2020 KIA Soul FWD GT-Line

The KIA was driven to Pirate Radio for an analysis by the DJ’s, Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray:

Inferno red paint with jet black cloth seating for 5 and heated front buckets   Weighs 2,984 lbs. and is 165.2” long – 24.2 cubic ft. of cargo space behind rear bucket – 18” bright machined aluminum wheels and 235/45R18 Hankook Ventus/Noble2 all season radial tires – Pushbutton start, power seats – 10” infotainment screen and navigation system – backup camera, and 6 speaker XM/AM/FM Harmon/Karden premium sound system – Adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning – 1.6 liter, 201 horsepower turbo 4 cylinder engine with 7 speed automatic transmission and front wheel drive   $28,710.00  list price  built in Gwangju, Korea – Fuel economy Combined – 29 mpg / Highway – 32 mpg / City – 27 mpg – (14.3 gallon tank with 458 mi.range)

2019 KIA Sorento SXL AWD Crossover

The KIA Sorento was taken over to Pirate Radio (FM 104.7-Greeley) for an analysis by DJ George “Elvis” Gray:

Titanium Silver metallic paint – Black/Terracota leather seating – 7 passenger   109.4” wheelbase – 189” long – Weighs 4,243 lbs. –  11.3 cubic ft. of cargo space with all seats in place    73.0 cubic ft. with 2nd and 3rd rows folded down – 19” chrome alloy wheels and P235/55R19 Michelin all season radials   LED daytime running lights & headlights plus 8” infotainment screen   Backup camera, navigation, adaptive cruise control, tilt wheel, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability, lane keep assist, blind spot monitor, surround view monitor, and panoramic moon roof – Heated and ventilated leather front bucket seats   heated rear – XM/AM/FM Harman Kardon performance enhanced sound system – 10 speakers – 3.3 liter, 290 horsepower 6 cylinder engine with 8  Speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive – $48,020.00  list price           Built in West Point, Georgia – 451 miles of range, 24 mpg highway/19 mpg city/21 mpg combined – 18.8 gallon tank

KIA Forte EX FWD Sedan

The Lexus was brought to the studios of Pirate Radio FM104.7 for an analysis by DJ’s George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Front wheel drive – Gravity gray metallic paint – Jet black leather seating – 5 passenger – 106.3” wheelbase – 183” long – Weighs 2,903 lbs. –  15.3 cubic ft. of cargo space – 17”, Graphite finished ten-spoke aluminum alloy wheels   LED daytime running lights/headlights and 8” infotainment center – Backup camera, navigation, adaptive cruise control, tilt wheel, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and Bluetooth capability – Heated and air conditioned front seats, rear spoiler, and sunroof – XM/AM/FM Harman Kardon premium sound system and wireless phone charger – 2.0 liter, 147 horsepower four cylinder engine with continuously variable automatic transmission – zero to 60 in 8.7 seconds   $26,220.00  list price           Built in Pesqueria, NL, Mexico – 560 miles of range, 40 mpg highway/30 mpg city/34 mpg combined – 14 gallon tank

2018 KIA Rio EX Sedan

Pirate Radio Review : Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray!

Front wheel drive – Azure Blue metallic paint – Jet black fabric trim – 5 passenger – 172” long like a Chevy Sonic – Weighs 2,750 lbs. – 13.7 cubic ft. of cargo room in trunk – Backup camera and cruise control – XM/AM/FM KIA stereo – 5 speakers – 7” touchscreen – 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine with 130 horsepower – Six speed automatic transmission – 15”  spoke alloy wheels  185/65HR15 Bridgestone all season radials – $19,425.00  list price        Built in Pesqueria, NL, Mexico – 380 miles of range, 32 mpg combined, 28 mpg city, and 32 mpg highway – 11.9 gallon tank


2017 KIA Forte5 SX Hatchback

The latest car that was delivered to my house for testing was the 2017 KIA Forte5 hatchback – the Forte has been around since 2008 but had extensive updates added periodically since that time.  My test car came in Phantom gray metallic paint and included black and red leather seating for five inside.

As of this writing, I do not know where KIA came up with the name for this car, but wonder if they named it after the handsome Fabian, teen idol of the 50’s and 60’s.  Many readers do not know that Fabian’s full name was Fabiano Anthony Forte, or that he was referred to his record producer by Frankie Avalon, another South Philadelphia resident.  Eleven of Fabian’s songs reached the Billboard Hot 100 listing, including “Hound Dog Man”, “Tiger”, and “Turn Me Loose”, and he later got into movies including the part of Pretty Boy Floyd in “A Bullet for Pretty Boy” (1970).

