Kia continues to expand their North American operations. What started as a place to get low end economy vehicles has continued to branch out. Their vehicle lineup for 2019 is a good variety of where they have come from, and where Kia is going in the future.
The 2019 lineup shows off some of the ambition that Kia has to break into markets that they perhaps haven’t been part of in the past. The luxury market and the sporty market are ones where Kia hasn’t really explored in the past with much success. All statistics are for the 2019 model year, unless not available, in which case 2018 was used.
Specifications: $33,190+ - 20-28 mpg - 290 hp
Review: Kia continues to work to provide refined automobiles. The Cadenza is a fantastic example of this. While not technically a luxury car, it certainly comes close. The interior feels open and comfortable. All of the materials feel like they should be in a more expensive car. There’s only one engine with an automatic transmission, so it’s not a vehicle for the driving enthusiast, but it’s perfect for people who want a little taste of luxury without emptying their piggy bank.
Specifications: $18,585+ - 31-41 mpg - 147 hp
Review: The Forte is styled to look like a more aggressive sedan than it is. However, for an economy car, it’s no slouch. The Forte follows a similar idea to the Cadenza is that it appeals to comfort. Everything about it works smoothly and is fairly refined. It even features a touchscreen infotainment system standard. The fuel efficiency is excellent and makes this a frugal and sensible option.
Specifications: $51,850+ - 15-22 mpg - 420 hp
Review: Kia’s entry into the luxury sedan market shows that they believe they can compete with the behemoths in Germany. When it comes to comfort, they might be right. The cabin is refined, fully appointed with tech gadgets and comfortable. While power from the base 311 hp V6 (or the 420 hp optional V8) is good, the steering itself isn’t fantastic. The suspension is quite soft, making this a highway cruiser and not a luxury vehicle to take through some tight corners like the German competition.
Specifications: $24,280+ - 46-51 mpg - 139 hp
Review: Another comfortable option from Kia, the Niro is designed with fuel efficiency in the forefront. Unlike almost every car in existence, the Niro actually gets better mileage during stop and start city driving due to the way the hybrid engine works. It’s no slouch on the highway though either. The Niro also has all the safety tech with blind spot warnings, adaptive cruise and lane departure warnings.
Specifications: $23,495+ - 28-37 mpg - 123 hp
Review: Just like many of the cars on this list, the Optima makes the driver feel like they are perhaps in a more expensive car as soon as they sit down. The interior is beautifully appointed and tastefully designed. While the standard Optima can get up to a very respectable 37 mpg, there’s also a plug in hybrid version which can get up to 103 MPGe combined together. Like other Kia models, modern safety features like automated emergency braking is available.
Specifications: $14,795+ - 28-37 mpg - 130 hp
Review: The Rio is Kia’s entry level offering and like many of these vehicles is available as both a sedan and a hatchback. Like many entry level vehicles, the base models are sparse. The Rio doesn’t even have power windows or cruise control. However, the EX trim is the top of the line Rio and features all of the potential options people have come to expect from a new car, including otherwise optional automated safety features. .
Specifications: $27,990+ - 18-24 mpg - 276 hp
Review: The Sedona is a perfect minivan for the driver perhaps rebelling a little against owning a minivan. The styling is modern and sleep for a minivan. The 276 horsepower V6 gives the Sedona a little “giddy up” when the mood strikes. The suspension is smooth, but fairly responsive as well. It certainly does the work of ferrying children and supplies, but it pops in a little bit of fun.
Specifications: $26,890+ - 21-25 mpg - 290 hp
Review: The Sorento definitely qualifies as a family hauler. While the optional 290 horsepower V6 has some good power, the 185 horsepower four cylinder base option is a bit weak. New for 2019 is a diesel option. Seemingly, like all Kias, the cabin is classy and looks like it should be coming from a higher price point.
Specifications: $17,095+ - 26-31 mpg - 201 hp
Review: The Kia Soul is one of the gems of the automotive world. For a car of this price, the value is incredible. The interior is very roomy and well designed. Seats are comfortable and can easily reach the touchscreen infotainment system. The standard options like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and automated safety features are all available. The only downside to the Soul is the quirky box styling. While it’s good for space, it’s not appealing to many people. Many love it, many hate it. Not many are neutral about the Soul. The Soul also has the EV electric model. The Soul EV is more expensive, starting over $33,000, but it's very well equipped with options.
Specifications: $24,745+ - 21-25 mpg - 240 hp
Review: The interior of the sportage is detail oriented and well designed. Optional touchscreen infotainment with all the trimmings is available. The base engine is an inline 4 cylinder offering 181 hp. The optional turbo 4 is certainly more fun. The downsides to the Sportage are reasonably weak fuel economy for a vehicle in the small crossover bracket and an odd look to the front grille and headlights.
Specifications: $30,390+ - 22-29 mpg - 365 hp
Review: Almost every car in Kia’s lineup works to exude a level of comfort and craftsmanship inside greater than the price point. The exception to this is the Stinger. The Stinger took that attitude of providing value, and put it into the engine and handling. This car is unbelievably fun. Even the base 255 horsepower four cylinder engine provides some serious power to this sports sedan. The turbo V6 with 365 horsepower will be turning people’s knuckles white from excitement. Rear wheel drive is standard for the enthusiast, but all wheel drive is optionally available.
Specifications: Price TBD - TBD mpg - TBD hp
Review: Kia is offering up a bold new offering to the SUV marketplace. The Telluride features an exciting style and design. It’s also going to be roomier than the three row Sorento and should have more room inside. Kia hasn’t spread all of the specs on the Telluride, but it’s an exciting offering for 2019.
New vs Used
When it comes to the difference between new and used Kias, there can sometimes be quite the gap. The newer vehicles show a huge amount of refinement that wasn’t available a decade ago. While technically sound, the closer to new a Kia is, the more likely it is to show off all of the work that’s gone into improving this brand.