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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Two-doors, too cool
Lets face it, two-doors cars are more fun and better looking than sedans. But you don’t have to break the bank to drive around in a stylish coupe.
We have a list of the top 10 most affordable two-doors, starting at just under $26,000. We had to draw the line and not include any hatchbacks, like the Scion tC or Fiat 500. Still, you’ll find plenty of big and small coupes in this list, each providing great looks or driving dynamics.
Back Seat Space
A couple weeks ago our Top 10 target was the large-sedan segment. We looked at a diverse lineup of full-figured four doors, comparing them based on their theoretical maximum range. We multiplied the number of gallons in their respective fuel tanks by each of their highway economy ratings.
Against all expectations the Volkswagen Passat TDI drove away with top honors, and it did so by a wide margin. It wasn’t just the comparison’s valedictorian; it skipped two grades took all AP classes and still wound up with a GPA of 4.2. This diesel-powered “People’s Car” can devour nearly 800 miles on a single tank!
On the other hand, today’s big idea is small. We’re examining cars at the opposite end of the spectrum, specifically C-Segment sedans. We’re comparing a crowd of popular compacts based on, wait for it… rear-seat legroom! Which popularly priced car offers the most-spacious back bench? Which one will give an agoraphobic night terrors? Click ahead for all the details you can stomach.
10. Kia Forte
USAA has compiled a list of the top ten cars for teens based on a recent survey where parents determined their most important factors when choosing a vehicle for their teenager. Those factors were reliability, a high safety rating and affordable auto insurance.
At number 10 on the list of top 10 cars for teens is the Kia Forte, a compact offering from the Korean automaker that comes in two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and five-door hatchback form. Starting at $15,200 the Forte comes with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 156-hp and 144 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.4-liter with 173-hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. Both powerplants offer great fuel mileage as well, with the 2.0L automatic getting 26-mpg city, 36-mpg highway and the 2.4L netting 23-mpg city, 32-mpg highway.
If this is a hint of what the 2013 Kia Forte may look like, the Korean auto manufacturer might have a winner on their hands. Despite only being on the market since 2009, Kia is looking to refresh their Forte by next year, as a 2013 model.
The sketch shows off the supposed new 2013 Forte sedan, clearly getting some inspiration from their fellow Korean counterparts at Hyundai. The front grille is also very Optima-esque. It might be a few more months before we’ll see more on the new Forte, but if this is the direction that Kia is taking with their design, we approve.
[Source: Kia World]
Kia has unveiled four custom models at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas today, with each car featuring a different sport as its theme. A custom Soul, built by West Coast Customs, is inspired by Michelle Wie, Kia’s official golf ambassador. A Rio 5-Door was built in partnership with Antenna featuring a Retro Surf theme. A custom Forte 5-Door “Hat Trick” sports a hockey theme while Kia continues its Blake Griffin collaboration with a “Slam Dunk” Optima Hybrid, also built by West Coast Customs.
Michelle Wie’s “Hole-in-One” Soul features unmistakable original artwork by Wie herself, Kia’s official golf ambassador. The “So Blue” exterior paint scheme is offset by the custom artwork that can also be seen on the 20-inch wheels. Wie’s personal logo and artwork has also been embroidered in the Soul’s “Snow White” headrests while the dash has been painted baby blue and the headliner now rocks a stylish pink. Plenty of entertainment is in the rear with an Xbox 360 with Kinect while two of Wie’s tournament-used golf bags are mounted behind the 26-inch LED TV.
The “Retro Surf” Rio 5-Door is outfitted with everything a surfer needs in a retro-styled package. An authentic Grain wood surfboard has been mounted on the roof while a set of 17-inch Rotiform gold wheels really sets off the sunset-metallic golden-brown paint scheme. A custom body kit features a front splitter made of wood. On the inside, plaid boardshorts-themed brown and beige fabric adorns the interior while the center console features a retro wood grain theme. And to ensure everyone is nice and safe at the beach, the rear center console features a shelf to hold sunblock and other beach accessories.
