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We’re piloting two new luxury cars and a fleet of fuel friendly family sedans this week. Which one are you most interested in? Continue Reading…
And Why They're Wrong
With an almost never ending list of myths and rumors, few vehicles are as misunderstood as the hybrid.
Almost every review or video posted on AutoGuide.com about a hybrid car has at least one reader comment about how the battery will deteriorate beyond repair, or that once you get a hybrid, you’re not a true driving enthusiast.
With so much misinformation about hybrid vehicles being spread around, we’ve decided to debunk six myths about gas-electric cars.
Currently available on three models, GM’s eAssist technology is a product and packaging gamble the automaker has made that does not appear to be paying off. While the first two Buick models to receive the mild-hybrid system received modest praise, the new Chevy Malibu Eco has drawn so much criticism it was recently named “the most disliked vehicle of 2012” according to Fortune magazine.
The impact of that title, not to mention all the bad press that’s led up to it, can’t be understated. The reputation, and sales, of an entire lifecycle of Malibu models (the Malibu being one of GM’s largest volume products) is hanging in the balance.
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”
South Korean car firm Kia has been enjoying a lot of praise given to the styling of their new cars, especially the Optima sedan. Now the Optima Hybrid version is about to hit the market and we have learned it’s prices will start at $26,500.
That’s not all, because that price-tag does not include the $750 extra you’ll have to pay for the destination and handling. That means, this fuel-sipping sedan is not cheap, and crucially, it is $705 dearer than the similar Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.
Kia says the reason the Optima Hybrid is more expensive is because it comes with more standard equipment, like a reversing camera, a rear spoiler, auto-down front windows, a cooling box, a compass and “Uvo”, which is their latest infotainment system.
Expect this model to hit the showrooms very soon.
With the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid delayed due to a change to the pedestrian warning system, the Kia Optima Hybrid will face similar delays, with units expected to arrive at dealers sometime in the summer, a full 5 months later than planned.
The Optima Hybrid, being mechanically identical to the Sonata Hybrid, must also undergo the removal of a switch to disable the pedestrian warning system, which emits a sound to alert bystanders that the vehicle is running while the silent electric motor is online. Hyundai also wants the Sonata Hybrid to debut first, and with supplies trickling to dealers at a very slow rate, the Optima Hybrid must wait on the sidelines until the Sonata has made its presence known.
[Source: Wards Auto]
Kia took the wraps off their Optima Hybrid at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, and no surprise here, it’s exactly the same as it’s corporate sibling, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.
Fortunately for the Optima, this gives the car a huge leg-up. Our review of the Sonata Hybrid was quite positive, and we expect the slightly sportier Optima Hybrid to be even better.
The same 206 horsepower 4-cylinder hybrid motor and 6-speed automatic will be standard on the Optima, which will also use the Sonata’s innovative lithium-polymer battery pack. One interesting detail that separates the two is the more discreet styling of the Optima Hybrid, while the equivalent Sonata is substantially different looking compared to its gasoline counterparts.
Pricing hasn’t been announced, but expect it to come within a few hundred dollars of the Sonata.
While attending the launch of the 2011 Kia Optima, AutoGuide has just learned that Kia is planning to launch an Optima Hybrid, based on the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. The new model will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, with sales beginning in early 2011.
Kia Motors America CEO and group president Byung Mo Ahn revealed the existence of the Optima Hybrid at the 2011 Optima’s launch in Southern California. The Hybrid will join the 2.4L and 2.0T four-cylinder engines in the lineup.
The Optima Hybrid should match the Sonata Hybrid’s figures of 37 mpg in the city and 39 mpg highway. Power will likely come from a 2.4L four-cylinder engine making 209 horsepower and 195 ft-lbs of torque, with electric driving speeds of up to 62 mph.
AutoGuide’s LA Auto Show coverage starts November 17th. Until then, check out our LA Auto Show Preview here.
Get more Kia Optima news and info at OptimaForums.com