Kia’s mission is abundantly clear with the introduction of the all-new 2021 Kia Optima. Bring a whole new level of style to the Optima and to put forth an effort to ensure the fifth generation of this much loved mid-size SUV stands out in the crowd and seek to differentiate the Optima from years prior. Amongst a variety of new features and design changes, Kia is continuing to prove why you should start considering a vehicle from their fine selection, such as the Optima as your next vehicle of choice.
Style and Substance?
The Optima’s exterior has now implemented a “Tiger Nose” grille that appears on all trims and really gives the front of your vehicle an appealingly vicious appearance that is sure to make other drivers glance over in awe. Kia really surprised us with the brand new exterior for the 2021 Optima and really found a way to make this vehicle stunning to look at. The new additions to the exterior don’t end there as you’ll find the chrome strip design that we really admire, which stretches from the front doors all the way around to the back.
Also around the back, you’ll be treated to some uniquely designed LED daytime running lights that form across the entire width of the rear bumper in a stylistic dashed design that we really liked and drivers everywhere will, as well. The new Optima’s striking design is certainly bound to intrigue a lot of drivers, and that’s without even mentioning the changes made to the new interior changes and the performance you’ll get when driving this vehicle.
Engines and Transmission
Unlike previous years, at least for now, the hybrid electric Optima hasn’t been confirmed for the US market just yet. However, Kia has confirmed that a turbocharged 1.6L I4 gasoline engine will be available for the upcoming vehicle. The top-of-the-line Optima GT, which has been confirmed for the US next year, utilizes a more powerful turbocharged 2.5L inline-four engine. Kia has also stated that these engines will come with a 6-speed or an 8-speed automatic transmission depending on which one you get, and drivers will be glad to hear that you can finally opt for all-wheel drive though front-wheel drive comes standard.
You might be surprised to hear that these engines are, in fact, the same engines that you’ll find on the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. This engine certainly isn’t bad for a standard engine as it’s capable of producing 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. According to the EPA, this 1.6L engine, when used in the Hyundai Sonata, can earn more than 30 MPG combined so we can imagine performance to be relatively similar. A new feature that is included with this engine is Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD), which is one of Kia’s newest technologies that promises increased performance and torque overall.
What CVVD does is dynamically change the valve timing system, but unlike traditional variable valve timing you’ve seen in the past, which directly ties closing timing to its opening timing, CVVD will lower your engine load when needed. The valve will stay open for longer and once the engine load increases at higher RPMs, the valve is able to close quicker than other variable timing systems. This will utilize more air within the cylinders, which will ultimately result in giving you better performance.
If you’re interested in a more powerful variation of the Kia Optima, then we must recommend you check out the previously mentioned 2021 Kia Optima GT. With the included turbocharged 2.5L inline-four engine, you will see an impressive display of power as it produces 286 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. This engine is sure to be a powerhouse choice for your Optima GT, as Kia themselves are quoted of saying that this engine allows the vehicle to go from 0-60 mph in only a mere 6.6 seconds.
Exclusive to the GT variant is both the options of an 8-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter or a brand new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. This shifting gears as smooth as possible. Also worth noting that because of the dual-clutch implementation, you won’t have to worry about any delay when you shift gears using the paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel.
Changes to the Interior
Of course, Kia has made improvements to the interior of the new Optima as well, and among the changes, we think you’ll be impressed by the available array of different displays you can fit inside your interior. The multimedia display is 10.25 inches, and here you’ll be able to do things such as media controls, navigation, and so forth. Even more impressive is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which is an ample size for displaying all of the important information that you need while driving. Kia also included a total of four gauge cluster layouts, which is a nice touch. Also available is an 8-inch head-up display (HUD), that will provide you with information such as speed, navigational directions, safety information, and more. We believe you’ll enjoy having all of these displays as it really enhances the experience of the new Optima’s interior.
A feature you should be very excited about is the addition of remote parking assist, which complements the remaining safety features found in the new Optima. What rear park assist basically does is utilize a large number of sensors and various cameras located around your vehicle and will use the data it receives to help you either get into or out of a parking space with ease, all with the click of a button. This feature will certainly come in handy, and we’re glad to see it make an appearance here.
Pricing and Release Date
So you may be asking yourself at this point about when the new Kia Optima is set to launch, and we’re happy to tell you the wait won’t be much longer. The 2021 Kia Optima is set to launch this summer into the US market. Overall we think this new vehicle looks stunning inside and out, and we believe it has the potential to be one of the very best mid-size SUVs on the road for the years to come. When stacked against the competition for upcoming SUVs, you’ll be hard-pressed not to notice where Kia made the changes they did. These changes are certainly for the better, and the new Kia Optima is unlike any of its predecessors.
Pricing has also yet to be officially confirmed by Kia, but we don’t imagine it’ll cost you much more than the current offerings. If we bring in last year’s models for price comparison, the base Optima started at an MSRP of $23,390 and went all the way up to $32,190 for the highest trim. With all of the newest implementations for the Optima, we can’t be certain if the prices are going to reflect the years prior, but we can take an estimated guess that it should start at or around $25,000.