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First Look: 2021 Kia K5

Kia introduces its all-new 2021 K5 mid-size sedan, with inspired design, thoughtful technology and advanced driver safety.

  • The mid-size sedan will embrace Kia Motors Worldwide alpha-numeric style naming convention, with “K5” as the name for this all-new model 
  • K5 boasts an innovative design, all-new safety, and technology features and turbocharged engines 


The current, third-generation Optima has been with us for nearly 10 years, and it has helped drive an exciting period of growth for Kia in Canada. 

Kia says the new front-wheel-drive K5, which replaces the Optima, represents "one of the biggest leaps forward between generations in recent automotive history." While we at Kelley Blue Book hope to verify that bold claim soon, Kia says the K5 name was chosen to emphasize this new fastback sedan's revolutionary nature. 

But why a new sedan in this era of explosive growth for SUVs? Kia believes the market is still too big to ignore, and the K5 represents "a complete rethinking" of the traditional sedan. 

There are also plenty of sedans that are Kia K5 competitors. They include the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, plus others like the Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Subaru Legacy, and Volkswagen Passat. 

The 2021 K5 arrives in Canada this fall in LX, EX and GT-Line trims. Canadian specs and pricing details will follow. 


2021 Kia K5 Interior 

The 5-passenger K5 cabin has an open layout and new infotainment display that seamlessly stretches into the instrument panel to create a futuristic three-dimensional design. Other interior highlights on the EX trim include an aircraft-style shift knob on the central console, a panoramic sunroof and metallic vents (front and rear) that have an appealing industrial look. In back, the climate-control vents are appreciated, as are the two USB ports and the contoured headliner, which ensures adequate rear headroom. 

The 2020 Kia K5 can be equipped with a sporty or a premium interior, depending on the model chosen. Notable materials include red leatherette seating and trim that has a satin-metallic or pseudo wood finish. 


2021 Kia K5 Exterior 

The K5 has what Kia calls a "powerful and angular" design language, and we like what we see. The car's nose has a modern version of Kia's "tiger face," and the fastback silhouette looks particularly racy. A chrome garnish that spans the K5's roofline and wraps around the rear glass catches the eye. 

Other notable details: The mesh design on the K5's grille and dual chrome exhaust outlets are inspired by shark skin, and a gloss-black applique on the rear glass helps give the K5 that swoopy roofline without compromising rear-seat headroom. 


Favorite Features 


With either the 8- or 10.25-inch touch-screens, the K5 has a split-screen functionality, a voice-command system, and available satellite radio. When you order the larger screen, the available server-based navigation system provides real-time traffic data. It also allows two phones to connect simultaneously with Bluetooth. 


The new Kia K5 has Normal, Smart, Sport, and Custom driving modes, each of which tailor the engine, transmission, and steering for the desired driving characteristics. 


How much will the new 2021 Kia K5 cost? 

Canadian-market specs and pricing details will be announced closer to the 2021 Kia K5’s availability this fall. But we expect pricing to be very similar to the outgoing 2020 Kia Optima model in a very competitive mid-size sedan segment. 


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