2021 Kia K5 Mid-Size Sedan Debuts As The Optima’s Sharp Replacement
The 2021 Kia K5 mid-size sedan is here, officially putting the Optima name to rest in the US market. Adopting a badge used in the global market for years, the K5 not only gets a new moniker, but a whole raft of new-to-Kia technologies, including an all-turbo powertrain lineup, available all-wheel drive, and an optional eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Those features help the 2021 Kia K5 distinguish itself from the closely related Hyundai Sonata, giving it a more aggressive mien than its gracefully modern corporate cousin. Whether the alterations made for 2021 justify a name change is the subject of much debate, but it’s hard to ignore the K5’s newfound presence.
Styling-wise, the K5 shares little with the Optima it replaces. A wider iteration of the brand’s signature “tiger nose” grille dovetails deeper into the headlights, and a bold lower air intake in the bumper gives the front end a slightly glowering sneer that we like. The leading edge of the hood is contoured to fit the grille, a surprising detail in an era when many midsize sedans have an unattractive panel gap between the front fascia and the hood. New LED daytime running lights have a “heart beat” pattern that will spread to other Kias in the future, and the forward cant of the headlights reminds us very strongly of the 1999 Mitsubishi Galant – no bad thing given that sedan’s crisp styling.
The pointed front end gives way to an upward-sloping hood, with a strong shoulder line generating from the front ...
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