Kia is bringing back the hamsters!!! They will appear in a 60-second “Soul Jam” ad that will debut on more than 34,000 movie screens today. It will bring together 30 different musical instruments representing more than 20 cultures around the world, promoting the Kia Soul, or what the maker calls an “urban passenger vehicle.” It begins with Nathaniel Rateliff, front man of Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, trading guitar licks with a banjo-playing hamster. You can see an extended version of the ad on YouTube.com/Kia. This should be fun.
GM has confirmed it will stop making the Buick Verano, the brand’s entry level sedan. Production will end in October after a short output of 2017 models. The Detroit News said sales were off nearly 12 percent through April. GM said it wants to put more investment dollars into development of hot selling SUV’s.
Ford said it has a plug-in hybrid that can go further than any other. The 2017 Fusion Energi can travel 610 miles on a full tank of gas and battery charge, according to EPA estimates. That would mean it could travel from San Diego to San Francisco with 110 miles of range remaining. Changes to the car’s hybrid powertrain software and regenerative braking were cited for the range extension.
Even with the price of premium gas hitting $3 a gallon in many locations, many consumers are not worried about the price of a fill up as they hit the road for the long holiday weekend. If you are, Consumer Reports said the Toyota Prius gets the best mileage of many mass produced car it has ever tested at 52 mpg. That is a single mpg over the 2000 Honda Insight.
Hyundai is adding smartphone integrations to several existing models via a do-it-yourself installation. The software update is compatible with CarPlay and Android auto and is available free through MyHyundi.com. Existing owners can now get the most out of their smartphones, by simply loading new software into their cars’ infotainment systems. Just a few years ago, they would have had to buy a new car to get such an upgrade. Hyundai said.
I will bet a lot of us did not have this expectation, but a new survey concludes that one in three teens expect to receive a car or truck, or help paying for one, as a high school graduation present. That according to a survey conducted by Junior Achievement and Honda Finance. But only 14 percent fully understood the cost of vehicle ownership.
My best wishes for an excellent and safe holiday weekend. But do take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this holiday and remember the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country. We should never forget those who gave their all.
The Auto News column will resume on Tuesday, May 31.