Kia has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts over the past several years, changing from a maker of mostly anonymous cars to the home of boldly styled and well-priced vehicles that get the best warranty in the business (10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain).
(The Sedona minivan has been discontinued for 2013.)
The subcompact Rio sedan and its five-door hatchback version dubbed the Rio5, were redesigned in 2012, getting brand new styling as well as an upgrade of interior materials and a pair of six-speed transmissions. The Rio/Rio5’s four-cylinder engine features start-stop technology, which helps fuel economy.
Next up is the compact Forte sedan/hatchback and its counterpart the Forte Koup. The Forte is designed to tread on the sportier side of the segment, which is apparent from its sharp styling, and offers a few premium options like leather upholstery and a navigation system.
The Optima midsize sedan won Cars.com’s Car of the Year award in 2011 and returns with the same fresh styling and surprising interior quality that pulled it to victory. Tech options include Kia’s UVO hands-free multimedia system, which connects to your smartphone. There is also the Optima Hybrid which brings fuel economy numbers all the way up to 36/40 mpg city/highway.
Clearly the quirkiest member of the Kia lineup is the Soul. With a mix of sedan and wagon DNA, the Soul is uniquely shaped much like the Scion xB and Nissan Cube. The Soul’s great appeal lies in its great value and impressive efficiency.
Kia also offers up a pair of crossover SUVs in the Sportage and Sorento. The Sportage comes with a four-cylinder engine standard and if more power is needed a turbocharged four-cylinder is optional, as is all-wheel drive. For the Sportage has extra insulation in the floor which makes the cabin quieter and it retains its sharp looks that make it out stand out amongst the many compact crossovers on the market.
The Sorento is a step up from the Sportage offering seating for seven-passengers across three-rows. This crossover, unlike the Sportage, does have an available V-6. It also has more interior features including steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a USB input as standard equipment.