Cars, International News, Kia

2021 Kia Sorento official renders and interior shown


Kia has released official renders of its upcoming 2021 Kia Sorento. The very realistic renders fully match the spyshots we showed you last week, where the fourth-generation Sorento was caught totally undisguised in the middle of a photo shoot in South Korea. However, we get to see the SUV in red and blue here, as well as a first look at the new car’s interior.

“Powerful, progressive and spacious, the new Kia Sorento is as confident and desirable as ever – inside and out. The fourth-generation Sorento makes its debut at the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show on 3 March,” the social media caption accompanying the images reads.

The new Sorento is very bold, sharp and handsome. Compared to the outgoing model, it’s more angular and features a greater use of sharp lines and faceted surfaces, most obviously at the rear.

Up front, you have the familiar “tiger nose” grille, now with far less chrome and fitted with U-shaped inserts. It flows neatly into the slim headlights (triple LED projectors), an effect made more pronounced by a continuous full-width chrome strip and L-shaped daytime running lights. This entire graphic is set within a concave surface, under which sits a large central air intake and L-shaped bumper corners.

Along the side, you can see an arching shoulder line that wraps around the front and rear ends, and below this is a chrome fillet on the front fenders and doors, sort of mimicking a fender vent. Above the line, there’s an unusual chrome “shark fin” aft of the rear doors, while the door mirrors have been separated from the A-pillars for a cleaner, more premium look.

The rear end is by far the most radical part of the car, with prominent creases on the tailgate surrounding the number plate area. The four vertical tail light bars are rather reminiscent of a Ford Mustang, and the entire look is finished off with a large black bumper insert and multiple fake vents. There are shades of the flagship Telluride here, in the vertical tail lamps and Sorento script badging.

Inside, Kia has gone for the long screen layout seen in Mercedes-Benz cars, with the instrument panel visually connected to the central display. The two-tier air vents look rather unique, and there’s a high centre console housing the drive mode controls and the gear selector – both are rotary knobs with a metal-like finish and knurling. Higher up are seat heating and ventilation buttons.

We also get a close up image of the infotainment screen, which still comes with physical controls – a good thing. The latter consists of touch panels and a knob either side of the wide touchscreen. The new dashboard creates a wide, expansive feel and looks more premium too.

The Sorento should also soldier on with the usual Hyundai-Kia engines, including turbocharged and naturally-aspirated 2.0 and 2.5 litre petrol engines and 2.0 litre and 2.2 litre turbodiesels. Kia has also reportedly confirmed hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants for this coming generation.

What do you think of the new Sorento’s looks? Is this the best looking and most muscular midsize/large SUV around?

GALLERY: 2021 Kia Sorento caught completely undisguised

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Cars, International News, Kia

2020 Kia Cadenza facelift makes its debut in Chicago


The Kia Cadenza (also known as the K7 in South Korea) facelift has made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show for the 2020 model year, which includes some styling and equipment enhancements. Pricing has yet to be announced but when it goes on sale later this year, only two trims – Technology and Limited – will be offered, with the previous Premium option being removed.

On the exterior, the Cadenza’s restyled front end features a new bonnet along with a more deep-set front grille. These are joined by standard LED headlights with revised daytime running lights, while the LED taillights get a full-width chrome strip that runs at the base base of clusters.

Other changes include tweaked bumpers at the front and rear, with the former no longer sporting “ice cub” fog lamps, and instead have a distinct chrome strip with integrated turn signals. The standard 18-inch wheels also get a new design, with a 19-inch set available at an additional cost.

Moving inside, there’s a new 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster and a large 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The latter requires the entire dashboard to be redesigned, with the central air vents being made smaller and positioned lower, while the audio controls now sit above the climate switchgear.

Multi-colour ambient lighting is also among the list of available equipment, with others being three additional USB charging ports (one in the front, two in the rear), a 10-watt wireless device charger, keyless entry with remote engine start, and two new Nappa leather colours (Saddle Brown and Grey).

