Kia recently brought us out to beautiful Aspen, Colorado to test drive the all-new 2016 Kia Optima on some stunning mountain roads. This sunny landscape with the lovely fall leaves was a perfect setting for Kia to introduce the redesigned version of the most important vehicle in the Kia lineup. The Optima has been a big hit for Kia and sales continued to increase nicely this past year. Naturally, Kia’s goal is to build on the success of this sharp yet practical mid-size sedan which has become one of the staples in a crowded segment.
Kia offered us the opportunity to see two NBA playoff games between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls, with the road trip from Cleveland to Chicago in the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento sandwiched in between. Naturally we said yes and needless to say it was quite an adventure! (Read more about our impressions of the Kia Sorento here).
It all got started in Cleveland will some amazing floor seats just behind the Cavs bench. Right away we had a buzz-worthy story as Lebron was introduced wearing his signature headband which he had discarded earlier this season. But after a game one thrashing at the hands of the Bulls, Lebron felt the need to go back to the headband to revive his game, which seemed silly in many ways until the game started and the Cavs jumped out to an early lead.
As a Cavs fan the entire experience was pretty amazing. It started as I checked in to the Hyatt located in the historic Arcade in downtown Cleveland.
Our friends at Kia offered us the opportunity to take the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento on a road trip and I gladly accepted, particularly when they explained the trip would be between NBA playoff games in Cleveland and Chicago!
Not only would we be able to enjoy the games, but we’d be traveling in style with the 240 horsepower, turbocharged 2.0L AWD version of the Sorento. It became clear right away when we headed to Chicago that we had an ideal road trip vehicle that offered the comfort and luxury you’d want on a long drive. (Read more about our road trip here.)
I liked the previous generation Sorento, but the exterior styling has improved dramatically with the all-new generation introduced for the 2016 model year. It all starts with the aggressive and prominent front grille, narrower and longer headlights and eye-catching LED front fog lights. The result is a distinctive look from the front that sets the tone for the entire design.
Kia is now officially in the luxury car business. With one fell swoop, they have launched the K900, a modern and elegant sedan that signals a new era for Kia and advances the brand to new levels sophistication. We drove the all-new 2015 Kia K900 and had to keep reminding ourselves that this car was a Kia! Things change so fast in the car business, and I’m sure some rivals keep wondering what the folks at Kia will come up with next.
When you first take a look at the 2015 Kia K900, you know that this car is for real, and a serious attempt by Kia to be a player in the luxury car segment. The long 119.9-inch wheelbase and wide 63.8-inch front and 64.1-inch rear track of the V8 translate to considerable road presence. In profile, the swept rake of the greenhouse, subdued cut lines along the doors and high rear deck lid lend a muscular tension to the sheet metal. The K900 V8’s standard 19-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels are shod with 245/45R-19 tires up front and 275/40R-19 tires at the rear.
Kia’s signature grille resides nearly vertically in the smoothly contoured front fascia. A chrome halo surrounds the dark chrome inner elements, which hints at the power and potential behind it. Airflow-smoothing underbody panels mounted beneath the nose, engine bay and cabin help reduce drag and improve efficiency. Standard on the V8 as tested are adaptive LED headlights. With 16 LED bulbs providing powerful, natural light for enhanced luminosity, the beams, which adjust to follow the bends in the road, shimmer beneath crystal clear lenses that pull back deeply into the front fenders. Soft-glow LEDs frame the multi-faceted headlights. Mounted low and at the far corners of the nose are sleek LED daytime running lamps and LED fog lights. Similar use of LED technology can be found at the rear of the K900. The trapezoid taillights offer defused LEDs for the brakes and bright LEDs for the turn signals. A tasteful chrome bezel cuts high across the K900’s standard powered rear deck lid, adding elegance and lending visual width. The standard power and heated rearview mirrors integrate auto dimming, LED turn signal indicators and Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) in a smooth, aerodynamic form that helps reduce wind noise. The rear bumper is accented with fully integrated, dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports that mimic the shape of the taillights.
Open the door to the all-new K900 and the same sense of elegant sophistication can be found within the luxuriously appointed cabin. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel is substantial and features controls for audio, cruise control, entertainment and vehicle information. A heated wheel is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. Standard high-grade leather is found throughout the cabin on the V6, which can also be optioned with soft Nappa leather in black or white with contrasting piping. The V8 K900 arrives with standard Nappa leather. Soft-hue LED interior illumination is standard across the K900 line. Genuine walnut (with black Nappa leather) or poplar (with white Nappa leather) wood trim sweeps across the dash and door panels, beautifully complementing the richness of the interior and is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. A 12-way adjustable driver’s seat, including power lumbar support, is standard on both the V6 Premium and V8 Luxury models, and a 16-way power adjusted driver’s seat features power headrests and cushion extender for added thigh support as part of the V6 Technology Package and the V8 VIP Package. The front seats feature standard multi-stage heating and ventilation for individualized comfort in all climates.
Kia continues to roll out new models, and since the debut of the all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza sedan, this offering from Kia has garnered praise for its premium feel and long list of amenities. We drove the new Cadenza for a week and had the opportunity to find out if Kia is still churning out winners!
With the Cadenza, you first notice the broad shoulders, contoured hood, large wheels and wide stance that give it a strong, grounded appearance. The striking design has a distinctive sport-sedan form that you normally find on much more expensive models. The signature grille and front fascia make Cadenza instantly recognizable as a Kia. Flanking the grille are quad headlights that nestle deeply behind crystalline lenses. The lower fascia is wide, lending to the Cadenza’s imposing stance, and chrome trim accents around the fog lights and grille add to the vehicle’s premium presence. LED positioning lights and projection beam headlights provide additional European sophistication. The vertical nose is imposing and the long hood is sensuously sculpted to meet the swept-back windshield. The greenhouse curves gracefully to the C-pillar and is surrounded by a tasteful chrome bezel that flares upward at the rear door, effectively creating a beautiful glass droplet. Beginning just aft of the front-door cutline is a chiseled indentation that sweeps upward, seamlessly transitioning into the tail lights. Classic chrome accents adorn the lower portions of the doors and the treatment continues into the rear fascia. The 19-inch alloy wheels offered in the Technology Package resemble a jet turbine and add to the Cadenza’s athletic stature.
Moving to the rear, the standard LED taillights sit high on the deck and are designed to cut across a large portion of the vehicle, lending to the Cadenza’s broad stance. The twin oval tail pipes accentuate the Cadenza’s sporty and elegant design. What universally garnered plenty of attention were the sleek 19-inch chrome alloy wheels that give this new Kia some street cred.
The interior of the Cadenza envelops its occupants in a premium environment complete with soft leather upholstery and tasteful accents of wood and chrome. Ambient lighting and a horizontally positioned switch gear communicate an uncluttered and sophisticated aesthetic. An elegant analog clock positioned between the automatic climate controls lends a classic feel. The center console is angled slightly toward the driver for optimized control, and an available large 7-inch high-resolution TFT LCD screen in the gauge cluster showcases a wide range of vehicle information, including turn-by-turn navigation and infotainment. Elegant chrome bezels surround the HVAC and audio controls, air vents and the standard push-button start. Standard Bluetooth, wood-trim door inserts, one-touch automatic up/down power front windows and power-folding heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators all enhance the Cadenza’s premium image.