The Optima is dead and has been replaced by the 2021 Kia K5, a mid-size sedan with a wild new look.
With the new name, Kia is introducing a new alpha-numeric naming convention for global markets that it will be rolling out to the rest of its lineup. Changing car names is sometimes a controversial move and even more so when automakers pick numbers and letters instead of words with meanings, but Kia says the new names pay homage to the original names used in its home market of South Korea.
The new K5 is a huge departure from the current Optima and foreshadows how the rest of the Korean automaker’s could evolve. The K5’s new look is dominated by aggressive shapes and lines, a unique new LED lighting signature, and a sloping roofline. It’s longer, wider and lower than its predecessor.
The Kia K5 will be powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. That’s less horsepower and more torque than the Optima’s naturally aspirated 2.4L four-cylinder with 185 hp and 178 lb-ft, and the sedan also gets two additional gears.
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An upgraded performance-oriented K5 will get an available 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder with 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque and an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. We are waiting for confirmation on whether the K5 will be available with all-wheel drive in Canada like it is in the U.S., but it does seem like a no brainer.
Inside, the K5 gets all the newest tech including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, the ability to pair two phones simultaneously via Bluetooth, an 8 or 10.25-inch touchscreen, different driver profiles, wireless phone charging, navigation with real-time traffic data, and more.
Of course, all the driver assistance and safety features are standard: forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning, lane following assist. Forward collision assist that helps drivers while making a blind left turn will be available.
The 2021 Kia K5 will be available in Canada this fall with pricing and additional information to be announced closer to that time. The availability of the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models also hasn’t been confirmed yet. The K5 competes with other mid-sized sedans like the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, and Toyota Camry.
[Editor's Note: Please note that many of the images in this post are American models. Canadian models and trims haven't been confirmed yet.]