The Kia automotive brand has come a long way since its humble beginnings in America that started back in 1994. Kia is a value-oriented car maker that originates from South Korea. Originally spanning across just two models the Sephia and Sportage SUV. Kia has evolved a lot since then to become one of the mainstream automakers. Kia cars and SUVs are known for having a striking design and a plethora of standard features. The brand has been steadily moving toward an upmarket design theme, constantly competing with the Japanese automakers on a higher level. Kia was once thought to sell under achieving cars that were cheap to buy and anemic to drive.
But since the introduction of the revised Optima full-size sedan and Forte compact car the carmaker has made great strides in quality. 2021 is going to be a defining year for Kia as quite a few new models are coming to fruition. These new vehicles are going to further cement the brand’s consumer loyalty and base. In the automotive world refreshed designs are everything. Car models tend to get stale quickly, and the arena that Kia is in is a highly competitive one. With the domestic automakers exiting the passenger car market all together there has never been a more crucial time than now to attract buyers. Kia has an uphill battle to continue climbing but the future models are quite appealing.
Whether you are in the market for a new SUV or a sedan 2021 is going to be a strong showing for Kia. The company is forging innovations daily, with appealing cars and SUVs. Choosing a new car is not going to get any easier. The automakers are more competitive than ever and all of the companies are vying for your hard-earned money. What Kia brings to the table is not only a high-quality car but also a substantial warranty. According to automotive research, the Kia brand has increased reliability and quality over the past decade. There is a reason that consumers are flocking to Kia showrooms, and it’s the quality. Read on as we take a look at what’s new for Kia in the 2021 model year.
What’s Hot in the New 2021 Kia Lineup
2021 Kia Optima
The Optima has been an affordable staple in the family car market for the last decade. With every design reincarnation, Kia has improved on the original formula. When you think of a viable alternative to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry the Optima is it. From a design standpoint, the car is beautiful in its current form. But as with most automotive designs the key is to remain fresh and 2021 is going to bring changes. The 2021 Kia Optima is going to be based on the existing K5 sedan that is sold around the world. You’d think that this is just moving the existing sedan to an aged platform, but you are wrong.
The K5 is a very well put together sedan, boasting a beautiful design. Even with the current design in its sophomore year, the Optima needs something more. The exterior design is noticeably more refined than the outgoing model. Kia has gone with a Sportback approach to give the car an upscale look. The brand is going for a BMW type aesthetic instead of the ordinary family sedan style that we are used to seeing. This means that the 2021 Optima is going to be more of performance-oriented driving experience.
The Optima shares its platform with the Hyundai Sonata which was redesigned for the 2020 model year. Where the Hyundai cousin is big and bodacious, the Optima is reserved and sportier. Like most good automotive badge jobs the company wants to distinguish the two sedans from each other. With the 2016 redesign, the Optima was on a lot of buyer’s radars, and 2021 will do the same thing. The fact that the new Optima is going for a sportier demeanor is only going to cement Kia as fun to drive car maker. Can you say, Pontiac? There are many aspects that Kia is going to be working on with the 2021 Optima.
The front of the new Optima is following Kia’s tiger grill design scheme. The headlights feature what Kia is calling “heartbeat’ lighting. The jagged lights which are built into the lightbars are very similar to how an EKG machine would readout. This is just another unique aspect of design that Kia has been incorporating into their vehicles. Between the front and rear of the Optima, it has a very distinct light show going on as you drive. The sharp c-pillars on the rear windows and the hatch make the Optima have a very aggressive stance. There is no denying that the Optima is more than a boring family sedan.
The evolution of the tiger-nose grille has given birth to a beautiful sedan. With all of the technological enhancements, the Optima is a much more refined car, to say the least. The wheelbase is 112.2-inches, which at the time of this writing is the longest in the segment. 2021 is much larger than its predecessor, 2.0 inches longer, and 0.8 inches lower. Underneath this stylish new body is going to be the potent 1.6-liter Smartstream turbocharged I-4. A 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, and a 2.5-liter turbo will both be optional.
The GT is a special edition of the Optima that is sure to ignite the hearts of enthusiasts. While not as beefy as it’s bigger brother the Stinger. The Optima GT is still going to offer plenty of performance bang for the buck. With a flat bottomed steering wheel and notable enhancements to the interior, the Optima is not your average grocery getter sedan. In addition to the notable performance enhancements of the Optima, the interior has also been elevated. If you said that Kia would have an interior with this high of quality years ago we wouldn’t have believed you.
