The sedan formerly known as the Kia Optima gets a new look this year, but the change hardly stops at the body. It gets a new name too. 

The question we still have, after hundreds of miles spent in it—is the mid-size 2021 Kia K5 different enough to earn the new K5 badge?

The Optima and K5 have as much or more in common than just about any other pair of generation-changing cars. They differ mainly at the margins. The Optima tapped 4-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions for performance, while the K5 goes turbo-only and offers all-wheel drive to boot. The Optima seated up to five people, same for the K5 with a bit more rear-seat room. The Optima came with hybrid and plug-in hybrid options; so far, the K5’s turbo-4 only. If the name has you puzzled, well…same.

 

2021 Kia K5

2021 Kia K5

2021 Kia K5

2021 Kia K5

2021 Kia K5

2021 Kia K5

2021 Kia K5

 

Whether it’s a base LX or LXS, one of the duo I drove…

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