DAILY - UPDATED
Outlook At Future Kia Models – By 2017, 2018
The last two nameplates added to the Kia range in the USA this year will be the Soul electric vehicle and the Sedona minivan.
After that, Kia will get to work on developing the next chapter in the brand story and rise to success.
The previous 5 years have seen periods of re-design and new model activity followed by periods of relative quiet on the product front.
We are now at a point where the line-up is exactly where they want it to be, which means we will see something like two major launches per year.
Kia will also be looking to improve brand perception, which is set to begin with the release of the new Optima midsize sedan and the Sorento midsize crossover, both of which will arrive next year.
Here’s what else Kia Motors has on tap moving forward:
Rio sub-compact car: A mild refresh is expected for the 2015 model year, but other than that, the model should remain pretty much the same until 2017.
Soul crossover vehicle: The car that helped put Kia in the spotlight got a full refresh last year, so don’t expect much more than a few special editions in the coming years.
Soul EV: This really is the big news out of the Soul champ, with the all-electric version of the iconic model due out next month in select states. The new vehicle will have a range of about 92 miles on a full charge, courtesy of a 27 kilowatt-hour lithium polymer batter pack that can be fully charged in under 5 hours.
Forte compact car: The Forte family received a major makeover last year, so don’t expect anything major until 2018. There should be a mid-cycle refresh in late 2016 or early 2017.
Optima mid-size sedan: The highly popular Optima will get its next generation release next year as a 2016 model year. This update will follow along the same lines of the Hyundai Sonata, which means that the platform will carry over, albeit with improvements that will help with ride, handling, and noise reduction.
Expect the 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines to also remain. The next generation model should have improved technology, such as lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control.
Optima Hybrid: The hybrid version will arrive in showrooms roughly six months after the gas-powered model. A plug-in model is also rumored to be in the works!
Cadenza premium sedan: The move into near-premium territory began for Kia back in 2013 when this vehicle got a mid-cycle refresh. That move will see the Cadenza have a shorter life cycle than normal, which will mean a re-engineered version will come in 2016 as a 2017 Kia model.
Expect to see new sheet metal on the second generation model, while the current platform will likely be carried over, albeit with improvements that will deliver a more refined ride. The current V6 and 3.3-liter engine are also expected to remain intact, although a few updates will likely be included.
K900 luxury car: This vehicle arrived in the US in the spring, at exactly the same time it went through a mid-cycle refresh.
So far, it has only been able to muster up 948 units sold, but since Kia sees this model as a way to build brand perception, it will carry on. The next big change will come in the form of a redesign in 2018.
GT Sedan: A 4-door coupe-sedan is headed for the showrooms late next year or early 2017. There are no spy shots about this future Kia vehicle available at this point, however, rumours close to the carmaker state that Kia will actually bring it to production.
Sportage compact SUV: The compact crossover will get all new sheet metal when the new model arrives in 2016, just in time for the 2017 model year. The latest version rides on a brand new platform, so expect that to carry over to the new model along with the current powertrains.
Sorento SUV: A re-engineered version of the popular crossover will hit showrooms in the first quarter of next year as a 2016 model. As expected, new sheet metal will be included, as will a modified version of the Sorento CUV platform that was introduced as new back in 2010. The powertrain line-up will remain unchanged.
Small AWD crossover: An all-wheel-drive small crossover vehicle is also in the works at Kia. It is not known whether the vehicle will arrive to the U.S. soil, but it will go on sale in China and, possibly, Europe. We have already seen first spy shots of the small SUV.
Sedona MPV: Kia is hoping to lure families back into the minivan segment by introducing a fully redesigned Sedona with a more muscular style.
The new model will come with a wheelbase that is 1.5 inches longer, which means more legroom all round. The van will have a driving position that is more in line with an SUV than a minivan.
The new model will seat 8 as opposed to the 7 passengers on the outgoing model. All trim levels will feature third-row folding seats and 60/40 split that can be stowed in the cabin floor to create extra cargo space.
The 2015 Kia Sedona comes with a pretty powerful 3.3-liter V-6 engine with gasoline direct injection that delivers 276-hp and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. It also comes with a number of active safety systems, as well as the UVO eServices telematics system.
Sporty car: Kia’s Chief Designer Peter Schreyer has already made it abundantly clear that he want to add a sports model to the Kia line-up.
As much as he wants it, sources say that the arrival of such a model is a long shot at best, especially if it were to be a convertible.
Kia simply doesn’t have any “room” to manufacture it right now and seem unwilling to commit to a low-volume model.
The industry was set alight when Kia showed off the GT4 Stinger concept sports coupe at the Detroit Auto Show. Despite the excitement it created, it was nothing more than a design experiment, so don’t expect to see it in production anytime soon.