But the brand has made great strides to create one of the most comfortable and well-appointed interiors on the market. Time will tell how the Optima is going to stack up to the competition, but at the moment the sedan is pretty appealing. The aggressive styling and fun driving characteristics make the 2021 Optima well worth waiting for. Kia will be releasing subtle details on the 2021 Optima as the year goes on, including a possible name change to the K5.
2021 Kia Sorento
There was a time a few decades back where the only Kia SUV that you could get was the compact Sportage. The little Sportage didn’t offer much in the way of power, but it offered a plethora of standard features and it was cute. Since then Kia has positioned itself as a serious contender in the SUV realm and while the Telluride is getting all the accolades as of late. The Sorrento is still the pioneering Kia SUV. When Kia originally introduced the Sorrento it was a bargain entrant into the midsize SUV marketplace.
The 2021 model is going to release a couple of new trim packages to give the crossover a wider appeal. Whether you want a plug-in hybrid, a regular hybrid, or a gasoline-powered model there is sure to be a Sorrento for you. The overall aesthetic of the Sorrento is going to remain somewhat inline with the model that we have now. Kia is going to be introducing the same tiger shaped grill and light treatment that is seeing on the rest of the lineup. The heartbeat light bars will also make their debut on the Sorrento as well, following the recent introduction of the K5 sedan overseas which we know as the Optima.
Where the Sorrento was always strong was in the sportiness department. The crossover is going to have a lot of sportiness to go around. The first inclination of this is the potential GT model that Kia has touted across other parts of the globe. The Sorrento already comes with features like paddle shifters and a sport mode so it’s no wonder that this will be making its debut again. Kia has always marketed the Sorrento as a sportier alternative to other SUVs that were on the market and this tradition will remain true. The model has a wonderful plethora of potential that is sure to come out in the 2021 model year.
Early renderings of the new Sorrento show a crossover that has kept most of its original lines intact. Which is a good thing considering that the current design theme has been quite popular for the brand? There is a saying that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and Kia has designed to use this anthology with the current Sorrento. 2021 is going to be a big year for the Kia brand with quite a few models hitting the road. It will be interesting to see how much the Sorrento evolves when the next generation is unveiled later this year.
2021 Kia Seltos
In addition to the redesigned Sorrento and the hot-selling Telluride Kia is also going to be releasing a small SUV this year as well. Not to be confused with the Sportage, which has been an iconic nameplate for the brand. The Seltos is yet another affordable crossover that Kia owners can get their hands on. The little SUV has been unveiled and for the most part, it offers an attractive blend of style and substance. Similar in size to the Jeep Compass the Seltos is not replacing any specific model in the lineup. Kia is instead continuing to build a diverse vehicle lineup that will attract buyers from all walks of life. Where the Seltos is going to be popular is its features and compact size, which make it an attractive option for city dwellers.
The Seltos is going to come in four trim packages, LX, S, EX and SX. All of the trim levels are going to be well-appointed, as with most Kia products. As of right now, there won’t be a GT model as of yet, but there are talks that it will be in the works. The SX trim is going to be the top of the line trim to get, complete with an optional 10.3-inch infotainment center. Although the Kia Seltos is going to have a bargain-basement price interior quality is still going to be very high. Kia has made great strides in the last couple of years to incorporate real woods and stitched leathers into their interiors. The process has paid off as most Kia cars and SUV models rank very highly in terms of satisfaction and quality.
Technology is going to be playing a big part in the Kia Seltos, and as such the infotainment center is going to feature Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay. The sound system inside of the Seltos is a focal point of the whole car. The ambient lighting inside of the car pulses to the sound on the radio, which is a feature that was introduced on the Soul. These are touches that Kia hopes will entice buyers into the showroom. And don’t just let the lighting attract your attention, because the cargo space is more than adequate for a weekend out of town.
Safety features are also an impressive part of the Seltos, in the list of standard features include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection. This is a feature that’s still quite new in the automotive industry but it’s a feature that could eliminate a lot of accidental deaths that happen at crosswalks. In addition to those features, Kia has built quite a few other safety features into the Seltos as well. Because the majority of Seltos owners are going to be driving in an urban setting there is blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
This is effective for helping the driver to keep an eye on potential hazards. Kia has also included the industry-standard lane-departure warning with a lane-keeping assist system. A safety feature that’s found on almost every passenger car that’s sold. There is no doubt that the Seltos is going to be a safe vehicle, and Kia is hoping that it entices young buyers. With safety features that are on par with the Toyota HR-V and the Nissan Kicks the Seltos should prove to be a pretty well-rounded option.
