The all-new Kia Sorento will make its European debut at the 2014 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris on October 2, alongside enhanced versions of Kia’s bestselling B-segment models in Europe, the Rio and Venga. These models will be joined on the stand by the new Kia Optima T-Hybrid concept, the first demonstration of Kia’s new fuel-saving diesel-electric mild hybrid technology.

 


Building on the success of the outgoing model with a unique blend of style, practicality and technology, the all-new Kia Sorento SUV introduces a higher level of sophistication with a distinctive new design, premium interior and even greater practicality. The new Sorento takes a number of styling cues from the 2013 Kia Cross GT concept, such as the more upright ‘tiger-nose’ grille, wrap-around headlamps and a more swept-back profile.

 


Underneath the new Sorento’s sleeker profile and deeply sculpted surfaces, the third-generation of the car offers occupants a more luxurious cabin with significantly higher quality materials. Depending on market, the Sorento will offer a range of advanced on-board technologies to improve convenience, such as an Around-View Monitor, with four cameras helping the driver to manoeuvre when parking, and a Smart Power Tailgate.

 


Longer, wider and lower than the second-generation Sorento, and with an extended wheelbase, the new model maximises cabin space and practicality. Cargo space is increased to 605 litres (VDA) and both five- and seven-seat variants are available.

 


The new Sorento will benefit from more accomplished ride and handling and a higher level of refinement and safety thanks to a stronger bodyshell structure, enhancements to the suspension and steering, improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) characteristics, and the longer wheelbase.

 

The new Sorento goes into production later this year and will be on sale across Europe in the first half of 2015.

 


As well as a new version of Kia’s largest vehicle, the 2014 Paris Motor Show also marks the next chapter for the brand’s global bestseller, the enhanced Kia Rio. Around the world, Kia sold 471,000 Rio cars in 2013, and the B-segment car sits among the brand’s top-three sellers in Europe with 56,821 units sold last year.

 


The 2015 Kia Rio receives a slight visual makeover, with a fresh exterior and interior look, while retaining the core attributes that have proven so popular with owners.

 


The enhanced Rio receives a newly-designed front bumper and fog lights, and an updated version of the brand’s hallmark ‘tiger-nose’ grille. Three new alloy wheel designs, available in 15-, 16- and 17-inch diameters, refresh the Rio’s profile and a new rear bumper completes the exterior makeover. Two new paint finishes, Urban Blue and Digital Yellow, will also be added to the colour line-up.

 


The Rio’s cabin is brightened by the addition of new chrome accents and a new centre-stack audio system. New optional features for the 2015 Kia Rio will include a new DAB digital radio and a new generation of Kia’s AVN (audio-video navigation) system with a 7.0-inch display screen, improved processing speed and faster route calculation (availability of system depends on individual markets).

 

For the Australian market, the 1.4-litre engine will continue to be offered with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic in the S and new S Premium grades while the 1.6-litre engine in the Si, SLi and Sport models will come standard with the six-speed automatic.

 


Five years after its launch, Kia will reveal an enhanced Kia Venga in Paris. The brand’s popular compact MPV is designed, engineered and manufactured in Europe for European consumers, and has proven to be a strong seller for Kia, recording sales of more than 150,000 units since 2009, with 29,000 units sold to European buyers in 2013.

 


The enhanced Venga continues to offer the practicality, versatility and reliability expected by European motorists, but now features a new-look front and rear, a more sophisticated cabin, new alloy wheels and an expanded range of options.

 


Kia’s European design team, based in Frankfurt, has given the Venga a larger ‘tiger-nose grille’ with a separate, repositioned Kia badge, and a restyled lower grille with combined fog lights and LED daytime running lights. At the rear, horizontal chrome trim joins the new rear light clusters, which also feature LED bulbs. New designs of the larger (16- and 17-inch) alloy wheels are also available.

 


Inside, the upgraded Venga is fitted with darker metal trim with bright accents to raise the quality of the cabin, a new centre-stack and audio system, plus the option of a heated steering wheel for colder mornings and Kia’s new-generation AVN system with 7.0-inch display screen.

 


The upgraded Venga will continue to be offered with a choice of up to seven 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre gasoline and diesel engines, generating between 57kW and 94kW, driving the front wheels via five- or six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.

 


Manufactured exclusively at Kia’s Žilina plant in Slovakia, the upgraded Venga is expected to go on sale across Europe early in 2015.

 


Exhibited earlier in the year at the Geneva Motor Show, Kia will display the first practical application of its innovative new mild hybrid powertrain, developed by the brand’s European R&D centre for use in future Kia models. Created as a one-off show car, the Kia Optima T-Hybrid (turbo hybrid) is the first application and demonstration of Kia’s new mild hybrid powertrain.

 


The T-Hybrid concept is powered by the model’s existing 1.7-litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine, paired with a small electric motor, powered by a 48V lead-carbon battery pack. The new powertrain enables the Optima T-Hybrid show car to be driven in electric-only mode at low speeds and when cruising, with deceleration serving to recharge the battery pack.

 


Lead-carbon batteries were chosen for Kia’s mild hybrid powertrain as, unlike lithium-ion batteries, they require no active cooling and are easier to recycle at the end of the unit’s lifecycle.

 


The vehicle features a zero-emissions stop-start system, and a new belt-driven starter generator replaces the conventional alternator, meaning the engine can restart with almost no noise or vibration. Installing the powertrain in the Optima sedan has enabled engineers to fit a smaller vehicle battery and starter motor, enhancing weight distribution and handling.

 


The system also allows the installation of an innovative electric supercharger for the CRDi engine, in addition to the conventional turbocharger, which helps to boost torque and engine response at low engine speeds.

 


The new T-Hybrid powertrain will offer Kia customers greater performance and lower running costs, yet still ensure that any Kia model fitted with this technology remains affordable as an outright purchase.

 


Still under development, no specific performance or fuel economy figures are confirmed for the new powertrain or its application in the Optima T-Hybrid show car. However, Kia’s engineers are targeting a significant reduction in CO2 tailpipe emissions and a power increase of between 15 to 20 percent for any model which could be equipped with the new powertrain. Currently, the Optima’s 100kW7 1.7-litre diesel engine produces CO2 emissions of 128 g/km (when fitted with ISG stop-start and a manual transmission).

 


No plans have been confirmed yet for mass production of the Kia Optima T-Hybrid show car. The T-Hybrid powertrain remains under consideration for new Kia models in the future.