Thursday, April 19, 2018

2018 Eye on the Future: Kia on Deck to Solve One of Electric's Most Prominent Problems

In nearly any office space, one of the best inventions as of late to clean up clutter is the wireless charging option for phones and tablets. It is a great way to save space, and immediately makes you feel as if you can be more productive, minus the mental commotion that bundles of wires on your desk can create. As many panels of engineers and designers have been meeting to decide which options for Kia vehicles would be the most helpful, they thought that it would be just as handy in the garage. Slated for the very near future, Kia now has a three-year plan to develop a fast-charging wireless system for vehicle models in the future.

As part of a joint venture with Mojo Mobility, and with appropriate backing from the Dept. of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the car brand field-tested its new wireless EV charging technology, on a new fleet of Kia Soul EV prototypes. With the prospect of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles being pushed at an all-time high, the allure of wireless charging is similar to what some compare to cutting the cable cord in the TV sector. The system puts to use an electromagnetic inductive field, to transfer electrons between two coils.

One transmitter is placed on the ground, and the other is planted on the bottom of the car. To activate the setup, the driver pilots the vehicle until it rests above the charging transmitter. Then, the battery begins the handy charging process. Even though this is not a 100% new idea, it clearly addresses a few of the faults that there are in functionality with EV charging systems currently in place. What makes the new system by Kia more practical is that it can still efficiently charge, even if the driver does not have the ability to perfectly situation and align the car when parking directly over the wireless charging station. This will make the system much easier to use, and convenient on a day-to-day basis for scores of St Louis and nationwide commuters.

According to Hyundai-Kia American Technical Center, this is a system that is also capable of providing more than 10kw to a properly equipped electric vehicle, while still achieving 85% grid-to-vehicle efficiency. One reason why this is so impressive is that most wireless systems suffer from extreme energy loss. It is not necessarily that the notion of wireless charging is new, but that efforts to increase efficiency will attract many more users. Since the feat of wireless charging still has a ways to go, traditional hard-wired charging cable won't be immediately replaced. Nonetheless, the ability to charge a vehicle from a wireless source would be a very major step forward in building infrastructure for the future, and making life easier on a very grand and cordless scale! 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Kia Enjoys Laying Claim to Five Major International Automotive Awards

Here at Jim Butler Kia of St Louis, we are enjoying all of the inquiries from customers about the 2018 models that are now on sale, and steering many happy new owners toward the perfect car for them during the beginning of spring. Spots like Soulard Market are prime locations to enjoy the seasonal change: here you can grab fresh flowers, produce, or crafts from the marketplace. There are dozens of local vendors, and local eateries to satisfy even the most world-class of experienced taste buds. Held during April 21 and 22, St Louis's Earth Day Festival is the longest-running one in the Midwest. Taking place on the Muny grounds in Forest Park, it is a tradition that offers opportunities to learn about sustainable products that benefit the planet, while enjoying local entertainers and food from restaurants that belong to the Green Dining Alliance.

When looking for a new vehicle, many customers we talk to ask about various awards gleaned, that put them over the top as far as trustworthy, safe, and high-performing, Three of the awards earned this year were at the iF Design awards for the KIA Stinger, Stonic, and Picanto. Also gleaned was the “Best Car of the Year” award at the Motorweek 2018 Driver's Choice Awards, for the Kia Stinger. The Stinger also claimed the “Shift Award Vehicle of the Year” at the “Roadshow by CNET 2018”. This is the second consecutive year that Kia has won three awards at the iF showings, and the 9th year in a row that we have received a single award at the event. Kia has now proudly taken home a total of 15 iF design prizes, this year beating out very tough competition as the iF awards had received over 6,300 entries from 54 various nations.

On top of the CNET and MotorWeek awards, the Stinger also took home “Car of the Year” in Slovakia, “Performance Car of the Year” award in the UK, as well as the “Trophee Argus 2018” award given by distinguished auto critics from the French media. Within just a few short months after its launch, the Stinger has laid the claim to one of the most popular models Kia has ever launched. Also hailed in both the North American and European Car of the Year award programs, as well as for “Czech car of the year”, the Stinger is one alluring sedan that bowls audiences over time after time. We know that many out there that have been following Kia for years may not have thought that something as over-the-top commanding and sporty as the Stinger would come out of our ranks, but now that it is here, it is absolutely making the history books.

