Your car may still be kickin’ it just fine — no one said you need to get rid of your vehicle after a wimpy 100,000 miles — but that doesn’t mean you can’t be on the cutting edge of car news like this. The Kia Optima has been a prominent mid-size sedan since its debut a full two decades ago, but the maker has decided to change things up a bit by calling it the Kia K5.

Sedan rumors solidified

Personally, I drive a sedan and love it, so the concept that the segment is shrinking bewilders me. But it’s the truth.

As a result of this market shift, Kia seems to be using the Kia K5 as an attempt to sway the American public toward this trusty, easy-to-drive style.

The EPA puts out fuel economy listings weekly. Back in May, onlookers noticed a novel entry, and it was none other than the Kia K5. This fresh face confirmed rumors that had been swirling for the past year, that Kia is saying goodbye to the Optima and hello to something different.

Sure, the Optima name itself is mostly an American thing. The South Korean had the Lotze while countries like Canada had the Magentis. However, it looks like Kia is going to be implementing the K5 name across the board, ultimately unifying the global market for a highly branded approach.

Is the Kia K5 different in more than just name?

Any brand, regardless of industry, could slap a different name on a product and call it new. Alas, it seems like Kia has taken an approach with a bit more depth.

Back to that EPA listing. We’re not sure if this was a sly way to introduce the vehicle or a slip-up, but it gave us some good insight on what to expect out of the new model.

Kia K5 Optima EPA listing

While there’s bound to be multiple variants, the Kia K5 has only registered one variant so far with the EPA. It’s depicted as having a capable all-wheel drive configuration and a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine. The all-wheel drive and turbocharged facets are a lovely new addition, and this same engine provides solid daily-driver performance in the Hyundai Sonata.

Compare the new eight-speed automatic with the old seven-speed self shifter and it’s clear that there’s been a slight bump up.

According to the EPA, the vehicle holds a combined 29 MPG, reaching upwards of 35 MPG on the highway. It looks like the added capability in the K5 has sacrificed about 1-3 MPG in efficiency.

According to the South Korean K5’s metrics, the horsepower on the Kia K5 and the Optima look about in sync, ultimately reaching 178 horses. This is a daily driver, after all. But as for the American Kia K5, we may be able to expect at least one trim to reach 290 horsepower using a 2.5L four engine.

Buh-bye Optima, the K5 is coming to town

Word on the street is the Kia K5 is coming to the market later this year. Presumably, the Kia website itself will be the first to share the news. As of right now, the Optima is still on the maker’s sedan drop-down list, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, you can quench your thirst for car news with virtual auto shows all summer long.

Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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    1 Comment

    1. This is a big name change, from words to letters and numbers…
      How many Kia K900s do you see on the road? I don’t think that worked out too well.
      Imagine buying a $60K Kia

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