Hamsters No More: The 2024 Kia Lineup

Kia landed in the United States in the mid-nineties guns abalzing, with the compact Sportage SUV and the highly affordable Sephia. Years of embarrassment in the lives of schoolchildren whose parents could not afford a new Ford Explorer or Taurus ensued. Times have changed, however, and as with its corporate partner Hyundai (which owns a controlling stake in Kia), Kias have gotten to be stylish rides that are the subject of envy. Despite a corporate rebrand that confused leagues of customers who did not know what the new Kia logo said, it’s a sharp upgrade for the brand as it looks to the future. Kia now has a host of sedans, SUVs, and even a minivan, a rarity amongst automakers these days, that bring all the bells and whistles of upscale luxury vehicles to an affordable price point for Americans of all classes. Here’s a look at some model highlights.


Every time we see a Kia Carnival, we have to resist the temptation to ask if it’s really a carnival or not. Bad jokes aside, the Carnival is an attractive minivan offering, and not just because of its low price of entry. Starting at $33,200 msrp, the Carnival handily undercuts the roughly $37-38k starting prices of competitors like the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and Chrysler Pacifica. It also has best in class passenger and cargo space, and a standard 3.5L V6 with 290 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Other standard features include an 8 inch touchscreen display that has smartphone connectivity, power sliding rear doors, smart key with push button start and rear parking sensors. The Carnival has five trim levels, including the $35,200 Seat Package upgrade that has 2nd row “slide flex” seating and faux-leather trim. Get crazy with the options and you’ll be in the $46,300 starting msrp SX Prestige trim, which includes 19 inch alloys, 12 inch navigation, memory and power front seats, LED head and taillights, genuine leather seats, Bose audio, and a host of other features that make this Kia minivan the envy of the elementary school parking lot.


One of Car and Driver’s 2023 “10 Best” is the formidable Kia Telluride, a large size SUV with room for eight, starting at just $35,890 msrp.  An IIHS top safety pick, standard equipment includes LED headlights, 9 airbags with second row airbags in-seat, and a cornucopia of of collision avoidance and safety systems.  Kia’s corporate 291 horsepower V6 engine is standard, offering up to 5500 lbs of towing capacity.  A 12.3 inch touchscreen displays navigation directions and connects to all phone models (unless you have a Nokia brick from 20 years ago).  Push button and remote start key are also standard, while popular upgrades include heated seats, ventilated seats, real leather trim, sunroof, and a locking differential, amongst other choices.


One of Kia’s oldest and most memorable models, the 33 MPG Soul still packs a bit of funk since the days of its hamster-themed Superbowl commercials. As with all Kias, it comes with a 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.  Base LX models start at $19,890 msrp, coming standard with a 147-hp motor and an 8-inch touchscreen display with smartphone connectivity. Other standard options include 60/40 split rear seats and rear privacy glass.  Upscale trims include the stylish GT-Line, starting at an inoffensive $23,590 msrp and sporting 18 inch alloy wheels and a unique body kit.  If you want something Soul-like in terms of price with a bit less funk, Kia still has the Seltos, which is a more traditional SUV that has front or all wheel drive in base trims, starting at $23,340.


Kia’s stunning all-electric EV6 is a beautiful vehicle that looks like a concept car when its in full blown production. This electric vehicle is no slouch, however, and in dual motor GT trim will absolutely dust most gas powered cars on the road. With 576 horsepower, the GT reaches 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and rounds out the quarter mile in just over 11 seconds, thoroughly pulverizing most performance cars on the road today, including Camaro ZL1’s and MOPAR Hellcats. That power doesn’t come cheap, however, and the dual motor EV6 starts at just over $60k, as well as cutting into the mileage range, a claimed 210 miles per charge. Other EV6 trims with less power and more range are available, starting at $42,600 for rear wheel drive and $48,700 (310 miles of range) for all wheel drive.


The new mid-size Sportage SUV, built here in America at its West Point, Georgia plant, is the best looking Sportage ever. All-LED lighting and advanced technologies mean that its pretty hard to square how this is the same model name that once looked like a Suzuki Sidekick. Kia’s 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty and #1 JD Power vehicle dependability rating means you can buy with confidence as well. Available hybrid trim and available all wheel drive make the Sportage a potentially versatile choice, and Kia offers 11 different exterior colors along with 3 two-tone options and even a red SynTex seat trim choice. Prices range from $27,090 msrp for FWD LX models, and go up to $37,890 msrp for X-Pro Prestige AWD trim.


Not to be forgotten, Kia still offers a host of sedans to compete with the Japanese competition from Honda and Toyota. The Forte, Rio, and K5 round out the small car lineup, with the Forte bringing it to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla but starting at $19,690; the turbo GT trim starts at $24,390 and has 201 horsepower with a 7 speed dual clutch auto transmission. For a more affordable ride, check out the Rio, one of the cheapest new cars in America, starting at $16,750 msrp with an impressive array of standard equipment (including all power options and A/C). Kia’s sportiest sedan option is the K5 (now that the Stinger performance sedan is discontinued), starting at $25,390 msrp for 180 hp and $31,790 msrp for the 290hp GT trim.