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Kia Unveils K4: Could it Outshine Elantra with Its Performance Levels?

Anticipated Midsize Model K4
Recently Revealed Specs and Design
Compared to the Elantra

The Kia K4, a midsize sedan eagerly awaited as a rival to the Elantra, has finally unveiled its design. On the 27th, Kia showcased the physical models of the entire K4 lineup, including the sedan and the GT Line, along with an unexpected hatchback, at the New York Auto Show.

While Kia has remained silent about the K4’s domestic launch, the possibility of it being sold exclusively overseas is gaining weight. However, as the Elantra is also a popular model in North America, avoiding a head-to-head battle with the K4 will be difficult. Upon reviewing the specifications of the K4, it seems to present a significant challenge to the Elantra.

K4-스펙
K4-스펙

25mm wider than the Elantra, significantly improved second-row livability.

First, let’s look at the dimensions of the K4. The North American version of the sedan boasts a size of 4,710mm in length, 1,850mm in width, 1,420mm in height, and a wheelbase of 2,720mm (about 185.4 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, 55.9 inches high, and a 107.1-inch wheelbase). It’s only 25mm wider than the Elantra, with the rest being the same. The difference may not be significant, but it does make a difference compared to Kia’s previous midsize sedans. It has a 20mm longer wheelbase than the midsize sedan ‘Optima’ from the 1990s to 2000s and is 15mm wider than the first-generation K5.

This indicates a significant improvement in interior livability. Thanks to the extended wheelbase, the second-row legroom reaches 965mm (about 38 inches), a 58mm increase compared to the previous K3. However, the second-row headroom has decreased by 5mm to 947mm (about 37.3 inches). It’s not a big difference. Given the fastback design, the trunk space is also expected to expand significantly.

Kia K4 1.6L Gasoline Turbo Engine

The powertrain steps up with 2.0 naturally aspirated and 1.6 turbo

The powertrain also shows a ‘beyond midsize’ configuration. The K4 offers two options: a 2.0L 4-cylinder naturally aspirated gasoline engine with an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) and a 1.6L 4-cylinder gasoline turbo engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter. All are front-wheel drive, and a hybrid model’s release has yet to be announced.

The 2.0L naturally aspirated model delivers a maximum output of 149 horsepower and a maximum torque of 18.3 kg.m, while the 1.6L turbo model produces 193 horsepower and 27 kgf.m. These two engines are also used in the brand’s compact SUV Kona, midsize SUV Tucson, and midsize sedan Sonata. On the other hand, the Elantra is configured with a 1.6L gasoline and LPi naturally aspirated engine and a hybrid. The 1.6L turbo used in the N Line disappeared after last year’s facelift, and only the high-performance model N is equipped with a 2.0L turbo.

Kia K4 GT Line

A Total 30-Inch Display
First in Midsize to Feature THIS

The convenience and safety specifications are also armed to the highest level in its class. A panoramic display totaling 30 inches is applied, including a 12.3-inch digital cluster and infotainment and a 5-inch HVAC display in between. The latest infotainment system, ccNC, includes an ‘AI Assistant’ that integrates generative AI technology. It’s described as capable of understanding complex contexts and offering communication on a different level.

In addition, new features such as wireless phone connectivity and Over The Air (OTA) software updates have been applied. Safety features include the latest Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) with 8 airbags, including second-row side airbags. The emergency evasion steering is the first specification in the midsize class. The car is set to launch in the US during the second half of this year, and there is interest in whether it will be released domestically.

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