Best Kia Vehicles for Young Professionals

professionalBeing a young professional can be exciting, but it can also mean long hours and late nights while you are trying to establish yourself in your chosen profession. Buying a car is often part of just starting out in life, but deciding which one specifically to purchase, especially if your life is still in flux, can be difficult. How do you know what vehicle is going to function just as well for you in three years as it does right now? The key is to buy a vehicle that is versatile. Luckily, Kia has a wide variety of those in its lineup. Here are the best Kia vehicles for young professionals:

The Kia Optima

The Optima is probably Kia’s most versatile vehicle and one of its most popular. It is designed to be both stylish and fun to drive, which makes it a great option for younger drivers. It’s also armed to the teeth with the best technology optima has to offer, as well as a number of great safety features, which could be a selling point for those who have long commutes and spend a lot of time on the road. This is a mid-sized sedan, which makes it larger than some of Kia’s other sedans, for more storage space and leg room. You certainly won’t sacrifice sportiness, however, if you choose the Optima.

The Kia Soul

The Soul is, without a doubt, the most unique vehicle in Kia’s lineup, which should make it the perfect choice for anyone who wants a car that marches to the beat of its own drum. It has everything that makes a sedan great, while being extremely unique-looking. On a less-aesthetic level, it is a fun-to-drive, engaging vehicle with plenty of technology and advanced handling. If you want to turn heads and to drive a vehicle that no one else at the office is going to be driving, this is the one for you.


The Kia Sportage

If you are looking for a vehicle that is as stylish as it is versatile, the Kia Sportage is a great option. Not only is the Sportage getting a few incredible updates this year (including being the first to get Kia’s updated UVO3 infotainment system), this vehicle is affordably priced, starting at just over $22,000. This makes it comparable to many entry-level sedans for most other brands, but gives you the functionality and look of a SUV.

If you find yourself often needing to haul stuff or people around, this is the vehicle for you. While some brands might opt for a more utilitarian design, the Sportage is sporty without being drab, and is still tons of fun to drive.

The Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is routinely among the cars listed as being the best for those just starting out in their careers—and for good reason. It’s stylish, there are plenty of different color options, which makes it customizable, and it gets great gas mileage. It is also less expensive than most other vehicles, starting at just under $16,000, which makes it much more accessible than even the cheapest sedans from most other brands.

The Forte has a lot going for it. Despite its relatively small size, it still has a roomy interior, a high quality infotainment system, and a sporty design that makes it a great choice for someone who does not want a sedan that looks like something their mother would drive. One of the best reason to pick a vehicle like this is to be able to get more vehicle for a lower price. The low entry price makes it possible to upgrade to a higher trim level and get more features, while still paying less than you would for other vehicles.

The Kia Rio

The smallest and least expensive vehicle in Kia’s lineup, the Rio still has plenty to offer. Not only does it have a combined MPG of thirty-one, it starts at just over $14,000. You cannot find a sedan, even a sub-compact, from any other brand, at that price. They just don’t exist. If you need a car and you want to buy a new car, but you can’t find anything that is affordably priced, this is a great alternative. You will be looking at very low monthly payments, or a shorter payment track, giving you the flexibility to pay off your vehicle quickly.

The Rio comes in two different configurations. There is the standard Rio, which has four doors, and the Rio 5-door, which is essentially the same as its four-doored alternative, except that it is a hatchback. This gives the Rio an even sportier appearance.

The Optima Hybrid

Last, but not least is the Optima Hybrid. It looks almost exactly like the Optima, but it has one important improvement: gets a combined MPG of thirty-eight. This means that if you have a long commute or you just want to protect the environment, you could seriously reduce your impact on the environment, simply by buying this vehicle.

What is especially impressive about this option, is that, despite being a Hybrid, it is still reasonable priced, starting at just under $26,000. This is not a price point you are going to be able to find from most other brands. If you want to purchase a vehicle that protects the environment or allows you to use less gas, you are probably going to see yourself with few options that start under $30,000. Kia does it and provides with a stylish, eco-friendly option that any young professional would be proud to drive.

The Kia Optima vs. The Kia Optima Hybrid

2015 Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia offers two different versions of the mid-sized sedan called the Optima. The first is a standard gas vehicle like most cars on the road. The second is a hybrid. While there are some obvious and immediate differences between the Kia Optima and the Kia Optima Hybrid, there are also quite a few similarities, which can sometimes make it difficult for a person to choose one over another, especially if the price difference is not really an object. If you are considering both the Optima and her more eco-friendly sister, here’s what you need to know about both cars.


The price difference between the regular Optima and the Hybrid is the first thing that most people notice. The Optima starts around $22,000 for the very basic trim, while the Hybrid starts around $26,000. That $4,000 difference is usually a sticking point for buyer, especially those that are on a budget.


What most people do not realize, however, is that while the Hybrid does have a higher initial investment, the hybrid format means that the driver spends far less on gas over the life of the car. This can mean far fewer trips to the gas station. Even if you have to get gas once a week with a standard vehicle, that can add up to hundreds of dollars a month. If you can half those trips, you half that cost.

The additional cost on the Optima Hybrid covers all of the extra technology that goes into making the car a hybrid vehicle. It is not just a gas-powered vehicle with a more powerful battery. Hybrid cars have sophisticated technology that helps the car and the driver make positive driving changes that save gas, in addition to the gas-saving electric motor and battery pack.

Miles per Gallon

The standard Optima gets 27 combined miles per gallon, meaning that it gets 23 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway. Most Optimas will outperform those projected numbers, unless you really do only use your Optima for short trips, driving around town, running errands. This makes the Optima, even with the benefit of the electric motor in the Hybrid, a much better investment than most mid-sized sedans, that may only get 20 or 25 combined miles per gallon.

The Hybrid, on the other hand, gets a combined mpg of 38, with 36 in the city and 40 on the highway. This enables you to get at least ten more miles out of every gallon of gas. Past Kia Optima models can hold about 18.5 gallons of gas, which means that you can get about 185 extra miles out of your car, before you would have to fill it up again. Whether you have a long commute to or from work every day or you just don’t want to fill up as often, a Hybrid car can make all the difference.


One of the best parts about Kia is that both the Optima and the Optima Hybrid come with the largely the same features and styling. The standard Optima does have more color choices for both the interior and the exterior, but the Hybrid still has plenty of colors to choose from. The safety systems are both top of the line and the cars’ bodies have nearly the same builds, despite being very different under the hood. When it comes to picking a stylish, technologically advanced, luxury vehicle, without the luxury price, both of the Optima’s versions are a great pick.

What is a hybrid car?

But what really makes the Hybrid different from the Optima? In short, where the vehicle gets its power from. Most vehicles have an internal combustion engine that burns gasoline in order to power the car. While hybrid cars still do have the combustion engine and a tank for fuel, they also have an electric motor and a battery—usually a different battery than what is found in gas-powered vehicles.

The electric motor, also called a motor-generator, powers the car along with the combustion engine. They also have a feature that recharges the battery when the car is braking, whether it is at a stoplight or while the vehicle is moving downhill. Many will also have a feature that utilizes electric charge in the motors to power the vehicle, if enough exists, further cutting down on how much gas a vehicle will use.

Why buy an Optima Hybrid instead of an Optima?

While a hybrid car will not completely eliminate the need for gasoline, a hybrid car is a great option for those who both want to save money on gas and cut down their carbon footprint. Because hybrids require less gas to run over their lives, they produce less pollution and contribute less to well drilling and other damaging practices that harm the ecosystem.

The ability to buy less gas is often impetus enough for most people. Choosing the Hybrid over the regular Optima is a difficult one. If you consider how much money you will save on gas, the difference in price does not become such a big deal. The difference in between a monthly payment for an Optima and a monthly payment for an Optima Hybrid would be more than covered by the amount of money you save on gas.

What other eco-friendly options does Kia offer?

All Kia cars are designed to be as energy efficient as possible, with many models having much higher miles to the gallon than other cars in their classes. Kia also offers another eco-friendly car, this time a strictly electronic vehicle that requires no gas at all: the Soul EV.

