It’s the new generation Kia Optima, which is called K5 in other markets.
Will feature turbocharged engines, available AWD, and loads of new technology.
The turbocharged 1.6-litre version arrives this fall in Canada, in a few weeks in the US, and will be followed by AWD and GT models.
Kia is another manufacturer that is not quite ready to give up on cars just yet. Like Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Toyota, cars still account for big business numbers as proven by the fact that more than 1.5 million of them were sold in the US last year alone. Sure, the numbers are down but if you want an SUV, Kia’s got a few of them too. First things first, the new 2021 Kia K5 is the successor to the Kia Optima – K5 is the Optima’s global name.
Kia designers went to town with the new K5 and wisely used the superb Stinger and its DNA as a strong source of inspiration. Built on the company’s new N3 platform, the K5 sits longer, wider, and lower compared to the Optima. Specifically, it is 2 inches longer, 1 inch wider and the wheelbase has grown by 1.8 inches. Matched to its sleek fastback profile, the K5 is dashing.
The front fascia features the next evolution of the “tiger face” grille into which are integrated the new headlights. Next to them are new “heartbeat” LED daytime running lights that mimic the pulse line on a heart rate monitor. There are plenty of visual accents and one of them is the near-continuous chrome garnish that spans the roofline and wraps around the rear glass.
The new K5 will be available in 3 trims in Canada (LX, EX, and GT-line) and they will roll on 16-inch to 19-inch wheels. Details on available colours are not shared however the K5s in the images are not all grey, black and white.
The cabin looks to be a highlight on its own. The dashboard is completely new but extremely familiar at the same time. The new infotainment display starts with a standard 8-inch screen which can grow to a 10.25-inch unit that flows into the instrument panel. Featured amenities will be wireless phone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as new natural language voice recognition software.
This all-new generation Kia K5 will be powered by a pair of turbocharged engines. In Canada, the LX, EX, and GT-line (LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX in the US) will be fitted with the 1.6-litre 4-cylinder that develops 180 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque engine, and new 8-speed automatic transmission as standard.
This engine will be available with an AWD system that is front-wheel biased, a first for Kia. It will be optional on the LXS and GT-Line in the US. The Canadian press release makes no mention of AWD however we assume this is an oversight (we could be wrong, or they plan on announcing it at a later date).
The GT will be motivated by a turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder good for an impressive 290 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque. It will be mated to a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. All told, this will be enough power to send the K5 GT to 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds. Here too, Canadian information is not specific about a GT model. It does however note that this engine will be offered.
Safety features will not take a backseat to performance and styling. Standard with the new 2021 K5 will be Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Lane Following Assist and options will include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.
The all-new Kia K5 certainly does not look like a regular old midsize sedan to us. The Stinger’s influence is obvious and quite welcomed. The K5 will be built at the Kia West-Point Assembly plant in Georgia alongside the Telluride. Kia will launch six new models or redesigns in 2020, including the new Sedona minivan.
The FWD 1.6-litre 2021 Kia K5 arrives in a few weeks in the US, and so pricing should be known shortly. In Canada, the car is expected sometime in the fall, likely around the same time as the optional AWD system which will arrive just ahead of winter. In the US, the GT lands in the fall while there’s no timeline for Canada.