2017 LA Auto Show: Kia Delivers Quality, Performance and Stunning Design

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Is New Car on your list to Santa this year? If it is, then you’ll definitely want to swing by the 2017 LA Auto Show next week! In town from Dec 1st – 10th at the LA Convention Center, they are showcasing some of the hottest new cars and of course old favorites along with fun concept vehicles. It is the perfect place to do some window shopping before you send your wish list to old Saint Nick.

We spent a day at the show this week with our favorite automotive brand, Kia. They are debuting new versions of some of their hottest cars, and I was there to hear president and CEO of Kia Motors America, Jang Won (Justin) Sohn, present these three exciting vehicles – 2019 Kia Sorento, 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and the 2018 Kia Stinger GT. Check it out:

You guys hear me over and over again – Kia this and Kia that and it’s because I’m truly a fan of the brand and their vehicles. They have come a long way from that first Kia Sportage sold in 1994 and being dead last on the 2001 JD Power Initial Quality Study. Yes, they were DEAD LAST just 15 years ago. Now follow along:

  • In 2005, they were the 14th largest automotive brand in the US, but still 30th out of 36 in that same JD Power study.
  • In June 21, 2016, Kia topped the JD Power Initial Quality Study at number one, being the first time in 27 years that a non-luxury brand held the top spot!
  • And just to prove that it wasn’t a “fluke”, in June of this year, Kia claimed that same #1 spot for a second year in a row – beating out the likes of Genesis (at #2) and Porsche (at #3).
  • In February of 2017, Consumer Reports named the Kia Optima as the Top 10 Best Picks of 2017 Midsize Car of the Year
  • Just 2 days ago the 2018 Stinger GT was named as one of three finalists for the 2018 North American Car of the Year! (Other two finalists: Honda Accord and Toyota Camry)

Kia is making cutting edge vehicles with surprising stock abilities (Hell’s Gate was no match for the Sorento), performance that beats Porsche and Mercedes (Stinger GT) and eco forward options to fit all lifestyles and budgets (like the Niro Plug-in Hybrid crossover). Each year Kia continues to show they have the power to surprise and the automotive industry is taking notice with award after award for quality and safety – you should too!

2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV)

The demands of our world are ever changing, and the need for cleaner emissions and more sustainable resources has inspired car producers to design hybrids that truly provide convenient rides for the everyday driver. No longer is hybrid synonymous with smaller, compact cars that won’t hold your groceries not to mention the whole family. Just as the market for hybrids has grown so have the cars themselves, and Kia has introduced the 2018 Niro Plug-In Hybrid Crossover!

As Kia’s third plug-in, they are expanding the variety they have to offer drivers. This new Niro PHEV has 26 miles of All-Electric Range, 105 MPGe, 46 mpg combined and Super Ultra-Low emissions all with available modern driver assistance technologies and the incredible space of a crossover with seating for 5. When the electric and gasoline systems work together, the estimated driving range is up to 560 miles, and while using the 240 V level 2 charger, a full battery charge takes only about 2.5 hours!

The Niro PHEV has multiple drive modes and the same 6 speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as the Niro providing dynamic drivability no matter where the road may take you. Always aiming for more, the Niro PHEV also has features such as Driver-Only air conditioning to decrease power consumption and light weight seat frames as well as aluminum in specific areas to help reduce the weight for efficiency. However, high strength steel, hot stamped steel components and industrial joint adhesives have increased structural integrity fast tracking this model to earn top honors from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

2019 Kia Sorento

One of the most exciting parts about the press conference was that Kia decided to take on Hell’s Revenge – one of the most challenging and obstacle-laden off-road trails in the world – in Moab, UT with the STOCK version of their 2019 Kia Sorento. Not really known or even marketed as an “off-road” vehicle, Kia wanted to prove this SUV is no pansy and fully capable to handle even your wildest adventures. Check out the video – it gave me the biggest smile ever! Coolest part is you can see this exact car that made the run on display at the LA Auto Show.


With a sleek face lift, new 8 speed automatic transmission and 7 passenger and third row seating (standard on all trims!) this bad boy handled Hell’s Revenge like a champ with only three minor modifications – addition of all terrain tires, a protective skid plate and disconnecting the sway bars (for safety) at the Hell’s Gate portion only.

The sporty all wheel drive has a 2.4 liter 4 GDI or a 3.3 liter V6 GDI that will happily handle off-roading, but the updated front and rear fascias as well as the available driver assistance technologies give it a modern, luxurious feel to make everyday driving enjoyable. It’s muscled body manages to look at home whether it is climbing rock cliffs or dropping off the kids. The 40/20/40 second row folding seats and 50/50 third-row folding seats are now standard in all trims – providing comfortable seating for up to seven passengers! Not many sporty vehicles can take on that many passengers and still look good doing it.

There are also a variety of options available such as the panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather, heated/ventilated seats, and an upgraded AVN 5.0 navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and even wireless charging. All models offer standard active safety features to ensure peace of mind. As one of their best selling vehicles, Kia continues to revamp this favorite and give drivers cutting edge drivability.

2018 Kia Stinger GT

We saved my absolute favorite for last! After having debuted in Detroit, the Kia Stinger can also be seen and touched at the LA Auto Show. Remember, this stunning modern day Gran Turismo has just been named a finalist for the 2018 North American Car of the Year!

The 5 seater Kia Stinger Fastback Sports Sedan is available starting at a surprisingly affordable $32,000 for the base model which has a turbo 4 engine and 255 horses. The available 3.3L twin-turbo V6 has 365 horses which will allow you to go 0-60 in 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 167 mph. Not bad, am I right?! 

The low seating offers plenty of headroom while the lower and wider wheelbase gives plenty of legroom for everyone. A combination of analog and digital instrumentation and the color TFT screen make the interior feel like something from the future. Its stretched hood and short overhang give it a “waiting to pounce” kind of stance, and the signature tiger nose decorates a wide front track that matches the rear creating a strong shape. The lines of the car are fast sweeping, and the functional elements such as the front air curtains, wheel arch gills, smooth underbody with integrated rear diffuser help it glide through the air with ease.

But let’s be honest, its the West Coast Customs designs that debuted at SEMA that everyone is currently talking about. So for those that are drooling over the mods, Kia unveiled their own bright orange Kia Stinger GT Federation providing beautiful and unique modifications available right at the dealership (and it won’t void your factory warranty from Kia)! This hot new car has put Kia in a whole new category and given drivers the chance to drive a modern muscle car without breaking the bank.   

If any of the above has piqued your interest (I know they did!) get on over to the LA Auto Show to try them on for size and even sign up to drive some of these bad boys on site. Be sure to keep your eye out for my BFFs, the Kia Hamsters!

kia hamsters la auto show

This is partnered post. All opinions remain my own.

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