Wednesday, August 12, 2020
5 Questions Answered 5 Questions Answered About The 2021 Kia K5

5 Questions Answered About The 2021 Kia K5

Don't let the new alphanumeric nameplate fool you, the Kia K5 is here to replace the Optima

  • New K5 replaces Kia Optima in 2021

  • The 2021 K5 is larger and roomier than the outgoing Optima

  • Completely redesigned interior and exterior


The 2021 Kia K5 was revealed a few days ago as the successor to the Kia Optima mid-size sedan. More than just a nameplate change, the K5 brings with it significant changes to just about every area of the old Optima.

What’s New About The 2021 Kia K5?

The new K5 name plate is obviously one big change. Outside of North America, Kia uses an alphanumeric strategy for its model names. the Kia Forte is known as the K3 while the Cadenza no longer offered here is the K7. The 2021 Kia K5 is thus the in-betweener.

The new Kia mid-size sedan isn’t just given a new name. It’s given a brand-new and sleek exterior design highlighted by distinctive lightning-shaped LED daytime running lights. The overall design is similar to the Kia Stinger’s fastback four-door sedan and overall the K5 looks sharp.

2021 Kia K5
2021 Kia K5 | Photo: Kia

Inside, the most distinctive element are the large screens above the centre console and the digital instrument cluster. The base screen is an 8.0-inch unit while an optional 10.25-inch display is available. Various wood, aluminium, and leather options are available for the 2021 Kia K5’s cockpit. Sporty touches like a flat-bottomed steering wheel are also part of the package.

The K5 is larger than the outgoing Optima. Its wheelbase is longer and thus offers more rear seat legroom.

2021 Kia K5 interior
2021 Kia K5 | Photo: Kia

The new K5 will get the usual list of standard active safety technologies such as forward collision warning with automatic braking, follow assist, and fatigue monitor. The FCW system is further enhanced with Junction Turning which can apply the brakes if a driver is making a left turn and there’s a vehicle coming in the other lane.

The base engine in the 2021 Kia K5 is a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A second turbocharged engine is available. The 2.5-litre turbo delivers an impressive 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Kia K5
2021 Kia K5 | Photo: Kia

That’s more than the Honda Accord‘s top turbo engine and it should also be faster than the Toyota Camry‘s V6 with a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 6.6 seconds.

Various drive modes will be offered, but there’s no word of all-wheel drive coming to Canada. It has been confirmed for the US so hopefully Kia does the right thing and brings it our way. No word on a plug-in hybrid version either to replace the Optima PHEV.

What’s The 2021 Kia K5 Price?

Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but expect a starting price of around $27,000 in Canada and $25,000 in the US. In other words, slightly more than the current Kia Optima, but not by much.

2021 Kia K5 rear seats
2021 Kia K5 | Photo: Kia

When Will It Arrive On The Market?

The 2021 Kia K5 arrives in Canada and the US in fall 2020.

Who Will It Compete With?

Kia obviously aiming to get closer to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Without all-wheel drive it may be hard to compete with the Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy. It’s also hoping to take away a few sales from its cousin, the redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata. In terms of handling and performance, it should give the Mazda6 a run for its money.

What Do We Think About It?

Love the styling and the interior is typical Kia over delivery. The 2.5-litre turbo sounds like a blast. The only problem we see is no AWD in Canada. There’s also the fact that mid-size sedans aren’t nearly as popular anymore and the K5 probably won’t change that, but it’s nice to see new models are still entering the segment.

But, we really like the bold design and you can tell Kia put some thought into the new 2021 K5.

2021 Kia K5
2021 Kia K5 | Photo: Kia

2021 Kia K5
2021 Kia K5 | Photo: Kia

2021 Kia K5
2021 Kia K5 | Photo: Kia

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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