The D-segment market is growing smaller and smaller as crossovers, pick-up trucks, and SUVs continue to dominate the market. Despite all that, automakers continue to make and develop the midsize sedan.
Even now, brands like Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet and even Hyundai continue to sell midsize four-doors like the Camry, Accord, Malibu and the Sonata respectively. But there is another D-segment fighter that was recently given a new lease on life: the Kia Optima.
After releasing the first exterior images last November, Kia has officially revealed the 2021 Optima in its home market in Korea. Also known as the K5, the next-generation midsize sedan is now bigger, wider, and sleeker than ever. In addition, it has been imbued with several new technologies that make it more intelligent than your typical midsize sedan.
Beginning with its looks, the new Optima has a unique front fascia that is comprised of a restyled 'tiger-nose' front grill and boomerang-shaped LED headlights. The hood, on the other hand, features sharp creases which further add to the Optima's more angular appearance. But perhaps the most striking part of the 2021 Optima is its fastback-like rear. Borrowing styling cues from the Stinger, the new Optima boasts muscular shoulder lines, sharper LED taillights, and new rear bumper.
As for its size, Kia's D-segment fighter now measures 4905mm long (+50), 1860mm wide (+25) and 1445mm tall (-20). The wheelbase has been extended as well from 2805mm to 2850mm. Wheel sizes, on the other hand, range from 16-inch all the way to the huge 19-inch set available only for the GT.
The Optima's interior features an evolutionary makeover. Drivers are treated to a huge 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, along with a new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment. A redesigned automatic climate control system also makes its way onto the center dashboard, along with a new rotary-style gear selector on higher-grade models. Other available amenities in the Optima are full leather upholstery, LED ambient lighting, heads-up display, 12-speaker Bose sound system, and a digital key.
A total of five engine choices are available for the new Optima. First up is a 2.0-liter, MPI four-cylinder engine which puts out 152 PS and 192 Nm of torque. It is then followed by the 2.0-liter CVVL inline-four which produces a bit more power at 160 PS with 196 Nm. Next is the 2.5-liter GDI four-cylinder motor which has 194 PS and 246 Nm of torque. Prefer a turbocharged engine? There's the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Smartstream engine that cranks out 180 PS with 265 Nm of torque.
If you prefer something with more oomph, there is the K5 (or Optima) GT which packs a 2.5-liter turbocharged GDI engine. Unlike the naturally-aspirated version, this one cranks out a meaty 290 PS and 422 Nm of torque. Coupled to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, it can sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in as little as 6.6 seconds. The rest of the engine range can be mated to either a six-speed or eight-speed automatic transmission, depending on the variant.
Besides getting sleek new body, a more high-tech interior, and a wide selection of engine choices, the new K5 also features a lot more safety kits. It has the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) which gives the Optima intelligent driving assist systems like forward collision alert, blind-spot view monitor, blind-spot collision-avoid assist, adaptive cruise control, lane following assist, and even navigation-based cruise control.
Other available safety features in the K5 Optima are a rear view monitor with reverse parking collision avoidance assist, rear cross traffic alert, and remote smart parking assist.
Will we see the all-new Kia Optima at local dealerships soon? Sadly, there is a very slim chance of Kia's latest midsize sedan arriving in the Philippines. Historically, the Optima underperformed in sales as other brand competitors have a larger share of the market. Moreover, the D-segment is losing ground to similarly-prized crossovers and SUVs.
Still, if Kia somehow found a way to bring this to the Philippines, this might prove to be a worthy contender in the segment not just in terms of looks, but in overall packaging as well.