Following up on Blake Griffin’s amazing dunk off a Kia, the Optima Hybrid built by West Coast Customs is probably the most basketball we’ll get during the lockout. The outside orange paint features a unique basketball theme further accented by 20-inch wheels and Griffin’s personal logo on the hood. Basketball-court flooring is in the front, rear and trunk areas while a “Pop-A-Shot” basketball hoop has been mounted in the trunk for some off-court entertainment.
The cleanly-built “Hat Trick” Forte 5-Door by Antenna features an ice-metallic gray exterior paint contrasted by 19-inch six-spoke blue wheels. A custom body kit was built onto a Forte Koup front bumper that also features carbon fiber accents and LED “hockey stick” fog lights. The headliner inside features a built-in hockey coach’s board while the rear-cargo houses four carbon fiber hockey sticks, two jerseys, an ice skate rack and glove hooks.
GALLERY: Michelle Wie “Hole-in-One” Soul
GALLERY: Rio 5-Door “Retro Surf”
GALLERY: Blake Griffin “Slam Dunk” Optima Hybrid
GALLERY: Forte 5-Door “Hat Trick”
When it comes to automotive brand loyalty, consumers trust Hyundai, this according to a new study.
The study was done by Experian Automotive, a data service that tracks vehicle registration data and consumer attitudes, and it found that consumers really trust Hyundai. But making big progress is Ford – the automaker took six of the top spots in the top 10 product categories.
Nabbing the top position, Hyundai scored well with a loyalty rate of 49.6 percent. This is the first time the Korean automaker topped the list, beating out GM, Ford and Toyota. In this study, loyalty is determined by the repurchase rate of its owners. And Hyundai had a good year, sales wise - its brand market share jumped to 9.2 percent during the second quarter of this year (up from 7.9 percent last year).
In second place was General Motors, with a loyalty rate of 48.1 percent, with Ford taking the third spot at 47.6 percent. Ford did great when it came to loyalty for specific products – the Ford Fiesta and Fusion are just two of Ford’s vehicles that took six of the Top 10 positions.
Driving away with first place for the product with the highest individual loyalty was the Kia Forte with 68 percent loyalty rate. The Soul came in fifth at 59 percent, with the Forte Koup coming in eighth with 57 percent.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Targa Newfoundland, the ultimate North American tarmac rally, is organized every September for seven days and travels across 2,200 kilometers, or 1,200 miles, of amazing central Newfoundland road.
South Korean automaker Kia‘s Canadian operations are set to participate in the 2011 Targa Newfoundland Rally, which will be their second consecutive year at the event. This time, Kia Canada will be partnering with MADD and readying a #99 race-prepped Forte Koup for the occasion. The Forte Koup will be driven by Autonet.ca pro-driver Jacques Deshaies and co-pilot Shaun Keenan – a contributor to AutoGuide.com.
Kia Canada’s partnership with MADD is especially meaningful as the two organizations will sponsor Canada’s school assembly program and assist in educating the dangers of drunk driving and the importance of driving responsibly amongst youth. To make sure the message gets sent loud and clear, Kia will also launch their “I pledge to drive safe and sober” campaign at every stop of the Rally, encouraging local young adults to sign their pledges on the Koup race car.
And that’s not all, Kia Canada plans to further support the program by donating eight cars to MADD Canada. Four cars will be used by MADD field representatives to drive school to school promoting their cause and the remaining four will be used as lawn displays to increase awareness at local venues across Canada.
Targa Newfoundland kicks off September 10th.
GALLERY: 2010 and 2011 Targa Newfoundland Rally Kia Forte Koup
Kia, spurred by the success of sibling Hyundai’s Genesis (and possibly Equus), wants a piece of the rear-drive pie. The company is planning a flagship luxury sedan and possibly a coupe, both in the vein of the Genesis duo.
Kia’s rear-drive adventures end there, however: there are no plans to introduce a pickup truck. There won’t be a Miata-sized roadster, either. Kia’s engineers aren’t interested in expanding into new markets, but tackling the segments they’re already comfortable in. And for Kia, this includes sedans (increasingly bigger ones, too) and coupes like the Forte.
