Photos courtesy of Kia I’ve dedicated a lot of thought (and blog space) to Kia and Hyundai over the last couple of years. It occurred to me while retrieving those stories that it’s unusual for me to cover a single Korean vehicle in a review—a failing that I intend to make up for.
This is not the first time I’ve driven a Sorento, but it is the first time I’ve dedicated a review to it, and that’s not really fair. For one thing, the Sorento is a good car, easily as good as the Journey that I referred to in my Genesis Coupe story above. But more than that, driving a Sorento convinced me that Kia was the real deal.
When John attended the Kia Soul media drive a year ago, he had mostly good things to say about Kia’s refreshed Scion alternative. John’s first drive was actually the third time somebody has written about the Soul for Speed:Sport:Life, and today, after driving a 2012 Soul+ for a week, we mark the fourth. You can find Zerin’s piece on the 2010 here, Cherise’s second look here, and John’s first drive of the refreshed lineup here. John’s piece contains technical information about the new engine offering in our Soul+ tester, so if you’d like to know more about Kia’s two-liter engine (or the rest of their new powertrain lineup), that should be your first stop.
If you’ve read any automotive publications over the last, I don’t know, four years, it should come as no surprise to you that Kia is riding a significant wave of new products to a dominant slot in the U.S. market. We’ve done our fair share in contributing to that publicity. Forgive us then another Kia review, this time of a remarkably good subcompact that we’ve praised twicebefore.
When I compared the Kia Rio SX 5-Door to its platform brethren back in February, we praised it for its superior suspension tuning and steering calibration—characteristics that 99% of Rio shoppers will never ever notice, let alone care about. But this time, we did something to put the Kia’s strengths into a context shoppers can understand: we took it on a road trip.
Photos courtesy of Infiniti, Lexus and Kia media relations.
It’s hard to believe that more than ten years have passed since the introduction of the Prius–a car which either revolutionized the vehicular landscape for the better or, alternatively, represented the beginning of the end for automotive enthusiasm, depending on who you ask. Over the past decade, hybrids have made their way into just about every segment, and while production hybrid sports cars aren’t quite here yet, several manufacturers have tested the waters of marketing hybrid vehicles to the enthusiast crowd. Honda did it first with the Accord Hybrid back in 2005, if you’ll recall, and the result wasn’t pretty. While very few critics disliked it, it was outwardly identical to regular Accord, and boasted a heavier, more complicated, more expensive powertrain that returned only marginally better gas mileage than the V6 on which it was based. Oh, and the engine interacted with the stereo. That was kind of a big deal back then, though if you lurk on any BMW-friendly message boards, you know it’s still kind of a big deal now.
I’ve dedicated a lot of blog space and thought to Kia and Hyundai over the last couple of years. It occurred to me while retrieving those stories that it?s unusual for me to cover a single Korean vehicle in a review?a failing that I intend to make up for.
This is not the first time I?ve driven a Sorento, but it is the first time I?ve dedicated a review to it, and that?s not really fair. For one thing, the Sorento is a good car, easily as good as the Journey that I referred to in my Genesis Coupe story above. But more than that, driving a Sorento convinced me that Kia was the real deal.
Stock photography courtesy of Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America
As Hyundai and Kia continue their U.S.-market product onslaught, their entrants into the subcompact market have drawn the eye of buyers looking for practical, fun and funky cars on a just-post-recessionary budget. Over the past month, I’ve had the privilege of driving all three of the new platform-sharing hatchbacks in the Koreans’ portfolio, and I’m pleased to report that all of them are competent, practical and efficient, and yes, they have that modern Kia and Hyundai styling—more aggressive, more “out there,” and more youthful than previous offerings. But are they any fun?