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Third-generation 2021 Kia Optima Unveiled in South Korea

Just last week, Kia published a few sketches that hinted at the styling it was giving the upcoming third-generation 2021 Kia Optima that’s destined for our market. It should be noted that the nameplate has been in use for longer elsewhere in the world; prior to 2011, our North American version carried the name Magentis.

In any event, the new 2021 edition has just been unveiled on the far side of the planet, in South Korea to be exact. The model known there as the K5 has been given a substantial dose of aggressiveness in its styling, even though the overall design signature of the model that we’ve had for most of this decade remains intact. Which means Kia’s sedan remains one of the most attractive in the segment. The brand’s engineers wisely refrained from overturning a winning design formula.

In front are a few elements borrowed from the Dodge Charge,r particularly the headlights integrated into the grille. These stretch slightly into the wings, just like with FCA’s sporty sedan. The grille itself features a three-dimensional finish, the company saying it took inspiration from sharkskin in creating its texture.

Photo: Kia

The profile is as beguiling as ever, but the addition of a few specific elements gives it a sleeker, speedier look. The back end gets a more substantial makeover, with the car basically adopting a Sportback line. Judging from these first images, we’d say it’s job well-done. 

Mechanically, the company provided no details this time around, but we can expect a virtual carbon copy of what we’re getting in the new Sonata from Hyundai. That sedan is fitted with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine delivering 191 hp, or else a 1.6L turbo generating 180 horses, to which is attached an 8-speed automatic transmission. In the case of the Sonata, there’s talk of an eventual 2.0L turbo also joining the product offering, as well as a hybrid version.

Photo: Kia

Kia also refrained from sharing details about the interior and the equipment features. That will be for the next tease.

Stay tuned.

Photo: Kia
Photo: Kia
Photo: Kia