Pros and Cons of Gas, Hybrids, PHEVs, and EVs

Miami Lakes Kia Alternative Fuel

The fuels we use to power automobiles today are starting to vary greatly. For the better part of the last century, all we had was gasoline and diesel. Although alternatively powered vehicles were being invented as early as 1828, the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle didn’t come about until 1997. Today, the auto industry has pushed past that, and we’re seeing more plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) than ever before. Some companies are even researching and developing hydrogen fuel cells as a new source, but the practicality and popularity of that is a little ways down the road. Today, it all comes down to cars powered by gasoline, a hybrid, a PHEV, or an EV for getting where you need to go. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, though, and they’re worth taking into consideration the next time you’re in the market for an automobile.

Gasoline Vehicles

It was the first fuel source for vehicles we had, but it won’t be the last. We all know how they work. We fill up, we drive, we fill up again. So let’s get right down to it.

A lot of the advantages of gasoline powered vehicles are pretty out-dated with the new fuel sources we have now. They used to travel further than most vehicles, unless we’re talking about diesel-power, and the smaller the car the further it will go before it needs to be filled up. However, because gasoline vehicles are practical and conventional, when running on fumes, there’s bound to be a gas station around the corner unless we’re on the interstate, and even then, a place to fill up could be right off the next exit. Plus, when it comes to hauling a payload or towing, gasoline and diesel engines are really the best choice to make ‘cause they’ll definitely get the job done.

We know the disadvantages like the back of our hand. Gasoline vehicles are killing the environment – the Kia Sportage uses 14.3 barrels of petroleum every year! It also emits 397 grams per mile of greenhouse gas emissions. Gasoline prices are never the same, and the more oil we use, the higher the prices will be. Those of you driving around the Bush era know what we’re talking about – $4/gallon, what is this?! And there’s definitely no special perks like the federal tax credits you’ll find below. The main perk is they’re becoming cheaper to build with aluminum and other lighter resources going into auto body construction, so most gasoline-powered vehicles will save you more upfront than an alternative fuel-powered vehicle.

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2017 Kia Cadenza Received Top Safety Pick +

Miami Lakes 2017 Kia Cadenza IIHS

Wow, we’re not even in the middle of 2017 and the Kia Cadenza already grabbed an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus (TPS+) award for the midsize car class. IIHS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, knows a safe car when they see it, and a TPS+ means the 2017 Kia Cadenza is top-of-the-line. With superior ratings in numerous crash tests, it seems Kia just isn’t making powerful cars like the 2018 Kia Stinger – they’re also making safe vehicles for everyone.

For the 2017 model year, Kia changed things up a bit for the Cadenza. So when the IIHS put it through its five crash tests, the top ratings the Cadenza received may have been unexpected. The five tests consist of the following for crash avoidance and mitigation: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. That first one is the hardest, and most vehicles have difficulty with it; it replicates what happens when the corner of a car hits a static object at 40 mph.

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Some Items to Bring for the Next Road Trip

Miami Lakes Kia Road Trip Gadgets

Summer is coming up, possibly the best time to take a family vacation or go on a road trip. When driving far away from home, it’s usually nice to get away and be free from the responsibilities left behind. Responsibility doesn’t disappear though; if on a road trip, as the driver, one should be prepared to not only keep occupants busy but also make sure the trip won’t have any speed bumps. Of course, that’s easier said than done, so we scoured the internet for helpful gadgets for making a road trip great.

Be Prepared

Let’s get some of the emergency situations out of the way. Although we’d like smooth sailing, or driving as it were, we can’t expect 100 percent clear skies.

Most automobiles today come with a driver information center, but if your ol’ clunker is a little dated, purchasing a vehicle diagnostic kit is a great idea for making sure your automobile is in shape, as well as preemptively taking care of potential maintenance issues. In the worst case scenario, say the car breaking down, having some LED road flares on hand will help other drivers see you and possibly avoid an accident.

This is priority, especially if you are camping. Speaking of camping, if someone in the group is/was a boy/girl scout, help them earn a merit badge by providing them with a SteriPen Traveler, a neat item that can recognize and kill bacteria and germs found in foreign water supplies.

