The change is official. Kia is changing the name of its Optima mid-size sedan to the K5 for the U.S. market for the 2021 model year. Additionally, the car is getting a host of exterior and interior upgrades. The Optima is called the K5 overseas.
Kia will sell the K5 in LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX, and GT models. The first four will be available this summer. The K5 GT will go on sale in the autumn.
The car’s design isn’t new. The model debuted in Korea last year. What is new is the packaging for the U.S.
A dashed LED light across the deck lid is available.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors
The exterior of K5 GT-Line and GT models features a shark skin-inspired mesh design on the front grille and dual chrome exhaust tips. All models have the company’s new signature daytime running lights and taillights. LED taillights with dashes that span the deck lid are available. A new gloss black appliqué is on the rear glass. The K5 rides on fresh 16-, 18-, or 19-inch alloy wheels depending on trim level. Models with 18- or 19-inchers are equipped with Pirelli P-Zero tires.
K5 LX, LXS, GT-Line, and EX models come standard with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
The K5 GT gets a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and makes 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. That is significantly more horsepower than what you’ll get from the turbo-four in the base model Kia Stinger but less than what comes from the Stinger’s available twin-turbo V6.
Most models will have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder power plant.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors
LXS and GT-Line models are available with all-wheel drive. The system is front-wheel drive based, which is a first for a Kia sedan. All-wheel drive will not be available until late 2020.
Kia is giving the K5 Normal, Smart, Sport, and Custom drive modes in most models, which adjust engine, transmission, drivetrain, and steering mapping to provide the desired experience. The K5 GT gets Sport+ mode. All-wheel drive models have Snow mode.
Inside, the car features unique highlights including an aircraft-like shift knob, optional red leatherette upholstery, available satin chrome metallic and wood-like finishes, a panoramic sunroof, and a flat-bottom steering wheel (GT-Line, GT only).
The K5 comes standard with an 8-inch infotainment touch screen. A 10.25-inch touch screen is available. Opting for the larger screen will get you available navigation, multi-phone Bluetooth capability, and user profiles for mirror placement, seat settings, and radio settings. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are only available on models with the smaller screen.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Photo courtesy of Kia Motors
A Bose 7 Premium sound system is available. It comes with 12 high-performance speakers.
Additionally, wireless smartphone charging is available, now with a cooling fan. Natural language voice recognition, remote start with climate control, and a hands-free trunk is available. Buyers can also get a Sound of Nature ambient system. This system is also available on the Kia Seltos.
The cabin is outfitted quite nicely for a mass market model.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors
Rear Occupant Alert is standard and joins a long list of standard and available safety and driver assist technologies that includes forward collision warning, driver attention warning, lane follow assist, forward collision avoidance assist, blind spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, reverse parking distance warning, parking collision avoidance assist, navigation-based smart cruise control, highway driving assist, and safe exit assist.
The Kia K5 will be assembled alongside the Sorento and Telluride at Kia’s West Point, Georgia plant.