The Kia Seltos is the newcomer to Kia’s lineup. It’s been in production since 2019, but 2021 marks the first year that it will be available on U.S. soil. It has just recently made it into dealerships as Kia begins to roll out its 2021 crop of vehicles, and it’s poised to make quite the disruption in the subcompact crossover market. Of course, let’s be clear, this still isn’t Kia’s smallest model – it’s the model designed to sit between the Soul and the Sportage. Highlights of the Seltos include better-than-expected cargo room, a Bose audio system, and the range-topping engine that’s good for 175 horsepower. What might be even more impressive, though, is the Seltos starting point of around $22,000.
2021 Kia Seltos - Driven
The subcompact crossover class has so much potential. Best-selling “compact” models like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Chevrolet Equinox have gotten fantastically spacious, refined — and expensive. A modern CR-V or RAV4 is just as big, fancy, and costly as midsize models used to be. For lots of people, they’re still a great deal: for as little as $25,000, you get ample space for four or even five adults and their stuff, all the latest advanced safety features, a fully featured touchscreen infotainment system, and great gas mileage. But lots of people don’t need or even want something this big, or at least aren’t eager to pay for it. So most automakers now offer a subcompact model that’s smaller and less expensive than their compact.
What’s puzzling, though, is how flawed most of these subcompact crossovers have proven to be. Many of them are polarizing styling statements, sometimes with looks that compromise their utility even more than their scaled-down dimensions do. A surprising number of them offer no all-wheel-drive. Some suffer from execution flaws like underpowered yet inefficient engines, compromised interior layouts, or clumsy driving dynamics. Each model that gets a lot right has also had at least one serious flaw — whether it’s the fun-to-drive but cramped Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-3 and CX-30; the spacious but slow, noisy Honda HR-V; the pleasant but overpriced Nissan Rogue Sport; the off-road-ready, on-road-jerky Jeep Renegade and Subaru Crosstrek; or a host of other would-be contenders. That’s to say nothing of the ones that, well, don’t get a lot right. Why, oh why, couldn’t someone just take everything that people love about a compact crossover and simply make it a little smaller and less expensive?
At long last, that call has been answered. The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos is a mechanical cousin to the Hyundai Kona, but it’s taller and longer. And that’s just what was needed to address the Kona’s lower, more car-like seating position and its tight rear seating. This makes the Seltos the first truly well-rounded subcompact crossover, delivering all-around competence with no disastrous downsides. It’s handsome, functional, fun to drive, fuel-efficient, and affordable. While no car is perfect — certain buyers will gravitate toward the specific advantages of some Seltos competitors — this is the only subcompact crossover that has something for just about everyone.
2020 Kia XCeed Crossover
For those who want the Ceed hatchback, but wrapped in a higher-riding, crossover-like package and with a hint of extra sportiness to its design, then the Kia XCeed is what you’re looking for. Its underpinnings are pretty much identical to those of the regular Ceed, but for some buyers, the fact that you sit higher off the ground in combination with the more rakish design will make it an irresistible proposition.
Kia markets it as “a sporty alternative to traditional SUVs” and while it’s certainly sportier than typical, tall SUVs, it’s not actually a sporty car. I will grant Kia this, though - this is the best looking member of the current Ceed family, which to my eyes is even more handsome than the Proceed wagon, thanks to its unique fascias and that very well executed fastback-style hatch.
And if at first glance you’re thinking “this looks quite different to all other Ceed models,” you are actually right. The only body panels the XCeed shares with the rest of the Ceed lineup are the front door panels - everything else is bespoke and really quite distinctive. The automaker has also tried to spruce up the interior, although here it only changed a few bits of trim to match the car’s more lively exterior - the dashboard, controls, seats and, well, pretty much everything is identical to what you see in the Ceed hatch.
2020 Kia Forte GT
The GT version of the Forte was to arrive soon, but we expected it to make its debut at the Detroit Motor Show early next year. The South Korean automaker caught us by surprise by releasing the updated Forte GT for the 202 model year. It carries the good looks but adds more grunt and pace to the standard Forte.