There are also some improvements to the Drive Wise suite of driver-assistance technologies, with Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian/cyclist detection, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go and High Beam Assist all standard. In addition, there’s also Lane Following Assist, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist – Rear with Lane Change Assist, Highway Driving Assist, navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, and Safe Exit Assist.

No changes under the bonnet, with the Cadenza continuing to be powered by a 3.3 litre with 290 hp and 343 Nm of torque. This is mated to an eight-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission, with drive going to the front wheels.

Kia engineers also introduced some NVH measures for 2020, including reinforced rear subframe cross members and resonator wheels (19-inch only) that help to reduce road noise entering the cabin. This is in conjunction with redesigned shock valves that reduce vibration, while larger rear dampers improve rebound over rough surfaces.

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Cars, International News, Kia

Kia Sonet concept – sub-4m SUV to launch this year


Kia has revealed the Sonet concept at the Auto Expo 2020 in Delhi. Kia says that the showcar previews a global compact SUV that will launch in the Indian market in the second half of this year.

Designed for the young, social, connected and tech-savvy, the Sonet’s design highlights include Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, stepwell geometry within the grille mesh, ‘tiger eyeline’ LED daytime running lights, and full-width rear signature lighting. There are also red accent strips at the front, rear, sides and wheels.

Kia says that cabin highlights include a 10.25-inch infotainment and navigation system with UVO Connect, a Bose premium audio system, and an intelligent manual transmission (iMT is Kia’s name for AMT).

While it’s described as global, the concept car’s sub-4m length means that India is a primary market. There, the Kia will take on the related Hyundai Venue, Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza and the Ford Ecosport, among other pint-sized SUVs. Kia hints at best-in-class interior space.

Word is that the production Sonet will mirror the powertrain options of the Venue. That car comes with a 1.2L NA petrol, a 1.0L turbo petrol and a 1.5L turbodiesel. Befitting its more dynamic image, the Kia is said to come with a sportier suspension setup than the Venue.

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Cars, Kia, Spyshots

SPYSHOTS: 2020 Kia Picanto facelift seen in Sweden


It’s been three years since the third-generation Kia Picanto made its world debut, and while 36 months may seem like a short time in the grand scheme of things, this is when high volume city cars like the Picanto are due for an update.

With that, our spy photographers have managed to catch a prototype unit of the Picanto facelift for the first time. In northern Sweden, no less. It’s still fully clad with camouflage wrap and protective covers, but reports suggest that the production car will officially make its debut later this year, if not in early 2021.

There’s not much for us to go on regarding design changes, but expect a revised front face, new wheel designs, and perhaps small tweaks to its rear end. Similarly, the cabin will get subtle revisions, perhaps with updated tech such as a larger infotainment display (up from the current 7.0-inch unit) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. It won’t likely get the Seltos‘ 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with split-screen functionality, though.

For powertrains, the existing range of engines will be carried over, including the range-topping 1.0 litre T-GDI three-potter which makes 100 PS and 172 Nm of torque. Other naturally-aspirated options are the 1.0 litre MPI unit making 67 PS and 96 Nm, as well as the familiar 1.25 litre MPI engine with 84 PS and 122 Nm of torque. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or four-speed auto.

Expect no changes to boot space – the Picanto offers a decent size of 255 litres, along with a two-step boot floor which can be raised or lowered by 145 mm. The rear seats feature a 60:40 split-folding mechanism, which when folded provides 1,100 litres of space.

Lastly, expect Kia to up the ante with regards to safety. Currently, it has six airbags (front, front side and curtain airbags; knee airbag optional), ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist, ISOFIX rear child seat anchors, tyre pressure monitoring system, autonomous emergency braking, and forward collision warning system.

Moving forward, Kia has plans to produce a pure electric version for all its models, including the Picanto. Kia Europe COO Emilio Herrera said while it is ‘a big challenge’, it will have to be done sooner or later. Could there be a pure electric version of the third-gen Picanto, then?

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Cars, Kia, Local News

Kia Seltos teased on local social media pages – B-segment SUV to be launched in Malaysia next year?

Based on a recent post on Kia Malaysia’s official Facebook and Instagram pages, it appears the Seltos is set to make its local debut next year. The B-segment SUV was first revealed back in June 2019, and competes against models like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Renault Captur and Nissan Kicks.

