2021 Kia K5 Mid-Size Sedan in Sapphire Blue.

Kia revealed their new mid-size 2021 K5 sedan via a virtual media presentation this past week.  While others have abandoned the sedan as part of their product offering, Kia has doubled down on sedans with an all-new approach to the mid-size sedan for 2021.

Noting that nearly a decade after the 2011 Kia Optima paved the way for one of the auto industry’s most significant growth and achievement stories, Kia says they are resetting expectations once again with the reveal of the all-new K5 mid-size sedan.

The 2021 Kia K5 replaces the Optima as their mid-size sedan going forward. Actually, it is a badge change – plus a lot more.  For reference, the K5 badge is the same used for this 5th generation sedan in Korea where it has been on sale since December.

While taking design cues from their Stinger sports sedan, the K5 also features new design approaches, several all-new safety elements, a performance enhanced new N3 platform, a pair of turbocharged engines, new ‘wet’ Dual Clutch transmission, available all-wheel drive, high-impact technology and more.

Going on sale this summer, the K5 will be available in four trim levels (LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX).  What Kia calls an ‘adrenaline-fueled GT’ will follow later in the fall.

2021 Kia K5 in Passion Red Tintcoat

New Design Identity

The 2021 Kia K5 – at first glance – shows a new powerful and angular design language for its mid-size member of the brand.

A modernized “tiger face,” has a wide and thin front grille that extends into the headlight and hood structure.  The K5’s low-slung and fastback (Stinger-like) silhouette gives the impression it was made to run.  Pulling it all together is a chrome garnish that spans the roofline and wraps around the rear glass.

Other exterior design elements with visual impact include:

  • Shark skin-inspired mesh design on front grille and dual chrome exhaust tip garnish (GT-Line, GT)

(GT in Wolf Gray shown)


  • Signature “Heart Beat” daytime running lights and taillights with available LED “dashes” span the width of the rear deck lid


  • Gloss black applique on rear glass enhances fastback shape while maintaining sedan functionality and cargo space

2021 Kia K5 in Glacial White Pearl

  • Distinctive new-design 16-, 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels (18- and 19-inch mounted w/ Pirelli P-Zero tires)

In the cabin, a newly designed infotainment display seamlessly stretches into the instrument panel, creating a futuristic, three-dimensional layout and driver-centric space.

2021 K5 GT Black Interior Red Accents

Other interior highlights (depending on trim level) include: aircraft-type shift knob, multiple premium and sporty upholstery options including red leatherette seating (Black is standard), satin chrome metallic and wood-like finishes on the dashboard and door panels, Flat-bottom, sport steering wheel (GT-Line, GT) and Panoramic sunroof.


The 2021 Kia K5 is also new underneath built on the advanced third-generation “N3” platform, which will serve as the foundation for future Kia models.

The N3 platform allows the K5 to sit longer, lower and wider compared to its predecessor, resulting in its aggressive profile and deeper center of gravity for a more exciting driving experience.

Highlights include: increased exterior dimensions for a sport sedan look, optimized suspension geometry for sporty handling, responsiveness and stability and improved sound deadening materials for a quieter, more premium cabin

Hot Turbo Traction

Kia’s powerful and efficient powertrain options will unleash the spirit of the everyday driver says Kia.

The turbocharged lineup includes two powerful engine choices, an available eight-speed “wet” dual-clutch transmission for fast and precise gearshifts and an available all-wheel drive system for improved traction and capability.

HOT is a 1.6L turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine producing 180 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque – managed by an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission (LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX).

All-wheel drive (AWD), available with 1.6T engine, delivers all-weather driving performance by actively distributing torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driving situations.

The K5’s all-wheel drive system is front-wheel drive based and will be available in late 2020 (1.6T engine only.

HOTTER yet is the 2.5L turbocharged GDI + MPI four-cylinder engine making 290 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. (best in class) of torque.

Paired with the new and segment exclusive 8-speed “wet” Dual Clutch Transmission, (GT) goes 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, says Kia.

Drive Modes

The 2021 Kia K5 powertrains all feature drive modes.

They are Snow, Normal, Smart, Sport, and Custom. Drive modes adjust settings for engine, transmission, AWD (when equipped) and steering mapping to provide the desired driving experience.

Later, the GT trim model adds a Sport+ mode to provide additional enhanced drive performance.

Infotainment and Technology

New infotainment technology and wireless convenience in the 2021 Kia K5 include:

  • Standard 8-inch high-resolution color touchscreen w/split-screen functionality and available satellite radio
  • Available 25-inch inch touchscreen with available server-based navigation system providing real-time traffic data
  • Multi-connection Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity (more than one smartphone)
  • UVO Telematics with connected user profiles, allowing multiple drivers to create individualized driving environments
  • Bose Premium Sound system w/Bose Centerpoint technology and Dynamic Speed Compensation – available with 12 high-performance speakers
  • Wireless Apple CarPlayand Android Auto (wireless functionality not available on 10.25-inch navigation system)
  • Available Wireless Smartphone Charging has ‘drop-in’ design keeps smartphones at reach and secured inside the charging pad
  • Remote Engine Start and Climate to pre-acclimatize the cabin before passengers enter the vehicle.
  • Smart Key hands-free Smart Trunk that opens when the Smart Key is detected behind the vehicle
  • “Sound of Nature” Ambient Sound System creates a peaceful retreat inside K5 with six calming themes
  • Active Sound Design that enhances the sound of engine acceleration and gear shifts according to the selected drive mode

10.25-inch Touchscreen 

Wireless Charging w/ ‘drop-in’ feature


Driver Assist Systems

The 2021 KIa K5 has a number of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) standard or available.

Standard features include: Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) w/Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Driver Attention Warning (DAW) w/Leading Vehicle Alert (alerts driver when vehicle ahead starts to move); Lane Following Assist (LFA) and Rear Occupant Alert (Provides alert on the instrument cluster for the driver to “Check rear seats” when rear doors have been used in current drive cycle).

Available features (by trim level or package) include: Forward Collision Avoidance Assist – Junction Turning (FCA-JT) to help prevent or mitigate a collision when turning left and an oncoming vehicle is approaching; Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA);  Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA); Parking Distance Warning-Reverse (PDW-R); Parking Collision Avoidance Assist (PCA-R); Navigation Based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C); Highway Driving Assist (HDA) (Under certain conditions, will automatically adjust speed to be within the posted speed limit and maintain distance with the vehicle detected in front) and Safe Exit Assist (SEA) (Alerts the driver or passengers opening their door not to exit the vehicle when the system detects approaching traffic).

How Much and When

The 2021 Kia K5 is scheduled to arrive this Summer.  Pricing and other detail information will be made available closer to that time. 

Follow the 2021 Kia K5

Kia has a consumer K5 page on line.  You can sign up for updates as they become available here.