Looks like Kia’s been busy over the past year. At the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Kia unveiled a total of five new models, along with their new “EcoDynamics” sub-brand. Most of the new stuff will only be available in Europe, at least initially. Let’s take a look at what they’re offering…
The Kia Sorento, introduced in 2002, is really what helped Kia squeeze into the mid-size SUV market. With refreshes and new options here and there over the years, Kia’s decided to give it an overhaul to keep up with current design trends and features. The new style is much sleeker than before, enough so that you might be able to notice one on the road now.
Kia went so far as to ditch the old body-on-frame structure and design a completely new monocoque chassis which can now seat up to seven passengers. This helped the Sorento lose a significant 473 lbs, despite all the new stuff on it.
The engines have actually gotten smaller this year. The gasoline-powered V6 was reduced from 3.8 to 3.5-liters, and the 2.5-liter diesel is now 2.2-liters. Production has already begun on the new Sorento, and will be available next year in the States.
Kia seems very excited about the all-new Venga. Dubbed an MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle,) the Venga is slated to on sale around Europe later this year, with no immediate plans to enter into any other markets.
It may look rather boring – and it is – but the Venga appears to be very good at what it is intended to do (at least on paper.) Buyers will have the choice of a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter gasoline and diesel engines providing 75 to 128 hp, and will be mated to a five- or six-speed manual transmission. A four-speed auto will be available on only the bigger gas engine. Each engine will be available with Kia’s start/stop system which works much like a hybrid, stopping the engine when you’re stationary to save fuel.
“New look” Kia cee’d
Another one intended only for Europe, the redesigned cee’d takes a leap with a new generation. It’s been redesigned inside and out, with a new “sporty and strong” face, the new signature front grille, a new front bumper, and redesigned headlights up front. The new cee’d is slightly longer than the old model thanks to the new bumpers. A few other small changes and new color choices give new life to the cee’d.
The new cee’d gets Kia’s engine start/stop system across all gasoline and diesel engines now, and a hill-hold function is also introduced. Suspension has been tweaked to be smoother, and to make up for it, steering response has been further tuned.
The new-look cee’d carries over the same five gas and diesel engines as before, except for the 1.6-liter diesel, which has been replaced with a more efficient version of the same type and size, mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
Concepts and Technology
Kia announced the new ecoDynamics sub-brand at the Frankfurt show, and will apply the name to only the most eco-friendly cars within each model range. The ecoDynamics-branded cars will have Kia’s engine start/stop system similar to hybrid powertrains that stop the engine when stationary, a power-saving alternator setup, a gear shift indicator set to maximize efficiency, and low rolling-resistance tires. Future models will have streamlined body parts and alternative fuel powertrains.
Kia cee’d and Sorento Hybrids
They won’t be producing the cee’d or Sorento Hybrids right away, but these concepts are currently being tested in Europe for further research into Kia’s hybrid market position.
The cee’d Hybrid is powered by a small gas engine mated to an electric motor and Kia’s CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission.) The 0-62 mph time, as with any hybrid, is very slow at 11.8 seconds, though it’s not meant to be a street racer.
The Sorento Hybrid is a little bit more exciting. It’s powered by an all-new powertrain with a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel producing about 163 hp, along with an electric motor routed through a dual-clutch transmission, then powering the front wheels.
The new Sorento’s design allows for better efficiency and airflow, and the diesel hybrid version adds a rear window spoiler, more aerodynamic wheels, and a lowered suspension, all in the name of air flow.