Design-wise, the Seltos has a very close resemblance to the SP Signature that previewed it, retaining a lot of the concept’s angular lines, sharp creases. Among the design highlights include a two-tier LED headlamp assembly, with the lighting signature at the front being loosely replicated for the taillights.

Inside, the Seltos appears to draw inspiration from the larger Telluride, with a large touchscreen display dominating the dashboard above the central air vents and climate controls. The list of available features includes a 3.5- or seven-inch digital multi-info display, a wireless charging tray as well as an eight-speaker Bose premium sound system.

In India, the Seltos is offered with three engines, two being petrol and one diesel. The former includes a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated engine with 115 PS/144 Nm and a 1.4 litre turbocharged unit with 140 PS/242 Nm. As for the diesel, it is a 1.5 litre unit that serves up 115 PS/250 Nm.

Meanwhile, the US-spec Seltos is available with a choice of two petrol engines, with the first being a 177 PS/264 Nm 1.6 litre T-GDI turbocharged mill, while the other is a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated unit offering 149 PS/179 Nm. It isn’t known which of the two will come our way, but it is likely the US-spec offerings are the more viable candidates. Interested?

GALLERY: 2020 Kia Seltos (US-spec)

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Cars, International News, Kia

2020 Kia Seltos teased, to be unveiled in LA on Nov 20


Kia Motors America has just taken to Facebook to drop a teaser of a new SUV that will be debuting at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. The unveiling takes place tomorrow on November 20, and the car looks a whole lot like the Korean automaker’s global B-segment SUV, the Seltos.

Launched earlier this year in India, the Kia Seltos compact SUV measures 4,315 mm long, 1,800 mm wide, 1,645 mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2,610 mm, making it slightly shorter than the Honda HR-V, but wider and taller. Exterior features include a distinctive two-tier LED headlight assembly (called Crown Jewel LED headlights) and “Heartbeat” LED DRLs, LED tail lamps, and wheel sizes that range from 16 to 18 inches.

Inside, the cabin gets dressed with high-quality materials and loaded with tech, the latter includes a segment-first 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with split-screen functionality for added customisation options. Other niceties include an eight-speaker Bose premium sound system, an 8.0-inch head-up display, and the automaker’s UVO Connect telematics system.

There’s also an optional Sound Mood Lighting system, which emits soft light from the door panels, pulsing in time to the beat of music playing through the audio system. Eight customisable colours and six themes provide plenty of experimentation possibilities.

In terms of engines, the Seltos is available with three engines – two petrol and one diesel. Petrol options are a 177 PS 1.6 litre T-GDI turbocharged mill and a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated unit offering 149 PS, while the oil burner is a 1.6 litre unit with 136 PS on tap.

In India, the Seltos also gets a choice of two engines, starting with the 1.4 litre Smartstream turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 140 PS and 242 Nm of torque, as well as a 1.5 litre CRDi turbodiesel unit which outputs 115 PS. The petrol is available with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT, while the diesel comes with a six-speed conventional automatic.

Safety-wise, the Seltos comes equipped with six airbags as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems. These include Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system as standard, incorporating traction control and electronic stability control. Also the list are hill-start assist and traction control as well as front and rear parking sensors.

So, only a few hours left to go before it’s officially unveiled in the US, then. It’s worth keeping in mind that the SUV may not be called the Seltos there, so stay tuned!

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IIHS Testing Finds Pedestrian Detection Systems Vary Widely in Crash Protection | News from Cars.com



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IIHS pedestrian crash system testing

IIHS images

Pedestrian crash-prevention systems with automatic braking on 16 mid-size cars vary widely in their ability to detect and avoid hitting people in the street, according to the latest round of testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Related: Which SUVs Have the Best Pedestrian Detection Systems?

