It's no secret that I'm a fan of Kia, and over the past few years I've also made some friendships there (my wife and I went to the Chicago Bulls game the other night with some Kia Execs, disclosure and all), but we don't own a Kia just yet. When it comes to the Chicago Auto Show, they've kicked it off the past few years, and this year they pretty much perfected the art of a kick-off press conference - bringing in the young students of the School of Rock Oak Park (ages 14-18) to truly ROCK the auto show. It's stuff like this that makes me love Kia - outside of their cars, of course. On a press conference note, it's hard for some of the other automakers to follow - especially the ones with really bland presentations (up your game, gentlemen - there's several of you). With a medley of tunes that included some from QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, LED ZEPPELIN, THE ROLLING STONES and more, the School of Rock Show Team provided the perfect soundtrack for Kia's Michael Sprague to throw down some Chicago music history (Chess Records was mentioned) before rolling out a trio of hybrids, one of which was the much-anticipated 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). Sprague said it was designed "in the rock and roll spirit of rebellion." I can dig it.
With the 2016 Chicago Auto Show rolling into McCormick Place this week, I figured it would be a good time to roll out some "Rides Revisited" features on a few vehicles that I'd driven before, but have since taken out to rock the road with my family. In this installment, it's the 2016 Kia Sorento crossover vs. the 2016 Kia Sedonamulti-purpose vehicle minivan. I had the opportunity to drive pre-release versions of both of these vehicles back in 2014, hopping behind the wheel of the Sedona out near Dana Point, California, while I had a chance to drive a pair of Sorentos through multiple climates between Lake Tahoe, California and Reno, Nevada. While I certainly had formed an opinion of both vehicles (I liked the Sedona, but loved the Sorento), sometimes having the vehicle here at Rock Father HQ for some time with the family helps re-shape things. In the case of these, that's just what we did late last year...
My inbox has been blowing up with news out of Kia Motors America today - one of my favorite automakers, and one that's turning out some interesting things. While they're at CES in Las Vegas right now with the stunning Kia NOVO concept that debuted in Seoul last year, they're also touting autonomous rides (more on that shortly) and looking ahead to the next stop - Detroit. At the 2016 North American Auto Show, Kia will reveal a new concept car that was conceived at the automaker’s California design studio, one that they promise to offer "an abundance of advanced technology – including state-of-the-art health and wellness technology," while "suggesting styling of a possible future premium large SUV in the brand’s lineup." I'm intrigued, are you?
I've been missing the fully-loaded 2016 Kia Sorento that I drove through the mountains around Lake Tahoe during its National Press Introduction last year. It's still on a short list of "might buy" vehicles for us when the time comes, and while the factory options are certainly fantastic, seeing what customizers can pull off is equally exciting. Kia is known for rolling into the annual SEMA Show each November with some sweet rides, and this year is no exception, with the 2015 SEMA PacWest Adventure Sorento on display from November 3-6, 2015.
The crew over at Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA, and it's the Kia Optima that wears the crown as "The Official Vehicle of the NBA." If you've seen the commercials with Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, then you might already know that... or perhaps you've seen the ones with Cleveland Cavaliers' superstar LeBron James rockin' his car of choice, the K900 Luxury Sedan. Either way, Kia sponsors numerous initiatives within the NBA, along with partnering with over a dozen individual teams, one of which happens to be the Chicago Bulls.
When putting a new vehicle to the test, there's nothing better than experiencing it through a diverse array of conditions to get a true grasp on how it functions under real-world conditions. Attending the National Press Introduction of the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento last month in California, I had a chance to take two models of the new Sorento (AWD Turbocharged 4-cylinder, AWD V6) through multiple climates and altitudes through the legendary Sierra Nevada mountain range, out through the plains and into the Nevada desert. What the Sorento delivered was an impressive and powerful combination of style, performance and comfort that rivals all other competitors in the increasingly crowded crossover class, warranting a serious look for families that are ready to rock the road.