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Normal Cars Look Better Than Ever and EVs Might Be the Reason Why

2025 kia k4
Normal Cars Look Better Than EverKia

Chances are, you have not spent a lot of time in your life thinking about the design of the Kia Forte. The car sold anyway, and Kia could have continued building a forgettable compact sedan if it wanted. Instead, the newly unveiled Kia K4 that replaces the Forte is stylish and futuristic. It's part of a trend of more unique looks for normal cars, and although it widely impacts internal combustion cars, EVs may be to thank.

Consumers who buy EVs were already conditioned by EV-only start-ups like Tesla and Rivian to expect relatively unique designs from electric vehicles. Established automakers tried to match this with unique designs of their own, like Hyundai's blocky Ioniq 5 crossover and Kia's futuristic EV9 SUV. Those brands then applied these design philosophies to their existing lines of internal combustion cars, creating cars like the handsome new Santa Fe crossover and this K4 sedan.

Although Kia and Hyundai make two of the headliners, the same advantages have stretched to other brands. The latest Prius, for instance, is a rounded wedge that stands out in a crowd. Honda's upcoming Prelude will be a sporty coupe that's a cut above the average Civic coupe with a more upscale look. Even Buick is in on the game with the sharp Envista.

It's a generational change that's instantly recognizable whenever you see a not-even-that-old model still on the road. A new Mitsubishi Mirage, for instance, with styling dating back to 2012, looks absolutely ancient in traffic today.

kia k4 interior
Kia

Automakers also have the advantage of an industry that seems to constantly move up market. As the price of the average new car transaction goes up, a company like Kia can afford to replace a more affordable model like the Forte with something with a more complicated and intricate design. In fact, it must. Buyers walking into a dealership must instantly recognize hey this is a nicer car than the last one and not just hey this is a more expensive car than the last one. That means the most basic compact Kia is now available with an extended green interior, right down to the steering wheel and the top of the door cards.

While the basic price of a new car moving up is not a good thing, the cars actually being built are a major improvement. In this landscape, any reveal of a new generation of an ordinary car is an opportunity for an automaker to present something compelling. That makes every day on the road a little more interesting.

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