2019 Kia Niro EV
The Kia Niro EV is the all-electric version of the Niro subcompact crossover that the Korean automaker launched for the 2017 model year. Unveiled in Autumn 2018 as the e-Niro for the European market, the Niro EV is the U.S.-spec model and broke cover at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show in late November. Virtually identical to its European sibling, the Niro EV and e-Niro share the same features and specification, save for the less powerful base model. Kia chose to bring only the more powerful version to the U.S., where it will compete against its platform sibling, the Hyundai Kona Electric (or EV on this side of the pond). The Niro EV is Kia’s first all-electric crossover and among the first battery-powered SUVs for the non-premium market.
2020 Kia Soul
It ain’t easy standing out in the overly-saturated subcompact crossover segment, but the Kia Soul does exactly that with its mix of unique and attractive styling, equipment, and overall value. Now the Soul enters its third generation for the 2020 model year with a debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, and its bringing a fresh take on the boxy goodness of the outgoing model, plus loads of gear, fun features, and a stout turbo engine option.
2020 Kia Soul EV
Ever since the Kia Soul first broke into the auto scene in 2009, it has carved its own path unique path in the auto industry. Almost ten years later, the Soul is entering its third-generation, and it includes an improved EV model as well. The 2020 Kia Soul EV has arrived, and it’s a far departure from what we know of the Soul’s all-electric model. It has a fresh new look and, more importantly, a bigger battery pack to go with a more potent electric motor. You think that the 2020 Soul EV is the still the same electric crossover from year’s past? You’d be wrong. The 2020 Kia Soul EV will launch sometime in mid-2019 but pricing figures have yet to be announced.
2019 Kia Ceed GT
This is the new Kia Ceed GT - something called a warm hatch and is destined to reach Europe in an effort to upscale the entire Ceed family there. It will do so along with the new Proceed Shooting Brake. None of these cars will ever be available in the U.S., but they do show rather impressive effort focused on Kia’s reimagination of its brand. Kia isn’t a super-cheap car producer anymore. It has a coupe-like sedan with 373 horsepower, a grille called Tiger Nose, and now the Ceed GT that is powered by a 1.6-liter, turbocharged engine that develops 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Yup, the very same engine you can get here in the Veloster. Actually, imagine that I am whispering to you now - the Ceed GT is really, really similar to the Veloster Turbo R-Spec. Only, it has a normal number of doors.
2018 Kia Ceed
After six years on the market, the second-generation Kia Cee’d is getting ready to retire at the end of the year. Replacing it is the third-generation model, a more modern hatchback updated to the company’s new design language and fitted with Kia’s latest technology. On top of that, the Cee’d name was replaced with Ceed. The hatchback makes its global debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March.
Also designed, developed, engineered, and built in Europe, the new Ceed aims to account for an even greater proportion of Kia’s European sales. Specifically, the Korean brand is hoping to sell more than 700,000 units and more than 16 percent of its European sales. Kia didn’t say why the Cee’d badge was replaced with Ceed, but it points out that it consolidates its reputation as "a car for the Community of Europe, with European Design." Well, I guess they finally realized that car names and badges need to be simple as possible, so I happy to see the apostrophe go.
As until now, the Kia Ceed will go against tough competition in Europe. Although both the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus are fairly old, they’re still highly popular and in line to get redesigned versions soon. Then there’s the Hyundai i30, a solid proposition in this niche. Let’s see what the new Ceed has to offer.
Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Ceed.
2018 Kia Rio GT-Line
They say great things come in small packages. In Kia’s case, that may well be true in the form of the Rio GT-Line, a "punchier" version of the company’s best-selling B-segment compact hatchback. According to Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, the new Rio GT-Line offers a “range of comfort and safety features, superb versatility, and confident, sporty styling.” We normally take comments like this with a grain of salt due to their self-serving nature, but we’re making an exception this time because the Rio GT-Line does have all those qualities, and then some.
2019 Kia Forte
Introduced in 2008 as a brand-new nameplate, the Forte has already made a name for itself in the affordable compact car market. And while it might not be as popular as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, the Forte was Kia’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in recent years and one of only 15 cars to earn the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018. Not bad for an automobile that had nothing to brag about a decade ago. Almost six years old as of early 2018, the second-generation Forte is living its final months on the market, with a redesigned model introduced for the 2019 model year at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.
