Kia just revealed an all-new midsize sedan, which the automaker says will “disrupt and inspire.” While we won’t know if the 2021 Kia K5 is as fun and exciting as Kia claims until we drive it, there are a few things we think you should know right now.
1. It replaces the Optima
Optima is a well-known nameplate in the Kia brand, and rather than capitalize on that, Kia moves away from a real-word name and doubles down on an alphanumeric nomenclature. We’ve seen this before from the brand with the ultra-lux K900.
I find this a little bit weird given the automaker has other relatively new products, such as Seltos and Telluride, and they have actual names. Not sure if this indicates a sedan naming strategy moving forward or if it’s a one-off.
2. It’ll have available AWD
Once, upon a time all-wheel drive in a sedan was a rarity. Now, to compete with SUVs, it seems to be a necessity. From the press materials, however, it looks like it’s not an across-the-board option on the K5. It’ll only be available in the LXS and GT-Line trims.
Though the K5 is “coming soon,” an exact drop date for the AWD model hasn’t been released. The press materials say “later this year” and the press reveal said “before winter.” Hopefully they mean before winter in Chicago, which could be the beginning of October.
3. It’s built on an all-new platform
When Kia said K5 is all new, they meant it. The third-generation N3 is completely new, and the K5 is the first vehicle in the Kia lineup to be based on it.
It’s longer, lower and wider than the previous platform, which Kia says is optimized for sporty handling, responsiveness and stability.
4. It showcases the future of Kia’s design language
While the shape of the Kia Tiger Nose grille is familiar, pretty much everything else gets remolded on the Kia K5. It definitely has some Stinger DNA, but Kia adds a little edginess with the shark-skin inspired grille mesh design (on GT-line and GT) and the “heart beat” daytime running lights.
These lights are very unique, and similar to the DRLs on the new Telluride, you won’t mistake it for anything else on the road when you see it coming down the road.
The interior is clean and simple, and with an available red leatherette interior, it throws a little sexy into the mix.
5. The engine lineup is turbocharged
The Kia K5 will have two turbocharged engine options. The base engine is a 1.6-liter that delivers 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque (we see this engine also on the Seltos). The up-level 2.5-liter engine will deliver 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.
I don’t much like the 1.6-liter engine on the Seltos, so I’ll be curious to see how it does with a Sedan. The up-level engine, which will be available on the GT model dropping later this year, however, should be interesting.
6. It’s packed with cool tech
This is the exciting stuff right here. As a next-gen vehicle, it the Kia K5 adds a lot of available technology, including wireless Apple Carplay/Android Auto, wireless charging and Bose premium audio.
It also has a lot of available safety tech. Standard features include automatic emergency braking, lane centering technology and a rear occupant alert. Optional tech includes blind spot avoidance, automatic reverse braking, parking sensors, navigation based adaptive cruise control, and Highway Driving Assist, which can change your speed based on posted limits.
The bottom line
Like every other product Kia has put out lately, it looks cool. With some Stinger DNA, I hope that means it drives cool, too.
Pricing hasn’t been announced, which is a little weird given that Kia said the first models with the 1.6-liter engine will be available in a few weeks. For comparison’s sake, the outgoing Optima starts at $24,335.
If it can maintain a $25K base price, I think the 2021 Kia K5 has the potential to be a great Chicago vehicle — especially with that available AWD.