Instead of updating or redesigning the Optima, Kia has rid the North American market of the car altogether.
In its place arrives the new 2021 Kia K5. To be fair, the Optima was always called the K5 in South Korea. So Kia has essentially done away with the Optima name and now its new mid-size sedan will be identified as K5 all across the globe. The K5 is all set to take the fight to its rivals in the mid-size sedan market and it seems well equipped to do so. So here are five cool features in the 2021 Kia K5 that could change the game.
SEE ALSO: 2021 Kia K5 Revealed: 290 HP and AWD for Sporty Optima Replacement
A Diet Stinger Please
Gone are the days when mid-size sedans we considered too beige. Today, aesthetically at least they can give more upscale cars a run for their money. And the K5 epitomizes that ethos. It looks like Kia’s flagship GT, the Stinger, went on a diet and chiseled itself by some serious weight training. The front nose is sharp and the sleek fascia with its front fender-intruding DRLS and all-LED headlamps is enough to turn heads. It sits on the same N3 platform as the Hyundai Sonata and if that’s any clue, it sits lower than before and the sloping roofline creates coupe-like profile that looks sporty. The best part? It’s not all show and no go.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Review
Along with a striking design, thankfully Kia has also introduced an engine that would make many an enthusiast take notice. Sure there is the 1.6-turbo GDI. But the engine of interest here is the 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo from the upcoming Genesis G80. It makes 290 hp of max power and 311 lb-ft of torque which according to Kia is “best-in-class”. It also comes with a segment-exclusive eight-speed wet, dual-clutch transmission and AWD (another first for Kia). All trims are available with AWD except the base LX.
SEE ALSO: 2021 Genesis G80 Here To Make Rivals Nervous, Priced From $48,725
Continuously Variable What?
Yes, we are still harping on about the engines. As desirable as the 2.5-liter turbo is, the 1.6-liter GDI comes with its own set of innovations. Kia has introduced an industry-first Continuously Variable Valve Duration system, or CVVD. Unlike variable valve timing, CVVD allows for individual valves to remain open or closed for extended periods depending on how the car is being driven. If the car is at a constant speed, the system will allow the intake valves to be open from the middle to the end of the compression stroke so as to minimize resistance during compression. If the car is being driven fast, the system closes the intake during the same stroke to maximize air utilization during the explosion stage.
The system can increase fuel efficiency by five percent, increase power by four percent and cuts emissions by 12 percent.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review
This is the first time Kia has equipped its sedan with all-wheel-drive. Though it is a front-wheel-drive based system, which essentially means that it is on-demand and will engage AWD when the system detects a loss in traction at the nose. The system is optional on all trims except the base LX and comes as standard on the GT trim with the 2.5-liter turbo.
A Cabin From Above?
The cabin of the K5 truly looks like from a class above. The upholstery looks premium and upmarket. Kia will also offer two infotainment screen sizes in the K5, an 8.0-inch unit, and a 10.25-inch wide-screen system. Kia will also offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Though both will be wireless (another first), that ability will be available with the 8.0-inch screen only. Our guess? Compatibility issues maybe. Though it will also come with natural voice recognition which will allow occupants to operate things like the aircon with voice commands.
Other features include an upgraded Bose sound system and smart key that allows you to not only start your car but operate the climate control system as well.
The 2021 Kia K5 goes on sale by late summer and the GT version will arrive in fall. Prices will be revealed closer to the launch.