Connect with us

AboutThatCar.com

AUTO REVIEW: 2019 Kia Optima SX Turbo

NNPA NEWSWIRE – Kia never fails to impress me with the quality of its products as well as its pricing. My test car had a sticker of $33,315.

Published

on

By Frank S. Washington, AboutThatCar.com

DETROIT – Kia made some incremental yet substantial changes to the Kia Optima for 2019.

We had the SX Turbo which is the top of the line. It was powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination made 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

The EPA fuel rating was 21 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined. Although Kia doesn’t say it, the SX is the sporty rendition of the Optima. My test car had paddle shifters, two-toned red bucket seats and as slick a set of 18-inch alloy wheels as I’ve seen in a while.

For 2019, Kia added some high-tech equipment that amounts to a safety suite.  The sedan had blind spot collision warning, parking distance warning in reverse, rear cross traffic collision warning, front collision warning, lane change assist, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning and an updated UVO infotainment system.

But none of that mattered because I had the Optima during the deep, deep freeze. I mean when temperatures did not get above zero for a couple of days and it was in the low teens the day before and the day after the big chill. I wasn’t straying too far from home.

When I did go out this is the equipment that the Kia Optima had that made a difference: There was push button lock and unlock. That meant no fumbling with keys. The same was true for the push button start and stop.

Heated and cooled front seats made a big difference. Guess which feature I used when it was 10 below zero. The heated steering wheel was a bonus. It meant after perhaps five or so minutes I could take off my gloves. I’ve never liked driving with my hands covered.

The turbocharger pumping hot gases back into the engine caused it to warm up a lot faster and the heat came on quicker than I expected.

And even though they are required, the backup camera kept me on a straight path as I backed out of the driveway. I once got stuck in the driveway with a car that was rear wheel drive and had no back up camera. It makes a difference when you stay out of deep snow while driving, no matter what speed you are going.

There were some exterior enhancements. The wheels were redesigned and there were new LED fog lamps.

Inside, there was a flat bottom steering wheel, sport bucket seats and soft red ambient lighting. That matched the two-tone black and red seating. The dash remained black. Kia was one of the first automakers to switch to a horizontal layout for the center stack. It still looked good but could use a little updating.

The retractable panoramic roof on the SX trim level has been made standard. There were four drive modes: comfort, eco, smart and sport. I climbed into the back seat easily. The doors were wide and the seats were comfortable.

Because the Optima was a front-wheel-drive midsize sedan the tunnel reaching to the rear wheels was minimal. Three people could have sat abreast in the back seat. Perhaps not for long but for a short haul it wouldn’t be bad. There was plenty of head room even with the panoramic roof.

There was a USB jack and one 12V socket for back seat passengers. Add that to the two 12V sockets, the USB and auxiliary jacks up front and the USB jack in the center console.

There were paddle shifters which rounded out the sportiness of this trim line. Of course, there was a navigation system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a TFT screen, smart cruise control, adaptive LED headlights and taillights, a premium sound system, android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Kia never fails to impress me with the quality of its products as well as its pricing. My test car had a sticker of $33,315.

Pros:

  • Styling still top notch
  • Good power out of four-cylinder turbo
  • Comfortable rear seats

Cons:

  • Dash layout is getting a little old
  • Heated seats, steering wheel need to be turned back on upon restart

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#NNPA BlackPress

AUTONETWORK: 2019 Lexus NX 300h

NNPA NEWSWIRE — This combination had an EPA rating of 33 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg combined. We thought that was a little on the low side. But 30 mpg is the magic number for fuel efficiency and the Lexus NX Hybrid topped it across the board.

Published

on

The base price of the 2019 Lexus NX 300h was $38,735 Add a lengthy list of options, a $1,025 freight charge and our test vehicle had a sticker of $49,354. (Photo: Frank S. Washington)

By Frank S. Washington, AboutThatCar.com

DETROIT – The Lexus NX 300h is yet another hybrid from the luxury automaker.

This one combines the output of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and what Lexus called a small high torque electric motor. Power can shift between the gas engine and the electric motor or they can operate in tandem. Combined they supply 194 horsepower to the NX 300h.

Transferring that power to the pavement is an electrically controlled continuously variable transmission or ECVT. We don’t know if there is any advantage to this type of transmission versus a regular CVT. But it seemed to convey a little more oomph to the pavement under normal conditions.

This combination had an EPA rating of 33 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg combined. We thought that was a little on the low side. But 30 mpg is the magic number for fuel efficiency and the Lexus NX Hybrid topped it across the board.

