Rabu, 06 Oktober 2010

Rain didn't cut this year's Petit Le Mans short

Rain didn't cut this year's Petit Le Mans short. Unlike last year's race, racers went carbon-fiber fender to carbon-fiber fender for the full 1,000 miles at Road Atlanta during the running of the 2010 Petit Le Mans. By the time the checkered flag fell, Peugeot walked away with a one-two win, effectively establishing a French dynasty in the American Le Mans series. As you may recall, Peugeot took the overall win at last year's Petit Le Mans as well, beating out arch-diesel-rival Audi in the process. This year, the quad-rings fell to third place, a full two laps behind the leading French racer thanks to a flat tire late in the race. The German car, piloted by Le Mans legends Tom Kristensen, Allen McNish and Dindo Capello, simply couldn't make up the time lost to the pits, sealing the win for Peugeot in the process.
The pair of Pugs led 299 of the 394 total laps, but that doesn't mean that's where the only show was. Hit the jump for a quick recap.

Jumat, 30 Juli 2010

NATURAL FINISH -- 44 in. L x 15 in. W x 5 in. H; Header pipe from exhaust manifold

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Rabu, 02 Juni 2010

Chevrolet already scrapping week-old

Click above to view the video after the jump

Sometimes an advertising tag-line is so right, people remember it for decades. In the automotive realm, BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machine" and Cadillac's "Standard of the World" stand out and catch on. Apparently "excellence for all" didn't. The new ad line was developed by Publicis Worldwide which had been tapped to replace Campbell-Ewald as Chevrolet's ad agency just over a month ago.

New General Motors VP of Marketing Joel Ewanick dropped Publicis barely a week after taking the job and the tag-line which had only been used in some print ads in recent weeks won't be seen again. New television ads that are running now close out with "everyone deserves excellence" and the main focus is on the so-called "Red-x" quality engineers.

With Ewanick clearly taking charge at GM marketing, it will be interesting to see what new Chevrolet agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners comes up with. Make the jump for the aforementioned Red-X engineers spot.

Selasa, 11 Mei 2010

Spanish Grand Prix brings (a) few surprises

2010 Formula One Spanish Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

"Horrible, quite bad race." That's how one of the championship front-runners described the results from today's Spanish Grand Prix. We're not about to tell you who summarized his day with such frustration – for that you'll have to read through to the end, or at least click past the jump and scroll down. But the circumstances he described came as one of a few surprises in an otherwise largely processional race this weekend in Barcelona. Follow the jump to read how it unfolded.

Senin, 12 April 2010

High Heels, Mini Skirts and Tuner Cars

While we were focusing on the New York Auto Show this week, our Italian friends from Motorionline had their eyes set on the 8th edition of the 'My Special Car Show'. As with any other tuning event, the booth professionals made their presence felt, though admittedly, to a much lesser extent than you'd expect from a car show in Italy. Follow the jump for the complete photo gallery.

Rabu, 20 Januari 2010

Kia Forte sedan test drive

Meet the all-new 2010 Kia Forte, which replaces the Spectra as Kia's entry in the crowded compact sedan segment. Kia claims the Forte represents the New Age of Kia -- top-quality cars that can hold their own against Toyota, Honda and Nissan while retaining Kia's traditional value equation (translation: cheap prices). That's a pretty tall order -- can the Kia Forte really deliver, or is this just more marketing hype? Read on. Price range $14,390 - $20,535, EPA fuel economy estimates 22-27 MPG city, 31-36 MPG highway.

When a second-tier automaker says they're going to build a first-rate car, I get all giddy inside, because I know that much hilarity is about to ensue. I've seen it before: Public-relations proclamations that this is the car that will launch them to the top of Consumer Reports' best-buy list and make Soichiro Honda roll over in his grave. The car turns out to be a noisy, tinny, plasticky piece of crap, and I get to write a knee-slapping review telling you not to buy it.

So when Kia said that the all-new Forte was going to give cars like the Corolla, Civic and Sentra a run for their money, I figured I could just sit back and let the jokes write themselves. Don't get me wrong -- I like Kia cars, but they aren't exactly keeping Toyota executives awake at night. A Kia that's as good as a Corolla? Comedy gold, my friends.

