So which awards and models did Kia take home the KBB awards for? All three are SUVs, and one of them is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). First, the Kia Seltos won Best Subcompact SUV. KBB praised the Seltos for its low starting price, roomy interior, standard safety and tech features, fuel economy, and vehicle warranty. Note that the Seltos won the same award last year, too, so clearly Kia is hitting the target with this particular model.
Second, the Kia Telluride won best 3-Row Midsize SUV. KBB called out the Telluride for its good looks, roomy and upscale interior, practicality, and standard safety and convenience equipment. But if you were impressed by the Seltos winning its award in back to back years, the Telluride has won its award 4 years in a row (which is one for every year that it has been on sale in the U.S.). Kia has clearly nailed it with this particular model as well.
Third, the Kia Sportage PHEV won best plug-in hybrid vehicle. KBB is a fan of the plug-in version of Kia’s best selling vehicle for its fuel efficiency, power, standard features, warranty, and comfort. They felt it was “well-rounded” and were especially impressed by the design, fit and finish and details of its interior space. One feature they liked in particular was the automatic lowering of stereo volume when the Sportage is shifted into reverse, something typically only seen in luxury vehicles. The Sportage PHEV was one of four vehicles in KBB’s awards list with a plug. Most of the rest of the vehicles on KBB’s list either have or were a standard hybrid (HEV) trim as well.
But what is perhaps a little more interesting than Kia’s 3 awards, is if you count up all the awards won by the Hyundai Motor Group (which consists of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis). Together the group won 8 of 19 awards, and one model, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, won two awards: Best Electric Vehicle and Best New Model (which is their highest award given). All of the award winning vehicles from the group were SUVs or crossovers, and the others that won were: the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Genesis GV70 and GV80. The only other manufacturers to win three or more awards were Toyota (which won three awards, one of which was for the Lexus ES) and Ford (which won four awards, three for pickups and one for a full-size SUV). Winning twice as many awards as the next brand family is quite impressive and speaks to both the inspired designs and overall quality of the South Korean automakers most recent products, don’t you think?
While KBB might not be considered the pinnacle of the automotive press and its accolades may only carry so much weight as such, the fact is that Kia keeps piling up the awards. In the last year Kia has won multiple awards from J.D. Power, MotorTrend, Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, and more. Do any of these awards carry more weight in your mind? Which one might hold more sway in your vehicle purchasing decisions? What other factors, besides awards and quality design, affect your car buying calculus? Do you prefer other journalistic sources over these that have praised Kia’s models, and if so, which ones? 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 Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.