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Kia has completely revamped its lineup in recent years. All of its models have undergone dramatic redesigns, with the company employing a new head stylist and all-new design philosophy. The resulting revamped look of Kia models has been a mixed bag among consumers. Some are drawn to the new, bold designs, while others have had less-than-stellar receptions for their updated looks. Ultimately, the automaker’s new design philosophy has left audiences divided. 

Recent redesigns and bold upcoming models

The left front angle view of the front half of a 2024 Kia Telluride
2024 Kia Telluride | Kia

Kia has fully revamped the look of its lineup as of late, and the results are eye-catching. The redesigns are the result of the brand’s new design philosophy, dubbed “Opposites United.” This styling strategy “takes inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity,” the automaker claims. How Kia incorporates natural opposites into its designs isn’t obvious. But the contrast from its previous style to its new look is certainly clear. 

The boxy Kia Soul has served as a bit of a styling outlier in the automaker’s stable since it debuted for the 2010 model year. The current generation is perhaps more bold than ever, particularly with new front and rear designs debuting for 2023.

The 2023 Sportage compact SUV was radically overhauled with a bold new design that is far more catching than the model it replaced. 

The Sportage now more closely resembles the midsize Sorento, which receives a new boxier, more rugged styling for 2024. 

The Carnival minivan is a relative newcomer to the fray. It replaced the Sedona in 2022, and it sports Kia’s bold grille and a more SUV-like overall design. 

The Kia Niro was fully redesigned for its second generation in 2023, replacing the mundane looks of the first-gen model with a far more conspicuous look enhanced by its available contrasting “Aeroblade” bodywork. 

The K5 has been one of the more eye-catching compact sedans since making its debut, and Kia recently unveiled a new look for the 2025 version, which further enhances its distinct design. 

The EV6 all-electric crossover is certainly a bold departure from the norm. Its unique rear fascia and prominent lines give the EV a futuristic appearance to match its next-gen powertrain. The 2024 EV9, which will serve as the first mainstream three-row midsize SUV, sports a dramatic, boxy, but futuristic look that certainly grabs attention, for better or worse, subjectively. 

Overall, Kia’s current designs are a wild departure from the relatively mundane looks of its past models. The brand’s new chief designer has had a significant hand in altering the lineup’s looks. 

Meet Kia’s head of design Karim Habib

A blue 2024 Kia K5 is shown driving on a tree-lined road
2024 Kia K5 | Kia

Karim Habib has served as Head of Kia Global Design since 2019. He certainly had a hand in designing the latest K5, Carnival, EV6, and Sorento generations), and is undoubtedly spearheading the automaker’s new bold designs. 

Habib previously served as a designer, manager, and later Head of Design for BMW, beginning his career with the automaker in 1998. In 2017, Habib joined Infiniti as its executive design director before landing with Kia. 

Habib said Kia’s design philosophy is a strategy to make the brand’s models more “futuristic” and “challenging,” in an interview with Car and Driver.

The resulting redesigns haven’t won over all consumers. The bold designs mean its products no longer have the automotive anonymity of previous generations, and that has been off-putting for some. However, those who like to stand out are undoubtedly drawn to the brand’s new styling. 

Regardless of the general perception among car shoppers, there is no questioning that Kia’s new designs are certainly a departure from the norm. 

Kia’s new logo has a similar controversy

The Kia logo badge is shown in close view on a 2024 Kia Telluride
2024 Kia Telluride showing its Kia logo badge | Kia

As Kia has worked to revamp the look of its lineup, it is doing so with a new logo. It has received its fair share of criticism. 

Debuting in 2021, Kia’s new logo is far more stylish than its old emblem, but simultaneously, it is illegible to many. The logo blends the letters of “KIA,” and its stylized script has resulted in plenty of questions as to what kind of car is a “KN,” with drivers mistaking the “I” and “A” in the logo for a “N.” 

Like Kia’s new design philosophy overall, the brand’s logo is a significant alteration from the relatively mundane company look of yesteryear, but not all are fans.


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