Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A grey 2025 Kia K4 is shown driving on an open road with a New Car Alert banner overlayed.

The 2025 Kia K4 Brings More Comfort and Best-In-Class Technology

Kia has been steadily climbing upmarket, introducing stylish new vehicles with premium features, from the Telluride to the EV6. As part of this move, the brand has also been refreshing its sedan lineup, replacing its old economy-oriented options with more compelling models. In 2021, we saw the midsize Optima retired in favor of the stunning new K5. Now, the compact Forte is being replaced by the all-new 2025 Kia K4. This new model follows Kia’s pattern of offering exceptional features and luxury styling at an affordable price.

The basic underpinnings of the 2025 K4 have a lot in common with the 2024 Forte, but make no mistake that this is an all-new model and not a simple rebadging. While the two engine options are unchanged from what the Forte offers, the K4 brings sharp new looks and is almost three inches longer than the model it replaces. That additional length gives it best-in-class headroom and legroom for rear-seat passengers, making it a much more attractive option if you routinely have friends or family in the back seats.

Class-Leading Technology

The days when driving a compact sedan meant accepting limited features are long past, but most brands still save their best technology for their midsize models. That’s not the case with Kia. In fact, the 2025 K4 actually has more screen real estate than the larger K5. Inside this new sedan, you will find the dual 12.3-inch driver and infotainment displays that have been appearing on most recent Kia models, but you will also find a new five-inch climate control display for a total of nearly 30 inches of screens.

The K4 also uses Kia’s new Connected Car Navigation Cockpit operating system, which includes standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is also the first car in the segment to offer over-the-air updates, allowing Kia to add more features over time. Another first-in-class feature is Kia’s Digital Key 2.0. This convenient technology allows you to use compatible Apple and Samsung phones or an available smart card in place of your keyfob, just like a Tesla.

A grey 2025 Kia K4 is shown from a rear angle overlooking a mountain view.

More Luxurious, but Slightly Less Sporty

Overall, Kia has turned up the luxury for the K4, offering many features designed to provide a more refined ride. On top of the larger cabin, the model offers niceties like heated and ventilated seats with driver memory, and an available acoustic windshield will help reduce road noise and let you better enjoy the optional Harman Kardon sound system. Driver-assist tools are also plentiful, including options like a 360-degree Surround View Monitor that you don’t commonly find in subcompact sedans.

The 2025 K4 is available in five trims, including the LX, LXS, EX, GT-Line, and GT-Line Turbo. This is a slightly different lineup than the Forte offered in recent years, with the addition of the EX for drivers who value luxury over sportiness. The Forte’s GT trim has also been replaced with the GT-Line Turbo. Kia fans will know that the GT-Line name usually represents a trim with sporty aesthetics but no real performance upgrades, but the K4 is different.

Both the GT-Line and GT-Line Turbo now come with multi-link rear suspension instead of the standard torsion beam rear suspension, and the GT-Line Turbo has the same 1.6L turbocharged engine with 201 hp that the Forte GT provided. The only step backward in performance is that the previous transmission options for the 1.6L were replaced by an eight-speed automatic. That’s still an improvement over the CVT in the lower trims but will likely disappoint fans of the old six-speed manual and DCT options.

A Fresh Face in a Shrinking Segment

It’s no secret that sedans are dying off––Kia itself has discontinued the Rio, Stinger, Cadenza, and K900 in just the past few years. That’s why it’s good to see a manufacturer investing in a new compact sedan model to keep this practical, efficient, and affordable segment alive. The K4 is sure to give tried-and-true options like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Mazda3 a run for their money. The renamed trim lineup also suggests that Kia might be leaving room for an even higher-performance K4 GT in the future, which would be an exciting alternative to the Hyundai Elantra N and VW Golf GTI. If you’re a fan of Kia’s stylish new models and are in the market for a sedan, the 2025 K4 should be on your radar.