Changes to 2021 Kia Models Include New K5 Sedan and Seltos SUV, Redesigned Sorento SUV

Jack R. Nerad | Dec 21, 2020

The announced changes for the 2021 Kia lineup include the all-new K5 midsize sedan, the all-new small Seltos crossover, and a redesigned version of the Sorento SUV. Unlike many other manufacturers, Kia doesn’t transition its vehicles to a new model year at a specific time, so information on changes to some 2021 models is not available yet, as you will see below.

2021 Kia Sorento SX X-Line Green Front Quarter View

2021 Kia Cadenza Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

The Kia Cadenza is a full-size sedan that sells in low volumes. While it is expected to continue for 2021, the Cadenza could come careening to an end. When questioned about changes for the 2021 model year, a Kia product spokesperson had no specific information to share. 

2021 Kia Forte Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

The Kia Forte compact car gets additional standard features for 2021. The GT-Line’s optional Premium package adds an available 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, while the Forte EX adds standard navigation with an embedded modem, a Harman Kardon premium sound system, a power sunroof, and wireless smartphone charging. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems are standard on with GT trim, but in cars with the dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). Manual transmission GT models get standard Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires for 2021.

2021 Kia K5 Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

Billed as Kia’s most powerful midsize sedan ever, the 2021 K5 replaces the venerable Optima nameplate. The new K5 marks the next step in a move by Kia to develop a performance image, an effort that began with the introduction of the Stinger, the company’s grand touring performance sedan. 

Longer, wider, and lower than the outgoing Optima, the K5 features an all-turbocharged engine lineup, including a new 2.5-liter powerplant that produces 290 horsepower. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line, while a performance-ready 8-speed “wet” DCT is available. All-wheel-drive is on the options list, too. 

2021 Kia K900 - Find the best Kia deals!

If you’ve never heard of the Kia K900 before, you’re not alone. This is Kia’s full-size luxury sedan, priced from about $60,000. As one might expect, it sells in tiny numbers, and it’s always a question as to whether or not it will return in any given model year. That’s true for 2021, too.

2021 Kia Niro Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

The Kia Niro will return for the 2021 model year, but no information on changes or new packaging was forthcoming as we prepared this article for publication.

2021 Kia Rio Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

The Kia Rio subcompact 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan are expected to return for 2021, but no information about what is changing was available from the automaker as this article was published.

2021 Kia Sedona Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2021 Kia Sedona minivan is a carryover model with no feature or specification changes. Kia has deleted a few things from the Sedona lineup, though. The base L trim level is gone, leaving LX, EX, and SX versions of the van. The Venetian Red paint color is also canceled, and the Sedona LX is no longer available with a Camel Beige interior color. A replacement may arrive in 2022, wearing the name Carnival.

2021 Kia Seltos Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

Perfectly positioned between small and compact crossover SUVs in size, the all-new 2021 Kia Seltos is a stylish yet affordable new model in one of the hottest-selling segments in the marketplace. Like other Kias, the Seltos drips value, and it comes in LX, S, EX, and SX Turbo trim levels. Most Seltos models have a 146-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, but the 175-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter offers a steady supply of satisfying torque. An all-wheel-drive system is an option, and the Seltos is available with the latest in Kia infotainment and advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS).

2021 Kia Sorento Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

Kia completely redesigns the 2021 Sorento for the new model year. It grows in size and offers a long list of updated convenience, infotainment, and safety technologies. Several new powertrains debut and a new X-Line trim level features higher ground clearance, improved approach and departure angles, and an enhanced all-wheel-drive system.

Most versions of the Sorento will have a new 191-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. As an upgrade, a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder supplies 281 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque, and it uses a sophisticated 8-speed wet DCT to power the wheels. A new Sorento Hybrid also debuts, featuring a turbo-hybrid powertrain based on a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. It supplies 227 hp, 258 lb.-ft. of torque, and an expected 37 mpg in combined driving. It comes only with front-wheel drive. 

In 2021, a new plug-in hybrid electric version of the Sorento is coming, with 261 hp and an estimated 30 miles of pure electric driving range.

2021 Kia Soul Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

Kia has indefinitely canceled plans to bring a next-generation Soul EV to the U.S. market. Otherwise, the automaker makes minimal changes to the 2021 Soul. All versions of this 5-door multi-purpose vehicle get a standard rear-seat reminder system. The Soul X-Line and GT-Line trims are equipped with new shock valves for improved ride quality, while the EX and Turbo versions have a new key fob now with a remote start button on it. Remote start is also available through the UVO telematics system. Revised badging on the Turbo model rounds out the changes.

2021 Kia Sportage Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

New Nightfall Edition and Nightfall Edition Premium packages are the big news for the 2021 Sportage compact SUV. These replace last year’s S trim-level Sunroof and Premium Packages, and as you might have already guessed, they include piano black trim pieces on the front bumper, side sills, front and rear skid plates, and fog lights, plus 18-inch alloy wheels with blacked-out center caps. Exclusive Kia Sportage badges across the rear liftgate tie the look together.

2021 Kia Stinger Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2021 Stinger sports sedan carries over virtually intact from the 2020 model year. A red interior is now standard with Panthera Gray paint on the Stinger GT models.

2021 Kia Telluride Changes - Find the best Kia deals!

A new Nightfall Edition package is the big change to the 2021 Telluride 3-row midsize SUV. Offered only with all-wheel-drive and EX trim with the Premium Package or SX trim with the Prestige Package, it gives the Kia Telluride the popular blacked-out exterior look. Kia upgrades the previous 4-pin trailering harness to a 7-pin configuration across all trim levels, and the key fob adds a new remote engine start button. 

Kia Motors America is the source of information in this article. It was accurate on December 12, 2020, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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