Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Kia Forte Gets Stinger-styled Overhaul for the New Year in the Motor City

Lately here in the offices at Jim Butler Kia, we've taken many inquiries about the new Stinger. Many excited customers are asking about it in droves, and it is no surprise that they would: it is Kia's true and successful stab at an aggressive car that is a poised-for-victory sports sedan. Affectionately known as the “BMW Fighter” and Car and Driver made the claim that the car “floats like a butterfly, and stings like a bee”. Very quick-step agility and precision throttle-mapping combined with engine-sound enhancement make the Stinger a new auto that is going to be etched in the memories of drivers for a long time, and make 2018 a banner year for technological prowess and development.

This powerful punch of aggression is making its way to other Kia models, and at the Detroit Auto Show next week, the Forte will sport some similarly sporty changes. The headlights, front fascia, and shoulder lines all have a heavy dose of Stinger inspiration, and the taillights have a sense of blending right into the creases in the body. Drivers in St Louis who are looking for a car that is more than just A to B without flair will be delighted; from the appearance of the rims on up to the slant present to the front of the side windows complete a vision that just a decade ago would have seemed off-the-charts futuristic.

From the “floating” styled infotainment screen to the layering on the dash and the door panels, you'll also love how the interior meshes with the overall design. Weighing in at around 3000 pounds, the Forte has a pretty impressive power-to-weight ratio, and the SX trim is where you really begin to roll up your driving sleeves and get to business. Sport-tuned suspension, slightly bigger front brakes, and a quicker steering ratio will no doubt add exhilaration and a sporty essence to every single drive. The Forte does a superb job of keeping road noise to a minimum, and the very solid chassis keeps all occurrences of vibration under control.

Some of our customers thought that previous models of the Forte looked a bit animated, and seemed like it had a bit more playful instead of serious stance. The new model has a more sophisticated appearance, and awards buyers on the hunt for an economy-class car with stellar design and materials. Even if your passengers are 6 feet tall, they will still have ample room in the Forte, and also be able to make use of the cargo space behind the rear seat on trips that take you outside the metro into the wild. Solidly on the development path to a true “hot hatch”, Kia does a great job with the Forte of providing those of you out there with a passion for speed but a slight dashing of domestic responsibilities with an eye-popping and thrill-filled counterpart!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Kia to Spill Details About All-Electric Concept Car During CES 2018

Kia's vision and game plan for future mobility will be gracing the center stage on display at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. Going strong for more than 5 decades, this is a conference that has witnessed more than 700,000 launches of brand new products, and sees ingenious new creations from cutting-edge companies such as Heatworks, Gametime Technolgies Inc, Daan, and Audiowell Electronics. The truly nerd and tech-inspired can check out offerings from Hyundai Technology such as the Kanabo Gaming Notebook: a gaming addict's daydream, precisely engineered to evolve the gaming experience. With Kia's current prowess in the design category and highly efficient battery-electric powertrain, the completion of this new concept will help the company take the brand closer to its goal of eventual electrification.

The future has rapidly been approaching the workings of the auto industry regarding artificial intelligence for some time now, and this new concept also features a human-machine interface, as well as an incredibly advanced 'motion graphic' lighting system. The interactive presentation 'Beyond Autonomous Driving' does a great job of outlining the company's plans for vehicle autonomy, and the ways in which that task will be supported by various autonomous drive technologies. Vice Chairman and Head of Hyundai-Kia Dr. Woong Cheol Yang said, “Virtual reality, self-driving cars, and full vehicle connectivity were all once considered technologies of the distant future. As they rapidly became a reality, Kia is exploring how to adapt these new technologies for its customers”.

Among the breezy palms and intense sun of Vegas during that weekend at CES, Kia Motors will present 3 different interactive, cockpit-style exhibits that are designed to bring to life the company's plan to incorporate new technologies to enhance communication. These new advanced driver assistance technologies will completely change the face of the entire industry, as well as put to use the powerful 5G in-car internet connection that cars will soon offer. Basically, you're going to be able to stream, download, and engage like never before!

