If you’re in the market for a car (new or used), there are a number of reasons to consider buying a Kia – especially if you are on a tight budget. Kia has long had an iffy reputation, especially for reliability, but that reputation has been changing in recent years and changing fast. While many automakers have struggled through tough economic times in the last few years, Kia has managed to increase sales on a regular basis.

How has Kia done this? Well, they are winning over consumers and the auto industry alike by turning out well-designed, good-looking and fuel-efficient vehicles, and by offering quality vehicles at a low price along with their famous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Not only has Kia greatly improved the design and look of their vehicles, but compared to many other automakers, they offer an extensive list of standard equipment and many available luxury-minded options. For the modest price of a Kia, you really do get a lot for your money.

Once you have decided that buying a Kia is a good choice for you, follow the tips below to maximize your shopping experience. Buying a Kia can be a great decision; you just need to know what you’re buying.

Our Tips When Buying a Kia

  1. Decide on a New or Used Kia – When buying a Kia, new or used makes a big difference in how you approach your research and shopping. When buying a new Kia, you can go with almost any model and not worry about reliability, thanks to recent improvements across all models.  If you opt to buy a used Kia, however, you will have to be more diligent in your research and be a bit more careful of which model and model year you buy. Be sure to check reviews and reliability scores from trusted sources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.
  2. Find the Right Model – Kia currently offers eight models, including cars, SUVs and a minivan, plus a few more models if you buy used. Start by deciding on the type of Kia you’re looking to buy, then decide on a budget and finally, research the models that fit your criteria.
    • Kia SUVs – Both the Kia Sorento and the Kia Sportage can be very good choices for an SUV.  The Sorento is a refined mid-size crossover SUV with either 2- or 3-row seating options while the Sportage is a stylish and sportier compact crossover SUV. Both models have a price tag starting in the low-to-mid $20,000 range and come standard with many goodies like alloy wheels, LED taillights, Bluetooth and USB audio/phone connectivity, satellite radio and an iPod interface. Driving experience, size and style will dictate which model is a better fit for you.
    • Kia Minivan – Although the Kia Sedona may not be the most exciting minivan out there, its starting price tag of just over $27,000 and long list of standard features – including a V6 engine and full list of safety and infotainment equipment – make it a great choice for the budget-conscious family that needs plenty of room.
    • Kia Economy Cars – If you want a true economy car, buying a Kia Rio is right for you.  Starting at under $15,000 brand new – with a full list of standard equipment and nice design for an economy car – the Kia Rio is among the best in its class. Then there’s the well-known and funky Kia Soul. With its cute/funky styling and fairly plush interior, it is worlds away from your typical economy car, but its price tag starts at just around $15,000. Rounding out Kia’s economy car options is the Kia Forte. This compact sedan starts at about $18,000 and offers sporty styling inside and out, plus an unusually long list of features for an economy car.
    • Kia Luxury Sedans – Although known as more of a budget brand, Kia does offer competitive models in the luxury sedan class. Brand new for 2014 is the Kia Cadenza, a large luxury sedan that offers a sophisticated design, luxury interior and an extended list of standard features; all for under $40,000. Priced like an economy family sedan (in the low $20,000 range) but looking, feeling and driving like a luxury sedan, the current Kia Optima is an excellent choice for a midsize family sedan. For the eco-conscious, the Optima also comes in a hybrid model.
  3. Know the Car’s History – If you’re buying a Kia used, then you absolutely need to know the car’s history.  Get a copy of the history/inspection report and have the car checked out by a trusted mechanic. Many older Kia models have had some significant reliability issues, but if those issues have already been dealt with, it may be no problem to buy that used Kia.
  4. Test Drive the Car – Each Kia model and model year, whether new or used, offers a fairly distinct driving experience, so it is crucial to actually get behind the wheel and make sure you’re happy with the driving experience. Do as much research as possible to land on your favorite Kia model(s) but then go see the car in person and drive it.
  5. Buy an Extended Auto Warranty – Even though Kia offers a longer than average standard warranty, you should strongly consider buying an extended auto warranty if you’re buying a Kia used. Since used Kias may have reliability issues, an extended car warranty will give you the peace of mind of knowing any mechanical breakdowns will be taken care of. Did you know that extended auto repair coverage can often pay for itself in just one auto repair bill? Also, buying extended coverage before the manufacturer’s warranty expires will get you a better price; so don’t wait until the current warranty expires!

Third party providers, like autopom!, can give you great coverage for less money than packages offered through car dealerships, so you can have peace of mind and save even more money. Contact Autopom today!