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Kia Announces 2018 Kia Stonic EV

Miami Lakes Kia Stonic EV

Kia has been on a roll over the last year, constantly coming out with new models. It seems like every couple of months they’re rolling out the red carpet, and now more than ever, they’re bringing hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) to the stage. The Kia Optima and Kia Soul were one of the first to get a new powertrain, and then Kia Motors made the Kia Niro, a hybrid crossover. Now they have the Kia Stonic coming out, a new SUV, and have already announced an EV variation will soon debut as well.

As it currently stands, by the end of 2018 or so, Kia will be releasing three all-electric vehicles. Most recently, they announced the Kia Stonic EV. The original 2018 Kia Stonic SUV was only spied several weeks ago, so it’s a bit of a surprise that an EV model is already in the mix. We gotta say Kia is sounding pretty confident about their SUVs and crossovers if they’re postulating possible future electric models before their release. Like many automakers, Kia is focusing on their larger vehicles, but with so many to choose from, we have to dig a little to learn why.

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2018 Kia Rio Sedan and Rio 5-Door Debut at NYIAS

Miami Lakes 2018 Kia Rio Hatchback

We didn’t expect it, but Kia Motors played a strong hand at this year’s New York International Auto Show with the debut of the new 2018 Kia Rio sedan and Rio 5-door. Aside from dimensions, the hatchback door, and cargo space, the Rio sedan and 5-door models are very similar and they both have style and power in spades.

Powertrain and Drivetrain

Available in three trims, the all-new 2018 Rio models are powered by an enhanced Gamma 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine with VVT. “GDI” stands for “gasoline direct injection,” and it is a high-pressure fuel system currently taking over the way automobiles get their fuel into the combustion chamber. “VVT” stands for “variable valve timing,” and the Kia Rio has its own variable intake system designed to improve fuel economy. The power output adds up to 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. The engine can be paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Driver handling has also gotten better, with the engineers of the Kia Rio sedan and Rio 5-door refining the driving experience with a newly designed front suspension, 11-inch disc brakes up front and drum brakes in the rear for stopping power*, and increased durability to take the brunt in the event of a collision, all while still reducing the weight of the 2018 Kia Rio. The construction of both also implements reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) technology to dampen sound pathways and keep the cabin nice and quiet.

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Ideas for Child Proofing a Car

Miami Lakes Kid Proofing Car

When it comes to childproofing a car, especially a new car, some people panic. How do you keep it clean, how do you keep sand from the beach and dirt from little league sports from making a mess of a once spotless cabin? Nothing’s perfect, and sooner or later the inside of a vehicle will get a little dirty, and kids tend to make it worse, but there’s something you can do about it. We put together a list of easy tips to childproof a car.

Work From the Ground Up

Like any project, starting from the bottom and working your way up is as good a place as any to start. Let’s talk about the floor of the cabin. Some form of cloth covers most if not all of the cabin floor, and it’s quick to stain or catch crumbs. How can you avoid that? The first step is to purchase a rubber mat, measure the seats and dimensions of the inside of the car, and then make the proper cut outs in the mat. If you measured and cut right, the rubber mat should fit perfectly in the cabin. For extra protection, a bath towel or rug beneath the seats will make for great crumb catchers with easy clean up.

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Kia Hydrogen Vehicles in 2020

Miami Lakes Kia Fuel Cell Vehicle

Imagine an automobile powered by the sun! No, we’re not talking about solar-powered cars, although that could happen one day. We’re talking about automobiles that are a miniature sun themselves. Ever hear of “fuel cell” vehicles? They could be the future in the automotive industry.

Hydrogen Vehicles and the Hydrogen Highway

To start understanding fuel cell vehicles, one needs to know about hydrogen vehicles. One could call it a miniature sun, for what is the sun other than a giant nuclear fusion reactor with an abundant source of hydrogen? Next comes helium and all the other elements that make up the universe and the human body. Yeah, your body was once a star – think about that for a moment.

We’re getting off track though; a hydrogen vehicle is, as the name states, a vehicle that utilizes hydrogen as its onboard fuel source. We wonder if this is how hybrid vehicle developers felt when first coming out with a new car that didn’t rely solely on gasoline, diesel, or a fossil fuel. Hydrogen vehicles are on the horizon, and big names like Toyota, Hyundai, and soon Kia will be getting hydrogen vehicles known as “fuel cell vehicles.”

