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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.
Which family sedan offers the most, for the least?
AutoGuide.com’s new cars section saw a mix of browsers researching performance and practicality this week.
Delivery of diverse diesel passenger car lines in the U.S. isn’t an uncertainty anymore, but rather a waiting game. There’s almost no question that the world’s automakers will soon offer more diesel cars to Americans, it’s just a question of when.
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”
Not too long ago, a beauty contest in the sub-$20k segment would seem like a competition for the most attractive bar of soap. But now, Kia‘s current line-up will make you look twice.
Men’s lifestyle and fashion magazine Esquire has announced the Kia Optima as the “Most Gorgeous Car Under $20K.” Editors were especially impressed by the South Korean automaker’s “clean and inspiring” design. Moreover, numerous other automotive publications have made positive comparisons of its exterior to the more upscale Audi.
VP of Kia America marketing & communication Michael Sprague says, “Esquire defines and shapes men’s style and fashion in today’s contemporary culture, and this recognition further validates Optima’s tremendous value proposition with its unmatched combination of world-class design, advanced technology, and fun-to-drive performance. The stunning design and value of the Optima has significantly increased awareness, perception and consideration for the Kia brand…”
More than just a pretty face, the 2011 Optima is available with luxury and technology including a satnav/audio system with Sirius XM radio and live traffic, Bluetooth capability, USB and auxiliary input, and steering wheel integrated voice controls.
The Optima is available with an economic 2.4 liter four cylinder producing 200 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque or a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder producing 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the Optima Hybrid provides the 2.4 liter combined with an electric motor, combining for 206 hp and 193 lb-ft of torque. Prices begin at $19,200.
GALLERY: 2011 Kia Optima
Sharing the same platform as that car, look for an improved ride quality, plus the Forte is expected to get a new design closer in keeping with the larger Optima sedan.
As for engines, look for the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder from the Elantra with 148-hp. Both a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic will be offered. In terms of fuel economy, look for fuel economy that could even exceed the 29/40-mpg rating of the current Elantra. The 2013 Kia Forte could even get a stop-start system that will arrive in the all-new Rio later this year.
[Source: Automotive News]
Kia Motors is one of the big winners at the first ever Automotive Brand Contest which was organized by the German Design Council. The judge panel declared Kia Motors the worthy winner in four categories. Three kia models were picked as winners for the exterior category, including the compact Sportage SUV, the forthcoming Rio (on sale from September 2011) and the all new Kia Optima (above). Kia was also ranked ‘Best of Best’ in the brand design category, where strategy and focus of the brand’s overall design is rated.
Peter Schreyer, Kia’s chief designer said, “We are all exceedingly proud that Kia Motors has done so well in this new competition, which is very important within the automotive industry. By changing our basic design focus, we have given our brand a face, a distinctive identity.“