Kia may implement all-wheel drive systems in the Optima, Sedona, and Niro, Kia Motors America’s vice president of Planning and Strategy says.
Speaking with Car Buzz at the New York Auto Show, Orth Hedrick said the South Korean automaker is actively studying all-wheel drive options for the three vehicles.
“We’re actively studying it for [Sedona and Optima]. We look at everything. One of the main points of my job is to see what others are doing. If we see someone moving in that direction, we go back and start pencilling it to see if it makes sense. We look at the opportunity. We look at the buyers’ interest,” he said.
New platform needed for Optima and Sedona
Adding all-wheel drive to these models won’t be as easy as dropping in a rear differential. Instead, all-wheel drive Sedona and Optima models would need entirely new platforms meaning they won’t see the light of day in the vehicles current generations.
“It’s a platform tear out [for Sedona]. You’d have to completely change everything underneath the car. It’ll be a next generation thing because the floor pan and the rear suspension has to be completely redesigned—it’s a major tear up,” Hedrick confirmed.
Speaking of a possible all-wheel drive Kia Niro hybrid, Hedrick said the company is working on it.
“We’re still studying it. It hasn’t been long since we launched the car and we’re still working on it. As a matter of fact, our head of R&D was here yesterday and we reiterated our request. They’re working on something. Nothing to announce. It’s something we would like.”
Despite the Niro being a crossover, Kia decided against launching it with all-wheel drive because it wanted to “do something different” and “the link between CUV and all-wheel drive wasn’t quite there yet.”