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Kia: What’s New and In Store for 2017

Darrek Olson
2017 Kia

What’s New and In Store

Kia and Hyundai announced plans this week to invest $3.1 billion into its facilities in the United States over the next five years, dedicated to continuing to innovate and further improve vehicles. This is a 50% investment increase over the previous five years. The Korean company continues to increase in popularity and is a growing industry leader with sister company Hyundai. With new transmissions, engine upgrades, advanced safety features and tech offerings for existing models, Kia is doing what it takes to keep car buyers happy and up-to-date with the brand’s latest models. For 2017, Kia introduced two brand new models, an Optima Plug-in Hybrid and the all-new Niro Crossover Hybrid. Kia also announced that the GT concept is taking flight as the 2018 Kia Stinger, available later this year. Here is what else is new and in store for the Kia brand in 2017.

What’s New

 2017 Kia Cadenza

  • MSRP: From $31,990 – $44,390
  • MPG: Up to 20 City / 28 Highway
  • Engine: 3.3 L V6 (290 hp)

Cruising into its second generation, the 2017 Kia Cadenza is a dapper sedan. The concave grille has chrome accents running perpendicular to the ground like a series of vertical razor blades, complimenting the appearance of the alloy wheels. The headlights are sharp with staggered LED lamps and distinct “z-shaped” daytime running lights. The LED taillights echo the z-shape of the headlights, and the rear-end is molded nicely with chrome exhaust accents.

Inside, the Cadenza is slightly larger than the previous model. It has plenty of room in both front and back, and is laden with quality materials and standard leather seats. The ride is comfortable, with heated front seats and available heated rear seats. A 10-way or 14-way adjustable driver’s seat are options, and an 8-way or 10-way adjustable front passenger seat are options. A 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes standard with the base trim, integrating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. An 8” touchscreen display is available with voice command and Harman/Kardon Premium Audio and comes standard with the Technology and Limited trims.

A rearview camera comes standard, while available advanced safety features include blind-spot detection, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist, and automated emergency braking. Kia introduced an 8-speed automatic transmission to pair with the tweaked 3.3 L V6 to increase fuel efficiency over the previous generation. Horsepower dropped slightly to 290, but it’s no deal breaker. Also taking into consideration that this is a near luxury vehicle with plenty to offer and a price anyone can appreciate, the Cadenza has plenty of pep and the extra gears make for a smooth drive.

2017 Kia Cadenza

2017 Kia Forte

  • MSRP: From $16,600 – $21,300
  • MPG: Up to 29 City / 38 Highway
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4-Cylinder (147 hp), 2.0 L 4-Cylinder (164 hp)

Kia Forte5 Hatchback

  • MSRP: From $18,200 – $26,000
  • MPG: Up to 25 City / 34 Highway; Up to 25 City / 30 Highway (SX)
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4-Cylinder (147 hp); 1.6 L 4-Cylinder, 201 hp (SX)

Inspired by the Optima’s latest redesign, the 2017 Kia Forte gets a midcycle refresh for a more aggressive, sporty look. A new front bumper and the “tiger-nose” grille were introduced, with new headlight design and optional LED lamps. The rear fascia also received an updated look and new LED taillights.

Kia updated the cabin with higher-quality materials and a more user-friendly cockpit. A 7-inch touchscreen is available, integrating AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM audio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Also available is a push button start/stop ignition and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel.  The cabin is roomy and features ample storage area, with firm seating in the front and back. Newly available advanced features include autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, and dynamic bending headlights. Also available are lane departure warning and blind spot detection.

The base 1.8 L is replaced with a new base 2.0 L 4-Cylinder to pair up with an updated 6-speed automatic transmission, now standard for all trims, with an upgraded second-generation 6-speed transmission available. The EX trim has a beefier 2.0 L 4-Cylinder engine that pushes 164 hp, 17 more horses than the base. A 7-speed automated manual transmission is new for the Forte5 SX hatchback and a new sporty S trim offers LED positioning lights and a sport-tuned suspension. It is worth noting that the Kia Forte is a becoming a contender in a segment with some tough competition, particularly from cars like the Ford Focus and Mazda Mazda3. Kia’s advantage is its warranty and list of features available for the pricetag.

2017 Kia Forte Sedan

2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid

  • MSRP: From $35,210
  • MPG: Up to 38 City / 43 Highway; 103 MPGe
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder
  • Battery: 9.8 kWh 360 V lithium polymer
  • Total System Horsepower: 202 hp

Kia recently introduced the new 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid. With nearly identical looks to that of the Optima and Optima Hybrid, the Plug-in carries over the aerodynamic body style and “tiger-nose” styling of the Optima but gets its own active air flap in the grille, reducing the car’s coefficient of drag to 0.25 when shut.

