2012 Kia Rio

AUSTIN, Texas — Kia continues to make a statement at each of its new car launches; be it a mid-sized sedan or a B-segment sub-compact. Here in Texas hill country Kia put its growing equity on the line with an all-new B-segment Rio three trim level hatch and sedan equipped with a 1.6-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) four-cylinder engine with the option of either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or six-speed automatic.

2012 Kia Soul

AUSTIN, Texas — Three years ago Kia introduced an iconic little hatchback called the Soul that has now become the segment-leading compact crossover. For 2012 Soul has been refreshed and enhanced with new technologies, increased horsepower and if it’s possible, a more fun-to-drive demeanor. True to its funky ways Soul comes in three trim levels: Soul Base; Soul +; and Soul !.

Kia Optima — The game changer

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The new mid-sized Optima sedan is a game-changer for Kia; from its cutting-edge styling to its fuel-efficient drivetrain to its lively driving demeanor Optima can go head-to-head with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima.

Audacious of us to say you say. Well maybe. But once you’ve experienced the Optima, maybe not. Forget everything you have heard or experienced about Kia in the past — just wipe it out of your mind. Leave your preconceptions at the door. It is a new day.

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