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NEW & NOTABLE
With much of the lineup getting a remake or refreshed, the Kia brand has a lot at stake in 2019. That bodes well for consumers as the South Korean automaker dips deep into their proven bag of tricks to deliver some of the best values on the market. Will their efforts pay off with higher market share? If not, it won’t be due to a lack of trying.
The Kia Forte is all-new in 2019 and this Gen-3 version delivers substantial enhancements to the exterior design, interior space and quality material offerings, as well as a cadre of new tech offerings. The new Forte looks more athletic even though it is adding 3.2 inches of length, 0.5 inches in height and is 0.7 inches wider than the previous sedan. Look for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity features in addition to an impressive array of advanced safety equipment.
Available as a conventional engine subcompact crossover or a plug-in hybrid, the 2019 Kia Niro lineup gets a new all-electric model to round-out the offerings in fuel economy. Showcasing a battery pack with a 64 kWh capacity, combined with a 201-hp and 291 pound-feet of torque electric motor, the Niro EV delivers a range of up to 240 miles on a single charge.
As Kia’s best-selling crossover, Sorento already gets lots of attention, and the 2019 model year brings a slight refresh for some exterior cues. The restyled grille and front headlights are a nice touch, while the rear bumper and tail-lights are less conspicuous in their alterations. A new 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine (185 hp) is now available and the upgrade 3.3-L V6 delivers outstanding power for the price. Sorento still offers a 3rd-row option.
The 2019 Kia Optima gets a remake on its front fascia, but it’s the new infotainment system on the interior two screens that is more notable. The best news for the 2019 Optima is the all-new now-standard advanced safety gear. All Optimas are equipped with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and lane-departure warning.
Stinger, K900, Sportage, Rio, Sedona, Cadenza and Soul
This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication