One is a turbocharged coupe, the other a refreshed commuter car, the other a super sport-utility vehicle. All three are Kias, and all three were just unveiled on stage at the New York International Auto Show.
Let's start with the new 2014 Kia Forte Koup. We first saw the new Forte in sedan guise at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year in sedan form, and the Forte five-door followed at the Chicago Auto Show in February. The 2014 Forte Koup rounds out the nameplate as the last bodystyle to receive Kia's major updates.
Those major updates include a new look, including a wider, thinner "tiger" grille, long headlights with prominent LED running lights, and a prominent cooling aperture at the bottom of the front-end. They also include new powertrain options.
The Forte Koup is split into two trim levels, EX and SX, each featuring a different engine. The EX uses a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I-4 making 173 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque, and is mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. If you're looking for more oomph, however, you'll want to opt for the SX trim level, which swaps in a 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 making 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The engine is the most powerful ever fitted to a Forte Koup, and it comes mated to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The Koup also receives all manner of Kia comfort and convenience features, like adjustable-effort steering, heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, high-intensity discharge headlights, automatic climate control, and passive entry/ignition.
Further up the Kia model range, engineers have updated what might be the brand's most important model--the Optima mid-size sedan. The 2014 Optima receives some minor updates to the front and rear fascias. On the front fascia, the fog lights have been replaced with two four-LED clusters, with a thin strip of black plastic connecting them to the lower cooling aperture. There's more LED love just above the projector headlights, too. On the quarter panels, Kia's affixed two chrome badge panels (with matching "Turbo" badges, if your car is so equipped), which match the chrome wheels and chrome accent strip on the kick panels. If you have to own a mid-size sedan and really like chrome and LEDs, your choice appears to have been made for you.
On the inside, there's a few more upscale touches, including a color LCD instrument cluster, UVO infotainment/telematics, an optional blind-spot monitoring system, and Nappa leather seats (available on the Optima Limited trim level). The 2.4-liter naturally aspirated I-4 (200 hp) and 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 (275 hp) are unchanged for 2014.
That's all well and good, but what if you'd like your Kia to express your inner superpowers? If that describes you, you've no doubt been captivated by Kia's parade of superhero-themed concept cars, and you'll enjoy the last of the series, the Wonder Woman Sportage. The car, like the seven concepts before it, was created in conjunction with Super Street magazine and DC Entertainment, to raise awareness for DC's "We Can Be Heroes" campaign to bring relief to starving people in the Horn of Africa.
The changes to the Sportage are quite noticeable: they include a deep red paint job, with silver, gold, and blue accents. The grille insert is shaped like the iconic Wonder Woman logo, and the whole car has an aggressive aerodynamic kit including a lower front valance and side skirts. The aero kit also features blue undercarriage lighting, which matches the paint on the five-spoke wheels (the faces are silver). On the inside, the Kia features blue LED lighting, seats inspired by Wonder Woman's costume, and a cargo area carrying the heroine's bracelets and "Lasso of Truth."
The Forte Koup and Optima will go on sale later this year at prices to be determined; the Wonder Woman Sportage will reach Kia dealers about the same time as Wonder Woman's invisible plane--never.