Is the All-New 2021 Kia K5 a Game-Changing Sedan?

Kia just announced the debut of the K5 sedan, which is the successor to the now-defunct Optima nameplate. While the new mid-size sedan is technically a replacement for the Optima, it’s a little more than just a simple name change. The Kia K5 made its debut in South Korea at the end of 2019, however, the brand just recently unveiled the K5 model that will be coming here to the U.S. It’s an all-new design that is based on a new platform and will compete with the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. But will this new sedan be the game-changer that Kia needs?

The Kia K5 looks promising

First things first, we would like to applaud Kia for concentrating its efforts on the new K5 sedan. While they could have easily just “phoned it in” when it came to coming up with something new for the mid-size sedan segment, they have instead upped the ante for other rivals. The Kia K5 is larger, has more power, and is well-equipped compared to the outgoing Optima, but it also brings out a shockingly upscale and modern take that we nearly didn’t expect from the brand. Although, we probably shouldn’t be too surprised considering the success of the Stinger and the Telluride.

The K5 will ride on Kia’s N3 platform, which will also be used on future models. By using this platform, Kia says that they were able to “allow the K5 to sit lower, longer, and wider” than its predecessor in order to give the car a more athletic profile and driving experience. In addition to the car’s stature, Kia gave the car a very bold look, complete with a “tiger face” look that incorporates a wide grille, angular headlights, and fast-back style side profile that gives it a sporting look.

2021 K5 GT-Line AWD
2021 K5 GT-Line AWD | Kia

The K5 will have more power and more traction

The Kia K5 will be available in four different trim levels (LX, LXS, GT-Line, and EX) and will also come with a choice between two different engine setups. All trim levels will be available with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque that’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the optional engine for the GT-line will be a 2.5-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that produces 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. That engine will be paired with the brand’s first-ever dual-clutch “wet” eight-speed transmission, which promises super quick and smooth shifts.

The Kia K5 will primarily be a front-wheel-drive platform, however, it will have the option for all-wheel drive via an electro-hydraulic system.

The K5’s interior is Stinger-like

We did mention that the K5 is completely new from the ground-up, which also means that it’s all-new on the inside as well. Any Kia Stinger fans will delight in the familiar Stinger touchpoints that are incorporated into the K5 sedan including the steering wheel, shifter, and wraparound cockpit-like setup. And while the K5’s interior does look rather simple in comparison to some of its competitors, it’s a welcomed and more elegant look as compared to the outgoing Optima.

2021 Kia K5
2021 Kia K5 | Kia

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The Kia K5 could breathe new air into the mid-size sedan category

A new entry into a very competitive segment of mid-size sedans could either be a complete standout with its head above the water or get lost in the fray with all the other entries. It doesn’t help when aging stalwarts like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are constantly taking control of the market share, however, the new Kia K5 sedan could breathe new life into the burgeoning category. While the Kia brand is quickly becoming more of a comfortable household name, as well as sticking to its plan in concentrating on sedans, the K5 could easily be the next home run that it needs to step into a brighter future.