The thing about concepts that can really engage consumers in a very positive way is that they are just that: concepts. Some core elements may change drastically, or the car may end up looking just as it does in its current prototype state. Lately, many concept cars have been staying pretty true to their original vision, and all of us here at Jim Butler Kia see that as wildly exciting! Many elements of the driving experience are going to begin to become more connected to each other, and we can all agree that the process of getting from point A to point B is going to soon involve less input from the driver themselves.

It is going to be game-changing and very eye-opening for the consumer to see just how electrification will really change things, and continuing reductions in battery prices will bring the total cost of EV's below that of conventional-fuel vehicles by 2025, even if oil prices continue to slide drastically lower. This year at the conference, it will be exciting to check out what's on tap for the future, as we all become more engrossed in the self-reliant, Eco-friendly, and corner-cutting technology that is rapidly becoming commonplace!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Kia to Develop AI Assistants For Cars: Unveiling Scheduled for 2018 CES

For quite some time now, homes across the nation have been asking “Alexa”, Google's pod-shaped assistant, to help them with tasks ranging from finding Chinese takeout, to checking to see how bad their commute home will be. This is a machine that “lives in a cloud”, so its always getting smarter, and updates are delivered automatically. The more you interact, the more your speech patterns and personal preferences are noticed, and you can also do things like request an Uber ride, or control your TV. It was bound to be only a very short matter of time until many consumers were anxious to have this type of technical prowess along with them for their ride, and Kia has already undertaken the duty of development.

Beginning in 2019, Kia vehicles will ship complete with a voice-powered virtual assistant, equipped with built-in artificial intelligence. Slated to be unveiled at CES 2018, the assistant will be named “Intelligent Personal Agent”, and will put to use connectivity that is provided by cars, combined with voice recognition software. It will also tap into user's other services, to provide valuable assistance while consumers are going about their daily tasks. Work has begun with SoundHound to develop this assistant, an entity that has already completed its own trademark AI tool. Already available to consumers as a smartphone app, “Hound” is currently one of the most advanced assistant apps in existence.

When rolled out to the public, the Intelligent Personal Agent will have the ability to tap into calendars, map platforms, and use other services to be able to predict what the driver will need. You will be able to be reminded of an upcoming meeting, or glean suggestions about when to leave your starting point based on traffic patterns. Control of heating systems, door locks, and other parts of the vehicle will also be possible. While Nissan and BMW are working with Amazon to add the now-familiar Alexa into their vehicles, we are confident that Kia's unique assistant will in many ways be the most useful addition to a vehicle in automotive history.

Every single company involved in auto production is looking to offer infotainment center-based alternatives to AppleCarPlay and Android Auto, in an effort to make sure that there is more control over the experience. Founded in 2005, SoundHound has their headquarters located in Santa Clara, California. During 2014, SoundHound became the first wearable music search product available ever, and two years later, boasted over 300 million users worldwide. When vehicles with such technical prowess and ability hit the market, you can bet that we will be able to show you all the exciting details right here at Jim Butler in St Louis: as the future rapidly collides with the present, options for in-car control are bound to dazzle even the savviest of drivers in their new domains! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid: Value from The Most Innovative Engineering Around

If there is one thing that is true about our beloved brand, it is that we are very experienced in loading up large amounts of value and features into small places. That trend continues on all fronts with the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV: with the base LX trim level, you get 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a 4.2-inch display in the gauge cluster, power adjustable driver's seat, as well as dual-zone automatic climate control. Within the base trim's infotainment system, you get a 7-inch touchscreen, equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability.

Moving up to the middle EX trim level provides heated side mirrors for cold St Louis mornings, cloth seats with leather inserts, heated front seats, and rear AC vents. For safety, there is blind spot monitoring, lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert on deck. When customers come to talk to us here on the lot at Jim Butler Kia, safety is among their top concerns. We know what it's like to have a family or loved ones in tow, and the need to keep them safe at every single turn. Backing up out of a driveway sometimes takes place in a hurry, and it's so crucial to monitor every little bit of movement around you before you go to reverse.

At the top of the Niro's lineup is the EX Premium trim: it really doles out the extras with LED headlights, a 7-inch display for the gauge cluster, a 110-volt power inverter, leather seats with ventilation, a heated steering wheel, and an able-to-rock 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Safety features have seen the ante upped a bit, thanks to the addition of front and rear parking sensors, and the infotainment screen gets a few more navigation capabilities, as well as a screen with an extra inch in size.