Redesigned from the ground up, the third-generation Forte follows in the footsteps of larger Kia models. Not only sportier on the outside, the new Forte comes with an upscale interior that moves it closer to the premium market. In addition to that, it’s the first Kia to borrow styling cues from the hot Stinger sedan. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been expecting Kia to add some "Sting" to its lineup ever since the four-door debuted in 2017. The new Forte arrives just in time for the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta, yet another affordable compact that wants to play in the premium league. But the Forte has other things to worry about too, like the popular Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. How does it stack against them? Let’s find out in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Forte Sedan.
2018 Kia Niro EV Concept
Launched for the 2017 model year, the Kia Niro is a subcompact crossover positioned below the popular Sportage. Previewed by a concept vehicle introduced in 2013, the Niro is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, and it’s available with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and electric motor combo, in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. A gasoline-only version isn’t on a drawing table yet, but a fully electric model is definitely underway. Already spotted testing on public roads in 2017, the Niro EV broke cover at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in concept form.
Heavily based on the production model, the electric concept is more than just a Niro with an electric motor and a battery. Kia also meddled with the exterior design and created a new lighting system for the show car. Inside the cabin, it features an updated "human-machine interface" and an array of new safety features. Surprisingly enough, Kia redesigned the Niro’s interior for the all-electric model. Alongside the Niro EV, Kia also unveiled plans to launch 16 new electrified vehicles by 2025. The range includes five hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five all-electric models, and a hydrogen-powered vehicle. The latter is planned to arrive in 2020 and could be based on the Hyundai Nexo, also unveiled at the 2018 CES.
The production version of the Niro EV is likely to debut by the end of 2018.
Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Niro EV concept.
2018 Kia Stinger
When Korean manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia came to the U.S., they were fighting an uphill battle against American, Japanese, and German cars that were often regarded as having nicer materials and better build quality, among other things. Fast forward to today, and Hyundai has spawned its own performance/luxury brand called Genesis and Kia has finally jumped on the bandwagon with a premium and performance-based fastback that is derived from the GT Concept. Going by the name Stinger, it’s set to bring some insanely stiff competition to German rivals like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback, among others. At Launch, it will be available with a 255-horsepower four-banger or a 3.3-liter, Biturbo, V-6 with some 365 ponies on tap. But, that’s not all. It’s extremely spacious with a longer wheelbase than that of other competitors like the Lexus GS, and even the Infinity Q50 while the chassis itself is composed of 55 percent high-strength steel for superior stiffness and excellent ride handling. Inside, it offers high levels of comfort and an absolutely striking design with technology that rivals that of high-end models way outside the Stingers expected price range.
Those two engines I just mentioned, well there’s already word of a diesel powertrain being available for European customers. And, while it hasn’t been officially planned or confirmed, interviews with Albert Beirmann – the Executive VP of Vehicle Testing and High-Performance Development for Kia – has said that there have been talks of electrification, a move that could pit the Stinger against the likes of the Tesla Model 3 or even the Model S, depending on how much electric muscle Kia can come up with. Beyond that, the Stinger is said to be able to handle much more power than that offered by that Biturbo 3.3-liter, so an even brighter future could be on the horizon for Kia’s new halo car.
But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself as we already have a lot to talk about, and the Stinger isn’t scheduled to hit showrooms until later on in 2017. So, grab a beverage and join me farther down the page to see what the Stinger will offer when the order books officially open.
Update 11/16/2017: Kia has announced pricing for the 2018 Kia Stinger just weeks before it rolls into dealers. Pricing starts at an exceptionally low $31,900, nearly $10,000 less than its main competition. Check out the pricing section below to learn all about it.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Kia GT.
2018 Kia Stinger GT Wide Body
Unveiled for the 2018 model year, the Kia Stinger not only proved that the Korean brand had what it takes to give the German companies a run for their money but also signaled its intent to become more active in the high-performance market with the GT model. Powered by a high-revving V-6 with more than 350 horsepower and sporting an aggressive design, the Stinger GT could mean trouble for the likes of the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63. With the sedan just a couple of months away from arriving at U.S. dealerships, Kia paired up with iconic customization shop West Coast Customs for a unique take on the Stinger GT.
