wheel drive. Kia Soul. Put those three terms together, and you have the makings of the 2015 Kia Trail’ster e-AWD concept debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February, 2015. After confirming its new concept in January, using a teaser image and a brief press release, Kia has now released all the information on the exciting and intriguing Trail’ster.

In this concept form, the Soul trades in its city-bound form for a more rugged manifestation. Off-road-focused additions include bigger wheels and tires, more ride height, and most importantly, an electric all-wheel-drive system (e-AWD) that uses an electric motor to power the rear wheels. The jury is still out on whether this concept will make production, but we have a thing or two to say about it after the jump.

Updated 02/13/2015: We added a series of Trails’ter images taken during the car’s official debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Check them out in the "Pictures" tab.

Click past the jump to read more about the Kia Trail’ster e-AWD Concept.

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2015 Kia Smitten Soul EV

2015 Kia Smitten Soul EV

The Kia Soul has become a SEMA staple since the model was introduced in 2008. Now that the funky crossover is on its second generation, we can expect Kia to keep bringing the Soul to the world’s biggest aftermarket auto show. This year, Kia will showcase a handful of new models under the theme “A Day At The Races." Needless to say, the Soul is part of the lineup and it’s coming dressed up as one of the sharpest-looking ice cream trucks you’ll ever see.

That’s a handful to digest right there, and Kia didn’t do us any favors by keeping the details under wraps. The pictures do paint a pretty interesting story about this dressed up Soul EV, which Kia is calling the Smitten Soul EV. You’ll immediately recognize that this is the Soul EV and not the gas-powered model because of the body-color insert where the front grille is supposed to be. It even has an “Ice Cream” decal spelled backwards on the grille insert, similar to what you see in ambulances. That’s usually done so they spell out properly when viewed in a mirror.

Other design highlights of the Smitten Soul EV include a two-tone finish with red working as the primary color mixed with splashes of white on the lower front bumper, the roof, and the body graphics. On the roof, you’ll notice what looks like three cosmetic megaphones, although those things probably work by pressing some toggle switches on the cabin.

A quick look at the cabin shows the same two-tone red-and-white treatment on the leather seats. Just behind the seats appears to be a wooden partition separating the front and rear sections. There are no detailed photos of the rear yet, but I imagine it to be the business set up of the entire “ice cream truck” concept. A foldable table connects that part with a small trailer — the trailer appears to be the hauling medium for the folding table.

We’ll know more about the Kia Smitten Soul EV when the Korean automaker brings it to the 2014 SEMA Auto Show, which starts on November 4, 2014.

Click past the jump to read more about Kia Soul EV.

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2014 Kia Soul Mixx And Maxx

2014 Kia Soul Mixx And Maxx

2014 brought the first major redesign of the Kia Soul, but the South Korean automaker treaded carefully and didn’t meddle with the car’s styling too much. A wise decision, if you ask me. Not only because I like the Soul’s unique design, but it also didn’t make sense for Kia to change one of its best-selling models drastically. Sure, I don’t expect all of you to rave about its boxy styling, but the new Soul is quite rewarding when it comes to cargo and interior room, all backed by a comprehensive engine lineup. And it’s highly customizable too for a vehicle in its segment. Which brings me to the latest Soul-related news I want to share with you; the compact just received a couple of new models. These models carry the Mixx and Maxx names and come as high-specification versions of the familiar hatch.

The bad news is that Kia will only sell them in the United Kingdom, with no U.S. availability on the horizon. Still, this is further proof of what Kia is capable of nowadays and we can only hope the Soul range will soon grow in North America as well. Meanwhile, let’s have a look at what the Brits have in their showrooms as of September 2014.

Click past the jump to read more about the Kia Soul Mixx And Maxx.

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2015 Kia Sorento

2015 Kia Sorento

Retaining most of its features from the 2014 model, the 2015 Sorento makes its way to dealerships with just a few subtle upgrades to make it a more appealing option for customers looking to buy a midsize SUV. The interior and the engine optios of the Sorento received their upgrades last year, so there’s really no need to ask for a complete refresh again. But there are some changes to the 2015, enough at least to make it distinguishable from its predecessor, and more importantly, make it more attractive, especially for young buyers. There really are a lot of things to like about the Sorento; it’s got a nice design and it offers copious amounts of power that should make it a contender in its segment.

But the best part about Kia’s midsize SUV is its price. Whereas rival models are close to the $30,000 range for their V-6 trims, while the Sorento’s V-6 starts at just a little over $26,000. That’s value right there.

Click past the jump to read more about Kia Sorento

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2014 Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul was introduced in 2008 as a concept, and later as a production model for the 2009 model year. It didn’t come to the states until 2010, where the first generation lasted through the 2012 model year. For 2014, Kia brought us the second-generation Soul that included design elements from the Tack’ster Concept from 2012. On the outside, the Soul received new exterior light units, a slightly revised front and rear fascia, and new side view mirrors. Inside, the interior was fitted with softer materials on the dash, center console, and door panels to help improve its “premium” appearance. Other interior features included a round shifter knob, push-button start, and revised steering wheel controls. Under the hood, consumers had the choice of a 130-horsepower 1.6-liter or a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter engine. A six-speed manual came as standard equipment, but a six-speed automatic was available at a premium. To round out the new Soul, it had an all-new chassis that was stiffer than before, heavily revised suspension, and a one-piece steering system.

In all reality, the Soul really didn’t change all that much, and to the untrained eye, the subtle changes that came with the second generation may not even be noticeable. Then again, Kia put a lot of work into the chassis and suspension, so ride quality and overall structural rigidity were increased significantly. Unfortunately, the second-generation model didn’t come with the cool hipster hamsters either, but that didn’t make the boxy little SUV any less fun to drive. With that said, check out our full and detailed review below to learn more about the second-generation Kia Soul.

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