Kia earned first-place and or high honors for 9 different models (or 10 depending on how and what you count) according to MotorTrend and its “Ultimate Car Rankings” for the second half of 2022. Kia’s electrified vehicles in particular garnered more than half of the awards or recognition for electrified vehicles. The Kia EV6 took the “Top Ranked” spot in the Electric SUV category, sharing the spotlight with its Hyundai twin, the Ioniq 5, which earned the top spot. Other electrified Kia models getting recognition were the Sportage Hybrid (#2 in Best Compact Hybrid SUV category, behind the Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid), the Sorento Hybrid (#2 in Best 3-Row Hybrid SUVs behind the Toyota Highlander Hybrid), the Niro Hybrid (#2 in Best Compact Hybrid Hatches behind the Toyota Prius), the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (#2 in Best Compact Plug-in Hybrid Hatches behind the Hyundai Ioniq), the Niro EV (#3 in Best Electric Cars behind the #1 Tesla Model 3 and #2 Chevrolet Bolt).
Besides its electrified models, Kia also earned MotorTrend’s recognition for the Rio sedan (#1 in Best Compact Sedans), the Rio hatchback (#1 in Best Subcompact Hatchbacks) the Stinger (#3 in Best Full-Sized Cars behind the #1 Toyota Avalon and #2 VW Arteon), and last but not least the Telluride (#1 in Best 3-Row SUVs). Are you impressed yet? Perhaps not, so let’s compare accolades Kia received to those of some other mainstream car makers.
First, let’s look at SUV classes since these are among the hottest selling vehicle classes in the U.S. and more brands have SUV offerings at this point than in other categories like sedans and hatchbacks. Compared to Kia’s 4 SUV accolades, Toyota also earned 4 (though Toyota earned the top spot in 3 of the 4 compared to Kia’s 2 of 4). Hyundai earned 6 SUV accolades, though only 2 of them were for the top spot. Ford had the most, overall, in the SUV classes though, with a total of 7. Otherwise, Kia also had as many accolades as Subaru, and more than Honda, Mazda, Chevrolet/GMC, and Jeep. This means that Kia is in the upper tier, in a 3 way tie, behind only Ford and Kia’s corporate sibling, Hyundai. If Kia is pacing with Toyota and Subaru in the extremely hot SUV market, you must know that they’re doing something(s) right.
With 6 more accolades in classes only a few automakers still have offerings in, mainly subcompact and compact sedans and hatchbacks, you might think that doesn’t count for much. But such a conclusion would be ignoring some important details about the quality of vehicles Kia has on offer. For one, compact sedans and hatchbacks are the most affordable new cars one can buy. These vehicles represent many people’s first new car purchase, or an economical commuter vehicle that just needs to get someone from point A to point B. The fact that Kia dominates these most economical choices, and places solidly in all three corresponding electrified entry level hatchback segments too, shows us that Kia is the brand to beat when it comes to value and initial quality in the mainstream small car market. It also shows us that Kia aims to make efficiency affordable or attainable for more people, something that seems to be increasingly rare these days.
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Images courtesy of Kia.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 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 Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.