2025 Kia K4: Hands on Preview

Lee Bailie
by Lee Bailie

The all-new 2025 Kia K4, fresh with a new design, upgraded interior, and loads of new tech, made its global debut at the New York International Auto Show.

Arriving at dealers in the fourth quarter, the compact K4 sedan departs significantly from the outgoing Forte. And there’s no clearer indication of this sea change than the new sheet metal the K4 wears.

Fresh “Opposites United” design, bigger proportions

The latest vehicle to carry the Kia’s global “Opposites United” design language, following the EV9 and Carnival, the K4 features a wide stance, with an overall length of 185.4 (4,709 mm) inches and a width of 72.9 inches (1,851.7 mm). It is 2.9 inches (73.6 mm) longer than the Forte, and 1.8 inches (45.7 mm) wider. It is the widest car in its segment, according to Kia. Interior space has grown as a result, with 38 inches (965.2 mm) of rear seat legroom, and 37.3 inches (947.4mm) of rear seat headroom. Both measures are class leading.

The K4’s wide stance is accompanied by other Opposites United hallmarks, including stacked vertical LED headlights and taillights, with the latter being inspired by those of the EV9. The K4’s profile, meanwhile, has fastback proportions to give it the appearance of a liftback, but it only appears that way. The K4 has a trunk, with a sizeable volume of 14.6 cubic feet (413 litres).

To emphasize its coupe-like appearance, and to improve its aero efficiency, Kia has hidden the K4’s rear door handles in the c-pillar.

Five trims for both U.S. and Canadian markets

The K4’s lineup is divided into GT-Line and non-GT-Line models, which impacts some design elements, along with wheel and tire combinations. For instance, GT-Line models come with gloss black accents, including mirror caps, window trim and side sill. These trims also receive a satin chrome beltline and 18-inch alloy wheels. On top of that, the GT-Line Turbo also comes with small cube LED headlights, LED fog lights, and grade-specific 18-inch alloy wheels.

The full K4 lineup for the U.S. consists of five trims: LX, LXS, EX, GT-Line, and GT-Line Turbo. In Canada, the lineup consists of LX, EX, EX+, GT-Line Turbo, and GT-Line Turbo Tech.

Two powertrains

The K4 will come to market with two engines and transmissions, both of which carry over from the Forte, with a couple of notable differences. The non-GT-Line models receive a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (147 hp / 132 lb-ft.) paired with a continuously variable transmission. GT-Line models are powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (190 hp / 195 lb-ft.) mated to an eight-speed automatic, which replaces the outgoing seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 1.6 in the K4 is also down 11 horsepower compared to the same engine used in the Forte. As with the Forte, the K4 is a front-wheel-drive only car.

Premium interior

Inside the cabin, the K4’s dashboard is dominated by a single panel that houses two digital displays, one for the instrument cluster, and the other for the multimedia touchscreen. Kia hasn’t revealed the individual size of each screen, but it says the panel is almost 30 inches wide combined.

Powering this display is Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC), Kia’s new operating system. First deployed in the EV9, ccNC has faster processing, higher graphical resolution, Quick Controls for swiping, and over-the-air update capability. The system also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is standard on all trims. Harman / Kardon audio and a wide sunroof are optionally available.

Regarding color schemes, the K4 will be offered in Medium Gray (LX / LXS / EX) or Slate Green (EX), while GT-Line trims will also be available in Onyx (black) and Off-White. Of note, Slate Green is not available in Canada. Heated front seats are standard on GT-Line and above and is standard on all grades in Canada. Ventilated seats and driver’s memory seat with memory functions are also available as options.

More Tech

The K4 will be available with new tech features, including Digital Key 2.0 with Ultra Wideband that will allow users to lock, unlock and drive using compatible Apple or Samsung smart devices, or an NFC-enabled smart card. The digital key can also be shared via text message on compatible devices. Over the air updates are also available for various digital features and services through the Kia Connect Store, through the Kia Access app, or through the Kia Owner Portal. Kia Connect’s available voice assistant, which responds to a “Hey Kia” prompt, enables users to adjust climate controls and audio.

Advanced Safety

The K4 comes with eight standard airbags and a wealth of advanced driver assistance technology, including standard Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go. Forward Collision Avoidance 1.5, and Evasive Steering Assist are available as options.

The 2025 Kia K4 goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.

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Lee Bailie
Lee Bailie

With more than 20 years of industry experience, which includes automotive retail, motorsports PR, and writing and editing for various automotive publications, Lee is an AutoGuide freelancer, and car guy to the core. For nearly a decade and a half, he has married his two consuming passions together – journalism and the automotive industry. Whether it’s providing coverage on debuts from an auto show floor, writing road test reviews, or previewing a new model coming soon, Lee is eager to share his passion for the automotive industry with his readers. He is a long-standing member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and won a feature writing award in 2018.

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