But results overall were fairly positive. Four luxury and two mainstream mid-size cars and wagons got the top rating, called superior (out of superior, advanced, basic or none), for pedestrian crash prevention. Another six cars rated a notch lower, at advanced. Four non-luxury cars, however, earned only a basic rating or got no credit at all. Here are the 16 (some have two scores because they offer both standard and optional systems):

Vehicles Rated Superior

  • 2019 Audi A4 (standard system)
  • 2019-20 BMW 3 Series (standard)
  • 2020 Subaru Outback (standard)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (optional upgraded system)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Maxima (optional for 2019, standard for 2020)
  • 2019 Volvo S60 (standard)

Vehicles Rated Advanced

  • 2019-20 BMW 3 Series (optional upgraded system — yes, worse than the base system)
  • 2019-20 Honda Accord (standard)
  • 2019-20 Lexus ES 350 (standard)
  • 2019 Mazda 6 (standard)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Altima (optional)
  • 2019-20 Tesla Model 3 (standard)
  • 2019-20 Toyota Camry (standard)

Vehicles Rated Basic

  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera-only system)
  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera and radar system)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (standard system)

No Credit

  • 2019-20 Ford Fusion (standard system)
  • 2019 Hyundai Sonata (optional)
  • 2019 Kia Optima (optional)

More Cars Have Pedestrian Systems Standard

IIHS is ramping up testing of pedestrian protection, having earlier tested a batch of SUVs. The vast majority of automakers have agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard by 2022, and they’re increasingly upgrading such systems to detect and automatically brake for pedestrians, not just other vehicles. According to IIHS, about two-thirds of front crash systems offered on 2019 model-year vehicles have pedestrian detection. In many cases, these systems now are standard.

“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, so it’s encouraging that pedestrian crash prevention systems are standard equipment in 12 out of the 16 mid-size cars we tested, including five out of six superior-rated systems,” said IIHS President David Harkey in a statement. The agency will factor pedestrian detection into its overall testing for Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards beginning with the 2020 model year, spokesman Russ Rader has told Cars.com. It began testing pedestrian detection in February.

Halloween Is Scariest Day for Pedestrians

IIHS notes that its latest results come just ahead of Halloween, which is consistently the deadliest day for U.S. pedestrians. That’s thanks in part to trick-or-treaters and, we suspect, increasingly partying adults in awkward costumes. IIHS claims that from 2013 to 2017, the two deadliest days for pedestrians on average were Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 (after midnight on Halloween). Citing its own study of federal crash data, IIHS notes that annual pedestrian fatalities had increased markedly since a 2009 low. More than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018, up 53 percent since 2009, according to the agency.

How Cars Were Tested

Most frontal crash systems use one or two cameras, in some cases augmented by radar sensors, to look for objects ahead. Vehicle software now can detect pedestrians as well as vehicles, and in some cases identify bicycles or animals. If a collision is imminent, the system alerts the driver and can hit the brakes to prevent or mitigate a crash.

IIHS tests three scenarios with dummies: an adult stepping into the street ahead of a vehicle with an unobstructed view, a child darting into the street from behind two parked cars, and an adult pedestrian near the side of the road facing away from traffic. The first two tests are done at 12 and 25 mph; the pedestrian near the side of the road is tested at 25 and 37 mph. In each test, the system has 1 or 2 seconds to stop the car to avoid the pedestrian. The tests are done in daylight on dry pavement. IIHS notes that such systems might not perform as well at night, but it says a vehicle with lights rated well in the agency’s headlight evaluations should be able to spot pedestrians.

The six superior-rated vehicles slowed dramatically in IIHS tests, in most cases avoiding the dummy or greatly reducing the risk of severe injury. Notably, the mainstream Nissan Maxima’s system avoided the pedestrian in all tests. Advanced-rated systems also achieved major speed reductions, though less consistently. The basic-rated systems failed to do so in one or more tests, while those that earn no credit failed in multiple scenarios. For example, the Ford Fusion, which got no credit, didn’t slow down at all for the simulated child darting into the street and slowed only slightly for the adult stepping into the street.

“The child dashing out from behind parked cars is a very challenging test,” said Harkey. “But it’s fitting that it was one of the main things that separated the top systems from the rest of the pack, since that is certainly a frightening scenario on Halloween or any day.”

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