The K7/Cadenza is currently their largest luxury sedan right now, which may or may not make it to America—but it’s a front-driver. The new RWD sedan will use the Genesis platform and series of V6 and V8 engines, and will slot above the Cadenza. If it’s built, it will enter the Korean market next May, and in about two years after that Stateside.
Lastly, Kia’s RWD sports car will be shown in Frankfurt in concept form. If people like it, Kia will target the BMW 3-Series—a lofty goal if there ever was one. It should be no surprise that the Kia sports car will be based on the Genesis, which will get a whole host of improvements by 2013 that will carry over to Kia, in their ambitious goal of besting the Bavarians.
And just think, only yesterday everybody was making bad jokes about the Rio. How fast they grow up these days!
[Source: Car And Driver]
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety awarded the Mazda 3 with its Top Pick honor in the small car category. The Mazda3 met the criteria by scoring a “Good” rating in all crash test categories (front, side, rear and rollover) and has electronic stability control.
The Mazda3 is the first car from the automaker to score a Top Pick since the IIHS enacted new roof strength regulations, but it is also joined by 12 other small cars in receiving the accolade, including the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze and Kia Forte.
While the Mazda3 was judged to be capable of withstanding forces on the roof equal to more than five times the vehicle’s weight, the IIHS noted that injuries to the pelvis, ribs and right leg are possible, although the risk is low.
The Kia Forte took home the 2010 Top Safety Pick, given out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is the third model from the Kia/Hyundai brand to win the rating for 2010, following the Kia Soul and the Hyundai Sonata.
To be considered for this award, vehicles must earn the top rating of “good” for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection. This year also marks the first time a vehicle has to achieve a good performance in its roof strength test to measure protection in the case of a rollover. The vehicle’s overall evaluation was determined on a variety of measurements specific to each crash angle, and overall impact on crash test dummies inside the vehicle at the time of collision. As well, to receive a Top Pick, the car needs to have electronic stability control (ESC), a feature that comes standard on the Forte.
In order to qualify for the award, Kia had to make some improvements to the Forte to ensure occupant protection, including revisions to its B-pillar and its roof. If you’re in the market for the Forte, be aware that this rating only applies to Fortes built after October 2009.
Other safety features the Forte showcases (and comes standard with) include active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), brake assist (BAS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC), a traction control system (TCS) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
Fellow small cars joining Forte with a 2010 Top Safety Pick status are the VW Golf, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza, Scion xB and Nissan Cube.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Kia pulled the covers off a new hatchback version of the Forte at the New York Auto Show but oddly chose not to let the media see any of the five doors actually open. It’s especially strange when the car is called the Forte Five-Door.
Joining the Forte sedan and Forte Koup, the Five-Door will be available with either a 2.0l or a 2.4l engine and a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Kia didn’t release any specs for the new hatchback but the Forte’s 2.0l engine is rated at 156 hp and 144 ft-lb. of torque while the 2.4l Forte has 173 hp and 168 ft-lb.
It’s still odd that Kia chose to keep the Five-Door locked however. None of the Kia reps we spoke to, including the VP of sales, even realized it was locked, and when they checked, we were told the doors would remain closed through the day.
Gallery: Kia Forte Five-Door
We still have more than half of 2009 to go and already the list of 2010 North American Car & Truck of the Year nominees have been picked. That’s because the list is essentially a list of every new model for 2010.
Nominated for car of the year are: the Audi S4, BMW Z4, BMW 335d, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Fusion, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang, For Mustang GT500, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus SHO, Honda Insight, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Lexus HS250h, Lotus Evora, Mazda3, MazdaSpeed3, Mercedes E-Class, Nissan Cube, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Panamera, Subaru Legacy, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Golf TDI.
The 2010 North American Truck of the Year list is only slightly shorter and includes: the Acura ZDX, BMw X5 xDrive 35d, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Transit Connect, GMC Terrain, Honda Crosstour, Land Rover LR4, Lincoln MKT, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner and Volvo XC60.
Many off these vehicles have yet to be officially released and some (like the Honda Crosstour) haven’t even been officially named yet.
Jurors will now begin the lengthy process of making a short list, with the final winners chosen at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Last year’s winners were the Hyundai Genesis and the Ford F-150.