Conceptualized and designed by KIA's European design studio in Frankfurt, the Stinger has quite a bit in common with the grand touring genre. Known for high doses of speed and style, these engineers provided the perfect balance of a car with a smooth, stable ride, and handling that is nimble with power delivered via rear-wheel drive. Kia's Stonic is the compact crossover was also designed in Frankfurt, and has been held in high regard for its striking and bold exterior design, as well as its ability to offer what many current customers are looking for in the very popular crossover SUV market. When you make the trip to come pay us a visit, you'll marvel at how the Stonic is the most customizable Kia ever made, with the widest selection of two-tone paint combinations and interior colors to choose from in a model yet! You also may want to check out the possibility of owning a brand new Picanto from our award-winning selection: this is a car that sports a very intelligent design, and ranks as one of the most spacious in its class!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

2019 Kia Optima Sports Freshly Revamped UVO Infotainment System

As 2018 moves steadily on into the spring months, customers here at Jim Butler Kia of St Louis are dealing with mounting excitement. The current year's models are on display, being test-driven daily, and winning over many with their comfortable interiors, as well as high-tech features. We got wind of a big story today regarding next year's Kia Optima: there is completely revised packaging for its UVO infotainment system, which is now broken up into three tiers. Currently, UVO Play, UVO Link, and UVO Navigation are the varieties for the system's functionality. With next year's Optima, the base LX model comes with UVO play, which is the platform for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Buyers can man all of the smartphone-mirroring software with very useful voice controls, and on the Optima S and EX models, UVO Link includes extras such as vehicle diagnostics, maintenance alerts, and many other very cool features. The Link app allows users to remote start the car, activate the horn and lights, and lock or unlock the doors as well. Built-in navigation will aide you in your journey anywhere from Forest Park or City Museum, to the colorful blues bars and casual pizzerias of the Soulard District. Next year's Optima has a slightly redesigned front fascia with new LED running lights, and the top-tier level trim now is also graced with red-and-black two-tone leather seats.

The LX and S trims are aptly powered by a 2.4-liter engine with 185 horsepower, while the EX gains its momentum from a 1.6-liter turbo Inline 4 with 178 horsepower. Every 2019 Optima will have the very important automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and lane-departure warning features. Visiting us for a test drive during the later months of spring will clue you in to just how upper-end the Optima SX trim is: you get a trim-specific steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and the red and black two-tone seating. You can also opt for bronze-and-black leather upholstery, and the active-safety features as well as updated infotainment system will allow it to maintain a very competitive edge in the very demanding mid-size-sedan segment.

The Drive reported over the last month that Kia's overall performance stats and image “is not to be messed with”, and that our design language is looking consistently sleek with each new model and upgrade. The Optima continues to be a best-seller due to its stand-out appearance as well as handling, and the value of the UVO features will now be better understood by buyers. You'll love how the vehicle alarm notifications, geofencing and speed alerts, as well as remote start and climate control give you a greater sense of safety. Lane departure warning with lane-keep assist is one of the most valuable alerts out there: it alerts the driver if the car shifts out of the lane, and then automatically takes steps to correct the steering to gravitate back to the correct lane, assuring ultimate safety for you while on the road. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

2019 Kia K900 Images Leaked Before New York Auto Show Unveiling

In a recent report from Auto Evolution, a leaked brochure was featured, showing the long-awaited images of the redesigned Kia flagship, the K900. A bit longer and wider than the first-generation sedan, next year's K900 gains 2.3 inches between the front and rear wheels. Front and rear wheel overhangs appear to also have shrank, which pushed the wheels farther out of the car's corners. Pushing the envelope of luxurious driving in a namesake that is looking to drastically move in position upmarket, the adrenaline-seeking customers in the Kia segment will love the slightly Stinger-esque front grille.

What we feel will really attract those who love a dash of affluence is the rear appearance: it feels just like what you'd see within a member of the Mercedes-Benz club. For the Korean market where the K900 will be built, three engine options will be available: a 3.3-liter, V6, 3.8-liter V6, as well as a 5.0-liter V8. The specs that make it to the states haven't been disclosed yet, but the 3.3 and 5.0-liter models are safe bets. An 8-speed automatic transmission appears to be standard, as well as rear-wheel drive, and American buyers could likely see the all-wheel -drive option.