A voice-command Nav system with an 8-inch touchscreen comes standard and integrates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as SiriusXM and HD Radio with Harman/Kardon Premium Audio.  Leather seats, steering wheel wrap, and leather accents come standard, as does a 12-Way adjustable power driver’s seat with 4-way lumbar support. Advanced safety features available include blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist, dynamic bending LED headlights, and automated emergency braking.

The Plug-in has a 29-mile all-electric range at 75 mph and fits in nicely as the other green alternative for the Optima. It’s a great daily driver, particularly if you don’t want to use the gasoline engine for much of your commute.

2017 Kia Optima Plug In Hybrid

2017 Kia Sportage

  • MSRP: From $23,200 – $34,200
  • MPG: Up to 23 City / 30 Highway; Up to 21 City / 26 Highway (SX Turbo)
  • Engine: 2.4 L 4-Cylinder (181 hp); 2.0 L 4-Cylinder, 240 hp (SX Turbo)

Kia’s longest running nameplate enters its fourth generation with a complete makeover and new platform. The 2017 Kia Sportage is larger with Kia’s signature “tiger-nose” grille sitting just over an inch and a half further than before and a wider stance by 1.2 inches at the wheelbase. Chrome accents throughout the exterior add a bit of zest, and new “ice cube” fog lamps add to the Sportage’s unique appearance.

Hop inside the driver-oriented cockpit and enjoy soft touch materials and controls pitched toward the driver. A 5-inch touchscreen comes standard, with a 7 and 8-inch available based on trim, integrating Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, and rearview camera display. A slew of features are available that include forward collision warning and pedestrian detection with automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection with lane assist, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking assist, and dynamic bending headlights with high beam assist. Families will love the extra room in the backseat, while maintaining a relatively modest but adequate amount of cargo space.

The SX trim offers a 2.0 L turbo 4-Cylinder that produces 240 hp, 59 horses more than the 2.4 L base engine. The 6-speed Sportmatic transmission and front-wheel drive come standard, with all-wheel drive available.  AWD models come with a unique fascia with steeper approach for more capability. The Sportage handles better than ever, not impacted by the slight increase in size, and the drive is smoother, quieter and more balanced than before.

2017 Kia Sportage Turbo

Minor Changes / Unchanged

  • 2017 Kia K900
  • 2017 Kia Optima (New Hybrid Plug-in version)
  • 2017 Kia Rio (Digital Yellow exterior paint color has been discontinued, and the 4-door SX trim has been discontinued)
  • 2017 Kia Sedona (Autonmous Emergency Brake feature and Dynamic Bending Light now available, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto)
  • 2017 Kia Sorento (Automatic emergency braking is now available along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto)
  • 2017 Kia Soul (Hampsters, the new 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim gets a 1.6 L turbo engine that produces 201 hp, as well as new wheel designs and new Mysterious Blue and Russet Brown exterior paint colors)


2017 Kia Niro

Making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show last year, the 2017 Kia Niro is Kia’s newest hybrid crossover and Guinness World Record holder for lowest fuel consumption driving across the United States from coast to coast (in a hybrid). Kia boasts that it has up to 50 mpg combined, reducing emissions and is highly anticipated news for your pocketbook if you plan to own one. It has sporty looks and comes with a roomy cabin with lots of leg room, head room, and cargo space. A 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system integrating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard. Available features include smart cruise control, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, lane change assist, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, and automated emergency braking. A 1.6 L 4-Cylinder engine and 1.56 kWh lithium ion battery produce a combined 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque and are paired with a 6-speed transmission and looks to be fun to drive. The Niro will arrive at dealerships soon.

2018 Kia Stinger

Drawing a lot of attention at the 2017 North American International Auto Show this last week, the 2018 Kia Stinger brings the coveted Kia GT concept car to life. Available later this year, the Stinger will come with two engine options, a 2.0 L turbocharged 4-Cylinder (255 hp and 260 lb-ft torque) and a 3.3 L twin-turbo V6 (365 hp and 376 lb-ft torque). Both will be paired with the second-generation 8-speed automatic transmission and five drive modes. It is a good looking car – aggressive and sport, with a dash of sophistication. The cockpit is intuitive and “cocoon-like,” with premium Nappa leather, deeply contoured seats, and chrome trim. Kia is offering a 15-speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system with sub-woofers mounted under the seats, a Kia first. Another Kia first is Driver Attention Alert (DAA), combining several types of driver input to detour drowsy or distracted driving. Other features include forward collision assistance, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. The Stinger will also be the first Kia sedan with available AWD and adaptive stability control suspension.

2018 Kia StingerWhich 2017 Kia are you most excited to test drive? Let us know in the comments! 

Darrek Olson
Darrek Olson

Darrek is an enthusiast driver who values the journey more than the destination. A self-proclaimed Miata fanboy, his obscure knowledge of cars sometimes prevents him from remembering what he had for breakfast.

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