2018 Kia Forte- The Name Game

What’s in a name? Well, according to Kia; a lot. Their compact sedan offerings have gone through a slew of names over the past two decades. Released for 1994, their first compact player in the U.S., the Kia Sephia, not only sounded like a car from a Dr. Seuss story, but was equally fun to read out loud. That car lasted two generations until being replaced by the more serious Spectra in 2004. The more grown-up moniker reflected on Kia’s ambitious goals to be a major contender in the industry. Finally, the Spectra was replaced by the Forte in 2008, and the name has since tenaciously stuck through three generations. The definition of “forte” is a strength or skill, and Kia would like to make you think that their small car as a strong competitor. But does the name stack up?

Continue reading
Advertisements

2016 Kia Sportage- The Ultimate Battle of Sport VS Utility

thumbnail_image9Ask any Kia enthusiast (and yes, they do exist) which model is the longest running nameplate in the brand’s history, and the easy answer is “the Sportage!”.  Sure, the Kia brand has been around since 1944, but didn’t reach U.S. shores until five decades later; 1994.  The Sportage arrived a year later and has been a common sight in Kia showrooms ever since.  That first Sportage, along with the Suzuki Sidekick/Geo Tracker twins, and the Toyota RAV4 shortly after, helped kick-start the small “cute-ute” SUV craze that continues to this day.  That inaugural Sportage was indeed cute, adorable even, and being based on a Mazda truck platform, was a rugged, capable off-roader.  A random, useless triva note is that it was also the first production vehicle ever to have a knee airbag, way back in 1997.  Despite all of that, a lot has changed with the Sportage and Kia since then.  That’s our excuse to look at Kia’s most well-established model.

Continue reading

2012 Kia Sedona- Demand Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

CAM00444Rodney Dangerfield often commented that he received “no respect, I tell ya.”  In one of his standup gigs, the comedian recalled the time he was kidnapped, and the kidnappers sent his parents a note that said, “We want five thousand dollars or you’ll see your kid again.”  I was reminded of these jokes while spending a weekend with the Kia Sedona.  Did you forget Kia still made it?  Don’t feel bad, one of my good friends who is very car savvy thought it had been discontinued years ago.  In a way, he was right.  While the rest of the Kia lineup, even the lowly Rio, have had an extreme makeover in recent times, the Sedona has soldiered on in the same guise since 2006, and was dropped from the brand’s profile after 2012.  Sales of the Sedona had been a fraction of the competition and its corporate twin, the Hyundai Entourage, had been discontinued after 2009 for the same reason.  But just like Rodney’s self-deprecating humor and persistence, the Sedona has returned for 2014 to take another beating, being largely unchanged from the 2012 model (no 2013 existed) aside from a new bumper, grill, and storage compartment that will now fit an iPod.  However, also like Rodney, there is more than meets the eye with the Sedona and it turned out to be a lovable critter.

Continue reading