Perhaps KIA’s hatchback that I drove was not named after Fabian, but my research into the matter has ended.  I will say, however, that the Forte is a “pretty boy”, as are several Hyundai and KIA vehicles since the hiring of Peter Schreyer by the corporation to head their California design studio.  The latest KIA’s are lower, wider, and longer that those of the past, with a wheelbase of this Forte5 of 106.3” and an overall length of 171.3”.  The Forte5 weighs 3,058 lbs.

My test Forte carried an M.S.R.P. of $27,020.00, a figure that took me a little by surprise when I withdrew the window sticker from the glove box.  Included was $125.00 for carpeted floor mats and $895.00 for freight.  As standard items, the car was equipped with sun roof, power/ventilated front bucket seats, push button starter, proximity smart key, tilt/telescope steering wheel, navigation system, satellite radio, Bluetooth/USB connectivity, and power outside folding mirrors with light stripes.

The KIA was powered by a 1.6 liter (201 hp/195 lb. ft.) four cylinder, turbocharged, DOHC, 16 valve engine and featured a six speed manual.  Acceleration of the Forte is reportedly zero to 60 in 7.3 seconds, and fuel economy is rated 23-city and 29-highway.  My observance was of 30.1 mpg during my week with the car.

My wife and I drove the KIA to Denver for a visit as well as a trip from Greeley to DIA on Highway 85.  Ride was suitable, guidance was fine, and wind noise was not excessive.  At the airport parking lot and in Greeley I admired the Forte’s small, 34.8’ turning radius.  The car fetched a lot of onlookers with the superb styling I hinted at earlier as well as the well-designed 17” alloys, which were fitted with Nexen Classe Premiere P215/45R17 m/s radials.  Chrome door handles adorned the exterior of the car.

KIA Forte auto sales are sizzling in the U.S. – about 70,000 sold in 2017, year-to-date – and this hatchback is a key component of that success.  I can see why; it’s quite a “Tiger”.

Phantom gray metallic – Heated and ventilated leather black front buckets – 5  passenger seating – Navigation system with 7” touchscreen – LED headlights – Power sunroof – AM/FM/MP3/CD/Satellite stereo – Pushbutton start and backup camera – D – shaped steering wheel and metal pedals – 201 horsepower 4 cylinder – 1.6 liter with turbocharger – torque is 195 lb. ft. – Six-speed manual transmission – 18” ten – spoke aluminum wheels – $27,020.00 window sticker   29 mpg highway gas mileage – 23 mpg city gas mileage       25 mpg combined gas mileage – Made in Pesoueria, Mexico

2017 KIA Soul! 5 Passenger FWD Hatchback

The KIA Soul! was taken to Pirate Radio (104.7 FM) for analysis during the Morning Show with George Gray and Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello.  Listen in:

Titanium Gray metallic – Black interior – Leather and cloth heated/power front buckets – heated steering wheel and heated rear outboard seats – 8” touchscreen, backup camera/navigation – Huge power moonroof  and premium Harman/Kardon sound system w/ 9 lighted speakers – 201 horsepower 1.6 liter turbo four / 195 lb. ft. torque – 7 Speed dual clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive – Lane departure and blind spot warning plus radar cruise –  $27,620.00

EPA rating is 26 MPG city , 28 MPG combined rating and 31 MPG highway – (14.2 gallon tank) – 3,232 lbs., 163” long, 101” wheelbase, 63.5” height, 71” width

 Built in Gwamgju, South Korea

2015 KIA Sedona SXL FWD Minivan

SAM_4012This last week the Drive Shop dropped off the new Sedona from KIA, a minivan which in its third generation form was just introduced in the U. S. last year.  Actually the firm calls this car a multi-purpose vehicle in order to attract more buyers to the brand, and to the model.  My test loaner was the SX Limited model painted Deep Formal blue metallic and featured a burgundy and ash Nappa leather interior with four bucket seats.

KIA is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, and is that country’s second-largest automobile manufacturer, trailing only Hyundai Motors, a one-third owner of KIA Motors Corporation.  KIA is also the oldest auto manufacturer in Korea, founded on June 9th, 1944, as a maker of bicycle parts and metal tubing.  The word KIA is roughly translated as “rising out of Asia”, and the company sold 2,907,757 vehicles worldwide in 2014.  That represented a 5.9% increase over sales from the year 2013.SAM_4026

In the styling department, there isn’t much that a manufacturer can do to set their offering apart from the pack, so I think KIA did the best they could do on this Sedona SXL.  They put ample chrome on the car (including on the door handles and the ten spoke alloy wheels), but the front end look is where exemplary work was done with the grill and lighting treatment.  At the New York Auto Show last year where the Sedona was introduced, the car was named Best New Car Design.

