Autoblog long-term garage update, Fisker, Mini possibly dropping models, Detroit Electric, BMW X4
Episode #328 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Zach Bowman and Steven Ewing talk about the Autoblog Long-Term Garage, Fisker's troubles, Mini possibly shrinking its future product line, the reveal of the Detroit Electric SP:01, and the reveal of the BMW X4. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Our Q&A module went AWOL for the podcast, so we threw in some juicy tidbits about Dan buying a car and teased Zach's progress on Project Ugly Horse. Thanks for listening!
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In more than 620,000 Kia models and 1 million Hyundai products for the 2007 through 2011 model years, the brake switch could malfunction causing the brake lights to not illuminate, which could lead to accident. Other possible issues with a faulty switch include the cruise control not cancelling with the brake pedal, the push-button starter not working properly and the shift interlock not disengaging causing the transmission to be stuck in Park. To fix the problem, the brake lights switch will be replaced.
Due to the large number of units being recalled, both automakers are issuing a notice by next month with parts not expected to be ready until June. The full list of affected vehicles and the NHTSA press releases are posted below.
Kia is showing off a slew of vehicles here in New York, including the ever-so-slightly refreshed 2014 Optima sedan you see here. The brunt of the changes surround the new front fascia, with repositioned LED lighting above the headlamp units and some new quad-LED fogs rounding of a touched-up front bumper. At the rear, Kia has reworked the taillamps, and of course, LEDs are found there, as well.
Other changes to the Optima for 2014 include the additions of two new displays inside the cabin - a 4.3-inch TFT display in the gauge cluster and a larger, eight-inch high-resolution screen that houses the navigation and infotainment data. There are also new seats inside the Optima, which are hopefully more comfortable and offer better bolstering than the decidedly flat chairs found in the current car, plus Kia has added available new safety features like blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.
The powertrain offerings have not changed for 2014 - base cars still get a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine while the SX models get the 2.0-liter turbo. There is, however, a new Drive Mode Select system specifically for the SX, which adjusts transmission shift points and steering weight for a more engaging dynamic, or so we're told. (The Optima Hybrid model did receive upgrades to its battery and electric motor just recently, but those changes technically hit during the 2013 model year - it is not immediately clear if the gas-electric model will receive the updates shown here).
We'll have plenty more images of the refreshed Optima in short order, so stay tuned. In the meantime, have a look below for Kia's press blast.
After a slight delay, we now bring you your regularly scheduled refresh of the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid. As with the Hybrid Sonata Hybrid update, the reworked Optima gas-electric gets more power - a 40 pound-feet increase in torque, up to 235 lb-ft - from a bigger 47-horsepower electric traction motor and a more powerful 47-kW lithium-polymer battery. The price also gets bigger, but only a little bit. The new MSRP starts at $25,900, up $100 from the 2012 Optima Hybrid. That's for the base LX model, the fully loaded EX trim starts at $31,950 (fees and delivery extra).
Given that this is a hybrid, fuel economy is key, and the 2013 model bumps those all-important EPA numbers up a smidge, too. The 2013 Optima Hybrid LX is expected to get 36/40/38 city/highway/combined miles per gallon. The 2013 EX does a little worse, at 35/39/37. For comparison's sake, the 2012 model (there was only one trim level) is rated at 34/39/36, the same as the 2011, when Kia introduced the Optima Hybrid. These numbers are the updated, lower figures after Kia admitted earlier estimates were too high, so the new version is better in almost every category. Add in more trunk space and a new-for-2013 navigation system with rearview camera in the EX model, and you've got yourself a bunch of small but welcome updates.
America's most sort of exciting mid-sizer — the Kia Optima SX — just got better! Ok, not really better. Or faster. And there's no manual transmission. But it is more expensive in new SX Limited trim, almost reaching the $35,000 mark. What do you have to be high on to pay that for a mid-size sedan? Oh… right. More »