As most who are familiar with hybrid systems know, regenerative braking changed the electric motor into a generator that captured the kinetic energy of the wheels when the brakes were applied. Then it was stored in the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery pack.

In EV drive mode, under certain conditions, the NX 300h can run solely on the electric motor for up to 1 mile at lower speeds (below approximately 25 mph). We tried this by driving around the block, well several blocks. The crossover hybrid stayed in electric mode but when we got to 25 mph, the gasoline engine kicked in just like Lexus said.

Lexus also said a Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator, located in a 4.2-inch TFT screen, help coach the driver to operate the vehicle as economically as possible. Never saw it, never looked for it, ergo we never paid any attention.

But we did notice that all the instruments were digital. The speedometer and the power gauge; all the numbers were digital, but they were inside a three-dimensional ring. Thus, they looked analogue. It was a nice illusion.

The all-wheel-drive system (with intelligence) was standard. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels, the system employed a second, independent electric motor to drive the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction. Since thank goodness winter was not upon us at the time of the test drive, this feature was not needed. And our test vehicle did sport the optional 18-inch wheels.

We climbed into the 2019 Lexus NX 300h and found the interior busy but nicely done. The floating infotainment screen was set back atop the dash; almost like it was on a downward slope. There was a cascaded look. The vents were next, followed by the climate control gauges and temperature setting.

The center-stack dropped down abruptly and there were the audio controls, the gear shifter beneath and the drive mode selector which was a dial. We were intrigued by the CD player; most of them have gone to the automotive obsolete museum. We checked it out and found it provided excellent sounds.

Farther back on the console was the Lexus haptic pad. Lexus called it the remote touch interface (RTI), which uses a touchpad with palm rest in the center of the console. The RTI helps the driver access various functions while staying focused on the road. The front-seat passenger can also easily operate the RTI.

It is a control mouse and can be unnerving for first time users. Inside the center console were 2 USB jacks, a 12V socket and an auxiliary jack grouped closely together.

The slightest slivers of dark wood trim were on the dash and the doors. And the NX Hybrid had a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel. It was heated as well. The rear seats also were power tilting and there was a power liftgate.

The rear seats were firm but bordered on being hard. There was plenty of headroom as well as legroom. They could also flip down in addition to tilting.

There was a 360-degree surround view camera with overhead view. The NX Hybrid had Lexus’ safety package that included lane departure warning and correction and collision warning. It had a navigation system, Enform app suite, rearview camera with cross traffic alert, a moonroof and premium LED daytime running lights.

A smart key with push button start and lock and unlock, power folding outside mirrors, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa capability were part of the creature comforts. And of course, there were heated and cooled front seats.

The base price of the 2019 Lexus NX 300h was $38,735 Add a lengthy list of options, a $1,025 freight charge and our test vehicle had a sticker of $49,354.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

AUTO REVIEW: 2019 Subaru Forester

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The vehicle seems to have had just about every creature comfort: stop/start, automatic lock and unlock, eyesight driver-assist technology, torque vectoring, Bluetooth, a navigation system, heated front seats, power driver’s seat, satellite radio, voice controls, it had dual 2.1 USB jacks in the rear, plus one more in the front and an auxiliary jack and 12V socket.

Published

on

By Frank S. Washington, AboutThatCar.com, NNPA Newswire Contributor

DETROIT – Even before my week test driving the 2019 Subaru Forester was up my opinion had been reached. It was very satisfying to the point of being a very impressive midsize crossover that delivered on a number of levels.

Under the hood was a 2.5-liter Boxer engine, meaning horizontally opposed four-cylinder that made 182 horsepower and 176-pound feet of torque at 4,400 rpm.

The Forester had an EPA rating of 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined.

This new engine provided more than enough oomph in day-to-day driving. I really don’t care for CVTs but this one was not bad. Acceleration was good and it was fairly quiet, for a continuously variable transmission.

The first driving characteristic I noticed about the Forester was its handling. It was Go-Kart precise. Just the slightest turn of the wheel and the midsize crossover went in the direction the wheel was turned. Reaction time to driver input was almost instant.

Styling was new for 2019 too. Subaru said it was more rugged. The exterior had shoulder lines that followed around the pillars to emphasize height and strength. Prominent wheel arches emphasized the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system’s functionality. Subaru is one of the few manufactures that make all-wheel-drive standard.

The front, side and rear under guards were also standard on all models, with color finish according to trim line. New LED headlights were standard on all models. The wheelbase was increased to 105.1 in. from 103.9 in., with the gain benefitting rear seat legroom, which is now 39.4-in., a 1.4-in. increase.

