Latest 2021 Kia Optima (K5) Teasers Are Just Plain Silly

Thanks to a handful of low-res, but telling, nevertheless, pictures taken during a commercial photo shoot, we have a pretty good idea of what the new 2021 Kia Optima (called K5 in Korea) will look like (see images here). We can assure you it won’t look anywhere near as dramatic and conceptually futuristic as these latest teaser sketches from Kia imply.

Granted, they’re good for drumming up some hype around the new Optima, but it’s at best, silly, and at worst, misleading, to suggest these sketches are from the production car. Not that Kia is alone in doing so, as most automakers are guilty of said practice these days. [Updated 11/5/2019]

Kia’s Korean arm has shared official sketches of the all-new K5 midsize sedan which the U.S. will get as the 2021 Optima.

Scheduled to debut in December, the third-generation Kia K5 will adopt a completely new design inside and out as these renderings indicate. According to the automaker, the all-new Kia K5 will evolve from a sedan into a sleek fastback that sports bold design elements “to create an intense and futuristic image.”

Besides the sloping roofline, key exterior styling tweaks also include a new face defined by the aggressive headlights and recessed radiator grille, which form a single continuous element.

Also read: Kia Reportedly Dropping Optima, Trimming Down Stinger Lineup In The UK

Kia calls this a “Tiger Face” and says the element shows the direction of the brand’s next-generation design and will be applied to its future models. The headlights and taillights are “shaped like a heartbeat” and that’s especially obvious at the front as the DRL signature follows the unusual shape of the headlamps.

At the rear, we can see that the LED taillights are connected by an illuminated strip but the light signature consists of many fragmented segments. This sketch also provides a look at the unusual C-pillar which is crossed by a thick molding that extends to the trunk lid “embracing” the rear screen. These may be just sketches, but it’s pretty clear the 2021 Optima will look much less conventional than the current model.

As for the interior, Kia says it follows the concept of “driver-centered future orientation,” offering plenty of space and openness. The dashboard features a fully digital instrument panel next to a widescreen center display oriented towards the driver. The AVN (Audio Video Navigation) system is said to offer futuristic image quality via the three-dimensional main screen.

The third-generation Kia K5 will have its world debut in Korea in December before launching in North America sometime next year as the 2021 Optima.

more photos...
  • baofe

    The way the LEDs cut into the grille reminds me of the ’19 Camaro RS grille. Still, this optima is a great refresh and I look forward to seeing the real thing.

  • Hamster

    Have a good feeling about it… Lets see…

  • kan hu


  • PhilMcGraw

    Looks like Kia is following its sibling Hyundai’s footstep by having the DRL run up the hood. Except this case it’s running up on the outer side of the light instead of the inner side.

  • Craig

    A slightly cooler looking Honda Accord. I hope it has plenty of REAR seat headroom!

  • ace_9

    I don’t understand… what is “fastback”? Where are all the “four door coupe” descriptions? Fastback… what a nonsense… This car looks clearly “coupe-like” to me.

    • darex

      Means it has a hatch, instead of a trunk.

      • ace_9

        I was just ironically reacting to all the coupes that are described here regardless of the number of doors or the trunk/hatch situation. And suddenly a sleek car, which is not described as a coupe. What a twist 😮

    • Toronado_II

      A hatch, on a coupe.

      • ace_9

        I was only making fun of all the four door coupes and coupe-suvs and suddenly this one is not coupe at all… poor kia 😀

        • Toronado_II

          This is a new trend: a four doors sedan !

          • ace_9

            I would never buy such a monstrosity, but I guess the manufacturers don’t have much choice to fill all the niche market areas. I bet that they will one day come up with a coupe with only two doors 😮

          • Toronado_II

            The Forte coupe was cut…. it didn’t sell enough. Hard to see a coupe in this category. Even the Accord has dissapeared.

          • ace_9

            People want the biggest car for their money…

  • Arct1c

    Already looks wayyyyy better than the Sonata.

  • Robert Eller

    I like this idea, turn Kia into the sporty brand with fastbacks instead of sedans.

    • MarketAndChurch

      It’s what I always wanted from Mazda and Dodge.

  • MayTheBestCarWin05

    WOW. Hyundai and Kia have been quietly doing their best to become legitimate contenders. I applaud them for punching above their station regardless of segment.

    • MarkoS

      They were legitimate some time ago, they just aren’t sitting on it.

  • MarkoS

    Looks Very Promising, the Optima has been a looker for some time. Me, I would love to see this styling on a Stinger. KIA is looking better and better. I seen my first Telluride at the market parking lot the other day. By the photos, I was wanting a shorter 5 seat version. After seeing it, I wonder why they bother stuffing a 3 row back there. Give us a 3rd row delete version with some under-deck storage instead of the seats.

    • Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

      There’s literally a shorter 5-seat version of the telluride. It’s called the sorento. They ride on the same platform

      • MarkoS

        No, Enoch. Comprehension Helps. I stated -I seen my first Telluride at the market parking lot the other day. By the photos, I was wanting a shorter 5 seat version. After seeing it, I wonder why they bother stuffing a 3 row back there ( I guess some may still use it). Give us a 3rd row delete version with some under-deck storage instead of the seats.- The current Sorento is a far different market and look as by its name. By the rounds of spy shots it doesn’t look to be going in a Telluride styling direction.

  • getoffme

    Yawn, nobody is buying the Stinger…..

    • Zed68

      And that’s sad because the stinger is awesome/

  • Jawohl

    I wonder if this will sell well unlike Stinger

    • MarkoS

      it is a niche market car and Kia and the Stinger just have a problem muscling in with this type of product. Test drove a couple of times, its quite a compelling drive. The Stinger may have been a little ahead of its time for Kia. I would like to see a heavy refresh with some of these styling cues. I hope they follow-up with a new one.

      • Jawohl

        It’s way ahead of its time for Kia and definitely the wrong type of product. A hypo suv it should of been.


  • MarketAndChurch

    I truly thought being based on the Sonata that it would limit Kia’s ability to express themselves. Happily, I was wrong, and this looks like it doesn’t matter what platform or shared design it has with Hyundai, it’ll find a way to shine regardless.

    • Big Black Duck

      Totally agree….they are killing it..

  • Maykel

    Just like Telluride, it’s prettier than its sister. They should introduced their brand new logo with this.

    • MarkoS

      Yes, I agree it wouldn’t take much.

  • Bash

    Very interesting, I can see quite some Azera influence here and there.

  • KidRed

    Hmmm, not sure. That profile and out-of-nowhere-crease along the belt line just looks odd and the rear quarters looks simplistic and flat. We’ll see but this doesn’t look like the same designers of the Stinger unfortunately.

  • KidRed

    That video doesn’t match some of the lines and detail in the images above.

    • paulgdeaton

      Not to mention their statement that, “The rear will also change and become more modern with LED headlights that start from the side of the rear fenders…”

      And auto site that doesn’t know “headlights” don’t go on the rear of a car is suspect in my eyes…

  • kan hu
  • charlotteharry57

    Aside from the new nose, I really didn’t think the new one is that much of a departure from the old one (based on last week’s render). I’m not doing cartwheels over the new nose, but Kia DID say some time ago that it would be less radical than the Sonata.

  • sidewaysspin

    Seems promising but somehow asian brands end up destroying all the fine proportions we see in the sketches.


    Its a sketch, nothing silly about it politicscoop

  • Wayne Alan Carr Heyes

    Well either way the UK won’t get it

  • erly5

    Don’t understand why anyone pays attention to these misleading over-the-top sketches that bare little relation to the final product.

  • ThatGuy

    Hmmm i think they call this emotional designing or whatever these days. Like concepts are nowhere close to the production version, the only relation will be design cues.

The Contender XG Is A G-Wagen With An SLK Body – And It Is Going For $540k!

This odd creation uses the body-on-frame chassis and mechanicals of the old G-Wagen and a modded SLK bodywork.

Audi RS3 And Seat Leon Cupra R ST ABT Take On The Mercedes-AMG G63

Did the beastly AMG G63 beat a tuned Leon Cupra R ST and a stock RS3 Sportback? .

Mercedes 190E EVO II Gets Digital Revamp With New AMG Parts

Despite dating back to the 1990s, the 190E Evo II is one of Germany’s most iconic sports sedans.

This Volvo V70 R Is A Fast, No-Nonsense Wagon – And It Might Have More Than 300 HP

This 2005 V70 R boasts a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five with some mods and a six-speed manual.

BMW X8 M45e PHEV Rumored, 750 HP X8 M Might Join The Party

Both versions of the X8 would be plug-in hybrids, with the M being focuses on performance.

Tesla To Start Building Its European Gigafactory Next Year

Tesla wants the new plant to be up and running by 2021, with the Model Y the first model to be produced .

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Electric SUV Shows Up In Real Life Photos

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E will offer up to 300 miles (483 km) of driving range.

Forza Italia: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Drag Races Lamborghini Urus

Can the smaller, less powerful and lighter Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio beat the 641 HP Lamborghini Urus?.

Range Rover Hunter Doubles As A Sports Car And An Off-Roader

This eye-catching Range Rover concept features an advanced suspension that would allow it to play both roles.

Someone Paid $65k For A BMW E30 325i, Albeit A Rather Nice One

This 325i has just 6,794 miles, but still, $65k is too much for a non-M3 Bimmer.