A detailed look at the 2021 Kia Optima

There was a time when Kia was known for its cheap and boring fleet of cars across the country. As recently as the early 2000s, no one wanted a Kia. However, Kia has slowly redeemed itself over the years with models such as the Soul, Telluride, Stinger or Optima in particular that have single-handedly changed the brand’s image in the United States. The Kia Optima was first manufactured as a mid-size car in 2000 for production year 2001. The model has since been sold in world markets under various nameplates for example K5 and Lotze for second generation models in the South Korean market or Magentis in Europe and Canada, although Mostly first generation cars sold under the name Optima. The mid-size model has been a popular family sedan in the American market since its third generation and is increasing in quality and popularity with each new model year.


It seems Kia has finally learned that maintaining quality and consistent innovation is the only way to stay relevant, and the 2021 Kia Optima is here to ramp up the game even further. Not only has the latest model been completely redesigned, but it has also been renamed the K5 for all markets. It promised to offer a sporty touch mixed with luxury. The powertrain has been optimized for a refined driving experience, and the model comes with optional all-wheel drive for the first time. At a time when family sedans are rapidly losing their appeal, the 2021 Kia Optima can be seen as a bold step forward, perhaps in an effort to re-create the magic.


The 2021 Kia Optima offers a significant improvement over last year’s model with a powerful all-turbo engine, optional all-wheel drive, complete restyling, and more upscale features.

The Kia Optima played a major role in changing the brand’s image and now it’s back with the latest model to take it even further. How do? Scroll to the end for some exciting details about the 2021 Kia Optima.

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2021 Kia Optima features and specifications

What’s new in the Kia Optima 2021? The 2021 Kia Optima has been completely restyled and now comes with more powerful engine options, which is also the main reason why the latest model has been renamed. In an interview with Car Buzz, Kia explained why it’s retiring from the old Optima nameplate. They said that while the 2021 K5 starts where the Optima left off last year, it’s so different that it needs a name change.


The new Optima shares platform and engine options with the latest Hyundai Sonata. However, the Optima is finished in Fastback style with a powerful tiger-nose grille, slanted rear, sportier lower bumper and chrome dual muffler design. It also features more distinctive interiors and innovative technologies.

The interior quality is enough to surpass other mid-size sedans in most parts. The 8-inch touchscreen comes standard with wireless support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A larger 10-inch touchscreen with split-screen functionality has been added as an option on GT-line, EX and GT models. All trims come standard with a 1.6-liter (180 hp) turbocharged four-cylinder engine except for the GT Sport model, which will come with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing around 290 hp and 311 pound-feet of torque. Touch from 0 to 60 mph in 7 seconds depending on the vehicle and driver. The engine is now standard with front-wheel drive and non-GT models will have an all-wheel drive option. An eight-speed “wet” dual-clutch automatic transmission is now standard, and UVO Telematics technology has been improved. With an all-new all-wheel drive system, the Optima is now one of the only two models to offer all-wheel drive in this segment.

This is how much a 2021 Kia Optima will cost

The 2021 Kia Optima starts at $23,590. Another $3,700 as you look at all-wheel drive with full LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, wireless charging, a panoramic sunroof, and a heated steering wheel. The premium EX and GT models are priced at $28,090 and $30,590, respectively. The base Optima 2021 will cost just $100 more than the outgoing Optima.

Which 2021 Kia Optima Model Should You Buy? If you’re not picky and looking at a daily driver, the standard LX should be for you, but if you’re looking for some more racing items, we recommend going with the GT-line model.


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Should I buy a 2021 Kia Optima?

According to CNET, the base LX is expected to return 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined, while the larger versions of the LXS, GT-Line, and EX will be less efficient. Slightly, and you’ll return about 27 in the city, 37 on the highway and 31 combined. If you opt for all-wheel drive, the numbers will drop to 26 in the city, 34 on the highway, and about 29 combined.

Is the 2021 Kia Optima a good car? Is it worth it? Well, that depends on the perspective you’re buying it for. With roughly 180-290 horsepower in its box and normal fuel ratings, the Kia Optima isn’t a supercar. Nevertheless, it is one of the best cars in the mid-size sedan class due to its high-quality interior, standard technical features, comfortable ride, balanced handling, ample space and a budget-friendly price. If you are looking for the best driving experience in this class, then go for the Toyota Camry which has similar features but if you are looking for a sporty everyday driver with plenty of space, exciting looks, a host of innovative technical features and plenty of standard equipment, then Optima is for you.


It wasn’t that long ago when Kia was the subject of car jokes but with its hugely popular models like the Optima, Kia finally got the laughs.

Next: 2021 Kia K5 GT: costs, facts and figures


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