And then I drove the Forte...and it was a major disappointment. Not because it's bad, but because it's every bit as good as Kia promised it would be. Damn, I thought as I turned my first mile in the Forte, there goes my review.

Truth is, you could slap any one of a number of Japanese badges on the Forte -- Mazda, Nissan, maybe even Toyota if the light wasn't great -- and most people would believe it. It really is that good. The Forte is handsome, but not divisive; its feature list is long, but not excessive; its road manners are athletic, but not punishing. Like the best cars in this class, the Forte is solidly middle-of-the-road -- a major accomplishment from an automaker that has spent most of its time, metaphorically speaking, in the breakdown lane.
In the Driver's Seat: As good as anything else
2010 Kia Forte EX dashboard
2010 Kia Forte EX dashboard
Photo © Aaron Gold

Larger interior photo

Inside the Forte, the plastics, fabrics and carpets are as good as or better than those found in competing cars. The controls (link goes to photo) are simple, the instruments clearly labeled, and visibility is great. All Fortes get a height-adjustable driver's seat and steering column; only the top-of-the-line SX model get a telescope (in-and-out) adjustment for the steering wheel, but even without it I found the driving position comfortable enough. Ditto for the back seat -- I had plenty of room back there, and even with the front seat adjusted all the way back there was adequate space for my feet. The trunk is huge -- 14.5 cubic feet -- but the opening is small.

Being a Kia, the Forte is heavy on value. The base model costs $14,390 -- $1,825 less than the cheapest Honda Civic sedan -- and comes with stuff the Civic doesn't get, like a Bluetooth speakerphone, CD stereo with USB input jack, and electronic stability control. You can add air conditioning for $1,500, but a better deal is to spring for the $16,490 Forte EX, which comes with A/C, power windows, mirrors and locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, a split/fold rear seat, and other goodies. (For those keeping score, that's $1,675 less than a mid-level Honda Civic LX, and the Forte EX is better equipped). Top of the range is the $17,890 Forte SX, which, like the $19,610 Toyota Corolla XRS, gets a bigger engine and a sportier suspension. Tick all the option boxes -- heated leather seats, moonroof, automatic -- and the Forte SX tops out at a reasonable $20,535.
On the Road: A tale of two engines

LX and EX models are powered by a 2-liter engine. Its output of 156 horsepower sounds promising, but its old-tech automatic has only four speeds -- which means frequent flooring of the pedal to get at the engine's power. There are two fixes: First, save a thousand bucks and get the five-speed manual; second, spend an extra $600 on the Fuel Economy Package, which includes a 5-speed automatic that provides more flexibility (and better gas mileage, to boot).

The Forte SX is a different story. Under its hood is an overachieving 2.4 liter 173 hp engine with either a 6-speed stick or a 5-speed automatic. The automatic leaps off the line with a neck-snapping jerk and jets ahead like a wannabe muscle car, but it was the 6-speed manual that really put a smile on my face, although I found the SX's stiffer suspension a bit jarring on bumpy city streets. LX and EX models ride a bit more comfortably, and all Fortes are decent handlers, offering lots of grip and good control of body roll.

What I like best about the Forte is that all versions come standard with a full load of safety features, including six airbags, antilock brakes and electronic stability control (ESC), a life-saving technology that reduces the chance of the driver losing control in a swerve or a skid. Honda only offers ESC on the priciest Civics, but it comes free on the Forte. Bravo, Kia! Another good deed: Both engines are available in Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) versions for California-compliant states, with only a slight drop in power output.
Journey's End: Good news for you, bad news for me
2010 Kia Forte EX rear view
2010 Kia Forte EX
Photo © Aaron Gold

The 2010 Kia Forte is an impressive car that does the job just as well as mainstreamers like the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, and Ford Focus. The Honda Civic's innovative interior and the Mazda3's long list of creature comforts put them ahead of the Forte, but both are significantly pricier. The Forte SX does even better against big-engine compacts like the Toyota Corolla XRS and Mitsubishi Lancer GTS -- it's more fun to drive than the Toyota and has a better interior than the Lancer.

