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One of the funkiest kids’ shows on TV and Korean automaker Kia are hitting the road for a cross-country tour. Nickelodeon’s “Yo Gabba Gabba” is pairing up once again with Kia (the first time being the Super Bowl commercial collaboration that aired this year). The ad featured Yo Gabba Gabba character Muno and an assortment of toys taking a Kia Sorento out for a joy ride.
Kia is the main sponsor of Yo Gabba Gabba’s 60-city live performance tour. The idea behind the pairing is that the two brands cross-pollinate each other: fans (and their parents) of “Yo Gabba Gabba” will get exposed to the Kia line of cars, while Kia drivers and prospective buyers will be exposed to the show.
So far, the ads have proven to be a great success for Kia. “I had someone tell me – who had just gone to buy a Kia, a Sorento, believe it or not – that people are going into the Kia dealership and asking for the car that Muno drives,” said Michael Polis, CEO of Wildbrain Entertainment and executive producer of “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
For the spot dedicated to the new Sorento SUV, Kia decided to work with Yo Gabba Gabba for their first Super Bowl ad in order to make a big splash, said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing for Kia.
The tour starts on August 27 and runs through December 12. Appearing on stage will be DJ Lance, Muno, Brobee and the rest of the Gabba gang, as well as rapper Biz Markie.
[Source: Orange County Register]
Sometimes, okay just doesn’t cut it. Like when it comes to how well the roof of your midsize SUV holds up in a rollover. New results from the first roof strength tests on midsize SUVs conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that automakers still need to make improvements to these types of vehicles.
Out of 12 midsize SUVs tested, six earned the top rating of good for rollover protection, one came in at acceptable, and the last five earned the second lowest rating of marginal. Making the good grade are the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox (twin GMC Terrain) built after March 2010, Jeep Liberty (twin Dodge Nitro), Toyota Highlander and Venza, as well as the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Kia Sorento. Coming in at an acceptable rating was the 2010 Ford Edge. The midsized SUVs that didn’t fair so well by earning marginal ratings were the Honda Accord Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Endeavor, and Nissan Murano, all 2010 models.
“Midsize SUVs are a big group so we’re testing them in stages,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “First results show that automakers are making progress in rollover protection, but it’s disappointing that a new design like the Crosstour didn’t perform better.”
Institute research shows occupants in vehicles that roll benefit from stronger roofs, and the IIHS has, in turn, based their rollover rating system on this information. In order for a vehicle to be rated as good, their roof must be more than twice as strong as the minimum required under the current federal safety standard. A rollover is one of the most serious crashes to be involved in, and this test is designed to help drivers pick a vehicle that will best protect them.
Stats show that nearly 10,000 people a year are killed in rollover crashes. These types of crashes are so deadly because as vehicles roll, their roofs hit the ground, deform, and crush. Since stronger roofs crush less, they minimize injury risk from contact with the roof itself.
[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]
The results are in and a host of new SUVs have made the cut. Joining the list for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Award recipients are the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2011 Kia Sorento, and the 2010 Toyota Highlander and Venza.
It takes a sturdy vehicle to become an IIHS Top Safety Pick. To drive off with one, a vehicle must earn Good ratings in front- and side-impact tests, as well as head restraint design for rear crash protection, and roof strength. As well, it has to come standard with electronic stability control. Vehicles are rated on a scale of Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor.
Roof-strength is the most difficult test to pass, and the SUVs tested at this time demonstrated a roof strength-to-weight ratio of 4-to-1 or greater (meaning roofs held up under more than four times the vehicle’s weight before the top is compressed five inches). Some examples of outcomes for this test: the Toyota Highlander roof withstood a force equal to 4.74 times its vehicle weight, while the Toyota Venza’s roof withstood 4.70 times its vehicle weight.
Some SUVs that didn’t make the cut were the Ford Edge, Honda Accord Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Endeavor, and Nissan Murano. The Edge earned an Acceptable roof-strength rating, while rest were rated Marginal.
The IIHS is an independent non-profit research and communications organization funded by auto insurance companies.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Kia recently unveiled the sporty SX trim level version of the 2011 Sorento crossover at the Atlanta Auto Show. Unfortunately Kia hasn’t released any photos yet and we don’t have our own because we weren’t at the Atlanta show. In fact, we’re pretty sure no one from anywhere but Atlanta was at the show. So why would Kia unveil the car there, you ask? It’s simple, the Sorento is Kias first vehicle to be built in the United States at the Korean automaker’s West Point, Georgia facility, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG).
The SX trim level will be offered exclusively with the 276-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed transmission. Upgrades include a new front and rear bumpers, LED taillights, a chrome exhaust tip, chrome roof rails, stainless steel skid plates and 18-inch wheels. Added sport upgrades include a suspension that has been lowered by half an inch and Dual Flow Damper shock absorbers that are designed to improve handling while retaining ride comfort.
Inside there are stainless steel pedals and a metallic gauge surround, not to mention added standard equipment like heated leather front seats, an auto-dimming mirror, navigation with a back up camera and a 10-speaker Infinity Audio surround-sound system.
Kia should release pricing when the car goes on show next week at the New York Auto Show. We’ll be sure to bring you plenty of photos as well, with live NY Auto Show coverage starting March 31st.
Official release after the jump:
Korean automaker Kia has officially announced the introduction of the all-new 2011 Sorento compact crossover to the U.S. market – where it will be built.
The Sorento’s new design and corporate front-end design come from the KND-4 concept first shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in 2007.
Following in the tire-treads of the Forte Koup, Kia is eager to market itself as a performance-oriented brand – something that even applies to the crossover segment. That being said, it has class-leading engine output with a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 276-hp and 248 ft-lbs of torque. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 175-hp and 169 ft-lbs of torque will be standard. Both engines come with six-seed automatic transmissions for ideal performance and improved fuel economy.
Either engine can be paired with a front-drive or all-wheel drive setup. Fuel economy ranges from 21/29 mpg for the front-drive 4-cylinder to 19/25 mpg for the AWD V6.
The vehicle itself is longer and lower to the ground than the previous Sorento and delivers improved interior room with more head and leg room, as well as increased cargo room, stretching 5 extra cubic feet for a total of 149.4 cubic feet.
The Sorento is also capable at pulling what you can’t fit inside, with a 1,650 lb tow rating for the 4-cylinder and a 3,500 lb rating for the V6.
The 2011 Sorento will be the first Kia to be built in the United States at Kia’s new West Point, Georgia assembly plant. It will be available at dealerships early next year.
GALLERY: 2011 Kia Sorento
Official release after the jump: