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Kia K5 vs. Kia Optima

1. Differences between Kia K5 and Kia Optima

The differences between the two cars are minor, but they do exist. The K5 has a slightly sportier appearance than the Optima. This relates to the K5's enhanced performance capabilities. This is due to the K5's GT version, whereas the Optima is the sportiest trim-leveled model. The Optima is also offered as a Plug-in Hybrid, whereas the K5 is strictly offered as a hybrid vehicle only, with no plug-in option. This does not necessarily affect engine performance, it just determines fuel economy and how the battery charges. With the plug-in option, the battery can be charged overnight, using only the gasoline engine when necessary. With the hybrid option, the gasoline engine will be kicking in to charge the battery more often. This results in decreased fuel economy, as there is more constant use of the engine. The Optima being offered with a plug-in option means it has a higher potential for fuel economy. The K5 is also said to have an all-wheel drive option, depending on the engine choice. This is a significant difference from the Optima, as it is very uncommon to find this feature in a sedan in this vehicle class. This is a potential advantage of the K5 over the Optima, depending on how it affects the vehicle's performance in harsh weather. This wide span of engine options is quite confusing, especially when comparing the two vehicles, as specific details for engine options for the K5 have not been released. On the interior, the vehicle is nearly identical to the current Optima. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the Optima has an incredibly high-quality interior for its class. The main difference is the K5 is stated to have improved front and rear passenger headroom. This again, has to do with the K5's slightly altered appearance and is a result of lower roofline than the Optima. This alteration of appearance for more headroom is a bit of a catch 22 as the headroom is supposed to be improved, yet the lack of a higher roofline generally reduces headroom and makes the car feel more cramped. This is also a symptom of the K5's decreased overall length compared to the Optima. The K5 is said to have more cargo space than the Optima. With 16 cubic feet, it's only slightly more than the Optima, but any increase in cargo space for a sedan is beneficial. The large increase in cargo space is a result of the K5's increased trunk height and larger trunk opening. This is due to K5's drooping rear end appearance compared to the Optima, which is said to be slightly reminiscent of the Stinger. The Stinger is a hatchback vehicle, which explains the difference in trunk space design between the K5 and Optima. The K5 does not have a hatchback option and it's even stated that the K5 will not fill the void of the Optima's departure in Kia's lineup for a new crossover vehicle, despite the similar appearance between the two. A main emphasis of the K5 is offering a more affordable alternative to the popular but expensive Stinger model. This is especially evident with K5's GT-line version. This version is mainly an appearance package. Despite being slower than the normal K5, this version gives standard K5 models the ability to achieve a similar aesthetic to that of the Stinger. [1] Learn More about Kia Optima and 2017 Kia Soul in our guide 'Introduction to Kia Model Specific Reviews and Features'

1.1. Exterior design

Overall, the exterior designs contrast each other with the 2021 K5 leaning towards a more youthful and vibrant crowd with many sharp and bold creases, aggressive front end, and GT model. The 2021 Kia Optima took a more careful approach with a sleek yet more tasteful design made for a more mature group of people, as Kia puts it, "OC sophisticates".

The K5 adopts four themes and several detail treatments seen on the similar-size Stinger hatchback, including an aggressive GT-Line model. Optima offers EX and SX models, aimed at uplevel competitors like the Nissan Maxima, or perhaps even the BMW 3-Series. Both cars feature a full-width taillight bar, but the Optima's extends into the decklid, forming a stylized "K" for Kia. The K5's taillights are more conventional-looking and less distinctive. Stepover further and all it takes is one look to notice that the K5 has a coupe-inspired roofline, which is set off by the chrome trim around the windows, it somewhat gives off the illusion of a four-door coupe. The new K5 also has many sharp and aggressive lines and creases throughout the body of the car. The GT model also features a more sporty look with gloss black trim, a rear wing spoiler, and 19-inch wheels. Now switching over to the Kia Optima, this vehicle has a more professional and upmarket look than the K5, making it more suitable for an older demographic of people. The new Optima has a more refined look with a new three-dimensional, "E-Motion" waterfall grille. The LED headlights and boomerang-shaped LED daytime running light and signal light are sleeker and more aggressive-looking than previous models. The EX model has a premium look with satin chrome accent trim on the side of the car and the window surround. This vehicle was also designed with aerodynamics in mind, to make the vehicle flow more smoothly through the air. The SX model has a more athletic appearance with a black aero kit, rear spoiler, and 18-inch wheels. The Optima's body will likely cater to those who are used to a traditional-looking car and also appeal to a more mature demographic of people. Both vehicles also come in a variety of exterior colors.

The K5 appears modern and fresh, thanks to a sweeping fastback roofline and sleek proportions. The front view is dominated by Kia's new "tiger nose" grille—flanked by a pair of non-functional air intakes and set off by LED headlights built into the hood's trailing edge. The Optima has generated its own buzz, thanks to its near-luxury design and features that include available quilted leather upholstery and a 12.3-inch digital gauge display. Its stance is lower and longer than the outgoing Optima's, and it has short overhangs. As is the current trend—witness the new Acura TLX and Lexus ES—Kia and Hyundai have targeted their mid-size sedans to appear sportier without necessarily being sport sedans.

1.2. Interior features

Kia K5 has a more modern and sporty interior than the Optima. The Kia K5 and Kia Optima are similar midsize sedans that vary slightly in size. The Kia K5 is the 2021 replacement for the Optima. The first big difference you'd find is the interior. The K5 feels newer and more modern, with a sportier look and feel to it. The center console is tilted toward the driver, which feels like a BMW. The Optima, by comparison, feels more staid, safe, and traditional. Even though both cars are similarly sized, the K5 feels larger on the inside and the Optima smaller. The difference is the K5's lower seating position and longer cockpit gives you the feeling of driving a larger vehicle, whereas the Optima has a more upright position that makes it seem more like a sedan. Both cars have a multi-link rear suspension and we will have to drive both to give an assessment on ride quality and handling. The Optima offers more features than the base model K5, but the higher you go through the K5's trim levels, the more the features and the more advanced the features become compared to the Optima's. For example, the top SX model K5 features a 10.25-inch touchscreen, which you cannot get any Optima model. This is on top of K5's more modern-looking interior, while the Optima can feel slightly cramped, particularly in the rear. Despite rear legroom being down slightly on the Optima in the GT trim K5, the feeling is not as such, and feels deceivingly adequate due to the lower seating position. This is because front headroom is up and overall cabin dimensions are larger than that of the Optima's. Both cars have many driver-assist features on offer, although the more advanced of these features are featured on the higher trims for both cars, or are a more recent feature for the K5. The Optima has Active Lane Keep Assist as an alternative to the more advanced Highway Driving Assist.

1.3. Performance and engine options

Both the Optima and K5 are front-wheel-drive sedans; however, the K5's eight-speed automatic gearbox will surpass the Optima's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The K5 will feature an all-wheel-drive capability equipped with a terrain mode setting, appealing to consumers residing in colder climates. This is still nothing short of the Optima, however. The K5's terrain mode is simply an enhancement of the Optima's drive-mode select and hill-start assist control. Overall, the driving performance of the K5 has improved, and the engine choice can suit the desires of a wider variety of consumers.

After the absence of the Kia Optima 2021 model year, Kia has bounced back with the K5. While it is the successor of the Optima, it differs slightly in terms of driving performance and choice of engines. The Optima is available in only one engine, while the K5 is available in two engines of different outputs. The Optima is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, with a fuel economy of 35 mpg, while the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The K5, on the other hand, offers a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine producing 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, combined with an impressive fuel economy of 29-38 mpg. The GT model of the K5 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbo engine, which is capable of an astounding 290 horsepower with 311 pound-feet of torque.

2. Similarities between Kia K5 and Kia Optima

Technology and infotainment: The Kia Optima was aimed at the more luxury segment of the mid-sized car market with its more upmarket interior and long list of features, but the technology and infotainment features of the K5 are much the same. A lot of the K5's features are industry firsts for the mid-sized car segment and reflect the changing times in which people expect more and more technology in cars. The WiFi telematics system will allow for over-the-air updates to enhance vehicle safety, and it can connect up to two mobile devices at once. UVO connected is a feature that allows drivers a safe and secure way to access content between the vehicle and a mobile device. Emergency features such as Connected Routing, which will use the driver's current location to provide directions to hospitals, police, or fire stations. This feature is an indication that customers relying more on technology and smartphones want to integrate more aspects of their life into using a vehicle.

Safety features: The safety features list of the Kia Optima is long and comprehensive, and the K5 is similar. There is an entire suite of driver assist technology which aims to effectively prevent accidents. On the Optima, this was known as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), and a lot of the features were brand new for the facelift model. We can expect the K5's safety features to be on par as it's a newer model, but some of the most notable features are the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which helps avoid collisions with other vehicles or objects, and the Lane Following Assist (LFA), which may automatically adjust steering to help keep the vehicle centered in the lane. Both models have safe, and all of the safety features have helped the Optima achieve a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

2.1. Safety features

There are also available safety features in both vehicles that include rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, blind spot detection, and a surround view monitor. This wide array of safety features is very desirable in both the K5 and the Optima, as safety is a top priority in vehicles today. Every feature mentioned has contributed to the high score in safety for the Optima, and it is expected that the K5 will match this success, given that it is the newer model of the two.

There are extensive airbags in both vehicles, including side-curtain airbags and knee airbags. Both vehicles have many high-tech safety systems, including anti-lock brakes and stability control. Other additional features in the cars are hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring systems, and traction control. Both cars come standard with driver assist technology that ranges from lane-keeping assist to forward collision-avoidance assist. These features ensure that if a potentially hazardous situation comes about, the car will take action to ensure the avoidance of an accident.

The K5 and the Optima are the same vehicles in terms of safety, but the 2021 K5 has not undergone its safety tests yet. This does not mean that the K5 is the lesser of the two vehicles. The design of the K5 is based off of the Optima, which received a good rating from the IIHS in 2019. The Optima also gets high marks from US News with a 9.7/10 score. These ratings paint a good picture for the K5, seeing as it is based off of the foundation of a very safe vehicle.

2.2. Technology and infotainment

This full range of UVO technology and services is exclusive to the Optima and is not integrated into the UVO system found in the K5 and other Kia models.

The telematics system stands at the forefront of Kia infotainment technology, connecting a driver to their car at all times and places. By using a SIM card that is integrated into the car, a driver can always access various Internet services through the UVO app on their smartphone and make use of voice commands to make their phone calls, send text messages, and access their destinations while still focusing on the road ahead. UVO Connect services provide information on weather, traffic, and various points of interest and can offer alerts and send a location to rescue and roadside assistance services in times of an accident or emergency. The integration of telematics and UVO Connect services is a step forward in updating Kia's infotainment technology. [2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

The Optima offers a large 8-inch touchscreen UVO display audio unit that comes standard in all models excluding the base LX model. UVO is a powerful infotainment system that is compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth. In regions outside of America, UVO may not be available and the Optima will come equipped with a DAB audio unit. Although the DAB unit does not feature UVO technology or Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, consumers in these regions have the option to purchase a hybrid version of the Optima that comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen with telematics and UVO Connect services.

The infotainment technology will consider the Kia K5 vs. Kia Optima. The Kia Optima is a mid-size car manufactured by Kia Motors since 2000 and marketed globally through various nameplates. The Optima has been made available for rental through Enterprise Rent-A-Car and since May 2019, Uber XL in the United States. The K5 was introduced in the United States in July 2020. Kia Motors is a well-established Korean manufacturer of automobiles that integrates the latest technological principles into their cars and makes them available at a reasonable market price. Both the Kia K5 and the Optima have been updated to celebrate this reputation as seen through the integration of new infotainment technology.

3. Pricing and trim levels

At their respective relative prices, both sedans offer some desirable advantages. The Optima, despite its age, will see steeper discounts that could make it the more affordable choice – especially for consumers who won't have employment income during 2020's COVID-19 pandemic. Kia's vehicle warranty for each car remains the same, so any consumer searching for a used 2020 Optima may benefit from buying certified pre-owned instead of used to keep warranty coverage. Buy or lease promotions coming from lessors and Kia's captive financing company could create cheap monthly payments for either sedan. A 0% APR for as long as 75 months is occasionally offered on Kia sedans, although this could be a double-edged sword value-wise due to accelerated vehicle depreciation.

Both the Kia Optima and K5 are being manufactured in the same year, so direct compare-and-contrast pricing is somewhat more difficult to find. However, the manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) for the Optima begins at $23,390, while the K5 will start at $23,490. As these numbers are very close, consumers would benefit from examining the fair purchase prices through various online pricing tools and negotiation. Kia frequently applies cash rebates, marketing support, and dealer incentives that can drop the price several thousand dollars lower than MSRP. It may take some time and patience to find data on consumer cost for the K5 model.

3.1. Pricing comparison

The starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2021 Kia K5 sits at $23,490 and goes up to $30,490 for the GT trim. When comparing that to the 2020 Kia Optima, the prices are actually very similar. The starting MSRP for the Kia Optima was about $23,390 and would go up similar to the K5 to about $30,190 for the top of the line trim level. Although the price points seem to align fairly closely, in the state of today's market the most recent Optima is sure to maintain its value and possibly go up in future years to come. Within this time period, Kia's decision to introduce the K5 under the price of the Optima is a smart move, as the Optima will simply depreciate and the K5 offers a more modern, and better amenities. By next year it is likely that most of the 2021 Optimas will be sold at a price lower than the K5, and this would be a steal for anyone in the market for a new car. At the base level, the K5 is a slightly more expensive version of the Optima. This can be attributed to the fact that the K5 holds the same powertrain as the Sonata, despite Hyundai and Kia having a merge fall onto the same category of sedan. It's clear that Kia is making the next move for the future by introducing the K5, as the Optima will soon cease production after its 2021 model year. The base level K5 comes with a 1.6L inline 4 Turbo and the LXS and GT line are followed by a 2.5L inline 4 Turbo. The 1.6L Turbo as well as the 2.5L Turbo are promised to be more fuel efficient than the outgoing Optima, and the price in gas money will be noticeably cheaper at today's standard gas prices. The K5 will be a slightly more expensive lease than the Optima, but with Kia's 0% APR Financing events, customers looking for a new car can attain a K5 with manageable monthly payments. With time, the value of the K5 will prove to be higher than the Optima, and this is key when factoring car ownership and possible trade-ins.

3.2. Available trim levels

If you're a trim enthusiast, you might favor the K5's seven available trims over the 2020 Optima's five. The Kia K5 trim levels are as follows: LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX, and three different variations of the sporty GT. Kia's Optima for 2020 is available in four different trims, which are the LX, EX, and the high-end trims which are the X-Line and SX. So if you're looking to personalize your car and have more options to choose from, you'll be able to do that with more available trims in the new Kia K5. There are a ton of features available in the Kia Optima, including one of the best Kia Optima models ever, which is the Kia Optima SX. To compare, let's take a look at the EX Premium Package Optima: it takes a luxurious turn starting with the interior featuring a two-tone color option, and included heated and ventilated front seats. This package also includes exterior features like the panoramic sunroof with a shiny satin chrome finish on the outside. Now let's jump back to the Kia K5. Many of the luxurious features found in the 2020 Kia Optima are now standard in the K5. Examples of this would be the heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift, and the panoramic sunroof which are all standard features in the Kia K5 EX.

4. Consumer reviews and ratings

The Kia Optima with 10 airbags scored good for moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. The Optima has been tested and maintains the same ratings for 2011-2013 models. Similar to the K5, it offers an acceptable level of safety in all categories. Also noteworthy is the fact that both cars rated 2nd (K5) and 3rd (Optima) in terms of ease of use for the child seat restraint LATCH system. This indicates that the new K5 model is just as family-friendly as the Optima. Both cars have very similar safety features, and neither would pose any greater risk than the other.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet released a rating, but the Kia K5 scored a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They rated good, the highest possible rating, for moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. The rating is significant, yet the details may not be - all K5 models from the most basic to the fully equipped version will have 6 standard airbags, something that cannot be said about certain mid-level US manufactured sedans. They also have features such as anti-lock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability. Although the K5 has yet to be consumer tested in this country, there is no reason to think these safety features will not be effective.

4.1. Pros and cons of Kia K5

At the time of writing, that's all we have for the cons list. The Kia K5 has been a drastic improvement over the Optima and should be a very competitive vehicle in its mid-size sedan segment. High-performance variants and future technology integration could make this sedan outdo itself. But for now, it's already made an impressive statement.

On the flip side, the cons list is still very much a minor work in progress. First off, the K5 has great potential to integrate high-performance models into their lineup, but this isn't one of them. Although the 2.5T engine does indeed make better power in the K5 than it does in the Sonata, the specs of 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque still pale in comparison to the Kia Stinger's 2.0T. This could kindly be requested for a larger horsepower variant or future K5 tuning. Next, let's consider the K5. It goes without saying that the front-wheel-drive platform has been a grand success for Kia. The improved D-AWD system could potentially do better than the Optima did with its FWD bias, but it's still a hard sell to push AWD on a sedan in the USA. Especially with this engine power, it's already proven to be a better alternative in the US market for those looking to purchase an SUV.

Let us start with the pro aspects. First off, the Kia K5 has a significantly unique personal signature. It's one of a kind aerodynamic design cues are noticeable and consistent throughout the entire vehicle. The belt line accents and subtle chrome details further enhance its athletic shape. Although it's too early to see whether the K5 will integrate alongside the Kia Stinger, it's a start in the right direction. This is a departure from the soft-hearted sedans Kia built its reputation on. Second, the interior of the K5 is impressive compared to its competition. A mix of premium chrome and woodgrain accents showcases its high-level craftsmanship. A large touchscreen and gauge cluster come standard and are angled in a way to make it appear to be one giant display. A statement of "first class" seating is emphasized after the front seats were certified by the AGR. Essentially, this means the front seats meet the standards of healthy back features. This isn't much of a big deal in North America, but it's a large marketing tool in Europe. The Kia was able to pull all of this off while meeting its goal of safety being number one. Over a tubular steel frame, K5's security features include six airbags, adaptive front lighting, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and more! This safety sheath is one of the reasons why the Optima was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

4.2. Pros and cons of Kia Optima

Cons: - Not quite as a driver's car due to added weight and size compared to its K5 brother. The Optima's steering and suspension aren't as responsive as drivers would prefer, and its fuel efficiency doesn't match today's modern mid-size competitors. - Being priced at an unfamiliarly high price (in recent years) for the mid-size sedan segment, steeper prices can be a turn-off for potential buyers. Especially for those who seek luxury and still aren't convinced of Kia as a proper luxury brand. In Australia, Kia's still rather fresh rebrand of releasing its higher-end cars under 'Kia Stinger' can lead to slightly ignored Optima, A4L, and Cadenza models.

Pros: - Has a large amount of passenger room compared to similar sized cars. With its spacious interior and comfortable seating, anybody with long legs should not find the rear leg room overly tight. The Optima also offers enough boot space with its 505 litre boot and rear folding seats. - Classed as one of the more luxurious mid-sized sedans, the Optima presents its driver with a cabin that is always quiet at high speeds and rich with features that should last a number of years. Even the base model offers satellite radio with touch screen, steering wheel mounted controls, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and dual zone climate control. - Improves on the Kia K5 by offering a 2.0 L GDI turbo engine for those who seek extra horsepower (274) and torque (36.8 kg). With the added U2 navigation, it provides an exhilarating driving experience.


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