Kia Niro, Optima, And Sedona May Get All-Wheel Drive

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.”

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  • Autoexperte

    Kia Optima is the nice Sonata

  • RS6 Performance Wagon Lover

    I was sure the Carnival/Sedona shared a platform with the AWD Sorento.

  • Leconte Dave

    Make the Optima RWD/AWD
    Kia need to be different from Hyundai

    • Androuffle

      If next gen Optima gets AWD, as a matter of fact Sonata will get it too. They will not have 2 different platforms for such similar vehicles.

  • :/ Yurr

    I think every midsize car should have an AWD option.

  • haudit

    Why would they need new platforms? If a company with the very limited engineering resources of MG Rover managed to adapt the FWD Rover 75 into the RWD MG ZT260 on a budget of some spare change and a Halford’s Gift Certificate, Kia has no excuse.

  • Maykel

    If the Niro EV production is close to the concept, I’d be getting that and please give the Soul an AWD.

    • bd0007

      The indication is that the new Soul will be getting AWD (part of the rationale for us not getting the Stonic).

  • bd0007

    Quite feasible as the Optima and Sonata are due for a new platform – which likely will be more modular and flexible.

    Don’t know why they couldn’t use an e-AWD system for the Niro.

  • Harry_Wild

    If true, sales in the cold weather states will boom for Kia since Honda and Toyota are committed to protect their luxury brand and will not offer AWD option on their sedans.

  • Jason Lyrics

    Why not just offer a 6spd 2.0 m/t boosted Optima? I think that platform will attract more enthusiast as most look at these cars and say “It’s just a Kia”