2021 Kia Optima Spotted Undisguised Ahead Of Its Debut Next Month

Kia kicked off the teaser campaign for the redesigned Optima (named K5 in Korea) last month, and now several undisguised pictures have surfaced online.

The first batch was posted on Bobaedream and were reportedly taken during a photo shoot for advertising purposes. They show the upcoming sedan will have will have a sleek exterior with a rakish windscreen that flows into a dynamic roof. The latter tapers down quickly and gives the car a four-door coupe appearance.

While the pictures aren’t highly quality, we can see streamlined bodywork with subtle curves. There are also prominent side skirts and an angular accent that cuts through the doors. Some trademark styling cues carryover, including chrome trim that flows into the C-pillar.

The sporty styling continues at the rear as we can see a ventilated bumper and a trunk with an integrated spoiler. Other highlights include a dual exhaust system and a small diffuser. The taillights have been redesigned as well and they’re now connected by a thin strip.

The pictures don’t show the front end, but it has been revealed in a posting from China. It’s far more aggressive than the current Optima and features a wide “tiger face” grille that spans the width the car. It gives us a Maserati vibe, but the grille is even wider as it partially encompasses the headlights.

Beneath the grille is a trapezoidal intake that is flanked by angular fog lights and sporty side openings. We can also see a distinctively shaped hood and a rounded front bumper.

As for the interior, it was previewed earlier this week and features a modern design. Details will be announced in December, but the image suggests the car will have a freestanding digital instrument cluster and infotainment system.

We can also expect a new steering, slender air vents and metallic trim. There will also be a new center console that eschews a traditional shifter. Material quality should also be improved and will hopefully echo the Telluride we sampled earlier this year.

Engine options remain unconfirmed, but choices should mirror those offered on the Hyundai Sonata. This means US customers can expect a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 180 hp (134 kW / 183 PS) and 195 lb-ft (264 Nm) of torque. There should also be a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 191 hp (142 kW / 194 PS) and 181 lb-ft (245 Nm) of torque.

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  • ME

    Looks very similar to Honda’s new Accord. Meanwhile, their sister company Hyundai did the same with Civic inspired rear lights on the new gen Sonata.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    I’m getting MKZ vibes, but not in the good way, unfortunately.

    • Althea Later

      I saw a Lincoln sedan also.

  • Rocket

    I was hoping with such a fast roofline it might be a liftback, but it appears to have a conventional trunk. Too bad.

    • Kyle Blank

      Agree, liftback/sportback would be much better.

    • Craig

      Are you sure? Look at the line above the rear window in photo #1. Could that indicate that it’s a liftback?

      • Rocket

        You can see the trunk line. If that’s a hatch, it’s the most awkward shaped hatch I’ve ever seen. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1293d456b7eadbf335de8342f623607d1a878dc747f40bf3eabfdd42698b6fef.png

        • pcurve

          it’s a weird trunk line for a hatch, but I’m 100% certain this is a hatch. Otherwise trunk opening would be just too small.

          • charlotteharry57

            Totally disgree. Liftbacks don’t sell well in the US and this is one of its biggest markets. Trunk openings are getting so small, that soon you won’t be able to fit an overnight bag in them!

          • Craig

            I hope so. A ‘fastback’ designed sedan without a lift-back is a lost opportunity to be incredibly more practical.

        • Craig

          An awkward shape for sure. Hmm…. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Another sedan with a trunk we don’t need.

        • Ho-Jin Hwang

          It’s amazing to discover. Related YouTube video.

      • McFly

        Is it common to put the roof antenna on the hatch lid? I think it’s usually placed on the roof, and in these pics it’s placed too close to the rear window to allow for any hatch frame. Just speculating though.

        To me it looks similar to Honda Accord.

        • Craig

          Yes. That antenna is certainly a thorn in my theory. But what with the Stinger being a liftback it would be shame for the Optima NOT to follow in its footsteps. Foolish even. AWD cars with a lift back just might be interesting enough to turn the tide in favor of sedans against SUV’s and CUV’s.

  • getoffme


  • boo boo the fool

    I love the side profile, it’s probably gonna be the best looking sedan in its class, like the optima was in 2011


    basically a stinger inspired mid-size

  • dumblikeyou2

    Thought it was a Malibu at first.

  • SteersUright

    Looks like a weird Accord. Hopefully better in person.

  • KRogers86

    The “fake vent” treatment that expands underneath the headlight assemblies looks cheap and tacky.

  • pcurve

    not really digging the whole c pillar… chrome, quarter window, not meshing at all.

  • Rivaldo

    Very Audi A7 from de side profile.

  • Jawohl

    ” aggressive front fascia”
    Lol. That’s one way of describing this abomination.

  • GinPok

    Hope it has distinct shape brake lights. Like 2011

  • charlotteharry57

    It may be debuting next month in Korea, but not in the US. Heck, the new Sonata isn’t out yet, and THAT’S scheduled for December. I’d expect this in the US in mid-2020.

  • WalthamDan

    Delete the horrific rear side chrome treatment and it might look good. It didn’t work for Opel and it doesn’t work here.

    • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ??

      Everyone doesn’t like plain Jane cars like a base model Mitsubishi without any chrome. The chrome gives it a great appearance and looks good.

  • Paul

    It looks so much better than the Sonata.

  • Kevin Higginson

    Grille looks awkward. Heard Stinger is being dropped, maybe trying to match up the Merc range. This would be a real competitor for C class if the badge was improved. Totally agree the Sonata, i40 in Europe would be great if it had a sister car that was a fastback, i50 anyone.

  • designer_dick

    Looks more interesting than it’s predecessor, which was a fairly timid restyle of the much sharper 2010 model.

  • botornot387

    wow, can you say Audi A5/S5 ripoff. The rear end and rear quarters are HUGE knockoffs. I guess Kia is doing what it does best.

  • Jose Manuel

    It’s overdesigned and hideous, you can find photoshops based in Kia Stinger much better than this abomination.
    There are amateur designers with better taste and skills.

  • Giziclown

    It is as beautiful as Mazda MX-30, designers think we love modern Lada Niva design. No, we f**k not.

  • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ??

    I like the A-pillars backwards, but I will hold final judgement when I see the front-end in a better resolution photo, but as of now, I am not fond of the front-end. At least it doesn’t look like a fish.

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