To manufacture and market hydrogen vehicles, there are three roadblocks – manufacturing costs, marketability, and the implementation of hydrogen infrastructures. The last one on the list is sure to raise concern – a facility housing a large supply of hydrogen? That’s a bomb waiting to happen.

Once upon a time however, gas stations may have been thought to be just as dangerous, and yet hundreds upon thousands of people visit them every day. You can find gas stations on nearly every street, and charging stations are popping up more frequently too. Next up could be hydrogen highways, or chains of hydrogen infrastructures along roads and highways to keep hydrogen vehicles going.

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2017 Kia Niro PHEV Debut

Miami Lakes Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid PHEVKia has been kicking some auto industry butt hasn’t it? When they unleashed the Kia Stinger, we were all pretty impressed. Then came the Niro, a hybrid crossover, and we were happy to see another green vehicle. Now they’ve unveiled a Kia Niro PHEV, and we couldn’t be more stoked about its debut.

When turning a hybrid vehicle into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), two of the biggest changes is how you charge the battery and the size of the battery itself. In terms of the Kia Niro PHEV, the vehicle gets a bigger 8.9 kWh battery. The battery will be paired with its standard 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engine, and due to a larger battery, its electric-only driving range is currently said to lie somewhere between 25-34 miles on a single charge in tandem with regenerative braking.

PHEVs tend to have two or three charging ports, with the third usually set up to charge a majority of the battery in half an hour. There is no word on the set up the Kia Niro PHEV will have yet, but rest assured it will have the usual Level 1 (120v) charging port for overnight charging and a Level 2 (240v) charging port for quicker (about 3 hours is the standard) charging at public stations. Although not a lot of news on the PHEV yet, there is one surprise Kia gave us that might interest crossover drivers that use it to carry equipment.

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Will a Future Kia Niro PHEV Take its Cues From the New Optima PHEV?

Miami Lakes 2017 Kia Optima Phev Kia Niro

Crossovers and types of alternative fuel are the future of the automarket. CUVs not only offer safety and capability, but today they also offer convenience, entertainment, and fuel efficiency. With vehicles like the new 2018 Kia Niro, a hybrid that may also be available as a PHEV in the future, it seems that automakers are combining CUVs and alternative fuel technologies to create the perfect vehicle.

Kia has several hybrid and electric vehicles in the lineup – Kia Optima Hybrid, Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), Kia Soul EV, and the all-new Kia Niro. The specs aren’t definite for the Niro PHEV, however it was debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and many were given a glimpse of what it could be capable of. Let’s take a look at the Kia Optima PHEV and see if Kia really made a crossover PHEV that can match a sedan PHEV.

Kia Optima PHEV

The third variation of the Kia Optima, the Optima PHEV is powered by a 2.0-liter GDI engine and an electric motor that is powered by a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery. This is known as a full parallel hybrid system, and its combined battery and engine power produce 202 horsepower with an amazing fuel economy – 38 miles in the city, 43 miles on the highway. That’s just the beginning of its capabilities though.’

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Consumer Reports Top Picks of 2017: Kia Optima, Chevy Cruze and Chevy Impala

Miami Lakes Consumer Reports 2017 Top Picks

Consumer Reports recently released its “10 Top Picks of 2017: Best Cars of the Year” list, and we’re happy to see some of our vehicles made the list. The 2017 Kia Optima, Chevrolet Cruze, and Chevrolet Impala all earned great ratings, and they are all available at Miami Lakes Automall.  

So, what makes a car worthy of the top 10 list? Consumer Reports judged vehicles in four categories (road test, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety) and then factored all scores into one overall score.

Here’s how three of our cars matched up.

2017 Kia Optima – Midsize Sedan

Anyone who owns a Kia finds themselves satisfied with a reliable and fun car to drive (they were the highest ranking brand in Customer Satisfaction in the 2016 J.D. Power Study). Rocking an 86 on the road test, the Kia Optima is a great sedan. It is the perfect blend of family car and  performance sedan that’s user-friendly and spacious.

Stylish and filled with value, it’s surprising to find features such as music streaming, Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto compatibility, and others one would expect to only find in a luxury vehicle. Powered by an available 2.0-liter turbo GDI engine with 37 mpg on the highway, and protected by several safety features such as autonomous emergency braking, advanced smart cruise control, a surround view monitor, and a forward-collision warning system, it’s no surprise the Kia Optima made the list.

Starting MSRP at $22,200.

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