Archive for October 2013

Refreshed 2014 Kia Optima Heads to Dealerships

2014 Kia Optima in Milwaukee, WI

The Kia Optima shook up the midsize-sedan segment when it was redesigned in 2010 with a sleek new silhouette, and now the vehicle has received an evolution of that styling for the 2014 model year. Currently arriving at dealerships, the 2014 Optima features updated front and rear fascias while retaining the dynamic design that helped make it Kia’s best-selling model.

Kia has incorporated a more forward-looking style into the 2014 Optima by revising the lower bumper and adding front LED positioning and fog lights. In the back, the model dons LED taillights, updated rear diffusers and a more dynamically designed trunk lid. Meanwhile, all occupants will experience improved comfort inside the cabin thanks to the redesigned seats.

“The Kia Optima really surprised a lot of auto experts with its sculpted, upscale design three years ago, and for the 2014 model year, it sports new European-influenced touches to maintain its modern and sophisticated look,” said Jeff Rosen, general manager of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Kia dealer Rosen Kia Milwaukee. “That progressive design approach is reflected inside the cabin, where the 2014 Optima offers the latest convenience and safety technologies.”

In addition to a new standard 4.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, the 2014 Kia Optima now offers an optional high-resolution eight-inch screen that displays details on hands-free phone calls, navigation and streaming music through the available UVO eServices infotainment system. For more peace of mind on the road, drivers can now also opt for a Blind Spot Detection system, which includes rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors to warn of potential collisions.

Under the hood, the 2014 Kia Optima houses the same responsive-yet-efficient engines as its predecessor. A standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 192 horsepower and returns up to 34 mpg on the highway, while an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder increases output to 274 horsepower with a sacrifice of just three miles per gallon during highway driving.

Kia hopes the refreshed 2014 model will augment the Optima’s sales gains for 2013, with the midsize sedan already posting an 8 percent increase year-over-year through September. More than 124,000 Kia Optima models have found new homes so far in 2013, putting the car on pace for another record-setting sales year.

“The Optima has become so popular because it masterfully blends style and technology and fuel efficiency and performance,” added Rosen. “For the 2014 model year, the interplay between design and in-car connectivity is even more seamless, and we expect that the Optima will lure in even more buyers in the last few months of 2013.”

All-New 2014 Mazda3 Arrives at Dealers, Boasts 41 MPG on Highway

2014 Mazda3

The Mazda3 compact car has accounted for 40 percent of Mazda’s U.S. sales since hitting the market 10 years ago, so it is a big deal whenever the vehicle undergoes a significant redesign. For the 2014 model year, the Mazda3 has received two major changes that have already proven successful elsewhere in the automaker’s lineup: Mazda’s bolder KODO, or Soul of Motion, design language and its full suite of fuel-saving SKYACTIV technologies.

The styling of the 2014 Mazda3 is defined by its flowing lines, which draw attention to a new five-point grille, flared fenders and slanted headlights. When its new lightweight SKYACTIV body and chassis combine with the standard 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine, the redesigned Mazda3 sedan can return a class-leading 41 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, performance-focused buyers can instead opt for an available 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engine, which generates 184 horsepower while yielding just two miles per gallon less on the highway compared to the 2.0-liter unit.

“It’s rare for a car to be a class leader in fuel efficiency while also being the most stylish, but many in the industry would say the 2014 Mazda3 accomplishes both feats,” said Tom McGovern, general manager of Rosen Mazda Waukegan, a Chicagoland Mazda dealer. “Thanks to the use of lightweight materials and the smart engineering of its SKYACTIV engines and transmissions, the new Mazda3 is just as fun to drive as it is to look at.”

The modern exterior of the 2014 Mazda3 is reflected inside the cabin by the automaker’s latest in-car technology. A newly available Mazda Connect infotainment system not only initiates hands-free phone calls and audible text messages, but it integrates with the Pandora, Aha and Stitcher Internet radio apps as well. While those functions improve safety by preventing drivers from fumbling for their smartphones, the Mazda3’s optional i-ACTIVSENSE technologies can provide even more peace of mind with features like Blind Spot Monitoring and Smart City Brake Support.

Mazda hopes that sales of the new Mazda3 will follow a similar trajectory to those of the Mazda CX-5 compact crossover and the redesigned 2014 Mazda6 midsize sedan, which were the brand’s first two vehicles to fully embrace SKYACTIV technologies. Last month, sales of the CX-5 rose by 41 percent over September 2012, and year-to-date, they are now up by 107 percent compared to the same period last year. On the other hand, the Mazda6 saw a 126 percent sales increase in September over the same month last year, helping the model post a 10 percent jump year-over-year through the first three quarters of 2013.

“The successes of the CX-5 and the redesigned Mazda6 bode well for the new Mazda3 because all three vehicles feature similar KODO styling and SKYACTIV technologies,” added McGovern. “Once buyers check out the 2014 Mazda3, they will be hard-pressed to find another compact car that offers a more satisfying mix of performance, fuel efficiency, style and technology.”

Santa Fe Zombie Survival Machine Wins “The Walking Dead Chop Shop” Contest

All-New 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Zombie Survival Machine

The Mayan calendar may not have predicted the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the proper precautions anyway.

Hyundai is making that easier for fans to do with The Walking Dead Chop Shop app. Launched in July during the San Diego Comic-Con, this app allows you to custom-make your own zombie-fighting survival vehicle by adding features like camouflage, armor plating and weapons.

With more than 82,500 fan submissions to the app, the winning vehicle – a Santa Fe Zombie Survival Machine – made an appearance at the New York Comic-Con on Oct. 10. Here’s what the designer, Anson Kuo, had to say about his custom-made all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport:

“My main design goal was to make the vehicle as stealthy and spacious as possible,” said Kuo. “I knew knives and blades would be the best bet for weaponry – they could slice and dice the zombies without releasing any ammunition. Basing the design on the Santa Fe allows space for extra passengers as well as weapons, supplies and all the other necessary items needed during a real zombie apocalypse.”

In addition to a camouflaged exterior, Kuo’s Santa Fe is protected by aluminum armor and razor-wired windows and has a muffler silencer to help you sneak past those man-eating walkers unnoticed. It’s also equipped with an automatic crossbow and three machine guns.