2013 Kia Soul Exclaim (!) Review

Friday March 29th, 2013 at 9:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Rocks the Cute Scale
Gripes: Bouncy Ride, No Manual Available on !

The happy Soul enters its 4th year of production in mildly revised form. This year, you can opt for the base model Soul, a step-up version designated Plus (+), or the full featured Soul Exclaim (!) which I tested.
In view of the fact that top shelf Souls have escalated in price from $17,190 in 2011 to $23,575 for this year’s loaded !, your exclamation might be limited to the steep price creep. But once you’ve spent a couple of days behind the slightly raked, multi-function steering wheel of this best Soul Kia makes, you’ll look at the entry price as a bargain rather than a hurdle.

Unlike the base model, which utilizes a 1.6 liter straight 4 to make 138hp, both the + and ! models bump displacement to 2 liters worth of inline 4 making 164hp. Ironically, the base motor is technologically more sophisticated than the optional version because it boasts direct fuel injection rather than multi-point injection. The base and + versions are available with either 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions, while the ! offers only the automatic. The base Soul weighs just 2,615 lbs. compared to the automatic ! which scales in at 2,778 lbs.

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2012 Kia Rio SX Review

Thursday February 9th, 2012 at 9:22 PM
Posted by: aquadog

After testing a 2011 Kia Optima last year, I found myself impressed with Kia’s revised approach to the US market. They seem to have recognized their place in the market, understand their competition, and have done a good job in creating a great added value proposition verses the competition.

The 2012 Kia Rio was a welcome test candidate given my experience driving the Optima last year. The Kia’s we’ve been able to experience have actually stood up well to other cars within their respective classes. Sure, with the competitors like Honda, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi to name a few, competition is tough, but Kia has definitely turned a corner and is producing more and more appealing cars today.

Along with the sports package features, the car comes fully air bagged, front to back, including full length side curtain air bags – definitely a nice feature given the price point of the car. Some more expensive cars will only add full length side curtains airbags as an option only. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and hill assist control are also included, but are also very standard options from at least this price point and up. One bonus though is the four wheel disc brake feature, which is hard to find on anything else in this class where less powerful rear drum brakes are dominant.

The one feature we missed in this car is Kia’s ISG technology, or “Idle Stop and Go,” which shuts down the motor when at stop lights. It’s said to add about 1 or 2 miles to the already good 30 city and 40 highway fuel economy, but our test car was released before the technology became fully ready for the platform. With other manufacturers from Honda to Porsche adopting this type of system, it would be interesting to see how Kia executes theirs. Honda’s is not super smooth in my opinion, and I have heard that Porsche’s is better but not without some consumer issues. Only time will tell how this will work.

Base price for the Kia Rio SX came in at $17,700. As tested, our car came in at $18,545, which included a set of floor mats, as well as freight and handling. The SX package is considered the Sports Package version of the car. It comes with a sport tuned suspension and great looking 17” two tone alloy wheels mated to a peppy 1.6 liter gas direct injection 4 cylinder motor and 6 speed automatic transmission.

Ming reviews the new 2012 Kia Rio SX

YouTube Preview Image

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Review – Arriving fashionably late to the hybrid party

Tuesday September 27th, 2011 at 7:99 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
By David Colman

Likes:

  • High Level of equipment
  • Refined interior
  • Stunning looks

Dislikes:

  • Balky drivetrain
  • Annoying “Easy Access” seat slide on entry

The 2011 Kia Optima sedan is a spectacularly successful styling effort. Its proportions, stance and attention to detail make it look twice as expensive as its $32,000 price tag. It is more handsome and better proportioned than any of the current gape-mouthed Audis or flame surfaced BMWs. But where those storied German makes succeed is performance. In that regard, the Kia falls short of the lofty mark promised by its stellar styling.

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid First Impressions Review

Thursday June 23rd, 2011 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Eye-catching exterior design
  • Roomy, well-apportioned interior
  • Smooth, quiet hybrid drivetrain
  • Solid handling and ride quality

Cons:

  • A bit slow for a car with over 200 hp
  • Brake pedal feels squishy
  • Untested fuel efficiency

The folks at Kia Motors are very optimistic. Having launched seven brand new models in under 2 years and with record sales growth over the past year, Kia is transforming itself into a major player in the car market.

Part of this success is surely due to an emphasis on value, which has resonated with buyers in these tough economic times. At the same time, a shift away from forgettable econoboxes and towards quality design and engineering has made for an almost unbeatable combination of high quality at a low price.

