Lots of Stinger cues and a new face
The redesigned 2021 Kia Optima has finally been revealed ahead of its official global debut in Korea on December 12. Like earlier teaser photos suggested, the stylish midsize sedan sports a new look featuring the latest iteration of Kia’s corporate grille, which is now called the “tiger nose evolution.”
The grille has a three-dimensional look, headlights integrated into it, and a pattern modeled to look like shark skin. Like its predecessors, the low-slung coupe-like roofline remains and the rear deck lid has been shortened, giving it a silhouette similar to the rear-drive Stinger. The Optima’s signature chrome strip now wraps around the rear window instead of ending at the beginning of the decklid. Full-width taillights and Z-shaped LED daytime running lights that are supposed to mimic heartbeats round out the exterior styling updates on the redesigned 2021 Optima.
Compared to the outgoing model, the 2021 Kia Optima is 2.0 inches longer and its roofline is 0.9 inch lower. Width stays the same as the vehicle it replaces, but its wheelbase has grown by 1.8 inches. Like the mechanically related 2020 Hyundai Sonata, the redesigned Optima rides on a new platform that focuses on improvements in safety and driving dynamics. Available alloy wheel sizes on the 2021 Kia Optima will range from 16- to 19 inches in diameter. Kia has yet to show the 2021 Optima’s interior, but based on the set of teaser sketches released earlier, it should have a similar design to the 2020 Telluride. However, the Optima may distinguish itself from other Kia models with an available full digital gauge cluster just like its Hyundai cousin.
Although powertrain and drivetrain configurations haven’t been announced yet, we expect the 2021 Kia Optima to offer the same engines as the Hyundai Sonata. That means a base 191-hp 2.5-liter I-4 and a 180-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four, both of which will be paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. If you’re looking for more power, you may have to wait for the GT version, which should replace the current SX model. That variant should come with the recently announced 2.5-liter turbo-four paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that can handle 347 lb-ft of torque. A hybrid variant with a solar roof panel should also be in the cards.
Expect the redesigned 2021 Kia Optima to arrive in North America next year. Production for the midsize sedan should take place at Kia’s West Point, Georgia, facility alongside the 2020 Telluride.