Published on July 1st, 2020 | by Subhash Nair


5th Gen Kia K5 Debuts in US, Drops ‘Optima’ Name

Kia have shaken up the D-segment sedan market with the launch of this new 5th generation Optima, or should we say K5. That’s right. The company has finally streamlined their naming convention for this model. It was previously known as the Optima in most export markets and the K5 domestically. Now it seems Kia have decided to stick to one name.

Though they’ve dropped the ‘Optima’ name, there’s really no other department where Kia are giving customers less. There will be standard models as well as a Kia K5 GT for those looking for more performance out of their sedans. The US launch in anticipated in Q3 2020.

The new K5 sports a futuristic and premium look, with Z-shaped Daytime Running Lights, a modern Tiger Face grille, and a fastback silhouette.

Here are some other design details:

  • Shark skin-inspired mesh design on front grille and dual chrome exhaust tip garnish
  • 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
  • Newly designed 16-, 18-, or 19-inch alloy wheels

Inside, the interior is next level premium for the segment. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Aircraft-type shift knob
  • A mix of premium and sporty upholstery options including red leatherette seating, satin chrome metallic and wood-like finishes on the dashboard and door panels, depending on trim
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Flat-bottom, sport steering wheel

From a performance standpoint, the K5 sits on the 3rd generation N3 platform which is lower, longer and wider than before. Here are highlights from the US press release:

  • Length: 193.1 inches (+2 inches)
  • Width: 73.2 inches (+1 inch)
  • Height: 56.9 inches (-0.8 inches)
  • Wheelbase: 112.2 inches (+1.8 inches)
  • Suspension geometry optimized for sporty handling, responsiveness and stability
  • Increased average tensile strength and additional hot stamped parts makes for a solid body in white
  • Improved sound deadening materials result in a quieter and more premium cabin
    • Acoustic laminated windshield standard on all K5 trims

There are also new turbocharged engine options with an 8-speed DCT with a wet clutch. All-wheel drive is available too.

  • 2.5-liter turbocharged GDI + MPI inline 4, 290hp four-cylinder engine making 290 horsepower and 422Nm of torque. 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds with 8-speeed wet DCT
  • 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI CVVD inline 4, 180 horsepower and 244 Nm of torque with an 8-speed conventional automatic.
BHPetrol RON95 Euro 4M

Here’s the press release with more information on the K5’s other systems and equipment.


  • Available all-wheel drive (AWD) provides all-weather capabilities and enhanced driving performance by actively distributing torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driving situations (LXS & GT-Line option). AWD will be available in late 2020.
    • The Kia K5’s all-wheel drive system is front-wheel drive based, which is a first for a Kia sedan.
    • Uses electro-hydraulic system to control AWD coupling for a quicker response and more precise control
    • “Snow” drive mode enhances driver security and all-weather confidence
  • Normal, Smart, Sport, and Custom drive modes adjust settings for engine, transmission, AWD (when equipped) and steering mapping to provide the desired driving experience
    • Kia K5 GT steps it up with Sport+ mode to enhance driving characteristics

Next Level Technology

New wireless features minimize cord clutter and keep the cockpit clean, while a seamless infotainment display layout and voice command system help keep the driver’s eyes on the road. Some technology and convenience highlights to look out for include:

