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Kia Knows Americans Are Secretly Yearning For Options When It Comes To This Body Style

What body style is that, you ask? Why none other than the venerable wagon, or “estate” as they say in the UK. Which 2025 Kia model will be available as a wagon? That would be the brand new Kia K4, which replaces the outgoing Forte sedan.

I assume that you, dear reader, are not like me, and think the idea of a station wagon is odd at best. I am someone that thinks wagons are the epitome of function, performance (don’t laugh) and, when done right, have some of the most beautiful and exciting designs ever made (think of the gorgeous wagons from Audi, Volvo, or Porsche). I grew up going to the beach though, catching waves, and wagons remind me of that (their shape even reminiscent of surf boards that may have protruded from the back or have been strapped up top).

You may laugh at the premise of this article, but I humbly request you hear me out. Some transparency: the first car I ever considered mine was a station wagon (a 1974 Datsun 710 wagon to be exact), so perhaps I was doomed from the start!

The forthcoming Kia K4 Wagon may not be quite as performance oriented or as sleek as the Euro wagons I called out above, but a wagon’s ultimate attraction is first and foremost its utility. Hauling copious amounts of people and stuff while managing to hug the corners, accelerate briskly and not feel top heavy is something many SUVs and crossovers can’t quite deliver.

Long before there was anything called an SUV, wagons were flipping their hatches up and swallowing all the gear we could throw at them. SUVs do this same trick of course but with added weight and at the cost of worse fuel efficiency. Take the Kia Sportage, at 74.1 cubic ft, “one of the roomiest SUVs in its class”, according to U.S. News and World Report. versus a Subaru Outback (75.6 cubic feet of cargo space).

The Subaru wagon just edges out the roomy SUV competition from Kia, something that would likely be a selling point for anyone who picks between wagons and SUVS to support their active lifestyles. The Subaru, at 26 city/33 highway, also bests the fuel economy of the Kia at 23 city/28 highway by roughly 15% when we compare AWD apples to AWD apples, and the Subaru does this while also delivering additional ground clearance to boot. I will point out though that the Kia Sportage is available in both AWD Hybrid (HEV) and Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) trims that are far more fuel efficient than any Subaru Outback, at 42 city/44 highway and 84 MPGe, respectively, something that may certainly sway shoppers toward the Kia SUVs if they also value fuel efficiency.

I should also point out that with the K4 wagon will be classified as a compact wagon, whereas the Subaru Outback is considered a midsize; for those that care the K4 wagon would fall between the sub compact Crosstrek and the Outback wagons, in size.

But what do we know about the specs for Kia’s forthcoming K4 wagon? Will it be more performance oriented (or at least available in such a trim), or have more of a utility focused feature set? According to, “The wagon will likely share its powertrains, headlining features, and trim structure with the K4 sedan. It offers either a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder with a CVT or a turbo 1.6-liter with an eight-speed automatic, both being front-wheel drive.”

These engines are the same ones found in Kia’s Seltos and generate 146 and 195 horsepower, respectively. The K4 likely being lighter, and definitely lower to the ground (if not having lower ground clearance) should mean slightly better fuel efficiency and handling than the similarly equipped Sportages equipped with the same engines. Whereas the Seltos gets 25 city/27 highway (with AWD), the K4 wagon (FWD only I suspect) would likely get somewhere between the upper 20’s to upper 30’s for its base 2.0L engine (based on the current Forte models figures), and the turbo 1.6L version would likely be slightly less.

Given these stats, and’s further estimation that “There'll be GT-Line models too, which among other things upgrade the rear suspension to multilink. The availability of multilink suspension is intriguing, as the GT-Line trim itself likely won't make enough money to justify the extra development cost. It stands to reason Kia expects to make it up elsewhere, perhaps with a full-fledged GT.

If the K5 GT was anything to go by, such a car could blow the VW Golf GTI out of the water—and it might even give the hallowed Toyota GR Corolla a run for its money too”, it may be safe to assume the K4 wagon will lean, at least modestly, toward the performance oriented side with its 1.6L engine option. And since this will be the first compact wagon sold in the US since the 2019 VW Golf Sportwagen, I can end by saying that Kia is about to have the market to itself, and that is (hopefully) the perfect opportunity for America’s small but die hard wagon lovers to once again proclaim proudly, let “wagons rule”.

Would you be interested in a compact-sized wagon from Kia, or other brands? Why or why not? Please leave your questions and comments below.

Images courtesy of Kia.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Torque News Kia or X for regular electric and hybrid news coverage.