Kia Drops Optima Name; Introduces 2021 K5 Sedan

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Kia has officially dropped the Optima nameplate from its portfolio.

Months after reports of the automaker’s planned renaming surfaced, the company has formally introduced the mid-sized sedan in the United States market as the new K5.

The model will be part of Kia’s 2021 model year lineup and will introduce a slew of new features when it arrives in the summer.

First on the list of new specs is the modular N3 platform the sedan will ride on. It also underpins its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Sonata, and gives it wider and longer dimensions compared to the outgoing generation.

2021 Kia K5 against the sunset
the 2021 Kia K5 is expected to introduce a sheet metal design, upscale interiors, as well as a sound-deadening feature. | Source: Kia

The U.S.-spec model will get a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four engine as standard equipment. It delivers 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, and has EPA estimates of 29/38/32 mpg on city, highway, and combined driving.

The inline-four will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel-drive. But for the coming model year, Kia will also offer an all-wheel-drive for the first time although it wouldn’t be available until later in the fall.

When it arrives, the Kia K5 will go head to head with the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima, two models that also offer an AWD.

In terms of styling, the 2021 Kia K5 is expected to introduce a sheet metal design, upscale interiors, as well as a sound-deadening feature. The dashboard will have an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard equipment, while a 10.3-inch screen will be offered as an option.

With the larger interface, owners will be able to customize their displays and connect two Bluetooth devices at the same time. However, it’s not compatible with the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A GT performance model of the new K5 is also believed to be in the works. It’s expected to deliver up to 290 horsepower, a dual-clutch automatic, and will be equipped with Pirelli P Zero tires.

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