Ruth and I drove the Sedona to Nebraska for our test to visit relatives.  That put us out on Interstate 80 weaving around big rigs that seem to multiply on the weekend.  I surely enjoyed the Smart cruise control for the endeavor, which allowed me to keep my feet flat on the floor while darting from lane to lane with appurtenant speed discrepancies.  Other technology/safety items included on the KIA were blind spot detection/lane change assist, lane departure warning, rear camera display, forward collision warning, surround view monitor, and rear park assist.  Most of these items were included in the SXL technology package for an additional $2,700.00.  That, plus a base price of $39,700.00 and freight of $895.00, brought the total M.S.R.P. to $43,295.00.  This price is right in middle of pricing I have seen on the competitive minivans (excuse me, multi-purpose vehicle), and this was, after all, KIA’s top of the line model.

The two-toned leather buckets (4) were attractive and kept me in a comfortable attitude for my trip and the week here in Greeley.  Relatives enjoyed the second-row buckets with armrests (and footrests), and I suppose everyone was happy to jump on board and ride in the third row, although I didn’t hear much from them.  They were riding on a 60/40 split fold-in-the-floor bench, and luggage space behind it amounted to 62.1 cubic feet, with a deep well to enhance that number.  Outside, the KIA is 201.4″ long, 78.1″ wide, 68.5″ high, weighs 4,720 lbs., and can turn around in a 36.8′ circle.

Minivan power for the KIA comes in the form of a 3.3 liter, V-6 with 276 horsepower (@ 6,000 rpm) and 248 lb. ft. of torque (@ 5,200 rpm).  A six-speed Sportmatic overdrive transmission is employed and EPA fuel economy ratings are 22-highway, 17-city, and 19-combined miles per gallon.  My average for a windy drive of 650 miles was 19.9 mpg.  I thought the ride was fine, as was guidance and handling in the city.  Overall, I would rate the Sedona (a good name) right in line with its minivan competition with perhaps a little edge because it is so good-looking.

2015 KIA Sorento SX AWD Crossover


     KIA manufactures SUV’s in two sizes, with the biggest being the Sorento, now produced in its third generation configuration.  I tested a 2015 Sorento this past week, an SX model painted bright silver metallic.  This year marks the fourteenth year of production of the Sorento, a mid-size crossover SUV, and the SX represents the middle of the line of Sorentos, with a generous list of standard equipment items included in its base price of $38,300.00.SAM_3470

Like pretty much all of the Hyundai and KIA lineup (Hyundai owns KIA), the Sorento is good looking.  It is a brother-in-law of the Hyundai Santa Fe, and this new model seats seven passengers.  Luggage space in the far rear of my test car was limited to 9.1 cubic feet, a number that can be increased to 36.9 with the third row of seating folded flat.  Double that amount is available if all seats are folded down behind the heated and ventilated power bucket seats that are up front.

All the upholstery in the test SX was black leather and amenities inside included an Infinity surround sound audio setup with ten speakers, navigation/backup camera with 8” screen, panoramic moon roof, blind spot monitor, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, tilt/telescope, rear window shades, pushbutton start, keyless entry, front/rear air conditioning, and satellite radio.  Total passenger volume for the seven passenger SX was 151.4 cubic feet.

_DSC3476   I won’t mention the test car I turned in the day this Sorento arrived, but will say that upon entering the Sorento, I found the seating and interior materials to be an upgrade and very nice.  Visibility, ride, acceleration, and handling are good, and guidance is acceptable.

Speaking of acceleration, zero to sixty for the KIA is reportedly ten seconds. It is accomplished with a 3.3 liter V-6 with 290 horsepower (6,400 rpm) and 252 lb. ft. of torque (5,200 rpm).  The full-time all-wheel drive train utilizes a six-speed electronically controlled transmission.  EPA fuel economy ratings are 18 mpg-city, 24 mg-highway, and 20 mpg-combined.  My calculation came out to 21.1 mpg for my week with the Sorento, and the fuel tank holds 17.4 gallons.SAM_3485

I mentioned the looks of my SX, and the recruitment of Peter Schreyer to KIA (from Audi) eight years ago is a big component of that styling prowess.  His TT model at the prior company was an award-winning design.  The KIA I drove featured chrome door handles,  ten-spoke alloy wheels, metal fascia integration front and rear, and a chrome luggage rack up top.  The tires were Kumho Crugen Premium P235/55R19’s.SAM_3487

Base price of the KIA is $38,300.00, and along with freight of $895.00, the total M.S.R.P. came to $39,195.00.  This is where the KIA Sorento SX shines, in the value proposition department.  Many comparably-equipped seven passenger SUV’s come in at somewhere north of $50,000.00, so when shoppers are interested in such a vehicle, they best consider one of these KIA’s.