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New for 2011-Kia

New for 2011-Kia

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
Page 1:

All-new Kia debuts for 2011 include the Optima sedan, Sorento SUV, and Sportage compact crossover

The Sedona receives a facelift, while the Forte, Rio and Soul models are mostly carryovers

2011 Kia ModelsHistory
Kia Motor Corporation was founded in Korea in 1944 (the name of the company literally means "to come out of Asia"). The automaker didn't originally build cars, but rather steel tubing and parts for bicycles. Its first venture into motorized vehicles was with motorcycles (a natural progression) and trucks. It wasn't until 1974 that Kia built its first car.

Kia automobiles were first sold in the North American market in 1992, and the company slowly spread its dealer network across the US from the west. In an unusual move, Hyundai Motors (its Korean rival) picked up a majority stake in the company-even though Ford Motor Company had owned a portion of Kia for more than a decade.

Today, Kia manufactures a variety of passenger automobiles and sport utility vehicles. These include coupes, sedans and SUVs with up-to-7-passenger seating capacities. Models include those with front- and all-wheel drive fueled by gasoline and (new for 2011) hybrid powertrains. Kia vehicles are manufactured in Korea and North America and sold around the world.

2011 Kia Models at a Glance:

  • Forte-An all-new 5-door model joins the lineup
  • Forte Koup-Mostly a carryover
  • Optima-All-new redesign for 2011
  • Rio-Mostly a carryover
  • Rio5-Mostly a carryover
  • Sedona-Facelift and minor updates
  • Sorento-All-new redesign for 2011
  • Soul-Mostly a carryover
  • Sportage-All-new redesign for 2011

For More Information:

2011 Kia Forte

2011 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is a compact 4-door sedan that has been on sale in the North American market since 2010 (the car was designed in California). At its launch, the Forte was marketed to replace the outgoing Kia Spectra (to keep costs down, the Forte shares platforms with the Hyundai Elantra, although the Forte has a simpler torsion-beam suspension compared to the Elantra's multi-link design).

Under the hood of the Forte is a standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired to either a manual or automatic 6-speed transmission. Range-topping "SX" models are fitted with a larger 2.4-liter engine that delivers more horsepower and more torque. While the standard sedan is a carryover for 2011, the automaker has added a 5-door model for the new model year.

Highlights:

  • New 5-door model added for 2011
  • Three models: Forte LX, Forte EX and Forte SX
  • Standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 156 horsepower (LX and EX models)
  • Standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 173 horsepower (SX)
  • Standard 5-speed manual transmission (LX and EX)
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission (SX)
  • Optional 4-speed automatic transmission (LX)
  • Optional 5-speed automatic transmission (EX and SX)
  • Standard front-wheel drive
  • 5-passenger seating
  • NEW 5-door model joins the lineup

2011 Kia Forte Koup

2011 Kia Forte Koup

The Kia Forte Koup is a compact 2-door that was first introduced for the 2010 model year. Compared to the Forte sedan, the Koup is 2.4 inches lower, 2.0 inches shorter and 0.4 inches narrower, but with the same wheelbase. Even though it is missing two (or three) doors compared to its close-relative sedan, the Koup variant is still designed to seat 5 passengers comfortably, says Kia. However, the Koup is designed with a lower stance (to improve aerodynamics) and a wider stance to keep the vehicle more stable while cornering and at higher speeds, according to the maker. While both the sedan and Koup share the same basic suspension architecture, the 2-door has been tuned for "responsive handling on snaking roads," says Kia. In addition, the SX trim also comes with a sport-tuned suspension set to provide a firmer ride with reduced body roll and improved handling, the company adds. New for 2010, the Kia Forte Koup is a carryover for 2011.

Highlights:

  • Carryover for 2011
  • Two models: Koup EX and Koup SX
  • Standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 156 horsepower (EX)
  • Standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 173 horsepower (SX)
  • Standard 5-speed manual transmission (EX)
  • Optional 4-speed automatic transmission (EX)
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission (SX)
  • Optional 5-speed automatic transmission (SX)
  • Standard front-wheel drive
  • 5-passenger seating

2011 Kia Optima

2011 Kia Optima

The Kia Optima is a midsize 4-door that serves as the automaker's flagship sedan. On sale since 2001, the first-generation Optima models were rebadged Hyundai Sonata models sharing platform, engines and equipment (the two automakers had been working on joint projects for years). The all-new, second-generation model debuted in late 2006. While it was no longer a mirror image of the Sonata, the Optima still shared the Hyundai's platform and powertrain components.