Displayed alongside other modified Kia models at the 2017 SEMA Show, this bespoke Stinger GT stands out thanks to a sporty-looking wide body kit and an array of carbon-fiber body parts. It also has a customized interior and a lowered ride height, demonstrating that the sedan has plenty of potential for aftermarket add-ons. Whether Kia is planning some sort of body upgrade in the future remains a mystery, but there’s been a lot of talk about a higher performance Stinger GT. Until we find out more, let’s have a closer look at this widebody version of the sedan.
Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Stinger GT Wide Body.
2018 Kia Stinger GT Federation
South Korean automaker Kia just introduced the hot-to-trot Stinger GT five-door earlier this year at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, with sales slated to kick off in December of this year. When it was introduced, enthusiasts just about wet their pants with delight, and for good reason. Not only does it look fantastic, but it’s got the performance credentials to back the aesthetic. And that makes the speedy mid-size luxury machine a fantastic fit for the customized glitz and gloss of the annual SEMA show. As such, Kia is introducing a variety of bespoke examples, including this tasteful rendition you see before you. Upgrades include a few body mods, new paint, minor engine enhancements, and complementary suspension pieces.
SEMA attendees will have a chance to experience the Kia Stinger’s cornering prowess first hand on an autocross course, as Kia will be offering ride-alongs with professional drifters at the show. Meanwhile, those of us admiring from afar can gaze upon customized offerings like the GT Federation and anticipate a forthcoming deluge of parts and accessories, which Kia acknowledges as confirmation of its move towards further performance offerings. In fact, Kia says interested buyers will be able to pick up these performance parts via specific suppliers following the car’s launch. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Stinger GT Federation.
2017 Kia Proceed Concept
Launched in 2006 as a replacement for the Cerato, the Kia Cee’d is now one of the company’s most popular vehicles in Europe. Redesigned in 2012 into a more modern, better-looking car, the Cee’d, along with its Procee’d, GT, and station wagon variants, is getting a little long in the tooth, and a third-generation model is likely under way for 2018. While we don’t know much about it, Kia unveiled the Proceed concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, giving us a good glimpse of what the next-gen Cee’d might bring to the table.
Described as an "extended hot hatch that presents a new body type for Kia," the Proceed concept appears to be the bastard child of a Kia Stinger and a low, sleek shooting brake. And it’s one of Kia’s most intriguing design to date. Not surprisingly, it was penned at the company’s European design center in Frankfurt, only 500 meters (0.3 miles) from where it will be unveiled. Kia also says that the Proceed concept indicates what the next-generation Cee’d "could look like," so we might be looking at a fancier version of the upcoming hatchback.
Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Proceed Concept.
2018 Kia Picanto X-Line
The Kia Picanto came to be in 2003 when it was launched on a shortened platform of the Hyundai Getz. Redesigned in 2011, it grew in size and shared underpinnings with the then-new Hyundai i10. Another update followed in 2015, but 2017 brought the significantly modified third-generation model. About half a year has passed since the new Picanto arrived and Kia just introduced a new model, the X-Line.
A range-topping model alongside the performance-oriented GT-Line, the X-Line is a crossover-inspired model in the vein of the larger Volkswagen Cross Polo and Cross Golf, and the Hyundai i20 Active. Modifications include a slightly higher ride height, black cladding on the wheel arches, and a few extra features compared to the standard model. The X-Line also introduces the new turbocharged 1.0-liter engine that will also motivate the GT-Line version.
Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Picanto X-Line.
2018 Kia Stonic
Korean automaker Kia has expanded its lineup at an amazing rate in recent years, tackling numerous segments that it has ignored in the past. It also launched increasingly better vehicles in the last decade, to the extent that it can now give more established brands a run for their money in Europe and the United States. But Kia isn’t stopping here and now wants to enter the mini-SUV market. It will do so in late 2017 with the Stonic, a small crossover that will share underpinnings with a similar vehicle from sister company Hyundai. The Stonic will tackle the likes of the Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3, joining the Sportage and Sorento in the lineup.
Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2017, the Stonic is a small crossover based on the Rio and shares underpinnings with the tiny hatchback. It mirrors the Kia inside too, while the exterior borrows numerous features, blending them with unique cues that gives the Stonic an identity of its own. Sporty on the outside, modern on the inside, and packed with the latest technology for road-going cars, the Stonic seems to have all the attributes required by the mini SUV market and then some.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Kia Stonic.