Kia Releases Photos of Redesigned Sorento

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The Kia Sorento's looks didn't change much in the past few model years, Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek noted in his review, but he'll definitely notice the difference now. The Korean automaker today released the first official images of its third-generation Sorento SUV, which is longer and lower, and pulls a few styling cues from the space-agey Kia Cross GT concept we saw back at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

Related: Kia Cross GT Concept: Photo Gallery

The new photos reveal an elongated, more swept-back profile and lower stance, as well as a somewhat more aggressive visage courtesy of its grille's less-smiley maw, angrier stare and trapezoidal fog lights in place of upright, rectangular ones. The rear end doesn't appear drastically different, save for newly shaped, less-squinty wraparound taillights. The new Sorento owes its low, muscular stance in part to its updated dimensions; it's 3.7 inches longer and more than a half-inch shorter in height. Moreover, a 3-inch-longer wheelbase provides increased passenger space in all three rows, according to Kia.

By Matt Schmitz | August 12, 2014 | Comments (10)

Top 10 Urban Cars

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From squeezing between a Dumpster and a wall to holding your breath as a bus hard aports past your bumper, cities can be an automotive minefield. And cars are often the casualties. Need proof? Look no further than auto insurance rates. A 40-year-old male with a 2012 Honda Accord in Manhattan's West Village would pay 27 percent more for the exact same coverage than if he lived across the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., according to CarInsurance.com's analysis of six leading carriers.

Related: Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

Yet scores of Americans still prefer to live in the city. From New York to San Antonio, the country's 25 largest urban centers are home to 31.9 million people within city limits, according to the 2010 Census. That's 10.3 percent of the entire U.S. population in 2010, and given the trend of increasing urbanization, it doesn't look like it will recede anytime soon.

Most city-zens still have to drive. Not to worry: Our latest Top 10 nominates cars best suited for urban driving. Editors considered our candidates' overall size relative to their competitors, as well as visibility, city gas mileage, turning radius, city drivability, utility and more.

Here are our picks, in order of which cars received the most votes. In cases of a tie, we ranked by turning circle and other dimensions.

By Kelsey Mays | August 11, 2014 | Comments (9)

Kia Teases Next Generation Sorento SUV

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Kia's Sorento SUV is about due for a redesign, and the South Korean automaker has given the world a blurry look at the next version through the release of a couple of concept sketches and an accompanying video. The new look bears more than a passing resemblance to the recently unveiled Sedona minivan, which itself adopts a more SUV-like stance with a distinctive hood instead of a sloping front end like most vans. The new Sorento builds on that theme, but still maintains some distinctive design cues.

Rumor has it that the new Sorento will debut in South Korea next month, with an international debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. Our first look at it stateside could come at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show in November, if Kia decides to bring it over.

By Aaron Bragman | July 29, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Kia Soul: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: UVO eServices Package, which includes a multimedia/telematics system and a backup camera, is a new option for base models with automatic transmission.

Price change: Up $200 across the board. The base model starting price is $15,900, with the Plus at $19,400 and the Exclaim at $21,500, including destination.

On sale: End of July/early August

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2015

Kia's "urban hatchback" was redesigned for 2014, and it appeals to a broad range of buyers, from the under-21 crowd wanting to make a fashion statement on a limited budget to their grandparents looking for a functional vehicle that also is economical.

Related: 2014 Kia Soul Real-World Mileage

The base model starts at an enticing $15,900, but that is with a manual transmission. Adding an automatic transmission boosts the price a hefty $2,000, and for most buyers that will be the starting point (cruise control, remote entry and other features also come with the automatic). In addition, the base model uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that generates modest power, and the more expensive Plus and Exclaim models, starting at $19,400 and $21,500 respectively, come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that shows more vigor. Destination charges, included in the prices above, have increased by $5 to $800.

By Rick Popely | July 29, 2014 | Comments (4)

What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

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Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (20)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

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Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: What the Judges Said

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To test our sub-$30,000 speedsters, we put them through an even more rigorous set of tests than we usually use in our Challenges:

  • We spent one day at the Byron, Ill., Dragway to get zero-to-60-mph times and quarter-mile times and speeds; we also captured 60-mph-to-zero braking distances there.
  • We spent one day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., where the experts put the cars through a long day on the road course there.
  • We took all eight on a mileage drive of more than 200 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all eight over the same course, back-to-back, to judge real-world ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • And then we brought in a real-life car shopper, Joe Weiss, a 38-year-old quality assurance manager from Chicago who's in the market for just such a car for himself and his fiancee.

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Weiss joined our cast of judges (left to right):

  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • David Thomas, Cars.com managing editor
  • Joe Bruzek, Cars.com road test editor
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today

We set a maximum price of $30,000, including a destination charge. We had 10 cars on our list when we started, but we ended with eight (more on that in a bit):

  • 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2014 Honda Civic Si
  • 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
  • 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2015 Subaru WRX
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini said it did not have a Cooper in its press fleets that could meet our price cap; the Civic lost a tire after hitting a Chicago pothole, and repairs could not be made in time for track days. The judges did drive it in our round-robin day, and a report on those tests can be found here.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 50 percent of the total score; 10 percent came from the shopper's scores; 30 percent was based on track performance; and the remaining 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

2014 Kia Forte 5 Photo Gallery

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The 2014 Kia Forte5 SX finished fourth in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "Its suspension is surprisingly capable, and it looks the part of cheap speed with 18-inch wheels, dual-exiting exhaust and blackened exterior trim," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the Forte5 SX up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

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Every year hundreds of new-car models are introduced and enter the research process for millions of car shoppers. The dizzying number of choices sometimes shrouds from the masses what are good cars.

More Top 10s

Here are 10 cars that Cars.com's editors agree are overlooked due to no fault of each vehicle's own substantial merits.

 

1. 2015 Mazda6

The Mazda6 is one of the rare family sedans that is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient; it's rated as high as 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined with an automatic transmission and the optional GT Technology Package, which includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters. But even the base automatic gets 38 on the highway. Good cabin quality, intuitive controls, comfortable seating and a striking design also fall into the Mazda's favor.

By David Thomas | July 23, 2014 | Comments (9)

What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

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Shoppers may face legitimate sticker shock when they're shopping for a new car. TV and radio advertisements may lead them to believe that new cars all get at least 35 mpg for less than $15,000, but the price of entry for even a modestly equipped new car is well above that.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

That's why we've taken the cars with the lowest sticker prices and added a dose of reality. A vast majority of buyers never consider buying a car with a manual transmission (often the standard equipment on inexpensive new cars), so right out of the gate the car they're shopping for costs significantly more than they thought it would. Opting for an automatic transmission can cost $1,000 or more.

By David Thomas | July 21, 2014 | Comments (7)

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