Key to the Highway

Observations about cars and the auto industry

2012 L.A. Auto Show: Kia

Kia and sibling-parent company Hyundai have been on a redesign binge the past few years. This year it’s the compact Forte’s turn, with the new generation model of the four-door compact coming first. Kia’s design chief says the car has a sport sedan ethos. Nice touches are LED running lights, lighted door handles and puddle lamps on the side-view mirrors.

On offer are heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, cooled glove box and a pair of four-cylinder engines. The 1.8-liter powerplant develops 148 horsepower and 131 lb.-ft. of torque, while the gasoline direct-injection, 2.0-liter ups the ante to 173 horsepower and 154 lb.-ft. of twist.

The wraps came off a redesigned Sorento crossover, which features a new architecture and a new upper-trim level. Both the four-cylinder and V-6 engines are direct injection with output of 191 and 290 horsepower respectively. Front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive optional.

Sorento is also Kia’s choice of vehicle to introduce an updated version of its UVO voice-activated information and entertainment system. A free suite of features called eServices offers a wide range of capabilities including a parking minder, vehicle diagnostics and the ability to pick a location on a smartphone in Google maps and send it to the UVO system.



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