Kia is aware that most crossover owners have smartphones in this day and age, making connectivity a way of life. For a vehicle that’s basically the same size as a Jeep Renegade, the 2021 Kia Seltos has a lot going for it. Although Kia hasn’t cemented itself as a serious off-road contender yet, the company has been making stable in-roads into the sport-utility market. The Seltos has a styling that lets you know that it’s an adventurous vehicle. Most buyers that walk into a Kia showroom to see one of these are going to expect that.
The Seltos is going to offer two engine choices, in line with Kia’s new tradition of offering a turbocharger on each model. The base engine is a 2.0-liter that makes 146 horsepower, which is going to be more than adequate enough for most applications. Since the majority of the buyers who choose a Seltos are going to use it as an everyday driver, the turbocharged version is more of an option. In addition to performance and drivability, there is no word yet as to if an AWD version will make an appearance.
2021 Kia Telluride X-Line
The Kia lineup has evolved a lot over the past few years, but the Telluride has been a breakout success for the company. The big SUV was a lot more well-received than the Borrego that Kia tried to launch in 2009. With the wave of success that the Telluride is on right now it’s not surprising that Kia is planning a special edition trim package. Although the “X-Line” is still in the planning stages it will come with some pretty cool features. What’s going to separate the X-Line trim is going to be blacked out off-road appeal.
Similar in taste to what Toyota has done with the TRD-Pro trim on the 4Runner. The X-Line trim is going to be a whole new direction for the somewhat sedate SUV. The X-Line is going to have an optional blacked-out trim which will be a $1,695.00 additional cost to the sticker price. While there won’t be any performance upgrades with this package the look is sure to appeal to that segment that likes their SUV to look a little different. In addition to the new digs on the exterior Kia is also working on an extended length version of Telluride.
While details are still scarce it’s thought that the extended wheelbase version will compete against the likes of the Ford Expedition and the Chevy Suburban. Telluride has been slowly inching into the big SUV territory in terms of sales and popularity, so it’s no surprise that Kia is going to try and keep the wave going. We’re interested to see what exactly a long-wheelbase option would look like and if a V8 will be introduced like it was on the Borrego back in 2009.
2021 Kia Picanto
Kia is a melting pot of popular models right now, and 2021 is shaping up to be a formative year for the automaker. The current compact car that Kia sells is called the Rio, and it has been in the marketplace since 2000. But the Rio that we have now has been in the same design for some time now as competing models have evolved. In order for Rio to remain competitive, there have been talks and spy photos of the next generation Picanto making its way to US shores. If you look at Kia’s worldwide portfolio the Picanto is one of the company’s most successful cars.
The spy photos show a car that’s very similar to the Honda Fit. This means that the Picanto could find a good home in a lot of US driveways. Features for the next generation of the Picanto are going to center around performance upgrades and revised sheet metal. The car is a five-door hatchback in addition to a two-door but there is no sedan version. Still, with the right amount of features and the right price tag the Picanto could carry on the company’s tradition of selling an ultra-affordable compact car to the masses.
2021 Kia Mojave Pickup Truck
The Kia Telluride has been on a sales success since its release a short time ago, and elsewhere in the world, the vehicle is known as the Mohave. Hyundai has confirmed that the company will be released a new pickup truck code-named “Santa Cruz”. The company also confirmed that Kia will get a version of the truck as well. Most like going to be called the Telluride or the Mohave, Kia’s version of the truck is, of course, going to be a value-oriented option as with most Kia vehicles.
According to reports, the truck is going to be laid out a bit differently than the offerings from Honda and Nissan. There will be single cab and quad cab configurations to choose from, which should help to capture some of the marketplaces. If the truck is in line with features that are offered from the big three Kia could have a winner on its hands. Early reports are also indicating that the next generation Kia truck could have a diesel engine option. Diesel is becoming more and more the norm over here in the states so it’s of no surprise that the company is considering this as an option.
The Kia Mohave is going to be ample competition for vehicles like the Jeep Gladiator and even Hyundai’s own Santa Cruz pickup truck. With the Kia Mohave Pickup, the company will offer an even array of vehicles across multiple segments. A pickup truck is a new territory for Kia.
2021 Kia Rio
There have been spy photos of a compact car believed to be the Rio being tested. This compact car looks eerily similar to Rio in terms of design. When Kia released Rio in 2017 the redesign was minimal at best. Although Rio does maintain high marks in the automotive community, there is a time for a redesign and that time is now. There have been talks that the next-generation Rio could get a substantial overhaul, including a diesel engine choice.
The compact car market is quickly being overshadowed by the plethora of new crossover vehicles. But that doesn’t mean that Kia wants to abandon the segment just yet. The next-generation Rio is going to be a more inclusive car all around. With many new features that you’d expect Kia to add. With the company improving on Rio with every generation. It’s going to be interesting to see what exactly the next-generation model has in store.