I got into the rear seats and found them comfortable. There was plenty of headspace, hip room and I think three people could sit in the back seat in relative comfort. And because the Forester sits deceptively high, the drive tunnel was not that much of an intrusion into the interior space.

What’s more, the moonroof was larger than most I’ve seen.

Subaru’s signature hexagonal grille incorporated active grille shutters, which optimize aerodynamics to help reduce fuel consumption. Wider rear door openings and a steep C-pillar angle make ingress/egress and installing a child seat easier. All Forester models feature lower body side cladding, which helps protect against mud, rocks and other road debris.

My only complaint was that the frame for the C-pillar glass was light gray while the rest of the interior was black. I could see it out of the corner of my eye, and it was distracting. I thought it was a vehicle in my blind spot at first, and then I thought it was somebody in the street and after I discovered what it was it was still disconcerting.

As Subaru said, there was outstanding outward visibility. Strategically designed pillars and generous glass area ensure an excellent all-around view from inside, and all models feature a standard rear vision camera. But they need to dump that light gray frame for the C pillar window.

Anyway, that was my only gripe. And I believe that is a choice of interior color. The cargo space was upped during the redesign to 76.1 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded. The automatic lift gate width was 51.3 inches. This Subaru Limited trim also had roof rails with integrated tie-down hooks.

I thought the interior was really nice. It was soft black leather with gray stitching. It was particularly nice around the front door panels; so supple that it felt like a thick cloth.

The instruments were black with white numerals reversed out. And the vehicle seems to have had just about every creature comfort: stop/start, automatic lock and unlock, eyesight driver-assist technology, torque vectoring, Bluetooth, a navigation system, heated front seats, power driver’s seat, satellite radio, voice controls, it had dual 2.1 USB jacks in the rear, plus one more in the front and an auxiliary jack and 12V socket.

It had its own Wi-Fi hotspot, lane departure alert and assist, blind spot alert, rear view camera with cross-traffic alert, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cloud apps, streaming capability, ride modes, and adaptive cruise control. And there was a pod atop the dash that gave you average mpg; mine was 22.9, then mpg in real time, range, interior and exterior temperature, the lock and the climate control reading.

The 2019 Subaru Forester was a great vehicle with great handling, a very good ride, good gas mileage and good interior space with what they called a panoramic sunroof. The sticker I thought was astoundingly low, $33,465.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

AUTO REVIEW: 2020 Kia Telluride

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The new Telluride comes in four trim lines: LX, S, EX and SX and they all can be equipped with front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Its chassis was comprised of 59.4 percent high strength steel and that no doubt was one of the reasons for its rock-solid road performance.

Published

on

By Frank S. Washington, AboutThatCar.com, NNPA Newswire Contributor

GATEWAY, Colo. – Kia may have hit on the right product at the right time with its all-new 2020 Telluride, a midsize but large three-rowed crossover.

We came here to southwestern Colorado to put the Telluride through its paces. We went down Colorado 141 over the Dolores River which cuts through of course the Dolores River Canyon with its 1,200-foot red granite canyon walls. Look beyond and you can see 12,000-foot mountains all round.

Kudos to Kia for picking this place; they could have found a much easier path. C141 is a narrow two-lane twisting affair. We climbed from our base camp, the Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa which was at 5,000 feet up to Telluride (yep, the vehicle is named after the town) which was at more than 9,000 ft.

But I’m ahead of myself. The Telluride is the first SUV designed by Kia in the U.S. specifically for the U.S. market. It was styled in Irvine, California and will be built at Kia’s assembly plant in West Point, Georgia.

It is indeed the company’s new flagship and they wanted it to be bold and boxy; their words not mine. It is the largest Kia ever built and it can seat seven or eight passengers, depending on whether the second row has captain’s seats or a bench seat.

The Telluride had a long broad hood. The design made the tiger grille wider and taller. Dual headlights were stacked; it had inverted “L” taillights with LED stripes. The windshield was upright and the sides were smooth but bulging and that conveyed strength. And there were elongated nameplates on the edge of the hood and on the lip of the liftgate.

This Kia was the real deal. It had skid plates with twin exhaust tips that let you know it can go off-road. Grab handles were integrated into the center console for such occasions. I passed up the off-road course in favor of pushing back to basecamp.

Under the hood was a 3.8-liter direct injection V6 that made 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque at 5,600 rpm. This engine was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is the only engine available and it gets 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined for front wheel drive. All-wheel-drive gets 19 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined.