No matter what trim you choose the powertrain remains the same on the Niro. A 1.6-liter, Atkinson-cycle 14 pairs impressively with an electric motor for an impressive output of 139 horsepower, and 195 lb-ft of torque. The battery provides the power for 26 mile of all-electric range, yielding a total range of around 550 miles. EPA ratings on mileage are 48 mpg in the city, and 44 on the highway. The good folks at Road Show blog were impressed this week with what the car offers for the price, and we know that you will be too. As far as getting around in the New World, the games have changed a bit, and sustainable energy has been a hot topic of concern. Check out just how much the new Niro has to offer, and get ready to make a difference for the environment with your New Year's vehicle selection. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Kia's 'Stinger Salon' Exhibits Highlight High-octane Excitement and Luxury Factor

Everyone here at Jim Butler knew right away that the Kia Stinger was unique when it was first conceptualized. It possesses an amazing amount of style, yet still completely dominated at the legendary Nurburgring track, and numerous reviews have clued consumers into its powerful capabilities and prowess. As people scramble to get last-minute holiday gifts or get into somewhere warm for a little exercise, they'll be able to explore Stinger Salons that showcase the car's capability as a first class performance sedan. They are interactive exhibits that tell the story of the Stinger's history, from the days on the drawing board to its impressive performance on the track.

Once inside the salon, video displays and virtual reality are incorporated to explain performance features and the design of the new Stinger. The Hololens VR tool is the very first self-contained holographic computer, enabling the user to engage with digital content, and interact with realistic holograms in the settings around you. Specialized components like multiple sensors, advanced optics, and a custom holographic processing unit enable the user to truly “go beyond the screen”. This is the perfect way to showcase the luxury image that Kia is moving towards, and stimulate the senses of passing consumers who are in the market for a new vehicle.

The Stinger is a dream car in many ways: it has a faster top speed and zero to 60 time than the Porsche Panamera, and evokes stylish charm overwhelmingly at just a first glance. Whether you are a diehard auto enthusiast, or a passerby curious about all types of 2018 models, the salons will take visitors on a high-tech journey of discovery. The Stinger is a very special and unique offering, and we're positive that these Salons will leave shoppers educated on the finer points regarding the thrill of ownership. The first three salons are open at the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, MD, Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, IL, and Westchester Mall in White Plains, New York. Early next year, more salons will pop up in Austin, TX, Buford, GA, Santa Clara, CA, and Irvine, CA.

The Safety Features on the Stinger are top notch: included are adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, rear-cross traffic alert, and driver attention assist. The exterior design was inspired by the GT Concept that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, and this is one incredibly eye-catching accomplishment. This is the car for the New Year that is going up against the likes of the BMW 4 Series, the Audi A5, Infiniti Q50, and the Jaguar XE. Buyers will have the choice of two engines: a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, or the more powerful 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6.  We would love a visit from you this holidays, our absolute favorite time of year: come pay us a visit here in St Louis, and see how fantastic Kia's newest fleet addition is! 

Monday, December 11, 2017

New Stinger is Auto123.com's Midsize Car of the Year

This past month in Toronto, the 2018 Auto123.com awards ceremony took place, with an expert panel consisting of five veteran contributors, experienced test drivers, and the chief writer on staff. They each cast their votes for the vehicles they thought were the most memorable of 2018, and only those sold before November 1st were eligible for their consideration. Beating out the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, The Kia Stinger took the honors in the midsize car category, generating, even more, excitement and recognition for the Kia brand. The rivals of the new Stinger are some of the most luxurious sedans in the world, and many have been amazed by its world-class powertrains, as well as its practicality.

Because of the presence of the hatchback in the rear, there is still an element of day-to-day usefulness, although the Stinger could also be at home on the most demanding racetracks, such as Germany's Nurburgring. Under the hood of the fastest Kia ever made is a powerful 3.3-L twin-turbo V6 engine, that delivers up to 365 Hp, 376 lb-ft of torque, and the delightful snarl once only found within cars of European origin. Every model comes with an all-wheel-drive system, that uses torque vectoring control to thoroughly modulate power transmitted to each wheel. Stopping duties are completed with very high-performance Brembo brakes, and it won't be too difficult to notice that this car was put to the test on a frozen lake in the Arctic circle for two months.

