(The name Soul is a play on Seoul, Korea, Kia’s hometown). Furthermore, this fun-looking small vehicle is customizable with over 50 different body and interior accessories, including a fashionable red-lined glove box, speakers that pulse in time with your music, black “eyeliner” surrounding the headlights and a body kit with a rear spoiler. The starting price is at a $13,300 for the 2010 model.
The next car that Kia launched, the Forte, a compact sedan, was positioned for the “passionate pragmatist who is thoughtful, optimistic… a leader who doesn’t follow trends,” according to Loveless. The Forte placed its prowess on being big on safety and fuel efficiency with class leading horsepower and a mega-sized trunk. The base price starts at $13,695 for the 2010 model.
Kia recently released the all-new 2011 Sportage, a five-passenger crossover utility vehicle, and positioned it towards the “young single guy.” It has a raked windshield, available 18-inch alloy wheels, chilled box compartment, chrome body trim, plus a turbocharged SX model.
The edgy design that’s wider, longer and lower than its predecessor adds power, better mileage and all-wheel-drive. The Sportage is also one of the first Kia models to offer Microsoft’s UVO, a hands-free car communication and entertainment system that allows drivers and passengers to answer and place phone calls, receive and send text messages, access music from media sources and create custom music experiences. It starts at a competitive $18,295.
And now Kia, the innovative company, the cool company, the tech-savvy company, is making more exciting moves. The Optima, a midsize sedan revamped for 2011, is going elegant. At the launch this fall, Tom Kearns, design director at Kia, compared some of the Optima’s styling to a “perfectly tailored fine Italian suit.” He pointed out attributes such as the side accents (like the tie-clips that adorn the flanks of Jaguars), the alloy wheels that come in four designs and the “pure, simple, shape of the car.”
The Optima is geared towards the tech-savvy Gen X audience, ages 35 to 49 years, who are interested in authenticity and a highly designed vehicle. The Optima’s target group will appreciate details like the powerful Infinity eight-speaker sound system, mood lighting, a cooling glove box, an eco-switch, and a fuel mileage of 24/35 mpg.
For higher design, owners can opt for wood trim, a sleek black interior with carbon inserts, metal foot pedals and lighted metal door scuff plates. And the prerequisite creature comforts include a panoramic roof, heated and cooled front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters and a turbocharged engine. A hybrid Optima also become available in 2011. Pricing begins at $18,995. — Holly Reich, Motor Matters
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010