The Forte's best rival is the Hyundai Elantra. (Hyundai is Kia's parent company.) Like the Forte, the Elantra has a roomy interior and long warranty, plus it's good to drive and a great value. But base models don't come with ESC, and the Elantra is as bland-looking as the Forte is attractive. Advantage: Kia.

Resale values are a Kia weak point, but the Automotive Leasing Guide (ALG) has set the Forte EX's 3-year residual value at 50% -- 15% better than the outgoing Spectra and only 3% and 11% behind the Toyota Corolla LE and the class-leading Honda Civic EX-L respectively. (Other Fortes range from 46 to 54%.) And Kia backs their cars with a great warranty -- 5 years/60,000 miles on the whole car and 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain.

Bottom line: The Forte is exactly what Kia promised -- a first-rate car that can run with its mainstream rivals. It may not be best in class, but it's far, far, far from the worst. That's great news for car buyers, even if it's bad news for us writers.

Kia Forte (2010)

Kia Forte

Kia introduced the all-new 2010 Kia Forte (pronounced for-tay) compact sedan at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show. Forte blends Kia's exciting new design direction under the tutelage of Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors' chief design officer, with a multitude of standard features. The 2010 Kia Forte will go on sale in North America in late spring or early summer of 2009.

"Kia Motors' product line is rapidly evolving and the Kia Forte compact sedan is another head turner," said B.M. Ahn, group president and CEO, KMA and KMMG. "The Forte is an aggressively stylish blend of comfort and practicality - and with a host of standard features it provides the great quality and value that consumers have come to expect from Kia vehicles."

Style in Motion

Sporting stylish and aggressive design cues, the new Kia Forte firmly establishes itself as a strong contender in its segment. With a bold look set apart by crisp lines, swept-back headlamps and a sleek profile, Kia Forte exudes a confident stance that conveys motion both while cruising the highway and parked in the driveway. Available in three trim levels (LX, EX and SX), Kia Forte offers a sleek, sophisticated design. The sportier SX trim offers a more athletic profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with P215/45R17-sized premium tires and a rear spoiler.

Smooth and Comfortable Ride

With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall length of 178.3 inches, an overall width of 69.9 inches and overall height of 57.5 inches, Kia Forte offers one of the roomiest interiors in its class with seating for up to five passengers. The Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving Kia Forte better handling, smoother ride quality and greater refinement than its competitors, with a specially tuned suspension adjusted perfectly for responsive handling on curvy roads. Additional refinements are fitted throughout Kia Forte to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities.

Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, Kia Forte utilizes an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs. This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling by providing the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions. In keeping with the sporty essence of the SX model line, a sport-tuned suspension gives the chassis a firmer feel and responsiveness resulting in a sportier and more spirited ride. The SX model also features larger front brakes for improved stopping capabilities.

Attractive and Practical Interior

Kia Forte boasts a class-leading¹ 96.8 cubic feet of passenger volume, while driver and passengers have an impressive 40.0 inches of headroom and 43.3 inches of legroom in the front seats and 37.8 inches of headroom and 35.0 inches of legroom in the rear seats. Kia Forte's trunk also offers an impressive 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, one of the largest in its class, perfect for luggage for weekend getaways.

Capitalizing on its spacious interior, Kia Forte pampers its riders with a host of interior features, starting with comfortable, nicely appointed full cloth seats. A six-way adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering column, rear defroster and dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console are driver- and passenger-conscious luxuries standard on every vehicle.

EX and SX models offer a number of additional standard luxurious touches such as: power windows and door locks; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; map lamps; steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls; dual front and rear cup holders; and floor mats. Kia Forte EX and SX models also include standard cruise control with an optional sunroof and leather-trimmed seats. Also standard on SX models is a telescoping steering column as well as sport cloth seats adorned with red stitching, further enhancing its energetic persona.

Peppy Performance

Kia Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX features an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower - more than the most powerful versions of the Toyota Corolla or even the 2010 Mazda 3.

