Just about a week ago, Kia previewed the next-generation Optima. Known as the K5 in its home market of South Korea, what we saw was a radical, promising design that will likely set the tone for Kia models for the upcoming decade.
Now, they've fully revealed the mid-sized sedan and we're not disappointed at all. The look is so new that Kia isn't even calling it the 2020 Optima. They're calling it the 2021 Optima.
Kia says the car is all-new, so it's safe to assume that it doesn't share anything with the current model from bumper to bumper. Catching our attention are the grill and headlight combination of the big sedan. The lights themselves are a unique shape instead of the usual upswept, rounded or wraparound headlights we've been seeing a lot this decade. What we have here is a slim, almost L-shaped set with LED daytime running lights to highlight that neat piece of design. The grill then gives the impression of the car having a sharp nose and a hint of aggression.
Then there's the sides and you can see hints of the larger Stinger. The 2021 Optima adapts a fastback design although we can't exactly tell if it's a sedan (with a very short opening) or a liftback like the aforementioned Stinger. Also, that chrome band makes it clear where the designers drew inspiration. Flares and creases then dominate the sides from its fenders to its quarter panels, making it look wider than before. Plus, the tail light design is a sleek, slim set of clusters that make it look like it's drawn from a single piece.
No interior photos just yet but we're expecting it to be much like the sketch Kia drew up. It has a wraparound cockpit design whereas the current version has a more upright, formal design. Wide displays are abound too with a digital instrument cluster and instrument cluster. It even has what appears to be an electro-mechanical gear selector, much like the ones you'd find in high-end luxury cars these days.
Engine choices aren't mentioned either but it's likely to be similar from its mechanical twin, the Hyundai Sonata. That means a range of gas and hybrid powertrain options might be available. If we were to base it on the Sonata, the Optima could be powered by a 2.0-liter mill with 160 PS, a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that's good for 180 PS or a 2.5-liter unit that makes 198 PS. If there were to be a hybrid, it could adapt the Sonata's solar charging system which replaces the panoramic roof with solar panels. The electrically-assisted model has 195 PS.
Even though the mid-size sedan market in the Philippines is no longer what it used to be, it would be nice if Kia would bring the 2021 Optima to our shores. Under new management, the brand has been giving us a few surprises this year (most notably, the Stinger), so we're having our fingers crossed for this one.