How to Pick the Right Kia as a Gift for Your Graduate

Kia Graduate Program

While some might see a car as too extravagant a gift for a graduate, reasonable car payments and great warranties make a Kia a great present for any student who is college, graduate school, or career-bound. A car means mobility and freedom and flexibility, three things that any young person needs in order to be successful in this next stage of his or her life. But buying a car for someone else can be tricky, because as thrilled as they might be with the gift, if the car isn’t the right car, it may temper the excitement of the gift. Here are some tips for picking the right Kia for your graduate.

Ask the Graduate

If you are planning to give the vehicle as a surprise gift, you probably don’t want to just flatly ask the graduate what kind of car he or she wants. What you can do is get another family member to ask the question or bring it up as you drive past a dealership. There are sneaky ways to figure out what kinds of vehicles they prefer and if there are any special features they might want their own car to have.

Pay Attention to Safety

Luckily, Kia has extremely high safety ratings, so finding a safe car is no problem. While all have great ratings, some do have better ratings in different areas than other models. When trying to decide which Kia model to select, think about how your recipient drives. Are they more likely to rear end someone or to be rear ended? Of course, it’s impossible to know if they will ever be in an accident and what kind of accident it will be, but you can rest easy knowing Kia has some of the best safety ratings on the road.

Ask About Reliability

Especially for a recipient who will be taking this vehicle off to university or to another city or state to pursue a goal or a dream, you want to pick a reliable vehicle. Sports cars might be fun to drive, but they don’t have a lot to offer in the way of safety or reliability. Kia vehicles, on the other hand, are designed to be extremely reliable, and because Kia offers the best warranties in the business, your graduate won’t have to worry about breaking down or paying for repairs any time soon.

Consider Fuel Efficiency

With gas prices only on the rise, it makes sense to look for a vehicle that has great fuel efficiency. Sedans and compacts will usually have the best fuel efficiency out of any model (with the Rio having the best efficiency), but there are SUVs and crossovers that have great fuel efficiency for their size. For those graduates who might be especially concerned about the environment, Kia does have an electric version of the Soul (105 mpg) and a hybrid version of the Optima (38 mpg).

Don’t Forget about Insurance

In most states, it is illegal to drive without insurance. The kind of car you are buying and the driver himself or herself will affect the insurance rate. Any car that has great safety ratings will be less expensive to insure, and many insurance companies may give discounts for graduates or students, if they can show proof of responsibility (like good grades).

Insurance is just part of the cost of owning a car, so if the graduate is going to be paying for the insurance, avoid purchasing him or her a vehicle that is going to be expensive to insure, like a sports car or a luxury vehicle. Small cars, with high fuel efficiency, and documented safety ratings, are usually less expensive.

Pick the Trim that Fits Your Graduate’s Needs

One of the mistakes that some parents and grandparents make is buying the base model of a vehicle, believing that the simplest model will be the best “starter car” for a young person. The truth is that the best car for a young person is the one that has the features they need. For example, if she is a music lover, make sure she has a great sound system and an entertainment system that is easy to use.


If your graduate loves hiking, biking, or other messy sports, durable floor mats that are easy to clean might be more important than leather seats or a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Don’t go overboard with features, but make sure that the car has what the driver needs. Even Kia’s most basic models still have plenty of great features for any driver, but some of the more outfitted trims may be better for your particular recipient.

Think About What He or She Will Use It For

At the end of summer, the graduate will probably use the car to move to college, a graduate degree, or into a new house or apartment to start his or her own career. Don’t purchase a car just with this move in mind. Think about what he or she is likely to use the car for. Are they moving somewhere cold where they are likely to get lots of snow (where a bigger, more rugged vehicle might come in handy?), or are they moving somewhere mountainous, where a zippy, responsive sedan might be more ideal?

Discuss the Conditions of the Gift with the Recipient

In some situations, there may be no conditions placed on the gift. In others, setting up a plan for who pays for what, how the car should be used, when it can be used, and other restrictions might be useful, especially if the recipient is a teenager graduating from high school who has never had a car of his own before. Laying some ground rules like no drinking and driving (obvious) and proper care and maintenance is never a bad idea.