Nearly a decade after the 2011 Kia Optima first came to our shores, Kia is reimagining the mid-size sedan for 2021 by giving it powerful and bold styling, incorporating some of the Stinger’s design DNA into a typically boring segment. And it sports a new name as well, rebranded as the Kia K5, the nameplate long since used in Korea and other parts of the world.
Unveiled yesterday via webcast, we were instantly blown away by the all-new 2021 KIA K5, as it’s just a great looking car all around, and it’s got the goods to back up its sporty looks, with a performance enhanced N3 platform, two turbocharged engines to choose from, available all-wheel drive, and high-impact technology.
While the car shares a lot with its corporate counterpart, the Hyundai Sonata, the two vehicles look nothing alike.. And that’s a good thing, because in my opinion, the new Sonata is u-g-l-y, over styled and awkward from every angle. Meanwhile, Kia got it just right with the
Here’s how Kia describes the styling of the K5: The K5’s powerful and angular design language represents another chapter of boldness and passion for the brand. The centerpiece is Kia’s modernized “tiger face,” with the wide and thin front grille extending into the headlight and hood structure. From the side, the K5’s low-slung and fastback silhouette confirms the impression it was made to run, highlighted by a chrome garnish that spans the roofline and wraps around the rear glass.
A number of other exterior design traits give the K5 an unexpected level of visual impact:
- Shark skin-inspired mesh design on front grille and dual chrome exhaust tip garnish (GT-Line, GT)
- Signature “Heart Beat” daytime running lights and taillights with available LED “dashes” span the width of the rear deck lid
- Gloss black applique on rear glass enhances fastback shape while maintaining sedan functionality and cargo space
- Newly designed 16-, 18-, or 19-inch alloy wheels (18- and 19-inch wheels come with sporty Pirelli P-Zero tires)
The Kia K5 sits longer, lower and wider compared to its predecessor, resulting in its aggressive profile and deeper center of gravity for a more exciting driving experience. The car measures in at 193.1 inches long (+2 inches), 73.2 inches wide (+1 inch), 56.9 inches high (-0.8 inches), and has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches (+1.8 inches).
Buyers can choose from two powertrains. The 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine puts out 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, and it’s mated to an eight-speed automatic. You can also get the 1.6T with available all-wheel drive (front-wheel drive is standard), providing all-weather capabilities and enhanced driving performance.
For those who want to make their commute a little more fun, the Kia K5 GT is the way to go, powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque, paired with a new 8-speed “wet” Dual Clutch Transmission. Kia estimates the GT will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, which is on par with others in this segment, like the Toyota Camry V6.
Taking a page from the Stinger, Kia equipped the K5 with a suspension geometry optimized for sporty handling, responsiveness and stability, 18- and 19-inch wheels come with sporty Pirelli P-Zero tires, along with a distinct mesh grille design, chrome dual exhaust tips, and a unique flat-bottom steering wheel.
Inside, the Kia K5 gets numerous upgrades over the outgoing model. An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard, with a 10.25-inch upgrade available. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto let you cut the cords. An available Bose 12-speaker premium sound system will let you rock out. And of course, there’s a plethora of safety and driver assistance systems.
The Kia K5 goes on sale this summer, with the LX, LXS, GT-Line and EX trim levels available at launch. The adrenaline-fueled GT will follow in the fall, and the all-wheel drive model will be available in late 2020. Pricing, fuel economy figures and further details will be released closer to the car’s launch.
Personally, I think Kia knocked it out of the park with the K5. It’s great to see a brand embrace the sedan market, especially when many other companies are shifting all of their efforts and focus towards crossovers and SUVs. Because lets face it, there are still a lot of us out there who would much rather drive a normal car.
What do you think of the K5? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!