There’s an old saying that Los Angeles folks live in their cars. The fact is, LA is quite spread out which means that getting from point A to point B takes quite a bit of driving time. areas with lots of space between many destinations. Now add this fact, as a parent to a child with autism I am always looking for ways to keep my son comfortable and entertained during these long drives, and you will understand why I was so excited to be invited to their San Diego’s #TheNewKia Event this year.
Here are a few things that I did know about Kia. I knew little about the company previously besides the cute hamster commercials. I knew Hyundai was a major shareholder in Kia. Recently I also learned that Kia had turned the company around from almost bankruptcy to success in less than a decade. At the New Kia Event, I realized that Kia has some of the same values that I do: hope, determinations, and belief in a happy ending. Below, I am going to tell you about my experience driving Kia’s Eco- Dynamic cars, and I hope that you see why I have become such a fan of the brand.
What was The New Kia Event?
The New Kia Event was a press opportunity for top influencers to learn more about the Kia brand. During the two days, I was able to test drive the new Kia cars. I was also able to speak and listen to Kia officials, ask questions, and learn the concepts behind the cars from the Kia representatives, on a very personal level. Doing so, allowed me to have a much clearer understanding of the vehicles and the Company.
Our lodging included a stay at the Hard Rock Hotel. Located in the San Diego Gaslamp district, out accommodations were very comfortable. Our meals were at the Rustic Root and Tin Fish. These posh settings allowed influencers many opportunities to network with one another and time to enjoy the hosting city.
The Kia Presentation
As we learned, Kia explained their values on safety while staying innovative. Still wanting its customers to have fun driving their vehicles Kia has worked hard to exceeded industry standards. By far the highlight of the trip happened the next day when we attended a short presentation and got to drive the cars finally. During the presentation, it helped me understand the company better. Also, I was able to fully appreciate their determination to make the Kia brand even better than before.
According to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates, based on responses from 80,000 U.S. new vehicle owners, the overall winner of the 2016 Initial Quality Study was Kia. Their sister company, Hyundai, came in third. The only company to break up a first and second place finish was Porsche, coming in second. That in itself was incredible victory, considering this brand was literally in a state of bankruptcy a decade ago. Previously only luxury brands were ever to accomplished a turnaround of this scale in the United States.
Also, the accolades should certainly go to Peter Schreyer, chief designer of KIA. By hiring him, the Korean makers have shown incredible foresight to the changing needs of the global marketplace. During his work with the company, sales tripled in the past decade up to 3 million in 2015.
The New Kia Look
Nowadays people are starting to recognize Kia’s new look because of Peter Schreyer’s distinctive ‘eye of the tiger’ front grill. Thinking outside the box, the company has come up with innovative designs that catered to and understood the needs of clients, in particular for moms like me seeking budget-friendly, reliable, but still stylish looking cars.
The Outreach programs
Call me soft-hearted, but I appreciate when a company reaches out to people like me to understand my personal challenges and needs better. Kia has done this for years, sponsoring not only high-powered celebrities but chatting with moms from all walks of life to see what they like or dislike about their vehicles.
Furthermore, I really appreciate them sponsoring the B.R.A.K.E.S. Program. The B.R.A.K.E.S. Program is an exceptional and innovative program that teaches teens how to practice safe driving. Kids with their learners permit ages 15 to 19, can participate in the B.R.A.K.E.S program to learn defensive driving for free. There are five – four-hour exercises that teach kids how to panic stop, collision avoidance, Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery exercise, Car control, and skid recovery, and Distraction exercises.
Driving the Cars
After the presentations, we had our share of real fun while feasting on donuts. We did what bloggers do, which included posting on social media. We also participated in an impromptu karaoke contest and having a good time driving around in beautiful cars. All of this happened while we were enjoying a great city, and enjoying the beautiful weather. Happily, I got to drive two of the three cars that were on display.The Optima Hybrid Plug-In and the Niro Hybrid Crossover, I could see myself in both of these cars in the future. We did not test drive the Stinger, and you can read blow on why.
Kia The Optima Hybrid Plug-In
In many ways, The Optima Hybrid Plug-in car, which has completely been redesigned this year surprised me with its functionality. Though it looked like a traditional sedan, almost ordinary from the outside, it drove incredibly smooth. With well-padded seats and a roomy trunk, it looked ready for all my Home Depot runs. Due to the fact of the new battery design, it allows more cargo room. Thus, allowing for more space inside the car.
