Over the past few years, Korean automaker Kia has been on a mission to change public perception of its brand. No longer is it the quirky Korean brand that’s attached to the hip with Hyundai. Granted, it is still attached to Hyundai and you can trace nearly every Kia model back to Hyundai roots; it simply has a little more design freedom these days.
Now, it’s ready to take on the big boys. To its credit, it’s doing so with a full armada of new vehicle offerings that’ll cater to a wide range of consumer palettes.
One such model that Kia has high hopes for is the 2013 Rio Sedan. First introduced in 2000, the Rio has since spawned three generations, a remarkable achievement in itself considering that despite being a relative neophyte in its segment, it has managed to hold its own against the Corollas and Civics of the world.
Make no mistakes, though; the Rio still has its work cut out for it, given the tradition and popularity of its Japanese competitors.
Yet that has been a challenge that Kia has fully embraced, if only for the rather simple reason that if you’re going to make a name for yourself in the industry, you’re going to need to target the heavyweights and give them some reason to look in their rear-view mirrors.
The Rio definitely has the tools to take the battle to its rivals. The question is does it have the tools to attract the most important group of people: buyers.
Click past the jump to read about the 2013 Kia Rio Sedan
The Kia Forte5 is the forthcoming hatchback variation of last year’s new Forte sedan but packs some interesting and timely updates that make this one of the few hot hatches offered in the U.S. market. The highlights include a powerful turbocharged engine, sophisticated front and rear LED lighting, and a cabin with some boy-racer appeal via carbon-fiber-style surfaces and a six-speed manual box.
Let’s face it: hot hatches just aren’t sexy here. As much as our Euro counterparts get excited about the Fiesta ST, there’s a collective “huh?” in U.S. showrooms over the same car. It just seems too tall, too narrow and diminutive for someone to commit to years of payments. The Honda Civic Si is about as close to the recipe as possible and even this is only offered in staid sedan or also-staid coupe bodywork.
This is set to change with the new Forte5. The name is the dorkiest part: the style of low, crisp and wide proportions makes this car look more like a slammed Sportage or Cayenne than an econobox. The mechanical packages on the Kia show a half-step improvement versus corporate sibling Hyundai, with the turbo engine finally delivering some of the sportiness Kia says defines its products.
So where does the Forte5 site within the Forte line that also includes sedans and coupes? Right in that hot-hatch sweet spot, just moved a little further toward “cool” from the embarrassing current hatchbacks: the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Spark.
Click past the jump for the full review of the Forte5 ahead of its arrival in U.S. dealers at the end of summer 2013.
British customers will enjoy a new addition to their already very impressive Kia Soul Originals collection. The new addition, the Soul Shaker will be offered in both petrol and diesel engine variants and will carry a relatively low price.
The model sits above the "2" specification version and shares some high-tech features with other models in the Soul Originals range, including iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and air conditioning.
When compared to other Soul models in the lineup, the new Shaker edition will be distinguished by an exclusive paintjob, a new set of alloy wheels, and premium interior in a new unique ’Houndstooth’ design.
Kia also paid intensive attention to the car’s safety level and equipped the new Shaker with technologies like electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, vehicle stability management and hill-start assist control.
Hit the jump to ream more the 2013 Kia Soul Shaker.
Geneva Motor Show is still almost two months away, but as usual, we will know nearly everything about it long before the official opening. For example, Kia has unveiled today the first teaser images of a new "provocative and racy new urban concept car" set to be unveiled in Geneva.
The company kept the name a secret, but confirmed the concept will feature the "company’s signature tiger-nose morphing into a mischievous, yet friendly, grille and headlight arrangement, coupled with strong styling lines that exude speed and energy from every angle."
We have also notice lots of carbon fiber used in the front bumper, a new set of wheels and, of course, an overall aggressive presence. Also, we expect this new concept to be a hybrid vehicle, but this is just simple speculation.
Full details on the new concept will be unveiled on March 5th, during the its official debut in Geneva, so stay tuned!
The Kia Picanto is not a model you’ll find zipping through the streets of the U.S., but it has been a relative hit in developing markets, thanks to its low price, and even in the U.K., thanks to its stellar gas mileage. In the 2013 model year, Kia is releasing a series of “Originals” 3-door collection.
The most recent addition to this new collection of 3-door Kias is the all-new Picanto City. This model is, from the outward appearance, almost identical to any 3-door Picanto you’ll see frolicking through the streets of the U.K., but under the hood, in the wallet, and at the pump, it is much different than you would expect.
The U.K. super-mini segment is already overcrowded, so how well can Kia expect to do with this ultra-economic super-mini car?
Click past the jump to read our full review on the 2013 Kia Picanto City and find out how well it stacks up to the growing list of super-minis in the U.K.
Here are some pictures taken from the Kia Forte’s Korean brochure. The new compact car was launched in its home market of South Korea this week, but isn’t expected in the U.S. until the middle of next year.
Why are we excited about a new little Kia? Well, budget-friendly Kia seems to be starting to turn a corner. Its Euro-only Cee’d has been getting good reviews for style and performance. This Forte looks great inside and out compared to the Spectra it replaces, and so our hopes are high.