A First Look at the 2021 Kia Optima

A new generation of the Kia Optima is on the way for 2021 and it will share its architecture with the freshly redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

What will it look like? Well, Kia has released a teaser for the K5, which is how the midsize sedan is called in its home market of South Korea, and we can expect a much more aggressive and edgier design.

Of course, these are just sketches, but some of the design cues are expected to make it to production. Most notably, there's a clamshell hood with creases on each side of the Kia logo, plus a broader tiger-nose grille that intersects with super-cool, Z-shaped daytime running lights.

On the sides, the wheels are new, the mirrors are mounted lower and the roofline has a fastback profile popular on four-door coupes. It is accented by a chrome strip that appears to flow around the base of the rear window to create a single, continuous line.

Photo: Kia

The trunk has a subtle, integrated lip spoiler, while the LED taillights look unified.

As for the interior, the changes will be quite significant. On the centre console, the shifter is replaced with a rotary knob and the generous armrest would logically conceal extra storage. Most physical buttons are eliminated in favour of a combination of large screens up top, though base Optima models will probably get a less fancy setup.

Photo: Kia

As we wait for the official launch of the 2021 Kia Optima, which could take place by the end of this year, you should know that the 2020 edition boasts a simplified model lineup through the elimination of a few trim levels and the 245-horsepower turbo engine. The naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine rated at 185 horsepower and the hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants offering 192 horsepower all remain, however. The last one has an EV range of 47 kilometres.

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