Car Review: 2015 Kia K900

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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.

EXTERIOR

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.

INTERIOR

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.

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Car Review: 2014 Kia Cadenza Limited

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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!

EXTERIOR

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.

INTERIOR

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.

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Car Review: 2014 Kia Soul

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The new 2014 Kia Soul is a testament for just how far small utility vehicles have progressed in today’s market. We drove a solar yellow Soul for a week and discovered that this is not only a fun car, but refined beyond what we expected. The 2014 Kia Soul’s all-new take on design, driving dynamics and desirable features totally transform one of Kia Motors America’s best-selling cars into an urban utility vehicle that is as comfortable in the city as it is on the open highway.

EXTERIOR

When the wild Track’ster concept made its debut in 2012, Soul enthusiasts and pundits alike urged Kia to turn the aggressively fun fantasy into reality. With 18 months from design freeze to production, the stage was set for the all-new Soul, and many of the concept’s dramatic design cues can be found in the production vehicle. The upright stance, squared shoulders and distinctive fender flares are instantly recognizable as Soul. Combining a longer 101.2-inch wheelbase (up 0.8 inches), overall width that’s broadened to 70.9 inches (increased by 0.6 inches) and a reduced overall height of 63.0 inches (decreased by 0.4 inches) adds a more aggressive edge to the all-new Soul’s appearance. Likewise, the wraparound greenhouse, high-mounted tail lights and upright stance are all hallmark design elements. Premium touches such as available LED front positioning lights and rear LED halo lights help connect Soul to siblings within the Kia lineup that share similar design cues, such as the 2014 Sorento CUV and 2014 Forte sedan.

Exterior Track’ster similarities are easy to spot. The large trapezoidal lower air intake is nearly a direct carryover from the concept, and the location of the available fog lights – down low and pushed to the leading edges – mirror those found on the Track’ster. Kia’s signature grille is present, but it’s been reworked to more closely resemble the concept. Adding a touch of flair, the unique “floating” body-color panel inset into the lift gate originated with the Track’ster as well. Subtle enhancements include a wider (by 2.4 inches over the previous Soul) opening for the lift gate, allowing Soul to swallow more stuff. There is a smooth feel to the skin of the 2014 Kia Soul that exudes confidence and appeals to the eyes. The Soul Exclaim as tested adds to the Plus, with standard features like 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/45R-18 tires, fog lights, body-color bumper “tusks,” projector head lights, front LED positioning lights and rear LED halo lights.

INTERIOR

Our test model was equipped with extra options from head to toe, and we appreciated them more and more as the week moved on. Overall, the design paid particular attention to instilling a more premium look and feel to the 2014 Soul’s interior. Liberal applications of soft-touch materials are found on the instrument panel, center console and door panels. Details such as our media car’s leather trimmed seating with improved lateral and thigh support, and the use of high-gloss piano-black trim pieces on the center console and dash, elevate the Soul’s interior to new levels of sophistication. The panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade was spectacular, navigation with a whopping 8-inch screen was bright and clear, and the Infinity audio system was spot on with a strong bass!

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Car Review: 2014 Kia Forte EX

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When a car company redesigns an already great-selling sedan, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. The new 2014 Kia Forte EX sits on an all-new chassis that is longer, wider and lower than the previous-generation Forte, offering more room, performance and premium amenities than previous models. We had the chance to test drive the new Forte and came away with some of the following impressions.

EXTERIOR

The crimson red paint color on the skin of the Forte looked as good as just about any finish on a car in this class. With an aggressive stance, broad shoulders and a windshield rake that can only be described as sporty, the all-new Forte looks as good parked as it does at speed. Influenced by European sport sedan styling, the Forte’s modern aesthetics were born in California at Kia’s American Design Center in Irvine. Dramatically swept headlight lenses cut deeply into the front fenders and incorporate projector headlamps. LED positioning lights create distinct eyebrows, making the Forte instantly recognizable in a crowd. Gentle sculpting along the Forte’s lower flanks taper the sheet metal inward, affording the car a taut, nimble appearance without diminishing its road presence. Around back, the up-kicked fender line and trunk design, with its deep horizontal crease, lend width and charisma while allowing the complex curves of the tail lights to flow over the car’s haunches.

INTERIOR

Opening the wide doors reveals a cabin sculpted in organic curves. Gentle character lines evoke ripples radiating from a pebble dropped into a pond. The driver-centric cabin is canted 10 degrees and features high-quality materials and soft touch points. Large, easy-to-read instruments dominate the binnacle, and secondary controls fall easily to hand. The optional 4.2-inch color LCD screen nestled between the white-on-black gauges in the EX provides trip and ancillary vehicle information front and center to the driver. Tasteful chrome bezels ring the HVAC rotary knobs and the optional push-button start. Additional chrome accents, standard Bluetooth hands-free phone integration and power windows, mirrors and door locks enhance the all-new Forte’s premium feel. Optional leather seating trim, power sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control with rear seat vents and HID head lights take the Forte to new levels of sophistication. Although our test vehicle came with cloth seats and no sunroof, we were more than pleased with the quality of the materials and the fit and finish of the interior space. Speaking of space, the roominess is plenty and quite deceptive until one sits inside the 2014 Kia Forte EX.

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Car Review: 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD

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The redesigned Sorento that is built in Georgia has come out of the gate with fanfare and strong sales. The Sorento delivers an impressive roster of premium features and amenities that impressed us throughout our week of testing.

EXTERIOR

In a segment more often known for bland utility, the new 2014 Sorento sports dynamic and sophisticated design elements, inside and out. Redesigned front and rear fascias enhance the Sorento’s road presence with a lower, broader appearance up front and a visually wider stance at the rear. The ubiquitous Kia tiger-nose grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal or black mesh appearance, and the lower valance has been opened to expose an aggressive cross-hatched maw. Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows, while projector-style headlights peer from behind tapered clear lenses. Available fog lights on all trim models have been upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps embrace the turn signal and back-up lights, emitting a warm corona that makes the 2014 Sorento instantly recognizable from behind. Our Sorento EX AWD sported 18-inch alloy wheels, but there are also 17-inch and, a first for Kia’s best-selling CUV, larger 19-inch wheels. The look of the 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD resembles some higher end CUVs, but still establishes her own presence with a sophisticated and modern design.

INTERIOR

There is elegance everywhere in the 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD, and we took notice from the time we stepped in the cabin. A redesigned instrument panel deftly combines technology with proven ergonomics. Standard on EX and optionally available on the LX trim, the large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine temp. The TFT LCD readout also displays trip and vehicle information, along with navigation updates. The center stack’s appearance and layout has been modernized and button positions have been rearranged for a more user-friendly experience.

The new design also provides room for Kia’s new, larger touch screen. Diagonally spanning eight inches, the optional screen on our test model integrates navigation, SiriusXM Traffic with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity audio system, SiruisXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices, Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics. Other new available features in the 2014 Sorento include Kia’s first-ever programmable power liftgate, a redesigned and enormous panoramic sunroof with a one piece power-operated shade, integrated second row sliding sunshades, available dual ventilated air-cooled front seats, a 115-volt power inverter and illuminated door handle pockets. Our beige leather seats were first class and provided heated seats that you could not place a dollar value on in zero degree Ohio temperatures!

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