A blue 2023 Kia Soul is shown parked off-road after visiting a Kia dealer.

How the Current Kia Lineup Offers an Array of Affordable Options

Being unique and not conforming to the norm is what pushes this world forward. While we can see this being practiced in a variety of notable industries, perhaps it is best demonstrated within the automotive world. We can see it first-hand with the sheer amount of innovations that are introduced with each model year. This acts as a double-edged sword; while the car-buying public certainly welcomes innovation, it can sometimes be overwhelming to discover the vehicle that best fits your needs.

Among the vast sea of American, German, and Japanese vehicles, there are several brands we’d classify as “special.” Special can take many forms among the car manufacturers we know and love. Whether you’re looking for strength, efficiency, or an abundance of cool features and tech, “special” can mean something different to every driver. For those who prioritize value over other elements, we enthusiastically suggest visiting your local Kia dealer and exploring the vast selection of budget-friendly models for everyone, from solo commuters to growing families. Models such as the Rio and Seltos prove that comfort and performance do not have to come with a hefty price tag. Let’s dive deeper into this cost-effective lineup and introduce you to some Kia models that are sure to add value to your daily drive.

Who Says Value and Affordability Have to Be Pre-Owned?

Many of us often associate a new vehicle with a costly MSRP. For decades, Kia has shown drivers that investing in a new vehicle doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the modern features and performance you demand from a current model. Other popular manufacturers like Chevy and Ford have seemed to abandon the once-popular commuter vehicles with a focus on large and powerful SUVs and trucks. This is where Kia comes in. Kia’s lineup is unique because there is a striking number of new vehicles that cost under $25,000. Regarding the economical models in Kia’s lineup, there are two sedans, the Rio and Forte, along with the hatchback variant of the Rio, known as the Rio 5-Door. But it doesn’t end with just sedans; there are two SUV models, the Soul and Seltos, that can also be picked up for under $25,000.

The 2023 Rio starts at an MSRP of $16,750, while the hatchback variant starts at $17,390. The 2023 Forte has an MSRP of $19,690, making these three sedans fit under the $25,000 threshold. And how do the modest SUVs in Kia’s inventory hold up? Drivers looking to get behind the wheel of an SUV for less should consider the Soul’s $19,990 starting price, while the Seltos is offered for $24,390. Kia’s strength is in its diverse and cost-effective lineup. The brand clearly understands that many drivers are not looking to invest in an expensive SUV or luxury sedan and are looking for a vehicle that will get them to their destination safely with minimal trips to the gas pumps.

The black interior and dash of a 2023 Kia Soul is shown.

Cost-Effectiveness Meets Real-World Performance

It truly is one thing to say that a vehicle costs under a certain amount to grab the public’s attention, but if the car can barely provide anything beyond its low starting price tag, then what’s the point? There are plenty of models out there with the latest and greatest features and exceptional performance, but they come with a sizable cost. Kia understands this dilemma and provides a welcomed alternative to costly full-size SUVs and luxury sedans with its current lineup. Perhaps this is best demonstrated with the 2023 Kia Rio, offering a perfect balance of affordability and must-have features.

Given that the 2023 Rio costs less than a used 2018 Honda Civic (in the ballpark of $19,000) , you can experience what it feels like to be the first owner of a brand-new automobile for a fraction of what you would pay with many other brands. The 2023 Civic Sedan is Honda’s most affordable sedan, and even then, it is over $5,000 more than the Rio. Both models offer similar fuel efficiency, allowing you the ability to get behind a brand-new Rio for a cheaper price tag and great efficiency to match.

The Kia Rio performs well for the price with its 1.6L I-4 engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), offering a notable 120 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque, which is the same performance it lends to the Rio 5-Door model. In the Rio sedan, the 1.6L I-4 engine earns an EPA-estimated rating of 32 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway, with 36 MPG combined.

The Rio is a great example of why you do not need to spend a fortune on a new vehicle, but we will get back to that momentarily. Before that, let’s take a closer look at the Forte sedan. The standard engine inside the Forte is a 2.0L I-4 engine, but the Forte offers the GT-Line, which swaps this out for a more performant powertrain, and neither the GT-Line nor GT exceeds $25,000. For those who prefer manual transmissions, the GT Manual starts at $25,090, so let’s call this one an honorable mention. However, the Forte is an example of what kind of performance you can achieve under $25,000, which may surprise you.

In its base configuration, the 2023 Forte improves upon the Rio with its 2.0L I-4 engine creating 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, and its fuel economy ratings are impressively similar too – the former earns EPA-estimated ratings of 30 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway (34 MPG combined) with FWD. But if you purchase a Forte with the turbocharged 1.6L I-4 engine, it will come with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) standard unless you purchase the GT Manual, in which case the turbocharged engine will be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. The performance gains are stark with 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, and fuel economy is still an excellent showing with EPA-estimated ratings of 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway (30 MPG combined) with the DCT and ratings of 22 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway (26 MPG combined) with the manual transmission.

Modern Tech Where You Least Expect It

You have probably seen those vehicles with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – perhaps you have a friend or family member you have seen seamlessly connect their iPhone or Android smartphone to their vehicle’s infotainment centers. You may have even had a car with these features, as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay launched in 2015 and 2016. Regardless, to many people, when they hear the phrase “vehicle under $20,000,” the first place their mind goes is likely anywhere but “premium tech.” Kia has proven that some of the features many of us have perceived as expensive, thanks to other manufacturers holding back certain tech features behind paywalls, such as higher-tier trim levels, are anything but unobtainable for the masses.

The best example of the best value in automotive tech is the Kia Rio, and that’s because many of its most useful and noteworthy features come with this value-friendly vehicle. Best of all, it will not cost you a dime. Every Kia vehicle has infotainment tech, including the Rio with its standard 8-inch infotainment center that comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Can you believe one of the most cost-effective vehicles on the new market incorporates wireless technology? Also, let’s not forget that the Rio, Forte, and other Kia vehicles have advanced safety features like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping and Following Assist, and much more, courtesy of its standard Kia Drive Wise safety and driver assistance suite.

A red 2023 Kia Stinger GT is shown driving.

Kia Offers a Brand-New Alternative to Buying Used

Kia has cornered the market when it comes to budget-friendly models that still pack an abundance of desirable comfort, convenience, and safety features. Some people may claim that buying a new vehicle at least once is something everyone should do, and we wholeheartedly agree. Purchasing a new vehicle, like one from Kia, means getting up-to-date tech and fresh components, and, of course, every new vehicle comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Enjoying that new car smell and the innovative features that come with it is no longer available to just those with deep pockets. Kia has proven that all of these things are within reach for those shopping on a budget. If you’re in the market for a vehicle but are unsure whether a brand-new model fits your price range, we enthusiastically invite you to check out Kia’s affordable lineup.