Home » The 2025 Kia K4 Is A Huge Compact Car That Looks So Nice It’s Guaranteed To Succeed

The 2025 Kia K4 Is A Huge Compact Car That Looks So Nice It’s Guaranteed To Succeed

21982 2025 K4 Copy
ADVERTISEMENT

A few days ago, Kia released studio shots of the new K4 “compact sedan” (as Kia puts it) that got a reaction out of everyone. Some loved how it looked in those images, some thought the C-pillar was bizarre, and others were just waiting to see how it turned out in natural lighting. On New York Auto Show media day, now that Kia’s released more details, one thing’s certain: When it launches this summer, the 2025 Kia K4 will be the biggest compact car in America.

Now, we don’t necessarily mean biggest by sales figures, although since Kia had no issue shifting the Forte, we suspect strong sales to continue with the K4. A roster of features including dual digital displays, a Harman/Kardon stereo, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and available noise-reducing noise-reducing acoustic tires certainly won’t hurt its chances of clawing market share from titans like Toyota and Honda.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

No, we’re talking about physical size. The 2025 Kia K4 measures in at 185.4 inches long and 72.8 inches wide, giving it the largest footprint of any compact car today. That’s absolutely huge, and it makes you wonder what the term compact car really means. If you walked into a Kia showroom ten years ago, you’d find that a 2014 Kia Forte sedan was 2.9 inches narrower and a whopping 7.1 inches shorter than the incoming K4. That’s about 7.18 square feet less car, and if that sounds considerable for a compact car, that’s because it is. Crazier still? The Kia K4 may be the largest car in the compact segment, but not by much.

Honda Civic Front

A brand new Honda Civic Sedan clocks in at 184 inches long and 70.9 inches wide, some 4.6 inches longer and one inch wider than the Civic Sedan did a decade ago. The Volkswagen Jetta? That’s even longer than the K4 at 186.5 inches long, but narrower at 70.8 inches wide. Of the current crop, the Toyota Corolla is among the smallest, and even it’s 182.5 inches long and 70.1 inches wide. Our compact cars are a lot less compact than they used to be.

ADVERTISEMENT

So what the hell is a compact car anyway? Well, let’s use the EPA’s rulebook, which classifies compact cars as having a combined cargo and interior volume of 100 to 109.9 cubic-feet. Under this ruleset, most of today’s compact cars aren’t actually compact. The Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, and the Nissan Sentra are all classified as midsize cars, with combined cargo and interior volumes of between 110 and 119.9 cubic-feet. Huh. Alright, let’s try a different definition. Maybe the one used in crash testing is more apt.

Well, yes and no. While NHTSA classifies cars into categories based on curb weight, the compact car curb weight bracket starts at 2,500 pounds and tops out at 2,999 pounds. Although the base Honda Civic LX falls neatly into this category, the mid-range EX trim breaches it with a curb weight of 3,004 pounds. If it seems absurd that a car can go from compact to midsize just by adding a turbocharged engine and some more electronic gadgets, that’s because it is.

Volkswagen Jetta

If government regulation can’t agree on what a compact car is, that means like many things in life, it’s an arbitrary social norm. Manufacturers have all decided to evolve their compact car nameplates into similar forms in a way that the market is generally okay with, and life goes on. Like the concept of china for special occasions or odd family traditions, the compact car label is now a vestigial trace of when the object it was attached to meant something. There isn’t much compact about today’s compact cars other than that they’re smaller than just about everything else, and is that enough in the real world?

Tiny old garages aren’t getting any bigger, and neither are parking spots or driveways. For urban dwellers, the size of the modern compact car makes it hard to squeeze into the places they need to park. A midsize car in San Francisco or New York? Unless you live in the suburbs, good luck. Oh, and there’s more than just parking that’s grown more taxing. Bigger tires cost more to replace, and for those who attend the church of winter rubber, harder to store. Bigger brake discs cost more than smaller ones, and over time, the running costs for a bigger car add up.

ADVERTISEMENT

2025 Kia K4

Of course, the other side of this equation is that many compact sedans are now big enough to use as family cars, meaning you might not have to spring for the next model up. The 2025 Kia K4 boasts 38 inches of rear legroom, which is impressive. That’s genuinely family car territory, 2.8 inches more than you get in a Nissan Altima, and identical to what you get in a 2024 Toyota Camry. Unless you want to do one-wheel-peels everywhere you go thanks to a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an open differential, do you really need to step up to a K5?

2025 Kia K4

Anyway, the 2024 Kia K4 is one big step for the compact car, and one giant leap for Kia. It looks more modern, more feature-full, more upscale than the old Forte, and if its makers can keep pricing low, success is basically guaranteed. However, for those of us who actually like small cars, can we get the K3 here? It’s just the right size, and if the K4 is moving upmarket, the K3 might attract its own crowd of customers.

(Photo credits: Kia, Honda, Volkswagen)

ADVERTISEMENT

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
44 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
20 days ago

> was 2.9 inches narrower and a whopping 7.1 inches shorter than the incoming K4. That’s about 7.18 square feet less car

Say what now? 2.9×7.1 is about 21 sq in, about one seventh or 14% of a square foot. How do you get 7.18 sq ft?

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
11 days ago

2.9″ x the length of the car (85.4)
7.1 x the width of the car (72.8)
=764.5 in2 = 5.3 sqft

Still not 7 but closer

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
9 days ago
Reply to  Ecsta C3PO

Duh

44
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x