The fastback-styled trunk opens at the command of a remote, making way for ample cargo space, and solidifying the love for the Stinger among more than just the diehard racers who will find themselves behind the dash. The UVO Intelligence application allows the driver to use their smartphone to control vehicle-management, driver assist, and other remote functions. This is a no-subscription information system that enables you to make hands-free calls and complete other cool tasks like managing your entire music library. Navigation, diagnostics capabilities, and useful features like parking minder are all under the guise of this easy-to-use and revolutionary suite governed by a smartphone app.

Originally introduced as the Kia GT concept during the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, the car derived its beginnings as a study in design that previewed what a fastback sports sedan from Kia would look and drive like. 3 years later, the concept of the GT4 Stinger was pitched at the 2014 Detroit Auto show, and it was a bit of a smaller, rear-drive sports coupe. The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbo four with 255 hp and 260-Lb-ft of torque, and the upper-level choice is a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 365 Hp, and 376 Lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired to an automatic 8-speed transmission, and we invite you to pay us a holiday visit here at Jim Butler. While you're here, we will show you how the Stinger will wow everyone during the coming year, with more features for the money compared to the heavy hitting BMW 4-series, as well as the Audi A5 Sportback! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid Crossover Debuts at Los Angeles Auto Show

As innovation, artificial intelligence, and many other facets of car technology evolve at a breakneck pace, hybrids and electric cars have really moved from the background to a front-and-center position on the stage. The 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid is Kia's third plug-in model, and was on display last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It offers up the same crossover functions and fun driving experience as previous models, along with an estimated 26 miles of all-electric range. As consumers are becoming more and more aware of the perils that the planet faces in terms of green energy and consumption, some are now leaning towards electric power for their vehicle choice. This is a startlingly efficient new vehicle that takes massive strides in helping drivers consumer less gasoline, and while in all-electric mode, produces zero emissions.

Here in St Louis and in other large cities across the nation where emissions have been under close scrutiny for decades now, a car with zero emissions has been coveted for quite some time. The rating of the total driving range is 560 miles, and the offering of extreme versatility in driving experience is going to be a major selling point. With the Niro Plug-in Hybrid, you are tapping into the potential to have it all: pure EV driving on the daily, as well as the ability to take long road trips. This is the vehicle that heftily represents the next step to nearly tripling the brand's global selection of alternative vehicles within the next three years, including the Niro, Optima Hybrid, Optima PHEV, and the Soul EV.

The Niro matches up an all-aluminum and efficient 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection 4-cylinder engine with an 8.9 kWh lithium polymer battery pack. Along with a powerful 60-HP electric motor, this is the perfect formula for driving range under the guise of electric power, as well as optimum fuel efficiency. Increased high-voltage battery capacity and output are two key ingredients that have helped the Niro Plug-in Hybrid have a very efficient, low emissions crossover, while successfully touting a 105 MPG rating. The single battery charging port is located in the driver's front side fender, and a full charge is complete in around 2.5 hours with a Level 2 charger, or in just under 9 hours via a Level 1 charger.

The very lightweight structure of the Niro Plug-in utilizes over 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel. The structure is improved greatly by the use of hot-stamped steel components, and the car has been heavily targeted to earn top honors from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The new Niro PHEV seats five, and you can ask us here on the lot at Jim Butler how the different trim levels improve your experience: LX, EX, and Premium are the slated options. You'll enjoy driver assistance technologies such as blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, front and rear parking sensors, smart cruise control, and forward collision warning to assure your drive is the absolute safest it can be.

With UVO eco, you can remotely monitor and charge your battery, setup and alter the schedule, preset temperature, turn on features like window defrosters, heat the steering wheel, and lock or unlock the doors to get ready to roll. If you're parked at a large event or something unfortunate happens, you can also see where the vehicle is from a smartphone or other web-enabled device. Take a close look at what the new Niro Plug-in could do for your daily driving routine, and marvel at the fact that our entire ability to protect the environment will be drastically improved during the days to come.