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This Sunday, the Super Bowl or "Big Game" (for companies not paying the license fee) is taking place, and for football non-fans like myself, the most important part isn't the game - it's the commercials. Of course, they tend to make their way online early these days, and that's the case with the latest offering from the folks at Kia, who've brought a true rock icon into the mix. To celebrate the launch of their long-awaited Kia Stinger GT (I really need to get behind the wheel of one), Aerosmith's Steven Tyler hits the track as the notes of "Dream On" begin to play in reverse as he de-ages in the spirit of the vehicle's tagline: Fueled by Youth. Meanwhile, two-time Formula One and Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi looks on approvingly as Tyler rediscovers his 25-year-old self. Check this out...
It was two years ago this week that I first posted about the Kia GT4 Stinger concept, a bold sports car that made its debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Now, Kia Motors America has delivered on the promise to deliver such a vehicle, rolling into the North American International Auto Show for the world debut of the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger. The legacy of this new vehicle dates back to the debut of Kia's first GT concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, and is now realized with a vehicle that will go on-sale later in 2017 (price TBA)...
While we're still not among their ranks as an owner, there is no other automotive brand on the road that my wife and I tend to like across-the-board more than Kia. There's certainly some specific models that I love from other makers, but when we're talking about consistency from top to bottom, over the past few years, Kia has positioned themselves to have their entire family of vehicles feel like the truly belong together - from the entry-level Rio to the K900 Luxury Sedan. Toward the middle of the pack are the crossovers, and in that "compact SUV" scale lies the 2017 Kia Sportage - recently named a 2017 "Best Buy Award Winner" by my friends at Kelley Blue Book, and a "Rock Father Pick" among them. If you're in the market for a solid crossover that wins on many levels, it's time to give the Sportage a look.
Brand unity is something that the folks at Kia Motors USA have really nailed over the past few years. Whether you're driving an entry-level model, or a fully-loaded luxury vehicle, the experience is distinctly Kia, and there's a comfort level in that feeling that's hard to surpass - no matter if you're in a car, crossover or minivan. When I last found myself behind the wheel of their best-selling nameplate, the Kia Optima, it was the 2014 Hybrid model. While we enjoyed that car, the 2016 Optima has been redesigned, and I recently had the opportunity to do a little roadtripping in Florida at the helm of the SX Turbo Edition - the perfect family ride for rockin' the road.
As of this writing, the 2016 NBA All-Star Game is mere hours away, and among the players taking the court on behalf of the Eastern Conference is Cleveland Cavaliers' powerhouse, LeBron James. Kia Motors USA is an NBA partner, with the Kia Optima deemed the "Official Vehicle of the NBA." The NBA goodness doesn't end there, with Kia sponsoring numerous elements from the Tip-Off to the Rookie Ladder and beyond, and of course you have "King James" (also my nickname prior to "The Rock Father," funny enough) as Kia's Luxury Ambassador, rockin' the road in the K900. Last week, as part of the festivities surrounding the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, my wife and I joined our friends from Kia in a suite at the United Center to see our hometown Chicago Bulls get trounced by the Atlanta Hawks. But there, Kia gave us a pair of jerseys - specifically, the NBA Eastern Conference LeBron James adidas White 2016 All-Star Game Swingman Jersey, the same one sold at the NBA Store for $109.99 each. That got me thinking... that some of you would really like to own these.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of Kia, and over the past few years I've also made some friendships there (my wife and I went to the Chicago Bulls game the other night with some Kia Execs, disclosure and all), but we don't own a Kia just yet. When it comes to the Chicago Auto Show, they've kicked it off the past few years, and this year they pretty much perfected the art of a kick-off press conference - bringing in the young students of the School of Rock Oak Park (ages 14-18) to truly ROCK the auto show. It's stuff like this that makes me love Kia - outside of their cars, of course. On a press conference note, it's hard for some of the other automakers to follow - especially the ones with really bland presentations (up your game, gentlemen - there's several of you). With a medley of tunes that included some from QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, LED ZEPPELIN, THE ROLLING STONES and more, the School of Rock Show Team provided the perfect soundtrack for Kia's Michael Sprague to throw down some Chicago music history (Chess Records was mentioned) before rolling out a trio of hybrids, one of which was the much-anticipated 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). Sprague said it was designed "in the rock and roll spirit of rebellion." I can dig it.