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New for 2015: Kia

New for 2015: Kia

By Jeff Youngs,

2015 Kia Overview

For the most part, 2015 is a year of moderate change for the Kia brand, with a few key exceptions. These include the new fully electric Soul EV with a range of 93 miles, completely redesigned Sedona minivan, and the addition of the K900. This all-new full-size luxury sedan puts a new face on the company, one that may surprise those who continue to view Kia as the maker of economy cars and nothing more. Like the Hyundai Equus, with which it shares its underpinnings, the K900 delivers equal parts style, performance, and premium accoutrements.

One step down from the K900 is the Cadenza, a sedan that returns for 2015 with more features and a pair of trim levels for buyers to consider. Moving further down the line, the 2015 Optima sedan adds a few new colors and an updated version of Kia's telematics system. The Optima Hybrid carries over unchanged, the Forte (and the Forte Koup and Forte5) loses its standard rearview camera to the options list, and the small Rio (and Rio5) slices one hue from its color palette. The 2015 Soul adds a couple of equipment packages.

As for the crossovers, Kia's 2015 Sportage offers more standard features with its SX variant, and the larger Sorento gets a stand-alone navigation option and a small bump in fuel economy.


2015 Kia Cadenza
Introduced as an all-new model for the 2014 model year, the Cadenza full-size sedan returns for 2015 in two trim levels, Premium and Limited, both of which are equipped with a direct-injection, 3.3-liter V-6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission that directs output to the front wheels. Updates for 2015 include multiple steering settings and a 360-degree exterior camera for the Cadenza Limited, along with standard rear cross-traffic alert. Inside, the Cadenza adds LED lighting, redesigned clock, and accents in chrome, wood grain, and metal.

What's New:
  • Standard front power passenger seat with 8-way adjustment
  • Rear armrest includes USB charge port
  • Limited trim level offers extra features and a revised grille
  • Technology package available on Premium trim level
  • Panoramic moonroof a stand-alone option (Premium)



2015 Kia Forte
Interestingly, the most noteworthy update marking the arrival of the 2015 Kia Forte is the loss of a standard telematics system and rearview camera on the EX trim level, which have not been moved to the options list. These items are also now available on the entry-level LX. Depending on which version is selected, the 2015 Kia Forte is equipped with either a 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.

What's New:
  • Telematics and rearview camera now optional rather than standard on EX
  • Improved fuel economy
  • Telematics, rearview camera, and 16-in. alloy wheels package (LX)



2015 Kia Forte Koup
As is the case with the Forte sedan, the 2015 Kia Forte Koup, available in EX and SX trim levels, sees its formerly standard telematics system and rearview camera moved to the options list. Otherwise, this 2-door front-drive model is a direct carryover from 2014.

What's New:
  • Telematics and rearview camera now optional rather than standard on EX



2015 Kia Forte5
There's a common theme running through all 2015 Kia Forte models, from the sedan to the Forte5 wagon: EX versions have lost their standard telematics system and rearview camera, equipment that is now optional. In all other respects, the 2015 Kia Forte5 is identical to the 2014 version it replaces.

What's New:
  • Telematics and rearview camera now optional rather than standard on EX



2015 Kia K900
Kia dives deeper into luxury territory with the launch of the all-new 2015 K900 sedan, which shares its architecture with the Hyundai Equus. This 5-passenger rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model, available in Premium and Luxury trim levels, features a 420-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 engine, panoramic sunroof, power trunk lid, navigation and infotainment systems, heated and cooled front seats, and front and rear park-assist sensors. Also available are amenities such as LED headlights, 900-watt sound system, 360-degree exterior camera system, intelligent cruise control, head-up display, and more.

What's New:
  • All-new flagship sedan
  • Kia's version of the Hyundai Equus
  • RWD
  • V-8 engine
  • Available LED headlights and genuine wood interior trim
  • Optional heated, cooled, and power-reclining rear seats
  • 900-watt sound system
  • Multitude of safety technologies



2015 Kia Optima
Kia offers its Optima sedan in LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo, and SXL Turbo trim levels; with the exception the entry-level LX, all 2015 Optimas are now available with the latest version of the company's UVO infotainment and telematics system. New capabilities include geo-fencing, speed and curfew alerts (handy for parents of young drivers), and a driving score that helps track how efficiently the Optima is being operated. Depending on configuration, the front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2015 Optima is equipped with either a 192-horsepower 2.4-liter or 274-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine.

What's New:
  • Minor interior updates
  • Laminated windshield standard on all trim levels except LX
  • Updated infotainment system
  • Smokey Blue Metallic, Sparkling Silver, and Platinum Graphite paint colors
  • Black cloth upholstery (LX)



2015 Kia Optima Hybrid
While Kia has made a few minor updates to its Optima sedan, the hybrid model has been carried over unchanged. The 2015 Optima Hybrid is available in base and EX trim levels and features a powertrain consisting of a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 47-kW electric motor, and a 47-kW Lithium-ion battery. Net output is 199 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque. According to the EPA, the Optima Hybrid averages 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 38 mpg combined.

