All-year-round, automotive publications and organizations put together competitions to find the best new vehicles on the market today. Many times, these end up with “Best of” lists or awards for car models and their respective automaker. Every year, well-known name Car and Driver put together several lists, and recently, the automotive publication concluded its Car and Driver 2022 Editors’ Choice awards. With about 400 models competing, Car and Driver editors tested, rated, and ranked all vehicles across multiple market segments to find the winners, ranging from crossover SUVs to electric vehicles and sedans to family-sized vans. It’s a good year for Kia Corp, with six Kia models being selected for their respective segments to win an award – the Kia Telluride, Kia Sorento, Kia Carnival, Kia K5, Kia Soul, and Kia Rio.
“We are honored to be recognized by Car and Driver for the quality and craftsmanship across our world-class lineup…The fact that our six winning models span numerous vehicle segments is a true testament to Kia’s pursuit of building vehicles for every type of driver.” – Steven Center, COO and EVP, Kia America
Although it sounds impossible, there may be some people who never heard of Car and Driver, and that’s okay. We always like to give a little rundown of a publication for credibility. This isn’t some unheard of source giving Kia models their due diligence. Car and Driver have been around 1955, starting as a printed magazine of course, and eventually going digital once the internet got up and buzzing. Now, with an online audience of 12-15 million unique visitors per month (ComScore), there are a lot of people that see the “Best of” lists, awards, and reviews every day. That’s why the 2022 Car and Driver Editors’ Choice list awards is a big deal for automakers, giving them the best kind of exposure. Not to mention, although the competition had 400 models, only 116 vehicles won awards from 37 vehicle segments.
Kia Corp wowed the world when it unveiled the Kia EV6, the first all-electric vehicle from the automaker that has no gasoline-powered predecessor. Kia usually makes a gasoline vehicle, then makes a hybrid based on its popularity, and then a plug-in based on the hybrid’s success, and so on. The Kia Niro crossover was the first vehicle to be a hybrid with no pure-gasoline model as its predecessor, followed by the Niro Plug-in Hybrid and Niro EV. Well, the EV6 is one-of-a-kind, and to show it some more love, Kia America and Electrify America have announced a new partnership. Consumers who buy a new Kia EV6 will benefit from 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), free of charge, at any Electrify America station across the U.S.
Wow! Now that’s nice. If people needed an incentive on buying an electric vehicle (EV) this is all they should need. Let me put this in details we can all understand. 1,000 kWh is far more than any EV needs on the average…jeez, more than a month. The agreement between the two companies will enable Kia owners to charge their Kia EV6 with energy for 3,500 to 4,000 miles of all-electric driving at no cost. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average consumer drivers about 1200 miles/month, 40/day. The EV6 has an EPA-rated 310-mile range.
Every year, automotive publications and organizations put together their lists of reviews, conduct studies, and often hold competitions for awards or the title of “Best of”. Although February is still very, very early in the year, J.D. Power & Associates recently wrapped up its 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). Complementing the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), the VDS consisted of vehicles that were previously measured in the 2019 IQS. In 2021, Kia received many segment awards during the 2021 IQS and 2021 J.D. Power APEAL Study. Back at it again, Kia was ranked the highest automotive brand for vehicle dependability amongst all 33 brands, mass-market and luxury.
“The results of this year’s J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study substantiate Kia’s unrelenting commitment to the quality, durability and craftsmanship of our award-winning vehicle line…Furthermore, the Sorento’s category win speaks to the world-class ownership experience we deliver to our customers.” – Sean Yoon, president and CEO of Kia North America and Kia America
Like all J.D. Power studies, the results came from a lot of data. The study was comprised of 29,487 completed surveys and measured the quality of today’s vehicles. Currently in its 33rd year, the study covers 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories: climate; driving assistance (new in 2022); driving experience; exterior; features/controls/ displays; infotainment; interior; powertrain; and seats. Also taken into consideration is the owner’s satisfaction with the vehicle’s condition after three years of use. This includes how much owners find their vehicle as appealing currently in comparison with when they first bought it – how many of us love our smartphone in the first year and call it garbage three years later?
The 2022 Chicago Auto Show is happening through the middle of February 2022, and this time, we got to get in on the party and check out what’s happening. Test drives, Camp Jeep’s new mountain, arcade-like simulations, and previews of upcoming vehicles – there was a lot going on. At the same time, it felt like there could have been…more? Some exhibits were just large dealership showrooms with someone talking with a microphone. Yours truly got to do a couple of test drives for Kia vehicles, so I’ll be sharing my experiences here.
Test Drives: Kia EV6 and K5
I actually had two experiences with the Kia EV6. The first was a ride-along in a small, closed test-track (seen above). After getting into the front passenger seat, the driver for the event took us slowly around a turn before gunning it to show off the power of the Kia EV6. Ladies and gentlemen, this was a Kia EV6 First Edition, featuring dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) setup with a 77.4 kWh battery that powered a 160kW front motor and a 270kW rear motor. 0-62 mph in 3.5 seconds is no joke, and the switch to “Sport” mode really showed the level of control an electric vehicle (EV) can provide thanks to all that torque that can be generated at 0 RPM – capable of up to 538 lb. -ft. of torque. The rest of the drive was the driver talking about all of the features like I was a clueless consumer – hahaha.
Later, I got in line to test two Kia vehicles we’re fans of. I of course had to get behind the wheel of the EV6 to test that power for myself, and it did not disappoint. It was smooth, quiet, and didn’t feel much different from a regular vehicle. The interior is pretty high-tech (seen above), and the varying drive modes really change it up! The Kia EV6 in Sport Mode makes the throttle and the brake system so sensitive that just tapping the pedal can send it soaring down the road or bringing it to a stop.
