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Kia Telluride a big eye opener in the three row SUV market

Kia's new big SUV, the Telluride, is a great vehicle and if you're looking for a large, three row model such as this, you really owe it to yourself to check it out.

This advice also applies to folks shopping in the luxury SUV market – vehicles such as the Lexus RX 350L, Acura MDX and the rest of the competition from Asia, Europe and North America. The Telluride doesn't pretend to be a "luxury crossover," and it doesn't sport the amount of niceties you can find in the "higher end" models – but it's plenty luxurious enough for me (and possibly someone else…) and drives as well as or better than the competitors I've been lucky enough to spend time in.

It reminds me of the Mazda CX-9 in this regard, except I may just like the Kia a bit better.

It's priced right, too, assuming any vehicle these days is. You can get into a loaded one for $53,995 Canadian – compared to $66,250 for a base RX 350L, $56,591.25 for a base MDX, $66,300 for the entry level Audi Q7. A CX-9 Signature Edition (the top end one) is about the same price as the Kia.

Sure, there's some apples-versus-oranges comparison in there, but my point is to showcase just how great a value the Telluride is (and the Mazda, too).

And if that's too dear, the Telluride starts at $44,995 for the base, EX AWD version. more...

Kia's airport-based new model introduction a runway success

Abbotsford, B.C. - You could say Kia, the South Korean automaker, is positively soaring these days.

The company's Stinger halo car was named Canadian Car of the Year recently thanks to voters in the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's annual contest (a group which also named the 2019 Forte as "best small car"), while the brand has also been honoured by such groups as J. D. Power – sometimes eclipsing such perennial honourees as Lexus.

Maybe that upward trajectory for the company was part of the reason they invited some car writers and others to a special "luxury brunch" in a hangar at the Abbotsford, B.C., airport on Thursday, March 14. I was one of the lucky guests they invited for the quick event, at which we were shown some of the marque's newest models, including the Stinger GT that impressed me so much when I drove it late last summer. more...

Kia's sporty Stinger is definitely no stinker

Kia's new sporty flagship is a nice four door hatchback – a sports sedan that isn't quite a sedan but which looks, acts, and (even better!) drives like a sports sedan.

Move over BMW? Probably not, though there's sure a lot to like about the Kia Stinger, including interfaces that are easy to figure out and to use – something to which a lot of the competition should take notice.

The Stinger is Kia's first rear wheel drive car, though Kia Canada's sample was all wheel drive (that's all you can get on this side of the Canada/US border). And it drives like an all wheel drive sports sedan should: sticks to the road really well, with maybe a dash of understeer to help keep things interesting. That doesn't mean the car plows ahead in a straight line when you want to zig and zag, fortunately. In fact, I took the Stinger across Canada's highest mountain pass (the 7200-foot Highwood Pass), a lovely driving road that offers long straights and plentiful twists and turns and, while a bit of understeer did show up, it was quite gentle and didn't bother me a whit.
The Stinger, in fact, is a blast to drive. It's also comfortable, appointed very well, and just all round nice. And because it isn't a BMW, or Lexus, or Audi, you pay a bit less for the privilege of owning it.

As far as its looks go, the Stinger is recognizable immediately as a Kia, and I happen to think that's a good thing. Kia and its stablemate Hyundai were smart several years ago and hired some big design guns from the German competition, led by ex-Audi guy Peter Schreyer, and their vehicles have been getting better, better looking, and better driving. Can't complain about that too much! more...

Kia Sorento a fine ride that outdoes some higher end SUV's

Though there's only been some minor tweaking done to the Kia Sorento for 2017, that isn't cause for any concern.

In fact, the undoubted rationale for maintaining the status quo is that the SUV/Crossover was already a darn fine vehicle, with lots of equipment stuffed into it, and even without a major overhaul it's still highly competitive in the crowded market niche of mid-sized utility vehicles.

This is the vehicle, after all, that drove away with the Best SUV/CUV ($35K - $60K) award after competing at the 2016 Canadian Car of the Year TestFest. It beat out the BMW X1, Ford Edge, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Tucson (conventional and Fuel Cell Electric), and the exquisite Lexus NX 200t (F SPORT) for the honours so, unless the collected auto journalists that voted on the category were collectively delusional - and I would never accuse them of that! - it's quite the vehicle. more...

Kia Sportage a compelling small crossover

Chalk up another win for Kia. The South Korean carmaker's 2017 Sportage is a handsome and enjoyable vehicle that's full of modern technology and safety features. It's decent to drive, too.

And fortunately, it comes with a warranty - not that that's unique. But read on!

Available in three trim levels - LX, EX and SX Turbo, both in either front or all-wheel drive configurations (the SX is AWD only, though) - the SUV/Crossover starts at a reasonable $24,895 CAD for the FWD LX and climbs to $39,595 for the top line SX Turbo. The SX is the one Kia Canada sent for test purposes and other than a flutter in the two litre engine that would undoubtedly be fixed easily under warranty, I found it a really nice vehicle. more...

Kia Sorento a compelling crossover in a crowded niche

Any carmaker who doesn't yet get it that the South Koreans are not only here to stay but are taking them on head to head need look only at the new Kia Sorento. It's a terrific SUV/crossover that should have the more established brands sitting up and taking notice.

Even at Kia Canada's sample's all-in (sans fees, etc.) price of $46,695 it seems like an excellent value considering what you get. And with a base price of 27,495 it almost seems like a bargain- you still get a lot of loot for the looney, just not as many toys.

