Kia is looking to shake up the mid-size sedan market with the swanky-looking new Optima.
The Korean crew is on a roll, first with the fun-loving Stinger and more recently the three-row Telluride crossover earning kudos from journalists—including in our own review. Now it’s turning its attention to the mid-size crowd with a thorough re-imagining of the Optima.
The Kia K5 is the Korean domestic market name of the Optima. Kia previewed the car this week, and boy is it a looker. Like its platform-mate the redesigned Hyundai Sonata, the next Optima is a huge departure from the existing model.
It starts right at the front, with a new evolution of Kia’s signature grille. Literally: Kia is calling it “Tiger Nose Evolution,” stretching its tabbed shape wide enough to incorporate the headlights. The lighting units themselves show off “heartbeat” DRLs, looking like a simplified EKG reading. It’s a style mirrored in the taillights, which feature an full-width design. We approve.
A fastback-style roofline gives the Optima the four-door coupe shape that’s so popular these days too, though it maintains a traditional trunk. Like the Sonata, the Optima uses chrome detailing in a unique way. Instead of trick illuminating strips, it extends the chrome from the base of the A-pillar right past the frameless doors, crossing the C-pillar to then loop under the rear window. The large U-shape works in our eyes, helping unify the side and rear styling into one cohesive shape.
The Optima looks longer, lower and wider than the existing model because it is. Length is up a hair under two inches to 193.1 inches. It gains almost an inch in width too (up to 73.2 inches), while dropping roughly the same in height, to 56.8 inches. The Optima will roll on wheels anywhere from 16 to 19 inches. We’re curious about how those sharp lines will work on the smallest option…
Kia is remaining tight-lipped on both the interior and what’s under the hood. It’s a fair bet that the powertrain options will mirror the new Sonata’s, meaning a pair of four-cylinder engines in 2.5-liter naturally aspirated and 1.6-liter turbo guise. We should find out more over the coming weeks, especially as the K5 goes on sale in South Korea next month.