In 2009, Kia gave the car a refresh, with new body panels, a new 4-cylinder engine, updated 6-cylinder engine, and a new trim level (SX). Exterior changes included a larger front grille and fog lamps, more pronounced body creases and new tail lights. Interior styling upgrades and added stereo features completed the makeover. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) were also added across the model line.

An all-new, third-generation Optima arrives for 2011. Compared to its predecessor, the new Optima has moved upscale, with a much more refined interior and a longer list of standard equipment. While much is still shared with the Hyundai Sonata, under the hood the redesigned Optima sedan welcomes its first turbocharged powerplant and its first hybrid model.

Highlights:

  • All-new redesign for 2011
  • Three models: Optima LX, Optima EX and Optima SX
  • Standard 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 274 horsepower (EX or SX)
  • Standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 200 horsepower (LX or EX)
  • Standard gasoline-electric hybrid 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric boost motor rated at 206 total system horsepower (Optima 2.4L HEV)
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission (Optima 2.4L I-4 only)
  • Optional 6-speed automatic transmission (standard on Optima 2.0L I-4 Turbo and Optima 2.4L HEV)
  • Standard front-wheel drive
  • 5-passenger seating

2011 Kia Rio

2011 Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is a subcompact sedan that has been on sale in the United States since its launch in 2001. The first-generation model was fitted with a 1.5-liter engine that was rated at 96 horsepower. Power was sent to the front wheels through a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. In 2003, the model received a minor facelift, with engine upgrades, suspension tuning, and new styling both inside and out. The all-new, second-generation model debuted for the 2005 model year. The engine had grown to 1.6 liters in displacement, and the overall vehicle size had increased in terms of its exterior dimensions and interior passenger and cargo volume. The new model also debuted with the latest safety equipment.

Kia treated the Rio to a facelift for the 2010 model year. The changes included the addition of the new corporate "bowtie" grille, slightly modified headlights, and the parking lights and side lights were changed. On the inside, the dash instrumentation received new backlighting and there was a new steering wheel. After several changes and improvements for 2010, the 2011 Kia Rio is a carryover model.

Highlights:

  • Carryover for 2011
  • Three models: Rio, Rio LX and and Rio SX
  • Standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 110 horsepower
  • Standard 5-speed manual transmission
  • Optional 4-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • 5-passenger seating

2011 Kia Rio5

2011 Kia Rio5

The Kia Rio5 is a subcompact 5-door hatchback that has been on sale in the United States since its launch in 2001. It is a clone to the Rio sedan. The first-generation model was fitted with a 1.5-liter engine that was rated at 96 horsepower. Power was sent to the front wheels through a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. In 2003, the model received a minor facelift, with engine upgrades, suspension tuning, and new styling both inside and out. The all-new, second-generation model debuted for the 2005 model year. The engine had grown to 1.6 liters in displacement, and the overall vehicle size had increased in terms of its exterior dimensions and interior passenger and cargo volume. The new model also debuted with the latest safety equipment.

Kia treated the Rio5 to a facelift for the 2010 model year. The changes included the addition of the new corporate "bowtie" grille, slightly modified headlights, and the parking lights and side lights were changed. On the inside, the dash instrumentation received new backlighting and there was a new steering wheel. After several changes and improvements for 2010, the 2011 Kia Rio5 is a carryover model.

Highlights:

  • Carryover for 2011
  • Two models: Rio5 LX and Rio5 SX
  • Standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 110 horsepower
  • Standard 5-speed manual transmission
  • Optional 4-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • 5-passenger seating

2011 Kia Sedona

2011 Kia Sedona

The Kia Sedona is a 7-passenger minivan that is sold worldwide (it is also known as the Kia Carnival in some markets). The first-generation Sedona debuted in 1998, but it didn't arrive in the North American market until the 2002 model year. Facing competition from the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Ford Windstar and Chrysler minivans (Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan), the Kia Sedona featured 6-cylinder engines, but lacked convenience features commonplace in the domestic segment (power-operated tailgates, power-operated sliding side doors, etc.).

Things changed in 2006, when Kia introduced an all-new, second-generation Sedona. Not only did it offer the power-operated door and tailgate, but it introduced two wheelbases (short and long), a more capable powerplant and transmission, and a long list of safety equipment. Kia has treated its Sedona to a mild facelift for 2011. However, that news is overshadowed by a more powerful 6-cylinder engine and a new 6-speed automatic transmission that promise more power and increased efficiency. The automaker has also made minor equipment changes.

