Japan took the American car industry by storm when it started making and selling cars in the United States. During the 1960s and ’70s, Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota developed a reputation for quality, reliability, and efficiency and forced the American Big Three to take note. Today, South Korean Hyundai and Kia are doing the same. Continue reading >>>
If there’s one piece of advice I find myself sanctimoniously preaching to prospective car shoppers, it’s this: There’s no such thing as a bad car anymore.
Long, long ago, in the early 1990s, Kia Motors expanded to the United States, bringing with it little economical runabouts like the Sephia sedan and the Sportage crossover. There was just one problem: These cars weren’t exactly what we’d describe as “good.” Sub-100-hp engines, crude transmissions, and interiors featuring more plastics than Mean Girls. The little Sephia couldn’t even deliver great fuel economy, barely eking out 27 mpg highway with its automatic transmission. A ‘94 Ford Escort could manage 5 mpg better with nearly identical power specs.
But oh, how times have changed. Despite a poor first impression, Kia has emerged as a shining example of the fact that there really are no more “bad” cars. Every year, J.D. Power conducts its Initial Quality Study, wherein car owners are surveyed to determine which vehicles deliver the best experience within the first 90 days. By placing first on J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study, Kia earned the honor of being the first non-premium brand in 27 years to take home Gold.
Kia announced that it will recall more than 377,000 of its 2011 to 2013 Sorentos. The popular crossover has a defect that could cause the car to move out of Park if enough pressure is applied on the gear lever, even without the brake being engaged.
The recall came just as Kia was introducing its new 2016 Kia Optima midsize sedan (left) to the automotive press in Colorado. A big part of the message is how far the Korean automaker has come in terms of quality.
Michael Sprague, Kia America’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, said the brand 10 years ago had little respect for quality. Kia was a brand you brought new as a last resort, with no money down and all credit levels accepted.
Sure, there are some exotic vehicles on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, including the Bentley Bentayga and the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder. However, there are plenty of models coming to the U.S. that made their debut overseas and could impact your buying choices in the near future.
Kia Sportage It seems hard to believe, but the 2017 version will be the fourth generation of the Kia Sportage. The European version was introduced in Frankfurt, but there’s little reason to believe the U.S. version will look substantially different on the exterior.
Kia Motors introduced the 2016 Kia Optima at the New York International Auto show a couple of weeks ago as part of an effort to revitalize the brand. As the lesser arm of the mighty Hyundai Motor Group, Kia Motors has struggled to distinguish itself from the South Korean automotive giant’s larger arm (by which we mean Hyundai itself, of course). Kia owes a lot to Hyundai, having been rescued from bankruptcy and absorbed into the conglomerate back in 1998. Kia first introduced its rebranded Hyundai Sonata in 2000 as the Kia Optima in North America, and Kia has since been doing what it can to set the Optima apart from the Sonata and other midsize sedans, in much the same way it’s trying to distinguish itself from Hyundai.
Remember the Sephia?
The oddly named Kia was one of the first cars the company sold in the United States. Its low cost and low quality quickly became synonymous with the Kia name. In the overview on CarGurus, there are “complaints of numerous repair problems, particularly with the brakes and transmission, along with a cheap plastic interior, an easily dented body, small backseat, and labored acceleration when the A/C is on.”
While the vehicles produced by Kia in recent years have increased in quality to rival some luxury automakers, the perception of Kia is still stuck on the early impressions of cars like the Sephia.
I pulled up to the bank yesterday and parked nose to nose with a Mercedes-Benz.
It was kind of weird at first glance but I only looked for a moment and didn’t give it a second glance until I passed it again, on foot, on the way into the bank.
The car was an “Anniversary Edition,” at least according to the crudely applied stickers near the front fender. That’s when I paid more attention and realized the car wasn’t a Mercedes at all.
It was a Kia.
A blog post about car names may be in order soon.
The latest in head-scratching nonsense words being affixed to the tail end of cars comes from Kia, with its flagship sedan being branded with the made-up word “Quoris.” It’s hard to spell, hard to say and doesn’t really mean anything. According to Kia, the word was derived from the words “core” and “quality,” which still doesn’t make any sense, since that would make a word more like “Corality.”
Regardless of its name, the Quoris will likely come to the States as Kia’s best effort so far at a flagship car.