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Comparing Kia's Eco-Dynamic Cars for My Next Vehicle

Disclosure: I was hosted by Kia for a media trip to learn about their line of eco-dynamic vehicles.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.  I was not financially compensated for this post.

I was recently invited by Kia Motors, along with some other digital influencers, to attend an experience to get to know the Kia brand and their fleet of eco-dynamic vehicles.  The timing of this trip was pretty ideal as I will be in the market for a new car, myself, later this year.  I have also been considering a more ecologically-conscious choice for my next vehicle, so I was eager to learn more about different options and the latest in eco-dynamic technology for vehicles.  Today, I am going to share my experience with you and this will kick off my journey to finding my next vehicle.

The experience began with a presentation about some of the science behind eco cars, more details about the cars we would have a chance to drive that day, and the evolution of the Kia brand.  I love that Kia is honest about who they are... they own their past reputation and use it to inspire the strides they have made (which have been strides in leaps and bounds).  Being image-conscious myself, I'll be the first to admit that I had previously considered Kia to be a lower-end vehicle, in both price and quality.  While they are still friendly on the wallet, they have worked hard to step out of the "cheap" reputation in quality, now leading the entire industry in initial quality (according to JD Power).  They also lead in owner satisfaction, which I saw first hand when I met several happy Kia owners this week. 

As far as style goes (and you guys know how important that is to me), their new models are seriously slick.  I didn't get to drive a Cadenza or Stinger, but I will definitely be considering both of those when the time comes for me to choose my next car. 
Let me just talk about the Stinger for a second, because this is one sexy car.  In fact, it's the fastest-accelerating Kia ever, and I think it's going to be an absolute game-changer in the affordable sports car sphere.  It was designed in both Germany and Korea... and BMW and VW better watch out.

But back to what I came for... the eco-dynamic vehicles.  We learned the differences in hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and completely electric vehicles.  The way technology is advancing for vehicles like this, all options seemed feasible for everyday life.  But for travelers and road trippers like my family, I think hybrid and plug-in hybrids are more our speed (no pun intended). 
After the presentation, we split off for an all-day "Ride and Drive," where we had access to drive the Soul EV, the Optima Hybrid, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid, and the Niro Hybrid Crossover around San Diego. 

Kia made sure there were plenty of vehicles at our disposal so that we could try any of them that we wanted to experience, and see different color and interior options.  We also got to play with the super-cool UVO voice-activated "infotainment" system.  I definitely need this in my next car. 

We split off into groups of two to four influencers, and hit the town.  My posse for the day was Alice Chase (Thrill of the Chases), Africa Miranda, and Jason Yarborough (The Wild Letters).  We got to take turns driving so we could all experience driving and sitting as a passenger in these vehicles.

The first car we drove was the Optima Hybrid.  I loved this car.  It not only looked super hot, but drove super smoothly (I was surprised how quiet it was!).  The backseat and trunk were very family-friendly, and could easily accommodate my boys' booster seats and our usual gear.  It averages 39 MPG city/46 MPG highway (42 MPG combined).  The price-point for the quality and style is this vehicle is also fabulous, ranging from $25,995 through $30,990 plus $895 destination. 

The next one we drove was the Niro Hybrid Crossover.  Also super smooth and quiet driving, the Niro stands out in it's family-friendly nature.  This could easily accommodate our family of four, and includes great trunk space for camping getaways and road trips.  But what really sets the Niro apart in the market is the gas mileage.  It set a Guinness Record for doing 76.6 MPG, the lowest fuel-consumption by a hybrid vehicle driving coast-to-coast across the US (insert shock-face emoji).  Though for more realistic day-to-day stats, you can expect up to 50 MPG combined (city and highway) at a price range of $22,890 to $29,650 plus $895 destination.  That's a phenomenal price, especially considering the fuel savings. 

This was just the beginning of my car-buying journey this year, but I can say that from what I learned, I will definitely be considering a hybrid or plug-in hybrid for my next vehicle.  I will also have the Optima on my list, because I love the sleek and chic look of the sedan.  I'm just not the crossover (or mini van) type of mom. 

Do any of you have any experience with the Optima or Cadenza Kia cars?  What about other hybrids?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

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