Two transmission options are offered for the 2010 Kia Forte: a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission (LX and EX models). The SX model features a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic®.

The optional Fuel Economy Package, available with the 2.0-liter powerplant, will include the five-speed automatic transmission, Motor Drive Power Steering and low-rolling resistance tires with aero enhancements. These improvements result in class-leading combined fuel economy of 36 mpg (highway).

Music that Moves

Kia Forte comes with a standard four speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service². Standard on all models is an auxiliary audio input jack and USB port for connecting personal MP3 players. Standard Bluetooth® connectivity enables hands-free operation for compatible cell phones. For true audiophiles, the EX and SX packages also add a standard six speaker surround audio system and steering wheel controls.

Standard Kia Motors Safety

Kia Forte offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment, with features such as active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control (TCS), and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Industry-Leading Warranty

Like all Kia models, Forte is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.

Kia Forte - What the Auto Press Says

The 2010 Kia Forte ranks 4 out of 29 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 22 published reviews and test drives of the Kia Forte, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

The automotive press is heaping praise on the trendy and feature-laden 2010 Kia Forte. While the Forte's predecessor, the Spectra, was a disappointment to most reviewers, the all-new Forte delivers on style, performance and available features.

The Forte is a class leader in cargo space with its 14.7 cubic feet of cargo volume that has reviewers very excited, but the trunk isn't the only great feature that the Forte has. Features like Bluetooth, SIRIUS satellite radio, USB ports, auxiliary input jacks and even iPod connectivity, which aren't even offered in some of the Forte's competitors, come standard in the Forte.

One of the strongest selling points for the Forte is the price. The Forte LX-the most basic model-starts at just over $13,500 and the LX (which has more features like air conditioning and adjustable head rests) at just under $14,500. That is a serious bargain in comparison to its competitors, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, both of which start off at a base price of over $16,000.

The Forte hasn't been on the market long enough to compete for many awards, but it was NADAguide's "Car of the Month" in August.

Like many small cars, the Forte's weaknesses are its accelerating abilities and rear seat -- both get mixed reviews. The car doesn't accelerate as well as some would like but most agree that it was designed more as a commuter car than a joy-riding machine. The Forte's backseat is also a bit tight so despite the fact that the Forte is advertised as a five-seater, most reviewers say only four will be comfortable.

If you're looking for an affordable small car with excellent gas mileage, a stylish look and an engine that will get the job done, the Kia Forte is well worth a look. That said, if you are looking for something that is a little more fun to drive, you might also want to check out the Mazda3 or the Volkswagen Rabbit. Neither is as fuel efficient as the Forte, but both boast trims with more powerful engines.

The Kia Forte comes as either a sedan or a coupe. The sedan comes in three trims. The standard LX model and the more advanced EX and SX models. The Kia Forte also comes as the XK coupe (which Kia calls the Koup).

Kia Forte officially launched

Kia Forte

Naza Kia Sdn. Bhd. has officially launched the Kia Forte for the Malaysian market at the Pavilion KL. As previously mentioned, three models of the Forte are available including the 1.6 EX, the 1.6 SX as well as the range topping 2.0 SX.

There are some updates on some questions that readers have asked in the previous story. Yes, the engine in the 2.0 liter model is the single variable valve timing model. The 1.6 liter engine is able output 126 PS at 6,300rpm and 157Nm of torque at 4,200rpm while the 2.0 liter variant makes 156 PS at 6,200rpm and 194.2Nm of torque at 4,200rpm.


All models are offered with 2 years warranty or 50,000 kilometers, which ever comes first and there is no option for a warranty extension for now.

They plan to sell 6,000 units annually and also revealed that it will introduce more than four new models in various segments next year.

Kia Forte 1.6 EX – RM75,800
Kia Forte 1.6 SX – RM81,800
Kia Forte 2.0 SX – RM93,800

Continue reading to view live images of the launch, or read the related post earlier today to find out the full specifications of the car.

Related Posts:
Kia Forte here in Malaysia: amazing value for money


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Kia Forte
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