Highlights:

  • Facelift and powertrain and option upgrades for 2011
  • Two models: Sedona LX and Sedona EX
  • Standard 3.5-liter 6-cylinder engine rated at 271 horsepower
  • Standard 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • 7-passenger seating
  • NEW Minor facelift includes a new front grille and redesigned tail lamps
  • NEW Short-wheelbase model has been dropped
  • NEW All-new 3.5-liter engine
  • NEW 6-speed automatic transmission
  • NEW Standard exterior mirror LED turn signal indicators
  • NEW Standard Bluetooth phone connectivity

2011 Kia Sorento

2011 Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento is a midsize sport utility vehicle that arrived in U.S. showrooms in 2003. The first-generation model was a compact sport utility vehicle with seating for 5 passengers that rode on a truck-based, body-on-frame platform. Under the hood of that model was a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, rated at 192 horsepower, and mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Kia offered the Sorento in rear- or 4-wheel drive (the latter with a limited-slip rear differential and lower-range gearing). The Sorento was refreshed in 2007, when the Korean automaker made cosmetic and option changes to the 4-door and increased its engine size to 3.8 liters. At the time, Kia also introduced a less powerful, but more efficient, 3.3-liter V-6 powerplant.

An all-new Kia Sorento debuted at the 2009 Seoul Motor Show (destined to be a 2011 model). A departure from its predecessor, the new Sorento features a car-like unibody platform shared with the sibling Hyundai Santa Fe and Hyundai Veracruz midsize SUVs. With a more compliant ride, the Sorento offers seating for up to 7 passengers, 2- or all-wheel-drive powertrains, and a selection of 4- or 6-cylinder engines.

Highlights:

  • Complete redesign for 2011
  • Four models: Sorento, Sorento LX, Sorento EX and Sorento SX
  • Standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 175 horsepower (Sorento, LX and EX)
  • Optional 3.5-liter 6-cylinder engine rated at 276 horsepower (LX and EX, standard on SX)
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission (Sorento)
  • Optional 6-speed automatic transmission (standard on LX, EX and SX)
  • Standard front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • Optional all-wheel drive (AWD not offered on Sorento base model)
  • 7-passenger seating
  • NEW Unibody construction

2011 Kia Soul

2011 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is a compact car targeting a younger audience and was designed in California. It is assembled in South Korea and sold worldwide. The SUV-like Soul was first introduced overseas in 2008, but it didn't arrive in the North American market until the 2010 model year.

While the exterior is modern and boxy, the interior is designed to be comfortable and functional. There are two bucket seats in the front of the Soul, and second-row seats that may be folded flat to increase storage capability. The standard engine is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (with a 5-speed manual transmission), but a larger, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is also available. While it may be small in stature, Kia points out that the Soul has earned good crash test scores. Not only did it earn the Euro NCAP maximum 5-star award, but it is an IIHS "Top Safety Pick" (2010-11 models). New just last year, the 2011 Kia Soul is an unchanged carryover.

Highlights:

  • Carryover for 2011
  • Four models: Soul, Soul+, Soul! and Soul Sport
  • Standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 110 horsepower (Soul)
  • Standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 156 horsepower (Soul+, Soul! and Soul Sport)
  • Standard 5-speed manual transmission
  • Optional 4-speed automatic transmission (not available on 1.6-liter)
  • Standard front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • 5-passenger seating

2011 Kia Sportage

2011 Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is a compact crossover that was one of the first models from the Korean automaker to debut in the U.S. market when the brand arrived. In the 2005 model year, an all-new Sportage arrived that offered 5-passenger capacity on a car-like unibody frame that mirrored many styling cues with that of the Hyundai Tucson, its platform-sharing sibling.

Completely redesigned for 2011, the Kia Sportage is now in its third generation. Differentiating itself from its predecessor, the new model is only offered with 4-cylinder power (in contrast, the 2010 model was also available with a 2.7-liter V-6). The engine fitted under the hood of the 2011 Sportage promises nearly the same power, but better fuel efficiency. When it comes to styling, the exterior of the Sportage mirrors that of the larger 2011 Kia Sorento. With more room, increased fuel efficiency, and some much-needed character, the redesigned Kia Sportage is now better prepared to compete with the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

Highlights:

  • All-new for 2011
  • Three models: Sportage, Sportage LX and Sportage EX
  • Standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 176 horsepower (ULEV)
  • Standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower (SULEV)
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission (Sportage)
  • Standard 6-speed automatic transmission (LX and EX)
  • Standard front-wheel drive
  • Optional all-wheel drive (LX and EX)
  • 5-passenger seating

For More Information:

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