The 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system has a much larger presence than others in the segment, and we definitely feel that this is an area where “bigger is always better”: this provides a great way for passengers to entertain themselves, and navigate with true clarity. There are seven color options for ambient lighting, and a startling 64 different ways to alter levels of light in the cabin. Previous rumors slated the debut of this luxury-laden and punchy sedan somewhere around April, but it now appears that it will be presented at the New York Auto Show after all.

The good folks at Motor Trend claimed that this car is a “true up-and-comer in the luxury watch space”, and that the K900 is likely to exhibit a level of confidence and control you've never seen before on a Kia. Passengers will love the option to have heated and ventilated rear seats, featuring 12 – and 14-way adjustability for the driver, and passenger's side respectively. There will also be multi-zone climate controls, that allow rear passengers to set their own temperature, further aiding in comfort for the journey. All of us here at Jim Butler of St Louis are excited about any future updates involving this ritzy and robust sedan: we'll be sure to let you know of any others that come across our desk in the near future!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Heaping Helpings of Stinger Praise: Beating Out the Ford Mustang in a Drag Race

The writers at The Drive adamantly proclaimed that “the new kid isn't playing around” last week when talking about the pull and power of the Kia Stinger GT. A brand-new quarter-mile test shows that this addition to the sports sedan market may actually be quicker than one of America's most recognizable and muscle-clad icons: the Ford Mustang GT. The scene of the crime was an independent test set up in Australia, and as such it was very dependent on important aspects such as weather, conditions of the lanes, and the individual skill of the driver.

Kia came out in top in a head-to-head battle, pulling down a 12.83-second quarter mile, compared to the Mustang's 13.32-second run. Even though the Stinger's engine is two cylinders less, it completed the task of finishing the race first. Previous Car And Driver testing showed the Mustang GT racking up a 12.6-second quarter-mile at 115 mph, and this is an event that really solidifies the claim that the Kia Stinger is seriously quick, and capable of going toe-to-to with a Mustang in its purest stock form. Another rumor that we have heard is that the police in Australia are considering the car for the job of high-speed pursuit duty, a challenge that only the quickest and most competent of cars can carry out.

When Digital Trends provided their very close-up look at the Stinger on their web forum lately, they deemed it “handsome, potent, and luxurious in all the same ways as its German-made rivals”. One of the things you definitely want to put on your agenda while checking out the stinger here at Jim Butler of St Louis is the offerings of the GT2 package: it includes Nappa leather, heated and ventilated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with voice commands, a premium 15-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, entire suite of driver aids, and a 7.0- heads-up display.

Even after a very long commute, these seats leave you feeling fresh, and the available cargo volume with the rear seats in place is a class-leading 23.3 cubic feet. Once inside, the Stinger GT absolutely feels like it comes from a company with a long history of constructing sports sedans. The GT borrows its 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 from the Genesis G90, with the ability to deliver 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque by means of an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Stinger GT has a 0 to 60 MPH sprint of 4.9 seconds, and a top speed of 167 MPH. (Just in case you were really feeling like making some serious and aggressive moves on your favorite quasi-abandoned strip of road during the later hours !)

The folks at Digital Trends also said that regarding the handling, “The GT is so dialed in, we swear the car can read minds. Turn the drive mode dial to Sport, find your nearest curvy road, and prepare to giggle like a child”. When you're checking out this car that had the strength and gusto to one-up the Mustang, ask us about the 5-year/60,000 – mile new car warranty, and 10-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty: you'll have the confidence that comes with knowing choosing Kia for your next car exercises powerful protection for you at every step.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Kia Goes Global With Release of 2019 Stinger GT Atlantica Special Edition

It only makes sense that a car as phenomenal as the new Stinger GT would have what is considered by all means an incredibly limited special edition. The Maserati Ghibli-inspired styling was dreamt about and conceived back when chief designer Gregory Guillaume admired the GT's that roared down the Autoroute du Soleil to the south side of France during his early years. At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Kia announced plans to sell just 500 numbered models of the Stinger GT Atlantica in the states, with its unique paint, wheels, and very unique Nappa leather interior.

