When Kia introduced the updated 2014 Sportage back in September, one of the biggest things that stood out to us was that the base model was dropped. Not only did this mean the Sportage would no longer be offered with a manual gearbox, but we also expected a price increase to follow. We were right.
The third-generation Sportage has been around for a few years now, but Kia is making some minor changes to its compact crossover for 2014. As expected with a small, mid-cycle refresh, there isn't anything too major to report here, but the important news for the 2014 Sportage involves what's behind that modestly updated fascia.
In what is likely the largest recall campaign for Hyundai and Kia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall of more than 1.6 million models due to a faulty brake switch. This is in addition to almost 700,000 Hyundai and Kia models recalled for the same problem back in 2009.
The spectacular partnering of Kia and DC Entertainment (the company we grew up loving as DC Comics) continues here at the New York Auto Show, with this Wonder Woman-inspired 2013 Kia Sportage. Ardent Autoblog readers will undoubtedly remember the fruits of earlier Kia/DC efforts: Batman Optima, Flash Forte Koup, Green Lantern Soul, Cyborg Forte, Aquaman Rio and Superman Optima Hybrid. (We're still trying to figure out who Cyborg is, too.)
Kia has taken home the first ever Kelley Blue Book award for Total Cost of Ownership among consumer brands. As you might expect, the award goes to brands and vehicles with the lowest projected ownership costs. KBB examines depreciation, fuel costs, fees associated with finance and insurance, maintenance costs and state fees. Both the Optima sedan and Sportage CUV helped Kia cinch the win this award's inaugural year.
The International Car and Truck of the Year award is determined by 12 judges and handed out at the Detroit Auto Show. Established in 1996, the award is given to "the most emotionally compelling international car and truck for the new model year." The latest recipients of the award are the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2011 Kia Sportage.
In spite of a ridiculous 247WallStreet.com article that simply will not die, Kia appears to be doing anything but going out of business. Hyundai's "weakest brand," as it was called, just posted a 66 percent increase in profit for Q3. Kia's home market sales, in South Korea, rose by 25 percent, while international sales were only a shade off, increasing by 24 percent – in the U.S. specifically, sales were up eight percent.
Nissan has long been the number three Asian automaker in the U.S., lagging behind both Honda and Toyota on the sales charts. But the Japanese automaker has been on a bit of a roll of late, with 10 straight months of sales gains and an aggressive product onslaught planned for the next 24 months. Nissan would love to unseat Honda to finally sneak up to the number two slot in the States, but a funny thing's happening: Hyundai is doing its best to push Nissan down to number four.