Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A white 2017 Kia Optima is parked in front of trees after leaving one of the used car dealers.

The Only Reason You Need to Shop for a Used Kia

What’s the most important quality to look for in a vehicle when shopping at used car dealers? You in the back, yes, you. Is it price? Price is important of course, but that’s not the answer. How about you, chewing that wad of gum in the back row? How many miles the car has on it, that’s the most important thing for a used car. Nope wrong again. Quality is the key word. What is the most important quality? The correct answer is reliability. Reliability, say it together with me. RE-LIA-BIL-ITY…

The purpose of this fake scenario with the condescending teacher is to emphasize the point he made to his fake students. A used car has been around the block a few times (literally), sometimes more than a few times. Since knowing exactly the degree of care the previous owner(s) took with your potential new ride is impossible, what other criteria should you use? At the top of the list is the overall reliability, and that begins with the manufacturer. That’s why it’s easy to recommend shopping for a used Kia.

After a huge shift in culture and production in the mid-2000s, Kia is now known for its consistent quality as well as the amazing value of its warranties. A review of 2020 Kias in Consumer Reports sums it up: “the combination of strong reliability and owner satisfaction has Kia ranked highly among all brands.” And this is proven with the number of automotive industry awards Kia has received both as a company and for its individual models. That should be reason enough to keep one eye open for the Kia name when scanning the lots at used car dealerships.

A red 2018 Kia Stinger is driving around corner with a blurred background.

What’s Your Type?

Although Kia makes trucks for the South Korean military, they have yet to produce one for the public. Although, there are rumors Kia will release their first truck in the next two to three years. The vehicles they do manufacture are among the most consistently well-made in the automotive industry, and they have the awards to back it up. But what makes it significant is the reasonable MSRPs that regular folks can afford.

The considerable portfolio of SUVs/crossovers, sedans, hybrid, and electric cars, is based on value. Therefore, the consistent quality offered at reasonable prices paired with the best warranty in the business makes it a great nominee for a used car purchase. In addition to these classes, the 2020 brochure includes the veteran Kia Sedona minivan, as well as the hatchback Rio 5-Door. A good possibility is finding a used Sedona if you are in the market for a minivan. The Sedona has been a staple in the Kia lineup for almost two decades, having first made its debut in the U.S. in 2001. It is now on its third generation, and among the awards it has won over the years include J.D. Power Awards for Performance in 2015 and 2016.

Optima, Stinger, and Sorrento (Oh My!)

The Kia Stinger was first sold in the U.S. market in 2017, and although the sales and buzz started off somewhat slow out of the gates, they quickly accelerated in 2018. This is not at all like the Stinger itself, which, in one test drive of the all-wheel drive GT 3.3T by Car and Driver, went from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds and topped off at 167 mph. Whoa.

Not surprisingly, the 2018 Stinger won a J.D. Power Award winner in the performance category. And although the Stinger has not been around for that long, and is not the typical everyday-use sedan most consumers would shop for on used car lots, it’s just too cool to not mention. The beautiful 2020 Stinger starts at just over 33K, so used Stingers will certainly be available somewhere in the low to mid 20K range. For that type of quality and that price, the Stinger acquits itself with the Kia value despite its flashy look and feel. And if you’re a sporty type of girl or guy, what more could you want from a sports car than one that both performs and is more affordable than the typical sports car? And don’t forget, it comes with the golden Kia powertrain warranty.

The Optima is for sure one of Kia’s all-stars and flagship vehicles of the Kia family. It consistently tops the list in the Kia lineup as one of the top-selling vehicles, but the Optima is also one of the most awarded. In 2017, Kelley Blue Book named the Optima among the Top 10 Most Awarded Vehicles of 2017. In light of this, I will not belabor the point with a list of more accolades for the Optima, an award for the most awards should be sufficient to make the point.

Since sedans were meant to be driven every day, the Optima’s warranty can come especially handy here for a used model found on the lot. The new owner could have plenty of time and plenty of miles to redeem that powertrain warranty in the case of an emergency. The 2020 Kia Optima offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid options in addition to its gas engines, but the Optima Hybrid has been on the U.S. market since 2011, so that option is certainly a possibility as well. And like the standard version of the Optima, it is highly rated in all categories as well.

A white 2017 Kia Sorento is parked in front of desert shrubs.

The Kia Sorento has been a mid-size crossover SUV since 2009 (before that, it was a compact). From the five year sample (2013-2018), the Sorento won multiple quality awards and one for performance from J.D. Power (that should be the last mention of awards I promise).

Even though the Sorento is a mid-size SUV, it is equipped with three rows of seating for seven passengers in a beautiful layout, perfect for families of above-average size. Once again, for the reasonable price tag on a new Sorento in any given year, there is an increased value of a used Sorento due to the immediate hit on the resale price that any new vehicle takes the second it drives off the lot. So for a family looking for true value in a used SUV of quality and dependability that performs (I won’t mention any names of any awards since I promised), you simply cannot go wrong with the Kia Sorento.


After Kia’s restructure in the mid-2000’s, the Kia turned into a well-respected company with heart, offering incredible value on well-made cars backed up by the best warranty in the business: 10 years/100,000 miles. Most competitors top out at 5 years/60,000 miles. That is quite a difference. After all, what is a better statement of a company’s confidence in its product than a guarantee of quality (that is sure to last well into the life of the vehicle). The overall low rate of recalls by Kias is the definition of reliability. According to one study, Kia has the third-lowest recall rate in the business behind Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Suffice to say, reliability usually costs a pretty penny, just not for a Kia.

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