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KIA unleashes the Ceed

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KIA Motors has unveiled its latest models at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. Taking centre stage, the new KIA Ceed and Ceed Sportswagon make their world debuts, alongside the upgraded Optima range, and new Rio GT Line.

The new KIA Ceed and Ceed Sportswagon

The third-generation Ceed and Ceed Sportswagon are designed, developed, engineered and built in Europe. Available later this year as a five-door hatchback and Sportswagon, the new Ceed model family strengthens KIA’s presence in the European C-segment with innovative new technologies, a mature and athletic design, and a more engaging drive.

Since the first-generation KIA cee’d started production in Slovakia in December 2006, more than 1,28 million units have been built. A new naming format – cee’d becomes Ceed – consolidates its reputation as a car for the Community of Europe, with European Design. More than 640,000 units of the second-generation model have been built since 2012. In its third iteration, the new Ceed will account for an even greater proportion of KIA’s European sales – up from 15% in 2017.

The new Ceed is lower and wider than its predecessor, and boasts a striking, contemporary new design. Standard ‘ice cube’ LED daytime running lights echo the appearance of earlier Ceed GT and GT Line models. In profile, the sharp, straight lines visually lengthen the bonnet and give the car a more upright stance. At the rear, new LED daytime running lights give the Ceed greater visibility – and recognition – on the road. Straight lines in the bodywork and a subtle rear boot spoiler add stability to the Ceed’s overall presence.

The Ceed Sportswagon’s tourer shape ensures cargo capacity grows to 600 litres, more than many D-segment tourers. The Ceed is also among the most practical C-segment hatchbacks, offering 395 litres of cargo space.

The Ceed and Ceed Sportswagon will be powered by a wide choice of powertrains to meet diverse buyer needs. European buyers can choose between three petrol engines. KIA’s popular 1.0-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine, producing 88kW; a new 1.4-litre T-GDi power unit, producing 103kW; or a 74kW 1.4-litre MPi (multi-point injection) engine.

The new Ceed range is also available with KIA’s all-new ‘U3’ diesel engine. Designed to go beyond the stricter limits laid down by the latest Euro 6d TEMP emissions standard, the new ‘U3’ 1.6-litre CRDi (common-rail direct injection) uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) active emissions control technology to significantly reduce emissions. Available with a choice of power outputs (85 kW and 100kW), the new 1.6-litre diesel produces 280 Nm of torque.

A Drive Mode Select system enables owners to tailor engine and steering characteristics with Normal or Sport modes. Every engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, while 1.4-litre T-GDi and 1.6-litre CRDi engines are also available with KIA’s seven-speed double-clutch transmission.

The Ceed is available with KIA’s latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) including a new Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system which combats distracted or drowsy driving by monitoring a number of inputs from the vehicle and driver. Other ADAS features include High Beam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Forward Collision Warning with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.

The new Ceed hatchback will go on sale across Europe at the end of Q2 2018, while Sportswagon models will be available during Q4.

Upgraded Optima: updated interior and exterior design and new powertrains

The upgraded Optima makes its world debut at the Geneva International Motor Show, featuring an updated design and a pair of new engines. More KIA Optima models were sold in Europe in 2017 than in any previous year, with sales growing from 9,600 to 16,800 units – aided by the introduction of new Sportswagon, Plug-in Hybrid and GT variants.

The upgraded Optima sedan and Sportswagon offer two new powertrain options. KIA’s all-new ‘U3’ 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine, producing 100kW and 320 Nm of torque, replaces the earlier 1.7-litre CRDi engine. A new 1.6-litre T-GDi engine, producing 132kW, is also available, sitting between the naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre (120kW) engine and the Optima GT’s 2.0-litre T-GDi power unit (180kW). The new engine is paired with KIA’s seven-speed double-clutch transmission.

Exterior design modifications include revised bumper designs, new LED tail-lamps and a revised head- and fog lamp design. The ‘tiger-nose’ grille is now finished in bright chrome to create a more sophisticated, purposeful appearance. The designs of the Optima GT Line and high-performance Optima GT are also updated for greater on-road presence. Upgrades include new LED fog lamps, 18-inch aluminium alloy wheel designs, and subtle gloss black mirror caps, side sills and air intake grille. GT Line models are distinguished by new dual twin exhausts, while the Optima GT is fitted with chrome twin exhaust tips.

The Optima is available with KIA’s latest 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with navigation and KIA Connected Services powered by TomTom®. The system offers Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™.

KIA’s latest ADAS are also available, to avoid or mitigate the effects of collisions. The new Optima comes with same Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system available in the new Ceed, as well as other safety features including: Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA); High Beam Assist (HBA), and full LED headlamps with Dynamic Bending Light.

The upgraded Optima sedan and Sportswagon will be available in Europe from Q3 2018.

New sport-inspired Rio GT Line

KIA is also exhibiting the Rio GT Line for the first time today – the latest KIA model to be available in GT Line specification. Like other GT Line models in the KIA line-up, the Rio GT Line features a stylish exterior design. Upgrades include a gloss-black and chrome ‘tiger-nose’ grille, a new 17-inch alloy wheel design, and ‘ice cube’ LED fog lamps, echoing those of the cee’d GT and pro_cee’d GT. The exterior is finished with twin exhaust tips, LED daytime running lights, chrome window trim, a gloss black roof spoiler and sill highlights.

The Rio GT Line is powered by KIA’s lightweight 1.0-litre T-GDi engine, with either 74kW or 88kW, and a manual transmission. In Q3 2018, the 88kW 1.0-litre T-GDi engine will be available with a seven-speed double-clutch transmission, while 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol engines will also be available in GT Line specification.

The optional large 7.0-inch ‘floating’ touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface) includes navigation, and Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. A rear-view parking camera, heated steering wheel, and heated seats are also available.

The new Rio is the safest B-segment car KIA has ever made, featuring an Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS)-body construction and six airbags fitted as standard (front, front side, and curtain). With a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating when fitted with optional ADAS technology, the Rio offers Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian recognition. Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) will also be available to buyers from Q3 2018. The Rio GT Line is also available with KIA’s new Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system, designed to combat distracted or drowsy drivers.

With one of the most spacious cabins in its class, the Rio also features a split-level boot floor, enabling owners to change its height to fit items under the floor and prevent them rolling around, or to keep them out of sight. Luggage capacity is 325 litres (VDA).

The new Rio GT Line will be on sale across Europe from the end of Q1 2018.

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Why sports cars make us feel good

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Forget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.

The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.

Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior. 

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/AFpt6jziFsU

“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”

Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss. 

For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:

From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features:

  • High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC
  • 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips
  • 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs

Driver state research

Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EUfunded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”

Activity Buzz Moments *
Roller Coaster 3
Driving 2.1
Shopping 1.7
Game of Thrones 1.5
Football Game 1.5
Kissing 0
Salsa Dancing 0
Dining 0

* Average number of high-intensity buzz moments per participant

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Car that sees round corners

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Jaguar Land Rover is leading a £4.7 million (approximately R79 million) project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.

Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations. This project will ensure we deliver the most sophisticated and capable automated driving technology.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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