Kia has a solid reputation in designing affordable and reliable vehicles for families. For 2018, this brand offers four crossover SUVs that come with great options under the hood, in safety and digital technology. From the inexpensive Soul to the premium Sorento, you’ll find plenty of class-leading amenities in the lineup.
2018 Kia Soul
Just like in previous years, the 2018 Kia Soul has a compact body that’s optimized for urban roads. This economical car has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of just more than $16,000. Rated at 130 horsepower, a naturally aspirated 1.6 L engine is standard in the base trim. The 1.6 L turbo engine increases the output to more than 200 hp. A dual-clutch transmission system is connected to the turbo engine. The third powertrain option is a naturally aspirated 2.0 L engine that yields slightly more than 160 hp. This Kia crossover SUV offers a maximum highway fuel economy of 31 mpg.
The 2018 Kia Soul’s UVO infotainment system is available with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth work well with this signature multimedia platform. You could listen to music on HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Featuring a subwoofer and amplifier, the Harman Kardon sound system produces wonderful acoustics for your favorite songs.
As an affordable crossover SUV, the 2018 Kia Soul is equipped with several traditional safety features that improve handling:
- Vehicle Stability Management
- Electronic Stability Control
- Hill Start Assist Control
- Electronic Brake Force Distribution
- Anti-Locking Braking System
Compact and efficient, the 2018 Honda HR-V poses some reasonable competition for the 2018 Kia Soul. Running on the 1.8 L i-VTEC engine what’s rated at 141 hp, this Honda fails to match the capabilities of the 2018 Soul. However, the HR-V’s Real-Time All-Wheel Drive delivers superior traction in inclement weather.
2018 Kia Niro
Carrying a starting price tag of more than $23,000, the 2018 Kia Niro is a compact crossover SUV that offers four trims. A 1.6 L engine with the GDI technology is standard in this efficient vehicle. This naturally aspirated engine is part of the Full Parallel Hybrid System that delivers a peak output of approximately 140 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A dual-clutch transmission system with six gears is linked to the hybrid powertrain that includes a lithium-ion polymer battery and electric motor. The 2018 Niro boasts a fuel economy of 51 mpg in the city and 46 mpg on the highway.
Besides having an efficient design under the hood, the 2018 Kia Niro offers advanced digital technology with mobile-friendly connectivity:
- 8.0-inch UVO Infotainment System
- HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Eight Harman Kardon Speakers
- Wireless Phone Charging
- Wireless Bluetooth
As a reliable family car, the 2018 Kia Niro places a heavy priority on passive safety by having the following amenities:
- Driver’s Side Knee Air Bag
- Dual Stage Front Advanced Air Bags
- Full-Length Side Curtain Air Bags
- Three-Point Seat Belts
- Front and Rear Crumple Zones
The 2018 Kia Niro could be fairly compared to the 2018 Toyota RAV4, which is also available with a hybrid powertrain. However, the Niro’s hybrid system produces significantly more torque. In the connectivity category, the RAV4’s Entune infotainment system matches many of the features that are available in the UVO platform. The RAV4’s 11 JBL GreenEdge speakers also offer the same type of acoustic quality of the Niro’s Harman Kardon speakers.
2018 Kia Sportage
The 2018 Kia Sportage is a crossover SUV that competes on the mid-size level. Offering a lineup of three editions, this premium car has a starting MSRP of slightly more than $23,500. The LX and EX models are driven by a 2.4 L engine that generates just over 180 hp and 175 lb-ft. A 2.0 L turbo engine whips out 240 hp and 260 lb-ft in the SX Turbo trim. Available with the Dynamax All-Wheel Drive and center locking differential, the 2018 Sportage grips the road well in any weather. Each model comes with a six-speed automatic transmission system and the Sportmatic technology. The fuel economy for this Kia crossover SUV is 30 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg on urban roads.
Running on the UVO software, the 8.0-inch infotainment system in the 2018 Kia Sportage includes an advanced GPS navigation system with the latest data from SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. The vehicle’s smartphone-ready portals include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Rated at 320 acoustic watts, an eight-speaker sound system by Harman Kardon plays songs on HD Radio and SiriusXM. You’ll enjoy superior audio quality thanks to the Clari-Fi technology that compensates for noise.
This mid-size Kia crossover SUV also has several accident-avoidance features that have contributed to the Top Safety Pick award by the IIHS.
- Autonomous Emergency Brakes
- Lane Departure Warning
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Blind Spot Detection
- Parking Assist with Multiple Sensors
- Lane Change Assist
The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport competes well against the 2018 Kia Sportage. Starting at slightly more than $21,000, this mid-size Hyundai crossover SUV is slightly more affordable. The Value Package, Premium Package, and Tech Package add many high-tech features that match those in the Sportage. Overall, this Kia model offers better value in entry-level and mid-level amenities at comparable prices.
2018 Kia Sorento
Having a full-size platform, the 2018 Kia Sorento is without a doubt the largest crossover SUV in the lineup. This family vehicle comes in seven trims, including the luxurious SX Limited edition. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the 2018 Sorento is ranked on the Best 3-Row SUVs for the Money list.
The 2.4 L I-4 and 3.3 V6 engines use natural aspiration for induction. Delivering up to 290 hp, the 2.0 L turbo engine is installed only in the EX 2.0T model. Most of the trims are available with the Dynamax AWD and Torque Vectoring Cornering Control. The maximum fuel economy ratings for the 2018 Sorento include 28 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in the city.
As expected, the 8.0-inch multimedia console in the 2018 Kia Sorento has the UVO label. Apple devices and Android smartphones could be easily synced with this infotainment. Music channels in this vehicle include HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Designed by Infinity, the 10-speaker sound system has an eight-inch subwoofer and external amplifier.
As the most sophisticated crossover SUV offered by Kia, the 2018 Sorento appropriately boasts the latest active safety technology:
- Advanced Smart Cruise Control
- Forward Collision Warning
- Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Lane Departure Warning
- Surround View Monitor
- Rear Parking Assist
- Blind Spot Detection
Priced at more than $31,000, the 2018 Toyota Highlander is in the same class as the 2018 Kia Sorento. Running on a V6 gas engine, this Toyota crossover SUV has similar mechanical capabilities as the Sorento. A hybrid powertrain gives the Highlander an advantage in efficiency. Both crossover SUVs offer similar accident-avoidance features, such as automatic brakes and warning systems for lane departures or front crashes.