For lovers of the Kia Optima, it was a sad day when we learned that the Optima was to be retired in 2020. It came as quite the shock, since the Optima outshone even the legendary Toyota Camry, and won the U.S. News Top Midsize Car Award. How could something so great simply be chucked aside as if it didn’t matter? Thankfully, the Optima is not truly gone. The Optima is rising from the ashes under the guise of the new 2021 Kia K5, and the hype surrounding the K5 is unbelievable. In fact, MotorTrend is entranced with the newest addition to the Kia lineup and believes you will be too.
What is the 2021 Kia K5?
While the Kia K5 may be new to America, it’s been around for quite a few years now. In fact, it’s quite popular in South Korea. But we aren’t getting that exact model here in America.
Instead, the model we’re getting is a revamped Optima. So why didn’t Kia just keep the name Optima? Well, it appears that some of the changes being made were so radical that the Korean automaker felt like it was an entirely new vehicle. This resulted in the Optima being renamed the K5, and Kia is trying to up the hype by sending the new K5 into flight.
What do you get with the 2021 Kia K5?
The first major change to the K5 is the body. According to MotorTrend, “Parting ways with the Optima, the new K5 gets aggressive lines inspired by the Stinger, and its new platform is wider, longer and lower, allowing the car to shine even more. Its fastback profile stands out within the segment, and the long clamshell hood, Z-shaped daytime running lights, and fake air vents add a type of sportiness that the Optima lacked. The new ‘tiger face’ has been modernized to include a wide and thin grille, which now includes a ‘shark skin-inspired’ mesh design.”
The K5 still has the same 1.6-liter turbo-four engine that graced the Optima, but there are a few changes under the hood. Drivers who are going green will be pleased to know that while the K5 still produces 180 hp and 195 lb-ft, it manages to do this with fewer emissions. An eight-speed transmission helps keep things moving, and the K5 will be available with AWD.
The interior is designed with comfort in mind first. It has soft leatherette seats that are heated and ventilated in the front and a wood finish across the dash. The ride is also surprisingly quiet thanks to the acoustic glass and sound-deadening materials Kia used in the K5.
While all this is great, Kia didn’t splurge on the tech. Even your teens will be hard-pressed to discover all the neat gadgets packed into the K5. There is an optional 10.3-inch touchscreen, five USB ports, a wireless phone charger, a Bose premium audio system with 12 speakers, and a panoramic sunroof. The touchscreen is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There’s another K5 on the way?
It’s no secret that MotorTrend was a huge fan of the Optima, but it appears that they might be even crazier over the K5. From the great-looking new body to the latest tech, there’s a lot to love about the latest addition to the Kia family. But what really excites MotorTrend is the new Kia K5 GT which is coming down the pipes.
The one complaint that MotorTrend had about the Kia K5 was the lack of power, but the review site believes this is being reserved for the K5 GT. It will reportedly be exclusively powered by a 2.5-liter turbo-four making 290 hp and 311 lb-ft. This will be paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
There’s no date as of yet when the K5 GT hits the markets, but some potential owners might want to wait for it rather than jumping at the K5. Still, the K5 seems like it might make some waves all on its own. While only time will tell if the K5 can live up to all the hype surrounding it, this midsize sedan might just be the game-changer that Kia has been looking for.