This engine is why I first thought they could have picked a better place for the Telluride’s national launch. Any engine will lose horsepower with altitude, especially if is not getting forced oxygen as in a turbocharger of supercharger. A couple of times the Telluride’s engine worked hard as we climbed a particularly steep stretch of road. But to be fair, on a straightaway with enough distance, and there were not that many, the pedal got pushed to the metal and our Telluride got up to 120 mph before we let up. Power test passed!

And while I’m at it, the Telluride’s handling was spot on. I thought steering was a little loose, but the sport utility went where we pointed it without a lot of deviation. What’s more, for a vehicle that weighed more than two-tons, the suspension prevented a lot of sway and yaw.

The 2020 Telluride had an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar. In the rear, it had an independent self-leveling multi-link suspension with stabilizer bar. The ride height was automatically calibrated depending on load.

My point is the Telluride was rock solid on the road. There wasn’t any bodyroll that I remember, the nose didn’t rise up under hard acceleration nor did it dip during hard braking. There was a lot of that as we came up on curves sooner than expected.

Its cabin was wide. There was no center stack. Kia was one of the earliest automakers to emphasize horizontal interior layouts. And it really looked good in the Telluride. Plush leather seats were comfortable and the wood and metal trim which looked great and had some grainy texture wasn’t wood or metal. It was a proprietary process that really worked.

The new Telluride comes in four trim lines: LX, S, EX and SX and they all can be equipped with front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Its chassis was comprised of 59.4 percent high strength steel and that no doubt was one of the reasons for its rock-solid road performance.

There was a choice of four drive modes: smart, eco, sport and comfort which modified the settings for the powertrain, drivetrain and steering. In addition to the four regular drive modes in FWD, Kia said the AWD model owners can opt for snow and AWD lock too. Drive on demand will distribute torque between front and rear wheels depending on driving conditions.

During normal driving in eco and comfort modes the system delivers from 20 to 35 percent of the torque to the rear wheels. In snow, smart and sport the system delivers power evenly to all four wheels. Oh, the Telluride can tow up to 5,000 lbs. too.

Got to report that the navigation system in the first Telluride we tested did not work. These were early production models thus, they were ready for sale. We swapped with an internal who got the system to work by rebooting it. I don’t know what that took but all I can say is that it is not unusual for a computer to need rebooting but it’s not good either. The competition is way too good for even minor glitches; that’s Kia’s challenge with the launch of the Telluride which is currently on sale; don’t get tripped up by the small stuff.

The automaker has stocked the Telluride with a bunch of creature comforts and driver, as well as safety, assists.

Blind spot collision avoidance assist will track lane changes and if it detects a vehicle in the Telluride’s blind spot will apply brakes to the front wheel on the opposite side.

Rear cross traffic collision avoidance will also apply brakes to avoid a collision, lane following assist will keep the Telluride in the center of the lane and safe exit assist, if the system detects an object approaching from the rear, it will override attempts to deactivate the electronic child safety lock until the detected object has passed.

The heads-up display has been made more informative. It will provide turn-by-turn navigation, speed, and smart cruise control and blind spot warnings. But polarized sunglasses will still wash it out.

Driver talk uses a microphone to enhance communications with rear occupants in the second and third row. (Think kids.) Quiet mode can cut audio to the second and third row so audio choices of the front passengers can only be heard in that row. (Think adults.)

The rear occupant alert uses ultrasonic sensors designed to detect child or pet movement in the second or third row after the Tellurides doors have been locked. It can issue audible alerts to the driver.

The list of creature comforts is long. A 10-inch infotainment touch screen, 10-speaker premium audio system, surround sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a half dozen USB charging ports, and a Bluetooth system that allows two phones to be connected for audio streaming are included.

The Telluride had downhill brake control and hill start assist, smart cruise control with stop and go ability, lane departure warning and tire pressure monitoring.

There was UVO, Kia’s control system for remote start and door lock pre-conditions the cabin temperature, seats and steering wheel before you get in the car.

If the driver does leave someone in the back seat, the vehicle will alert the driver through a cluster message, then through vehicle alarm and then it will send a message to the owner’s smart phone.

Kia said the 2020 Telluride is the largest SUV in its class at 197 inches long with a 114.2-inch wheelbase. It can be shod with either 18-inch or 20-inch wheels. The sculpted rear fascia camouflaged the skid plates nicely; there was 87 cu. ft. of cargo space with the second and third row seats folded and a low and wide cargo door.

They’ve thought of little things like the heated and cooled second row seats and the third-row seat back tilt.

Pricing starts at $32,735 for the LX front-wheel-drive and tops out at $44,535 for the SX all-wheel-drive.

Kia has got the right vehicle to muscle its way into the large midsize utility market. And buyers seem to agree.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending