Kia released the first full images of the interior and exterior design of its new electric car – the EV6 – on Monday.
The images were shown off ahead of the electric car’s online world premiere later this month.
The car has a crossover-inspired design and represents the next generation of electric cars for Kia. The EV6 has a sleek and more rounded design that rides lower to the ground than other Kia cars.
Kia says the car’s design represents the company’s shift toward electrification.
“We strongly believe EV6 is a compelling and relevant model for the new EV market,” Karim Habib, Kia’s senior vice president and head of global design center, said in a press release. “With EV6 we aimed to create a distinctive, impactful design by using a combination of sophisticated, high-tech features on pure and rich volumes, while providing a unique space as a futuristic EV.”
The EV6 was built on its parent company Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform. The car is the second one to be built based off the platform, after Kia unveiled its Ioniq 5 in February.
The car’s interior is simple but high-tech. The inside boasts a curved high-definition audio visual and navigation screen.
The E-GMP platform helps give drivers and passengers more space, according to Kia. The slim seats and curved screen, which is designed to give the driver an immersive view, adds to the car’s spacious interior.
“We want our products to deliver an instinctive and natural experience that improves the daily lives of our customers,” Habib said.
Kia said the company based the car’s design off its new design philosophy, “Opposites United.”
The car company has not yet released any specs for the EV6, but the car will likely be similar to the Ioniq 5, as they were both built of the E-GMP platform.
I dare anyone to call the 2022 Kia Carnival an “uncool minivan” after reading this blog.
We first saw the redesigned Sedona minivan – which is what Kia calls the Carnival in other markets – last June and were impressed with its boxy, SUVish looks. Now, Kia has scrapped the Sedona nameplate altogether and is going with “Carnival” moving forward.
The new Carnival uses a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, according to a press release. But that’s not the most exciting part. That title would go to the optional “VIP Lounge Seating” treatment for the second row, which includes leg extensions, wing-out headrests, and a recline position that rivals the most luxurious airline seats.
Kia still hasn’t announced pricing for the new Carnival, but you can expect it to go on sale at some point during Q2 of this year.
Keep reading to see more of the interior and those seats.
The 2022 Carnival is the newest version of Kia’s minivan.
The Carnival is the name for the Sedona minivan in other markets, so this time around, Kia is just renaming the new Sedona the Carnival.
Since minivans have a bit of an image problem, it’s clear Kia is going after a more rugged, SUV-style look here.
The 3.5-liter V6 produces a claimed 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.
There’s an automatic transmission and 3,500 pounds of towing capacity.
The van is available in either seven- or eight-passenger configurations.
The third row can fold fully flat and increase the trunk space significantly.
The second row in the eight-passenger Carnival can be removed for even more storage.
An eight-inch touchscreen display comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The cabin features a very clean and modern-looking design.
You can also expect the handy lane-change camera from other Kia models.
The third row of seats looks quite roomy.
But if you get the Carnival in the seven-seater configuration, that second-row is where the action is.
Here, you can get the optional VIP Lounge Seating, which comes with wing-out headrests, leg extensions, and power controls.
You can basically turn the second row into a first-class airplane seat.
On the SX and SX-Prestige trims, you can even get a dual, rear-screen entertainment system.
The new Carnival only comes in front-wheel drive and it still uses sliding doors.
This is the new minivan that Kia will use to compete with stalwarts such as the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.
No pricing was announced, but you can expect the new Carnival to go one sale during Q2 of this year.
Kia is reportedly seeking a production partner to build Apple’s electric vehicles in Georgia, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple has reportedly been in talks with Hyundai, Kia’s parent company, about a partnership on the vehicles. Last week, Hyundai executives were reportedly “agonizing” over the deal.
Apple and Hyundai were reportedly close to a deal this week, CNBC reported on Wednesday. But Bloomberg reported on Friday that Apple and Hyundai had “paused” their discussions. It wasn’t clear when they’d resume, the report said.
Apple didn’t return a request for comment on Saturday.
If Kia finds a local partner to build an Apple vehicle in Georgia, it’s unclear how involved Hyundai would be in making the vehicles.
“We are not a company which manufactures cars for others. It is not like working with Apple would always produce great results,” an unnamed Hyundai executive told Reuters last week.
Apple hasn’t publicly acknowledged that it’s been in talks with auto manufacturers, but details have leaked to the press. Hyundai and Apple have been talking about a deal since at least 2018, according to Reuters. And the company is in talks with other manufacturers for smaller parts, the Journal reported.
South Korean media reported on January 10 that Hyundai and Apple planned to sign a deal by March 2021. They were planning to make a “beta” version of an Apple electric vehicle in 2022, then start full-scale production in 2024, according to the report.
If finalized, the EV will be Apple-branded and built at Kia’s assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, CNBC reported.
Sources told the outlet that the deal isn’t done yet, and that Apple may decide to partner with another automaker either instead of, or in addition to, Hyundai.
As for specifics about the car itself, one source told CNBC that Apple’s cars won’t be built to have a driver and that they’ll be geared toward “the last mile,” indicating that the vehicles may be commercial in nature.
Apple’s stock jumped more than 2% on the news in after-hours trading.
Rumors have circulated for years about Apple’s potential plans to build an EV, and speculation has intensified in recent months.
In December, Reuters reported that Apple plans to launch a self-driving electric vehicle as soon as 2024, citing unnamed sources familiar with the tech giant’s plans. Sources told the outlet that the vehicle would not be a commercial vehicle or a self-driving taxi, but a consumer vehicle instead. Instead of competing with robotaxi firms like Waymo, Apple would more likely rival electric carmakers like Tesla and Rivian.
The future vehicle would utilize Apple’s own advanced battery technology, which has the potential to “radically” diminish charging time and increase range, one source told Reuters.