  • 8- or 10.25-inch high-resolution color touchscreen 
    • Split-screen functionality and available satellite radio
    • Available 10.25-inch inch touchscreen adds: 
      • Server-based available navigation system provides real-time traffic data
      • New multi-connection Bluetooth wireless connectivity that lets two phones connect simultaneously
      • UVO telematics with connected user profiles, allowing different drivers to create the environment they desire with the perfect seat position, outside mirror placement, and favorite radio stations
  • Bose Premium sound system, available with 12 high-performance speakers 
    • Bose Centerpoint technology converts stereo sources into a richer surround-sound experience
    • Dynamic Speed Compensation analyzes the sound source and automatically adjusts it according to driving speed
  • Active Sound Design provides a dynamic auditory experience by enhancing the sound of engine acceleration and gear shifts according to the selected drive mode
  • A first for Kia, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto cuts the cord on charging cables, meaning drivers can enjoy being connected without being plugged in (wireless functionality not available on 10.25-inch navigation system)
  • Available wireless smartphone charging with drop-in design keeps smartphones at reach and secured inside the charging pad 
    • Reduced charging time with increased charge rates
    • Added cooling fan
  • Available natural language voice recognition software recognizes a number commands including “turn on the A/C,” and “heat the steering wheel.”
  • Newly available Smart Key functions 
    • Remote Engine Start and Climate pre-acclimatizes the cabin before passengers enter the vehicle. The standard dual-zone control system can automatically set cabin temperature to a comfortable 72 degrees from the Smart Key
    • With hands-free Smart Trunk, access to the rear conveniently pops open when the Smart Key is detected behind the vehicle
  • Standard Rear Occupant Alert: Designed to provide a message in the instrument cluster for the driver to “Check rear seats” in order to help prevent leaving the vehicle with a rear passenger left inside; the message appears when the driver door is opened after a rear passenger door has been opened and closed. 
    • “Sound of Nature” ambient system creates a peaceful retreat inside K5 with six calming themes

The “Kia Drive Wise” suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) has more to offer, with some of the key features including:

  • Standard Forward Collision Warning (FCW): Designed to detect a vehicle in front and in certain conditions, can calculate the distance and closing speed, and issues an alert to warn the driver if it senses a potential frontal collision.
  • Standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA): Builds on FCW by assisting the driver in braking to help prevent a collision or lessen the effects in certain conditions if a vehicle or object is detected in front. 
    • Standard FCA-Pedestrian builds on FCW by detecting vehicles, objects and pedestrians in front
    • Available FCA-Cyclist builds on FCW by detecting vehicles, objects, pedestrians, and cyclists in front
  • Standard Driver Attention Warning (DAW): Senses inattentive driving patterns and sends an audible/visual warning to alert the driver. 
    • Adds Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA): Alerts driver with a chime when the leading vehicle begins to move forward from a standing position.
  • Standard Lane Following Assist (LFA): Follows lane markings that the system detects and provides steering inputs to help maintain the vehicle in the center of the lane.
  • Available Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) – Junction Turning (FCA-JT): Assists the driver in braking to help prevent a collision or lessen the effects in certain conditions when turning left and an oncoming vehicle is approaching.
  • Available Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA): Under certain conditions, can detect vehicles traveling in the next lane. When a vehicle is “seen” in the blind spot, the vehicle brakes the outer wheel under certain conditions to help return the vehicle to its lane.
  • Available Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA): Helps detect most approaching cross traffic when in reverse. When approaching cross traffic is detected, the system alerts the driver and applies brakes.
  • Available Parking Distance Warning-Reverse (PDW-R): Detects certain objects behind the vehicle, issuing an audible warning when an obstruction is detected. The warning tone chimes faster as the vehicle gets closer to the detected object.
  • Available Parking Collision Avoidance Assist (PCA-R): Uses rear view camera and rear ultrasonic sensors to help detect most pedestrians or nearby obstacles when the vehicle backs out of a parking spot, warning drivers with a chime and can engage brakes to prevent a collision.
  • Available Navigation Based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C): leverages the navigation system to lower the vehicle’s speed proactively before upcoming curves.
  • Available Highway Driving Assist (HDA): Uses federal highway speed limit information from the navigation system and, under certain conditions, will automatically adjust speed to be within the posted speed limit and maintain distance with the vehicle detected in front.
  • Available Safe Exist Assist (SEA): Can alert the driver or passengers opening their door not to exit the vehicle when the system detects approaching traffic. When detected, a chime sounds. The system can intervene to lock the rear doors when the vehicle is equipped with available Power Child Lock.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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