The Optima Hybrid Plug-In (pricing starts at $25,995) and is full of new safety and technology features like airbags, keyless entry, and electronic stability control that make it perfect for families. On a personal note, I found the hill start assist, blind spot detector, and rear cross traffic alert safety features the most useful. Even though the lack of my elbow support during the drive bothered me slightly, I could quickly adjust.
However, the biggest selling point is its insane fuel usage. It can go 600+ miles on a single tank of fuel. Also, it gets better. Some states let plug-in electric cars drive in HOV lane; this alone could save you so much time while traveling. As well get into city centers where gasoline powered cars are currently banned, how about a great feature right there. Talk about a win-win situation, with the best of both worlds at your fingertips.
Kia Niro Hybrid Crossover
Next, I test drove the Niro Hybrid Cross Over. Drivers who do not like the standard minivan and shy away from sedans will like the Kia Niro Hybrid Crossover. While it visually resembles a sporty hatchback car, the Kia Niro is the quintessential family eco-friendly car. It drives smooth and quiet like it’s Kia Siblings. All while having excellent trunk space that will easily accommodate daily errand running or road trips easily.
At a price range of $22,890 to $29,650 plus $895 destination delivery fee, it is a phenomenal car that is hard to beat because of its elegance, efficiency, and price.
Some of the amazing features that the Niro Hybrid Crossover has besides looking classy and trendy are the fog lights with the featured trade mark with the “eye of the tiger” front grill.
Gustavo Gutierrez Magallanes from @avivirLA and I drove the posh Touring model with fog lights. It featured trademark ‘eye of the tiger’ front grill and looked classy and trendy. Some of the great added bonuses include the sunroof, the oversized wirelessly charged 8-inch station UVO infotainment, Harmon Kardon’s Clari-Fi technology, and the excellent speakers. These few features, make me want to live in this car. The only thing that I did not like was the fact that I had to return this car at the end of my turn.
Niro Hybrid Crossover Attention
It seemed like everywhere we parked the Niro Hybrid Crossover, we were getting attention from the people around us. Almost like we had a celebrity in the car with us. As it turns out, we were driving around with a celebrity! The Niro Hybrid Crossover is currently mentioned in the Guinness book of Records as the lowest fuel consumption by a hybrid vehicle driving coast-to-coast across the US at 76.6 MPG.
As much as I love The Optima Hybrid Plug-In, I would consider purchasing the Niro Hybrid Crossover first. I say this because it does have a “sportier” look, and is still very spacious.
Kia Stinger – My Dream Car
The New Kia Event had this beauty parked in the middle of the hotel lobby. The Stinger was set up as more of a teaser for us bloggers; we could look, but not touch. Although many of us wanted to take a look at the car, we could not. Kia kept this car locked, so we got to see it from the outside visually, but not see the goods inside.
The retail price of the Stinger has not been released to the public yet. I would not let that scare you though, Kia is known for affordable cars.
The Stinger was unveiled last year at the Detroit auto show; it is Kia’s next big thing. The New Kia has combined a sporty luxury sedan and the power of its real wheel drive system; to create an amazingly fast and sporty ride. The car will sport an autonomous emergency braking system. This system can detect and initiate braking, lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert.
The Stinger is rumored to go from zero to sixty in five seconds; this is pretty fast. The Stinger will be sold with two different engine options, for your driving pleasure. The first choice is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the second choice is a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. Both engine options will get you to where you want to be fast.
Technology wise it will feature the UVO infotainment system along with a wireless charge pad in the center console, this means o more pesky wires! Also, it will contain an INCREDIBLE Harman/Kardon surround-sound setup. The Stinger also includes 15 speakers and subwoofers to blast while driving, up and down the coast or across the country.
The stinger will be available late Fall of 2017. When my husband and I become empty nesters, the Kia Stinger is on the top of my list of must-have cars. Considering the Stinger is sporty, flashy, and fast, I will get great use out of it, all while keeping comfortable and safe.
Chatting with their representatives, I could feel their enthusiasm and pride about the company which to me as a customer speaks volumes. Being able to talk to a Kia representative, I was able to see their drive and their passion for the final products.
Bottom line If you are looking to buy a new car and want a quality product on a budget, forget everything you think you know about Kia and test drive one today. You can thank me later!
Have you had a chance to test driven one of the New Kia cars yet? If so, tell me what you thought. If not, which one would you like to test drive?