There is an aggressively-blended cultivation of great ideas all at work here: the 19-inch alloy wheels are a design from Europe, while the super cool rear badging is a model characteristic courtesy of Korean design elements. The deep blue metallic paint really offers up a sense of mystery, and throws down a greatly-appealing color on the car's already very strong design lines. Once you really settle in and spend time in the interior of any car, the true vibe really washes over you. The interior of the GT Atlantica's ultra high-end feature is the Espresso Brown Nappa leather, with a black suede-like headliner. You'll have no problem keeping at full capacity on your gadgets with the wireless phone charger, and the surround view camera is another modern safety feature that keeps the peace-of-mind factor high when coming or going for the day.

During 2014, Hyundai Motor Group successfully lured Albert Biermann away from one of the most prestigious duties in the industry: heading up BMW's M GmbH. Biermann says his main focus at Kia is to now “try to match the dynamic experience with the emotional appearance” of our beloved new Stinger. The twin-turbocharged GT is the sportiest in the Stinger club, and prominent auto journalists were invited to Nordschleife to observe the 12.9-mile run, where engineers and testing staff completed much of the hard development work.

This is a very high-performing car that adamantly exchanged the 255-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four for a twin-turbo 3.3 liter V-6, which generates an eager allotment of 365 horsepower. Standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires deliver reactive steering and tenacious grip with the included 19-inch wheels, and the engine onboard delivers an eager pull, and a robust, nearly baritone noise for appreciation. The larger side of relatively inexpensive rear-drive sedans seem to be in a bit of short supply as of late, and many are standing up and taking notice at the fact that the Dodge Charger may be nearing the end of a very long lifespan. Come soon to see us here at Jim Butler of St Louis, and check out the exciting new model that Motor Trend praised for its “sexy exterior design” and “Overly potent engine options”!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Car Buzz Hails 2018 Kia Niro as “The Best Everyday Hybrid on the Market”

One of the highest areas of focus for Kia automobiles is making a car with stellar fuel economy, that does not have the soaring expense of competitors in the same niche. There is an inescapable truth right now within the market segment that the industry is transforming into offering up hybrids and crossovers that absolutely lack character and excitement. The experienced writers and staff at happily claimed that past week that “Hybrids don't at all have to suck, if Kia has anything to say about it”. We fully admit here at Jim Butler Kia of St Louis that the Niro is our attempt to formidably knock down the Toyota Prius from its throne as the most dominant seller in the hybrid car segment.

The approach at hand was to put hybrid technology in the one package modern car buyers find irresistible: the classic SUV. At the present time, the Niro is the competitor for larger Toyota models such as the RAV4 and Prius v, but due to its very high level of fuel economy, it can go toe-to-toe with the efficient and best-selling Prius. This Niro plug-in is a new addition for 2018, and it makes use of a larger battery, ultimately resulting in an EPA-rated all-electric driving range of 26 miles. It is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder, with direct injection and variable valve timing. In the PHEV model, an 8.9-kWh battery offers up 60 HP, nearly 20 more than in the standard hybrid.

Power is sent to the front wheels only by means of a six-speed dual clutch transmission, refusing to file quickly in line behind other hybrids that use continuously variable transmissions, sometimes emitting an annoying noise when you step on the gas. Writer Jared Rosenthal had a commute less than 26 miles, and averaged around 52 MPG when running in hybrid mode, with a model that had the addition of the EX Premium trim. They enjoyed the 8-inch navigation system, Harman Kardon audio, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, heated and ventilated front seats, leather steering wheel and a power driver seat featuring two memory positions. The team also expressed their appreciation for the high-tech safety features on board such as autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert.

During a test drive with us here at Jim Butler, you'll love the influence that is evident from the Jeep Cherokee in the rear, while the front has Kia's slightly more corporate stance, with daytime running lights and LED headlights. Characteristically light steering makes it a snap to maneuver into tight spots, and the CarBuzz team also claimed that the Niro runs circles around the Prius in terms of driving feel. Be sure to check out the benefits of Sport Mode: it has the added valuable effect of charging the battery during high performance drives.

The team was heavy on the throttle and braking, bringing the battery to its fully-charged state in just 45 minutes. Driving range is approximately 560 miles with a full tank and charge. When situated head to head with the Prius, the Niro wins out in terms of noise: if St Louis area highway driving is frequently on your itinerary, you will be thrilled to spend your drive time among high doses of electric silence!