Sharp, aggressive define the new Optima’s front end.
The current Kia Optima is a competent and handsome sedan that still finds a healthy number of buyers each year, given the current state of sedans in the U.S. market. About 83,000 people bought an Optima this year, but that’s still far behind the ubiquitous Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. Hyundai recently banked on new styling to sell the Sonata, and it looks like Kia is following suit. These official photos technically show the Kia K5 — the Korean-market model set to hit the market in December. Kia says global markets will follow that launch date, meaning we’ll most likely see the new Kia Optima over on our shores in 2021.
Up to this point, we’ve only really seen the car under camouflage.
At first glance, the new Optima is definitely a slick-looking sedan. The Tiger Nose styling is still there, as ever, but its integrated into a front end with more angles and creases than we’ve seen in the past. The DRLs in particular make the car stand out, much like they do on its Hyundai cousin. Chrome brightwork snakes its way over each of the doors, through the C-pillar and around the rear windshield, forming a fluid aesthetic that’s distinctive, but not obnoxious in its design. It’s much more attractive than the stupid floating roof design cars have been stuck with for the past few years.
Around the back, an Audi-like taillight assembly stretches across the trunk, again creating a distinctive look. On that subject, it would have been nice for Kia to go the sportback route with the new Optima, much like they’ve done with the Stinger. Perhaps that would bring the two cars close together, but still…it’s much more practical than this sedan ought to be.
Specs to come
Except the design, there’s nothing more to add on the 2021 Kia Optima at the moment. Odds are Kia will adopt the same naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter and turbocharged 1.6-liter Smartstream engines as the new Sonata, but the company may also offer different options, including carrying over the 2.0-liter turbo engine.
Either way, I’m done with bland and boring sedans. The segment needs a shot in the arm, and it seems Kia is keen to offer something a bit more engaging. The Sonata also looks promising, while even the Camry and Accord have improved dramatically in their latest redesigns. Maybe the sedan isn’t quite dead yet, after all.