Kia begins manufacturing personal protective equipment at U.S. plant

Kia's plant in Georgia is assembling face shields for front-line workers.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has activated its U.S. manufacturing facility, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), to assemble personal protective equipment. The plant in West Point, Georgia will assemble shields to distribute to front-line workers in the battle against COVID-19 using components produced at Kia facilities in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and California.

The company has a monthly capacity to produce 200,000 units.

"Giving back in meaningful ways is a key component of Kia Motors' 'Give It Everything' strategy in the U.S. Our Accelerate the Good program identifies areas where Kia can make the biggest impact and we are proud to lend our manufacturing capabilities and talents to produce face shields that will protect America's courageous healthcare workers," said Sean Yoon, president and CEO, Kia Motors North America. "Kia is driven by an unstoppable spirit to take on and overcome challenges, and the world-class team members at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia have come together in support of those who are giving it everything on the frontlines of the pandemic."

The face shields are being assembled by paid volunteers from KMMG and materials are being sourced from vendors including 3-Dimensional Services Group, a Michigan-based rapid response manufacturer supporting prototype and low volume production applications.

Kia joins other coronavirus reaction initiatives by Ford, FCA, and GM. Honda has pledged $1 million to food banks and meal programs. Hyundai has spent $4 million to support drive-thru testing centers. Mazda is offering free car care services for health care workers and Subaru is providing 50 million meals via Feeding America.

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Updated compact car

Kia announces updates for 2022 Forte

Kia revised the Forte's styling for 2022.

Kia

While many automakers cut cars to focus on highly profitable trucks and SUVs, Kia has remained dedicated to cars and continues improving them year after year. The Forte was updated for 2022 with new tech, massaged styling, and revised advanced safety features.

The new Forte offers a revised front-end design, new bumpers, updated wheels, and updated headlights. Though the car's overall shape and style are familiar, the detail work around the grille, lower front fascia, and headlights adds a sharp, modern look to the car. The same is true for the car's rear end, as the new bumper, taillights, and trunk lid spoiler all add to the car's appeal but don't drastically differentiate it from its predecessor.

2022 Kia Forte The Forte can be had with a powerful turbocharged engine.Kia

Inside, the new Forte features a standard 4.2-inch color driver information display and an eight-inch touchscreen that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A massive 25-inch wide touchscreen system is standard for the GT and GT-Line trims that includes navigation and over-the-air map updates. The car can be optioned with SynTex synthetic leather upholstery and the available smart key system now includes remote start.

The Forte is still offered with two engine choices for 2022. They include a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 147 horsepower and returns 41 mpg on the highway. A continuously variable transmission is paired with the 2.0-liter engine. The upgraded engine is a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four that produces 201 horsepower through either a seven-speed dual clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.

2022 Kia Forte The Forte comes packed with standard tech and safety features.Kia

A host of advanced driver aids are standard: Forward collision-avoidance assist, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, lane keeping assist, and a driver attention warning system. The Forte is available with highway driving assist, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, safe exit warnings, blind spot collision avoidance assistance, forward collision alerts, pedestrian and cyclist detection, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

2022 Kia Forte Synthetic leather is available in the Forte.Kia

The Monterrey, Mexico-built Forte should begin arriving on dealers' lots soon. Kia offers the car in four trims: FE, LXS, GT-Line, and GT. The mid-level EX trim was dropped for 2022.

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The Corolla Cross hits a sweet spot in terms of size and price.

Toyota

Smart move! Every automaker is trying to grow their lineups. Toyota is no exception, and has now filled the white space between the C-HR subcompact utility vehicle and the compact RAV4 with the 2022 Corolla Cross, an entry-level offering that marries the Corolla sedan to an all-new model with crossover styling and utility. The venerable Corolla isn't simply well-known -- it's the best-selling nameplate of all time and is marketed in 150 countries with over 50 million in sales to date. And, even though the segment that Corolla Cross will join is filled with close to two-dozen offerings, it's attracting more buyers than ever as consumers choose crossovers over sedans.

