Kia has loads to show in Paris
Ahead of every major motor show of the year - and there are lots of them these days - there are loads of announcements of this, that and the other from many of the manufacturers as the days tick by. Here we have Kia giving us its full stand line-up for the Paris Motor Show, opening its doors in early October.
Fronting up will be the third-generation Sorento SUV, which we've already heard plenty about. But, to recap, it's longer, lower and wider than the previous model, has extra cushy stuff inside and is said to be better in terms of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) than before. You can have five- or seven-seat versions of the Sorento with either 2.0- or 2.2-litre diesel engines, or a 2.4-litre petrol, depending on the market; it goes on sale early next year.
Alongside the Sorento will be revised versions of the Rio, Kia's best-selling car globally, and the Venga. The Rio has had a facelift and revamped interior, while two new colours (Urban Blue and Digital Yellow) are also on offer. Options will include DAB radio and a satnav system with a seven-inch touchscreen, while motive power comes from four engines ranging from 75- to 109hp and fitted with start-stop; again, these powertrains are dependent on market. Like the Sorento, it'll be on sale in the first half of 2015.
It's also overhaul time for the Venga compact MPV, which has been around for five years now. The European-designed car features a new-look front and rear, a 'more sophisticated' cabin, new alloy wheels and an expanded range of options, and it also goes on sale next year.
There's more, isn't there?
All very worthy stuff and we're looking forward to trying the new Sorento, but it's the fourth car on the stand that's most intriguing. It's the first practical application of the company's 'mild hybrid' powertrain, featuring a 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine and a small electric motor in an Optima body shell. The Optima T-Hybrid ('T' for turbo) is equipped with a lead-carbon battery pack (lithium-ion is more common, but the lead-carbon item requires no active cooling and is easier to recycle) and the car can be driven in electric-only modes at low speeds and when cruising. Regenerative braking recharges the battery pack, while there's a zero-emissions start-stop system and an electric supercharger that can torque-fill for the CRDi engine at low revs.
While no firm plans have been made, Kia is considering the Optima T-Hybrid as a potential production car, and of course the powertrain could see its way into other Kias in the near future. No word on specific performance or economy figures, but Kia reckons power could be 15- to 20 per cent up for any model equipped with the T-Hybrid running gear, while also promising 'significant reductions in tailpipe CO2 emissions'. As standard, the 1.7-litre Optima has 136hp and emits 128g/km CO2.
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