Last week, Kia America shared a small teaser of its upcoming Super Bowl Ad. Always one to release a video with their marketing campaign close to the date of the game, this was expected. Every year, Kia America tries to get involved with the community in some way to give back and enrich the lives of others, especially around the time of the Super Bowl. For two years, Kia America used the Great Unknowns Scholarship Program to give gifted youth a chance to go to college and earn a degree. Then there was the Yards Against Homeless initiative, where Kia America donated $1,000 for every yard gained during the Super Bowl game to each of their three charity partners – Covenant House, Positive Tomorrows and StandUp For Kids. This year, the attention is turning to those who can’t speak and need a loving home – animals. That’s why the new Super Bowl ad-spot features a robotic dog.
“The EV6 marks the beginning of Kia as a sustainable mobility solutions provider and is the next step in our shift to electrification…To introduce over 100 million viewers to the Kia EV6, we wanted to juxtapose the future with the emotions we all know and understand today – the love that can be shared between a human and an animal… At Kia, we continue to give back to the communities in which we work and live,” continued Wager. “We looked at issues that needed attention and found that during the pandemic, many animals were adopted only to sadly be returned later, so we wanted to help.” – Russell Wager, vice president, marketing, Kia America
It’s only been a few months since Kia Corp revealed the all-new 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid. Although not quite yet on the road, Kia is known for one major trend when it comes to hybrid vehicles. The success of one model leads to another, and it seems the reception of the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid was enough to convince the automaker that they have a good thing here. So, of course, the next step was to turn the Kia Sportage into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), and voila! Kia Corp recently unveiled the first plug-in hybrid variant of the Sportage lineup, complete with its own 13.8-kWh battery and targeted all-electric range (AER) of 32 miles.
“The first Sportage PHEV to be introduced in the U.S. demonstrates that Kia is listening to our consumers who are asking for electrified solutions and super-efficient powertrains, and Sportage delivers on that promise in a sophisticated, refined package…As Kia continues to implement our Plan S strategy and push toward carbon neutrality, models like Sportage PHEV are paving the way.” – Sean Yoon, president and CEO, Kia America and Kia North America
The longest-running nameplate of Kia Corp, the Sportage has been around since 1993! It’ll be 20 years next year (2023), so it’s no wonder that Kia decided to unveil the fifth-generation of the SUV in 2021. All-new and refreshed, this model is also being called a 2023 model, also still yet to hit dealership lots. So, now we have the popular 2023 Kia Sportage SUV, Sportage Hybrid, and Sportage PHEV – the family is almost complete. If an all-electric Kia Sportage is up on the board, we haven’t heard of it yet. Kia Corp did, however, tease an upcoming all-new electric SUV that shares some semblance with the Kia Telluride SUV. After announcing that the automaker will be shifting all of its resources into electric vehicle (EV) development, the Kia Sportage PHEV may be the last vehicle with an internal combustion engine.
The all-new all-electric Kia EV6 was released back in 2021 by Kia Corp, but consumer may not have seen it on the street just yet. In fact, aside from flashy advertisements, where is the Kia EV6? It was overseas, of course, but not Kia America is ready to bring the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) to the states. Whether you call it a hatchback or a compact SUV, the EV6 is the first all-electric vehicle to come from Kia that has no gas-powered predecessor. Built on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the EV6 is riding on the foundation all of the future electric vehicles (EVs) by Kia will be riding on. With the Plan S strategy in full effect, if Kia wants to obtain 6.6% global EV market share, than they need to branch out and start selling EVs everywhere, even in the stubborn market of America. As the Kia EV6 starts hitting showroom floors, the starting MSRP has been shared, with the base trim set at $40,900 (plus destination fee).
Surprisingly, the MSRP jumps by nearly $7000 from the EV6 Light with rear-wheel drive (RWD, base) to the EV6 Wind RWD, but it’s mainly due to the power setup. According to the press release, just like before, the energy-dense battery pack powering the EV6 comes in two sizes – 58.0 kWh and 77.4 kWh. If getting the base model, consumers will be locked into a rear-wheel drive model powered by the 58.0 kWh battery with a 168kW rear motor able to yield up to 167 horsepower. This model has an EPA rated all-electric range (AER) up to 232 miles. The EV6 Wind, also with RWD, is powered by the 77.4 kWh battery with a 168kW rear motor able to generate up to 225 horsepower. This setup can deliver an AER of 310 miles.
Kia America had a press release about its upcoming 2022 Super Bowl LVI spot, but Kia didn’t share much information about it. Unlike the Great Unknowns Scholarship Program and Yards Against Homeless initiative that debuted before the Super Bowl, this year the automaker seems a little tight-lipped. That may be because this year, they’re working with a charity foundation for those that can’t speak – animals. Announcing a partnership with pet adoption charity, Petfinder Foundation, Kia America wants to help families add a furry friend to the bunch with “Kia Pet Adoption Grants” to help shelter animals find their new homes.
It’s different, but over the last few years, pet adoption has gone up. Whether because of the 2020 quarantine or the “Great Resignation”, people are finding themselves with more time at home and no one to spend it with. So, why not adopt one of man’s best friend, or a feline if you’re not looking forward to walking your dog out in the cold, or the snow, wherever you are. We all know South Florida is a tricky one, sometimes with the cold lasting until March and sometimes April. Regardless, if adopting a pet has been pushed to the side due to a budget, those grants by Kia will sure come in handy.