A Sweet Spot in a Crowded Segment

Toyota's goal was to seek a sweet spot in the value-priced small crossover market, marrying engaging driving features with cargo-carrying functionality, and to endow the 2022 Corolla Cross with a long list of technology, infotainment and safety features. On sale in October, starting at $22,195 for the front-drive base model (an all-wheel drive version adds $1300) and up to $27, 625 for a top-of-the-line AWD (delivery and handling adds $1,215). Grades include L, LE and XLE; all can pull up to 1,500 pounds. This weight will accommodate personal watercraft on a trailer. Fuel economy is estimated to be 32mpg on the FWD and up to 30 on the AWD. Wheel options include 17-inch steel on L and 18-inch alloy on XLE. It will be built at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant, in Huntsville, Alabama on Toyota's high-strength TNGA-C platform.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross The Corolla Cross brings an impressive list of standard features.Toyota

Look to the compact RAV4 and even the midsize Highlander for some of the Corolla Cross' styling cues. This is especially from the back end, where Toyota has installed an integrated spoiler and LED lighting. This new stretched crossover/hatchback has a high belt line and strong arching shoulders above the wheel wells, and starts with a chiseled front grille with LEDs. It's 5 inches shorter than the RAV4 and 3 inches longer than the C-HR. The idea was to attract young, diverse, multicultural buyers who are smart and tech savvy, so designers penned looks meant to catch their eye in a way that is "refined with an urban edge". Hence, our drive to test the new model took place in the hip environs of Austin, TX. I drove both the FWD base model and the top-level AWD and liked each, with the biggest differences found the in distinguishing trim elements outside and, as expected, a more upscale interior on the XLE.

Strong List of Standard Features

There are a number of impressive features on this 5-passenger runabout with 60/40 folding rear seats include standard heating and air conditioning vents for rear passengers. Up-level models and options include SoftTex-trimmed 10-way power seats, a power moonroof, as well as either single- or dual-zone automatic climate control, a power lift gate with height adjustability, and a host of available accessories such as a roof rack with crossbars, an activity mount for carrying sporting goods such as bicycles, a tow hitch and all-weather floormats. Cargo Capacity with the 2nd Row in place is 26.5 cu.ft. for FWD/ 25.2 for the AWD; with the second row folded, it expands to 66.8/65.5 (slightly less for each for models with the moonroof).

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross The Corolla Cross sits between the C-HR and RAV4 in the Toyota lineup.Toyota

Fuel Economy Over Power

Power comes from Toyota's sophisticated Dynamic Force 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that makes 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque and is shifted through a CVT. During my 100-mile-long drive, I found this powerplant has ample horsepower and torque to motivate it around town and on the highway; I found the AWD XLE a bit quieter overall and especially on hard throttle. A physical first gear provides a more punchy and better fuel economy. Also aiding in fuel economy is Toyota's Dynamic Torque Control system that directs up to 50 percent of power to the rear wheels when it's needed – and disengages completely when not. The suspension for AWDs is a fully independent set-up while, while FWDs feature a brand-new torsion beam system in the rear. Impressive is the 8 inches of ground clearance, close to that of the RAV4, that will allow some backcountry and dirt road travel.

The interior will remind consumers of the Corolla sedan and hatch in looks and layout, with quality materials, good visibility and sensibly-placed controls. A 7-inch multimedia touchscreen comes on the L and LE, while XLE features an 8-inch touchscreen. There is a long list of in-car entertainment and connected functionalities, including standard compatibility for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Styling is somewhere between a RAV4 and a Highlander.Toyota

Wireless charging is standard on LE and XLE, and all trims have conveniently-located USB media ports. The LE and XLE grades bring two USB charging ports for rear seat passengers. Also onboard are Audio Plus multimedia with Remote Connect and a nine-speaker JBL sound system as well as Amazon Alexa connectivity. Standard is a three-month SiriusXM Platinum subscription. Of note, XLE owners can get key info at a glance, courtesy of an available 7-inch Multi-Information Display with various vehicle and systems info to choose from.

All grades come standard with nine airbags and both the Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced active safety systems, as well as Toyota's STAR Safety System. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert come standard on LE and XLE, while Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking is standard on XLE. Other top features in the safety bundle include Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, and Traction Control.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross The Alabama-built Corolla Cross goes on sale in October.Toyota

The 2022 Corolla Cross also comes standard with complimentary ToyotaCare that covers normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and two years of Roadside Assistance, regardless of mileage.

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