What's New:
  • No changes for the 2015 model year



2015 Kia Rio
Aside from the deletion of the Silverstone Beige paint color, there's little to distinguish the small 2015 Kia Rio sedan from the 2014 model. LX, EX, and SX trim levels are available, all equipped with a direct-injection, 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine.

What's New:
  • Silverstone Beige paint color no longer available



2015 Kia Rio 5-Door
Like the Rio sedan, the 2015 Kia Rio 5-door is essentially the same hatchback that was sold in 2014. Silverstone Beige is no longer being offered as a paint color, but that's it for updates. Shoppers considering the 2015 Rio 5-door can select the LX, EX, or SX trim level, each of which is powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that's coupled with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission that delivers output to the front wheels.

What's New:
  • Silverstone Beige paint color no longer available



2015 Kia Sedona
While Kia calls it a multi-purpose vehicle, the rest of us see the completely redesigned 2015 Sedona for what it really is: a minivan. That's hardly a dig on this versatile front-driver, as it offers seating for up to 8 occupants; features a standard 276-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 engine; boasts more legroom than its predecessor and available rear captain's chairs with fold-out footrests and large coddling headrests; and benefits from the inclusion of slide-and-stow second-row seats that allow the Sedona to be quickly and easily transformed into a cargo van. Also included is the latest iteration of Kia's UVO infotainment and telematics system, offering speed and curfew alerts (handy for tracking teenage drivers), driving score tool, geo-fencing, Apple's Siri eyes-free voice-command functionality, and more.

What's New:
  • Completely redesigned minivan
  • 7- or 8-passenger seating
  • L, LX, EX, SX, and SX Limited trim levels
  • Increased legroom
  • Slide-and-stow second-row seats
  • Available second-row captain's chairs with footrests and unique headrests
  • Latest version of Kia's infotainment system
  • 276-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 engine
  • Optional intelligent cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Available 360-degree exterior camera
  • Remote power liftgate



2015 Kia Sorento
Acting as perhaps the shortest model year on record, the 2015 Kia Sorento has been squeezed in between the departing 2014 version and the already-debuted and updated 2016 Sorento. For those who can catch one of these rides while they're still on dealers' lots, they'll find slight styling tweaks to the front end, more efficient 4-cylinder engine, and a stand-alone navigation system on the options list.

What's New:
  • Mildly revised front-end styling
  • Navigation now a stand-alone option (EX, EX V6)
  • Four-cylinder engine delivers slightly improved fuel economy



2015 Kia Soul
Available in base, Plus (+), and Exclaim (!) trim levels, the FWD 5-passenger Kia Soul sports a number of updates for the 2015 model year, including a new UVO eServices package that bundles together fog lights, automatic headlights, rearview camera, and smartphone-linked telematics and infotainment functions. The mid-level Soul Plus carries over without change, but the range-topping 2015 Soul Exclaim arrives with a newly available Cloud White paint color and an Umber Color package comprised of premium leather upholstery and Gloss Black alloy wheels. Depending on which trim level is selected, the 2015 Kia Soul will be equipped with either a 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine.

What's New:
  • UVO eServices package (base model)
  • Umber Color package (Exclaim)
  • Cloud White paint color (Exclaim)



2015 Kia Soul EV
Kia's first fully electric vehicle debuts for 2015 wearing the now familiar duds of the funky Soul 5-door wagon. That said, there are a number of visual cues that suggest the EV is not like all other Souls; those differences include a unique grille, 16-in. alloy wheels wrapped in low-rolling-resistance tires, white interior accents, and a unique selection of color combinations.

Of course, what really distinguishes the 2015 Kia Soul EV from its gasoline-powered counterpart is the electric drive system, which consists of an electric motor that delivers 109 horsepower and 210 lb.-ft. of torque, 90-kW Lithium-ion polymer battery, single-speed automatic transmission, and two charge ports. Using a regular 120-volt household outlet, a completely depleted Soul EV battery can be recharged in 24 hours, according to Kia; that time can be cut to 4-5 hours by using a 240-volt outlet. A 50-kW DC fast charger can fill the battery to 80% capacity in just 33 minutes, Kia says. Kia also claims the 2015 Soul EV can travel up to 93 mi. on a full charge.

What's New:
  • All-new electric vehicle
  • 93-mi. range
  • Two levels of available charging
  • 80% recharge in as few as 33 minutes
  • 90-kW Lithium-ion battery
  • Less rear legroom than gas-powered Soul but equal cargo space
  • Unique exterior styling cues
  • Standard 8-in. touch-screen navigation system



2015 Kia Sportage
Kia's smallest crossover--and corporate twin of the Hyundai Tucson--the 5-passenger Sportage receives only minor updates for 2015. These include a new UVO infotainment and telematics package for the entry-level LX trim level, and, for the top-of-the-line Sportage SX, added standard features like push-button start, navigation system, power-folding mirrors, and new black 18-in. alloy wheels. The mid-level EX version has been carried over unchanged for 2015. A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine powers the 2015 Kia Sportage LX and EX, while the SX draws its motivation from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Buyers of the 2015 Sportage have their choice of FWD and all-wheel drive (AWD) systems.

What's New:
  • UVO package
  • SX adds standard push-button start, navigation system, and power-folding outside mirrors

Additional Research:

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