Kia Sportage — Becoming prince charming

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

From a frog to a prince; boring to exciting. From ordinary and bland to cutting edge style. That’s the Kia Sportage story.

The 2011 Sportage indeed personifies Kia’s revitalization from just OK to a legitimate challenger to the long-standing Japanese brands. Other examples for the 2011 model year include the mid-sized Sorento crossover, the all-new just-out mid-sized Optima, which is the kissing cousin to the revolutionary new Hyundai Sonata, and the compact Kia Forte.

2011 Kia Optima

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Like fraternal twins that have reached the age of going their own way so have Kia and Hyundai separated to do their own thing, but still connected at their roots; case in point — the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima.

Kia Sorento — Getting it right

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It’s not often that we drive an all-new vehicle at any price in any segment that sufficiently answers all the questions. While the 2011 Kia Sorento isn’t perfect it comes as close as anything we've driven in recent times in the small crossover segment to get most things right.

The Sorento is a relatively inexpensive crossover that should suit the needs of a couple, or just an individual who values space and a high-riding experience with available all-wheel drive.

Kia Spectra reveals value beyond price

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Kia Amanti – anything but an oxymoron

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We drove an oxymoron to the beach. And it turned out to be, if not a perfect fit, a very suitable vehicle for hauling five passengers to dinner, cruising along the beach roads and traveling the 90 miles to and from with Allison Moorer’s live album playing through an ear-pleasing optional 270-watt Infinity sound system.

We were outfitted for a very relaxing week with a Kia luxury vehicle.

Kia Spectra5 takes the brand a quantum leap forward

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It seemed like airbag overload.

We were passing the time checking out the interior of the just-arrived Kia Spectra5 waiting for a friend to return from a convenience store errand.

We sat and marveled at the profusion of airbags in the hatchback. It took more than one hand to count the little Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) buttons situated front and back in the Kia.

Kia Rio5 – creating exclamation (points)

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Kia Rondo, the new small is efficiently bigger

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We are blessed in this country with a large assortment of efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles.

No, the hydrogen fuel cell has not yet arrived to the general public. And the totally electric car is still awaiting revolutionary battery technology.

Kia Borrego – a big brute in brutish times

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ten years ago we would have been singing the praises of the new Kia Borrego, a body-on-frame mid-sized sport utility vehicle. Not that we aren’t going to do a little singing today, but there’s no chance our song will make the Top 40 or that the following review will be relevant for many current SUV/crossover shoppers what with the sagging economy and the tumultuous gasoline price situation.

Kia Forte — A player in the growing compact segment

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Overcoming the sales leadership of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla is about as close to impossible as anything in the automotive world.