Which Kia Rio are we getting?

The Korean invasion continues. Now that the Shanghai and New York Auto Shows have opened, we see two different Kia subcompact sedans. The K2 in China and the Rio in the US. So which one will the PH get?

The US Spec Kia Rio is the sedan version of the Rio hatch that was launched in Geneva. It features pedestal mounted side mirrors and uniquely shaped headlamps. It is powered by a 1.6L GDI with class leading 135hp mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. Dimensions are: Length: 4366 mm (sedan) or 4046 mm (hatch) ; Width: 1720 mm; Height: 1455 mm; Wheelbase: 2570 mm

Kia Rio (US Spec)

The Chinese K2 has the mini-Optima look going for it. Dimensions are more or less similar to its US counterpart with an overall length of 4370 mm, 1700 mm width and 1460 mm height. It also has a 2570 mm long wheelbase and a luggage capacity of 500 liters. When the K2 goes on sale in China, it will be available with six different trim levels, two engines (1.4L and 1.6L) and the choice of manual or automatic transmissions. The entry-level 1.4L four-cylinder engine produces 107hp, while more potent 1.6L unit packs 123hp.

Kia K2 (China)

Which model do you think we should get? I kinda favor the K2 but if you will base it on current trends (i.e. new Hyundai Accent), our new Kia Rio will probably have the US Spec look with the K2’s powertrain. Lets just wait for its release in South Korea as we almost always get the same model as theirs.


Nissan needs the 2012 March/Micra & Tiida/Versa to remain significant

For Nissan to avoid disappearing into the annals of automotive insignificance in the Philippines, it needs to bring in a fairly attractive product that will entice buyers to at least drop by their showrooms. The top 3 segments in the PH private car market right now are the subcompact, compact and compact SUV categories. Among these 3 segments, Nissan’s only viable competitor is the compact SUV X-trail. The X-trail is great but its fairly old design/redesign somehow hasn’t rekindled the acceptance it once brought to the PH market. Nissan does not have anything in the subcompact market. As for the compact segment, they have 2 model Sentras which are forgettable. The 200 would have been ok if only they were not under spec’d and overpriced, while the fleet car N16 has been here since 2004. The MPV-ish Grand Livina seems to be ok as I see quite a number on the streets but still isn’t enough. Only the Navara seems to be doing well but really, how many pick ups can you sell here? The Murano meanwhile is way above the paygrade of 98% of the country.

It does not take a rocket scientist to deduce that Nissan needs a product that would at least pique peoples interests once again. With gas prices steadily rising, the most obvious thing to do is to bring in fuel efficient mass market cars. It is with this belief that I fervently hope Nissan would introduce these cars here.

The Subcompact Nissan March/Micra – Being made in Thailand, its chances of being brought here are good. This is the hatchback while its sedan version will be called Sunny.

2012 Nissan Sunny

2012 Nissan March

The Compact Nissan Tiida/Versa – Its in my previous article which lists the top subcompacts that should be brought here. But closer inspection would reveal that the new Tiida/Versa is actually a compact car. Internet reports say it has a wheelbase of 2,700mm which is longer than the current Civic. We’ll soon find out as it will be launched later this month in Shanghai and New York. Here are some of the latest spyshots where the car is caught in a commercial shoot.

2012 Nissan Tiida

More pictures here

With these 2 models, Nissan has a real shot at regaining the popularity it once had back in the 90’s… only if they’ll bring them here.

The Ford Fiesta should have won the 2010-2011 PCOTY

Congratulations to the Chevrolet Cruze for winning the 2010 -2011 Philippine Car of the Year but I believe the Ford Fiesta should have won. Dont get me wrong, the Cruze is a great car, but in its class, it offers nothing new. Other than its size, I don’t think the Cruze has anything that its competition doesn’t have. Whereas the Fiesta introduces several technology that can only be found in upper segment cars like the 6-speed dual clutch transmission and Bluetooth connectivity. Add to that its class leading NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness), its no wonder why the car has been widely accepted here and abroad.

I’m not familiar with the criteria for choosing the winner but I believe the above factors should be considered, as well as market acceptance. In these categories, the Fiesta beats the Cruze by a mile.

Men like looks, women practicality in cars – study

DETROIT (Reuters) – Men prefer their cars beefy or fast, while women go for lower price tags and higher miles per gallon, according to a survey released on Thursday.

TrueCar.com, which studied data from 8 million purchases in the United States last year, found BMW AG’s Mini had the highest percentage of female buyers at 48 percent, while 93 percent of buyers for Fiat SpA’s Ferrari were men.
“The study shows that women car buyers are more cost-conscious and purchased fuel-efficient vehicles while male buyers were completely the opposite, purchasing vehicles that were either big and brawny, like a large truck, or chose a high-priced, high-performance vehicle,” TrueCar analyst Jesse Toprak said in a statement.

Following Mini with the women were Kia Motors Corp (47 percent) and Honda Motors Co Ltd (46 percent) branded vehicles, according to the study. Last year, General Motors Co’s Saturn and Kia tied at 45.2 percent, followed by Mini at 45 percent. There were 15 brands with more than 40 percent female buyers, TrueCar said.

Maserati (84 percent), Porsche (80 percent) and General Motors’ GMC (74 percent) followed Ferrari for the highest percentage of male buyers, according to the study. The top-selling model for women, with a minimum of 1,000 retail sales, was Volkswagen AG’s New Beetle at 61 percent, while for men it was the Porsche 911 at 88 percent, TrueCar said.

Does this hold true with Filipino drivers?

Source: Manila Bulletin

2012 Kia Rio sedan – Taxi no more

Just a month ago, the world saw the debut of the Kia Rio hatch at the Geneva Motor Show and most people agree that its a stunner. Now that the New York Autoshow is approaching, spyshots of Kia’s b-segment sedan have started to crop up. It is confirmed to be launched at the Big Apple event.

As expected, the next generation Kia Rio sedan looks quite different from its hatch version. It looks like a mini Optima, elegant with sharp corners, whereas the hatch’s design is curvy and radical. Engine specs for the sedan, which will surely reach our shores will most probably be similar to the recently released Hyundai Accent (1.4L & 1.6L). Unless Columbian Autocar Corp., Kia’s local distributor, totally bungles it, the pricing should be similar to its Hyundai cousin.

Given the vast improvement in design and performance by the Koreans, which currently has been churning out gorgeous cars, its not far fetched that the Rio will no longer be relegated to serving taxi fleets. Whereas 5 years ago, most people will not even consider buying a Hyundai or Kia, now they are one of the most desirable cars (for regular people at least). Watch out Honda and Toyota, the Koreans are coming -and this is no April Fool.