Kia's sample was of the top line SX+ trim level and came fitted with the company's 3.3 litre V6 engine, but Sorentos start out with a 2.4 litre four banger Kia rates at 185 horses. There's also a two litre turbo putting out 240 horses. The sample's V6 had a rated output of 290 horses and 252 lb.-ft. of torque and 5000 pound towing capacity. more...

Kia Sportage offers good power, features, value

It doesn't have a lot that's new for 2015, but Kia's Sportage "cute ute" SUV/crossover remains a compelling and competitive model in this crowded market niche.

The Sportage is Kia's small SUV – as opposed to its big brother Sorento – and it goes head to head with such competitors as Hyundai's Tucson, the VW Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape etc. etc. ad nearly nauseam. It offers a lot of bang for your buck, as well as a good driving experience.

And isn't that what it's supposed to do? more...

Kia sells its Soul in the name of profitability

It might sound a bit silly if you've never seen "My Mother the Car," but South Korean carmaker Kia really does have a soul in its product line, a little people hauler that offers a lot of fun, practicality and bang for the buck.

And that's good for the owners' soul! And pocketbook.

The front-drive Soul is a boxy little thing, kind of like Scion's xB or the silly-looking Nissan Cube, but not quite as boxy and displaying more, er, personality (you thought I was going to say soul, didn't you?). As such, it's kind of utilitarian, in that it's a rather mainstream "two box" (engine and passenger compartment) hatchback that offers a lot more room inside than you might expect. It's no minivan, but it's pretty good. It's kind of like a smaller Rio, except it only offers two rows of seats, which is probably fine for most people. more...

Kia tweaks the Sorento SUV

It may not look on the surface like it's undergone major changes, but Kia says its 2014 Sorento (click to open a slideshow in a new window) is over 80 percent new or redesigned significantly from the 2013 model. And that's a lot! The changes make the SUV/crossover an even more interesting choice than before - and the "old" Sorento was no slouch.

Besides a new engine, Kia says the new Sorento's interior has been redesigned substantially, a next-generation infotainment system offered, as well as Kia's first blind spot detection system - which in this instance uses sonar. There's also a new top-of-the-line SX Limited trim level, and the whole shebang rides on a supposedly all-new chassis. more...

Kia crafts a fine flagship with Cadenza

While its name might sound like something out of a furniture store, Kia's new Cadenza sedan is a fine vehicle that's good to drive and comes with just about every feature you could imagine short of an onboard biffy.

The Cadenza (which is actually a musical reference) supposedly shares a lot with its Hyundai sibling the Azera which, given the Azera's history, isn't a bad place to start. It's a full size family sedan with enough performance to keep all but the most lead-footed satisfied, a gigantic trunk, and very good value considering all the stuff that's included in the price. more...

Kia Rondo a happy hauler

Korean carmakers are really on a roll, and if this brand new Kia Rondo is any indication, it doesn't look as if it will end any time soon.

The Rondo is of the "microvan" persuasion, in that it's a people hauler like a minivan, but much smaller than the typical minivan. Think Mazda 5 or even the Ford C-MAX. Rondos have been around for years, but the new version is a real breath of fresh air, attractive and comfortable and reasonably fun to drive. more...

Kia Rio ups the entry level bar

If the Japanese carmakers aren't looking over their shoulders and toward Korea already, the 2012 Kia Rio gives them even more reason to start doing exactly that. And they should.

Korean carmakers are definitely on a roll. The attack is being led by Hyundai, whose new Elantra is an excellent car that's winning all kinds of awards (and selling like hotcakes, judging by the number on the roads around here), but Kia is also nipping at Nippon's heels. And judging from the Kia vehicles I've driven over the past year, which range from SUV's to econoboxes, they've earned it. more...

KIA Sportage Offers Power, Value

KIA's Sportage small SUV/CUV has taken a big leap forward with its current incarnation, going from being kind of the ugly stepsister in its niche to a handsome and competitive choice.

There's no longer a V6 engine choice for 2011, but that isn't a bad thing: KIA has dropped in a turbocharged four instead, which is the engine that my sample unit had, and it's just fine. more...

Kia Optima a Real Deal

Kia definitely seems to be throwing down the gauntlet, and if they keep making cars like the new Optima, other manufacturers had better be looking over their shoulders.

The Optima really knocked my socks off when I drove it for a week recently; it not only looks great, it drives well and has just about every technological toy and/or tool you can imagine, short possibly of the ability to drive itself. Maybe they're holding that back for 2012… more...

Kia Sorento and Jeep Compass – Crossovers from Companies Heading in Different Directions

One company's on the rise, one's trying desperately to make a comeback. And a pair of their current SUV offerings are illustrative of both points.  

Let's start with the upside: the Kia Sorento. Supposedly all-new for 2011, it features a new unibody structure that's longer, lower and wider than before, as well as sporting what the company describes as "European-inspired styling." You can get it with seven-passenger seating, too.

It's a handsome beast, except perhaps for its grille, and on the whole I enjoyed driving it. I don't think it's quite up to the snuff of competitors such as the Toyota RAV, but it tips the financial scale at a bit less and that may take some of the sting out of it. more...

Reviews by Brand

Acura Audi BMW Cadillac Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Dodge Ford GMC Honda Hummer
Hyundai Infiniti Jaguar/Land Rover Jeep Kia Lexus Lincoln Mazda Mercedes-Benz Mini Mitsubishi
Nissan Pontiac Porsche Saab Saturn Scion Subaru Suzuki Toyota Volkswagen Volvo

Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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