Hyundai declined to comment when reached by Insider. A spokesperson for Apple did immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
It wasn’t that long ago that cars from Korean sister brands Hyundai and Kia had a reputation for being cheaply built and horribly unreliable. Buyers conflated their economy pricing with sub-par quality to the detriment of the automakers. But that is no more.
Within the last 15 years or so, Hyundai and Kia shed their crap-can reputations and instead focused on making cars that people actually wanted to buy – quality cars that looked good and were good to drive, too.
Perhaps the most shining example of that is the new Kia Telluride, a midsize three-row SUV named after a posh ski town in Colorado. Kia started selling it in the spring of 2019, and you people went nuts for it.
SUVs in general have enjoyed strong sales here in the US for years. But when it came to the Telluride, things felt different. It felt lavish. Unlike its competitors. Like it belonged in at a higher price point than Kia gave it. The Telluride felt like a crowning moment of just how far Hyundai and Kia have come.
It, plus the other offerings out of South Korea, hopefully symbolize a willingness to commit to what it takes to challenge current industry giants like Honda and Toyota – and if Hyundai and Kia do commit, those giants will be in for a fight.
Selling like hotcakes
Much of the Telluride’s initial coverage focused on how popular it was. It’s called the Kia “Sell-u-ride” internally, Automobile Magazine reported. Dealers couldn’t keep them on their lots because demand was so high, CNN said. Kia couldn’t build the Telluride fast enough to meet the need, The Car Connection wrote.
The best-selling Telluride, CarBuzz discovered, is the top-tier SX trim with the Premium Package. That one runs you at a starting MSRP of $46,390 – or a little more than a base Mercedes-Benz GLC.
The outside of the Telluride is striking. With its big, wide grille, its own name – T E L L U R I D E – stamped in silver lettering across its nose, its stacked headlights and square, orange daytime running lights, the Telluride’s face is not one that blends in with the rather bland SUVs it competes with. The perennially popular Toyota Highlander, conversely, is rolling anonymity.
The Telluride is bold. It demands attention. And it doesn’t look like anything Kia has ever made or currently makes. If you covered up the badge, I probably wouldn’t have even thought it was a Kia at all.
Inside, it’s the same story. High-quality leathers, wood-appearing trim, simulated brushed metal switches and dials. Refinement, spaciousness. Upscale.
Rap on the dash with your knuckles and it doesn’t respond with that cheap, clacky, plasticky response. Toggle the air vents and they slide smoothly in their sockets. Close the doors and they return a satisfying thump.
Fully loaded, my review Telluride came to just under $50,000. It was an incredible amount of car for the price, punching far above its weight and infringing dangerously close to luxury automaker territory.
Building the good cars
This upward trend with South Korean automakers started a few years ago and it might just give them a fighting chance against the Japanese ones – provided they keep investing the time, money, and resources required for maintaining that momentum. Because, so far, the cars have been good.
The Telluride’s biggest draw is that it offers an upmarket product that’s priced lower than many of its competitors.
There still might be a struggle with brand recognition issues over at Hyundai’s new luxury arm, Genesis, but the quality of its cars is undeniable. The G90 and G80 sedans are executive and just as comfortable to ride in as they are to drive. The G70 sport sedan is light-footed and fun, especially when paired with a manual transmission.
You know about the Kia Telluride. But before that, the Kia Stinger sport sedan came bursting out of the gates with a hatch-style trunk and sharp looks, winning Business Insider’s 2018 Car of the Year award.
These cars are proof that style doesn’t always have to command top dollar. In fact, it shouldn’t.
The ascent of South Korean automakers in the US public consciousness only started happening within the last 15 years or so.
A 2004 story in The New York Times reported that new-car buyers ranked Hyundai above any domestic or European automaker in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. It was the first time this had ever happened.
The story quoted the agency’s then executive director of quality and customer satisfaction, Joe Ivers, as saying: “A decade ago, as Korean manufacturers struggled with a universally poor reputation for vehicle quality, no one would have predicted they could not only keep the pace, but actually pass domestics and other imports in terms of initial quality.”
That wasn’t the whole story, though. The outlet pointed out that Kia continued to be a “subpar performer in the initial-quality rankings.”
“And in J.D. Power’s most recent study of long-term reliability, which many in the industry consider to be a more important barometer, the Hyundai brand ranks near the bottom of the industry and Kia is dead last,” The New York Times wrote.
In a matter of a few years, the results have almost completely reversed themselves.
Gone are the days when you’d reject a Kia simply because it was a Korean car. Han’s casual dismissal of Hyundai in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” doesn’t hold the same type of punch-down humor it once did.
You do get the sense that Hyundai and Kia are still figuring out a cohesive design strategy – all BMWs look like BMWs, but not all Kias and Hyundais look like Kias and Hyundais yet – but as for what’s underneath? They’ve got that on lock. Based on what I’ve seen in just the past few years, what’s to come can only get better.
There’s still a long road ahead if the brands want to displace industry titans like Toyota and Honda – and even Nissan – of course. Hyundai and Kia account for just 8.1% of the market share in the US, The Korea Times reported in 2019. That was despite the greatly improved products.
That modest market share is also comprised of weak segments – hatchbacks and compact sedans, as well as low-margin cars – so Kia and Hyundai must build up numbers there, too. Headline-grabbing Stingers and Tellurides can’t net all of the sales, after all.
But it’s an optimistic spot to be in all the same. The crap-can reputation is a thing of the past, and that accounts very powerfully for public perception. With the Telluride especially, Kia has shown that it not only can, but will, build, execute, and sell a quality car that people actually want to buy.
The trick is to carry that same energy over to everything else.