To keep the momentum rolling, Kia is now offering a hybrid gas-electric vehicle in the form of its Optima mid-size sedan. With gas prices looking to stay close to $4 a gallon, this could be the perfect time to make a case for fuel efficient motoring and take a bite out of the growing hybrid sedan segment.

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Video Review: 2011 Kia Optima by Driving Sports TV

Friday June 10th, 2011 at 12:66 PM
Posted by: Derek

2011 Kia Optima

Hyundai and Kia are getting better and better with each new model release and the latest from Kia is a prime example why they are gaining market share at a fantastic rate. The 2011 Kia Optima jumps into the one most heavily contested categories and does well competing against the heavy hitters such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.

Designed at Kia’s studios in Frankfurt, Germany and Irvine, California, the all-new Kia Optima is longer, wider and lower than the out-going model it replaces and is based on an all-new midsize platform that allows for distinctive dimensions and proportions, while also providing a unique canvas for Kia’s global design team to pen a vehicle that stands apart from everything else in its segment.

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2011 Kia Optima Review – Not Your Average Mid-Size Sedan

Friday April 8th, 2011 at 7:44 AM
Posted by: mtan

2011 Kia Optima
By Ming Tan

Pros:

  • Feature and amenity laden
  • Smooth design aesthetics
  • Peppy 2.4L 4 cylinder motor
  • Sporty handling suspension

Cons:

  • A few oddly placed function buttons
  • Narrow trunk pass through
  • Awkward blind spots
  • Light steering feel

Just what is an “average” sedan? This is an interesting question in a world dominated by Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevrolet. Is average boring? Is it plainly functional? Or should even an average car stimulate your senses and make you want to take a detour just to spend a little more time in it?

The marketing hype surrounding Kia’s new Optima, which culminated in an eye-popping Super Bowl commercial involving alien abduction and Mayan sacrifice, has absolutely peaked my interest. Having owned both Hondas and Toyotas in the past, I know what an average sedan feels like. I want to feel something different. Not often do thoughts of mid-sized sedans evoke passion and verve, but why shouldn’t they?

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40 MPG Cars – Affordable and Fuel Efficient

Tuesday March 29th, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Chevy CruzeWith fuel prices continually rising, 40+ mpg cars are looking like a great option for consumers who can’t afford or don’t want hybrid technology. Without breaking the bank, these affordable fuel efficient cars range from $15,000 to about $20,000 and all provide 40 mpg or more highway mpg driving. Companies that have joined the 40-mpg club are Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Smart.

Automakers are achieving the 40 mpg mark by using lighter-weight materials, modern gasoline powered engines with direct injection and six-speed automatic transmissions along with additional fuel-saving technologies such as low-rolling-resistance tires.

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Car Companies are Spending Big Bucks on Super Bowl Ads

Tuesday February 1st, 2011 at 3:22 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Super Bowl XLV (45)2011 Super Bowl XLV (45) , the biggest television event of the year is coming up this Sunday, February 6, and the auto companies are spending big bucks ($3 million for 30 seconds) on advertising that will rival beer companies’ air time. Car makers such as Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Bridgestone are all going to be making TV appearances from pre-game through post-game shows. Some companies have already started to build their campaigns before Super Bowl Sunday through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Audi is stirring up interest for their A8 Super Bowl commercials by posting the “Audi Estate Sale” on Facebook and messages on Twitter. Audi will also takeover YouTube’s homepage on Super Bowl Sunday.

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2011 Kia Sportage EX FWD First Impression Review – The Sportage comes of age

Monday November 8th, 2010 at 11:1111 AM
Posted by: berrichondanny

2011 Kia Sportage
Pros:

  • Sharp styling
  • Good acceleration
  • Better than average MPG
  • Baby friendly access for moms and dads
  • Bluetooth® music streaming

Cons:

  • Temperamental power steering
  • Slightly harsh ride

Driving Impressions

The redesigned Kia Sportage makes a very good first impression, having inherited its handsome looks from the Kue concept of 2007. The sloping windshield makes this one of the most sporty looking crossovers on the road today. The Kia Sportage has a more distinctive design than any of the competition – the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, even its close cousin Hyundai Tucson.

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2010 Kia Forte Koup SX Review – Kopious Kar for the Kash

Friday June 4th, 2010 at 12:66 PM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

2010 Kia Koupe Forte

By Kurt Gensheimer

Blings:

  • Outstanding value
  • Head-turning exterior design
  • Performance on par with Civic Si
  • Class-leading rear seat legroom

Dings:

  • Rage-inducing drive-by-wire throttle
  • Vague clutch takeup
  • Cheeseball speaker LEDs
  • Rear seat headroom fit for the Headless Horseman

Ruling: Behold, the very first Kia that you’d actually want to be seen in.

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