2021 Kia Optima: Redesign Info & Release Date

Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - December 26, 2019

Model Preview

Back in October 2019, Kia gave us a shadowy preview of what we should expect from the all-new 2021 Optima. Here’s what to expect from this sleek new sedan.

If a car could define the word “redesign,” the 2021 Kia Optima would be a candidate for said definition, as this sedan is a clean-sheet retake on the brand’s midsize sedan. Upfront, it continues with the signature tiger-nose grille, but it is wider and more eye-grabbing than before. Other updates to the front end include an aggressively designed bumper with large air inlets, thin headlights with zig-zagging LED accents, and a sporty hood.

Around back, the redesigned Optima gains a new fastback look, as the C-pillar flows deep into the rear fenders. It also boasts a one-piece, full-width taillight bar and a sharp bumper design with integrated air fins and angular exhaust outlets.

If you break out the tape measure, you’ll find the 2021 Optima has also grown in size. While its height is 0.8 inches lower, its body is 1.9 inches longer and 1 inch wider. Its wheelbase also grows by 1.8 inches.

Kia Optima

Inside, the 2021 Kia Optima continues today’s trend of cleanliness, as the dash boasts a tidy look with very few buttons and knobs cluttering it up. It also features plenty of horizontal lines to visually widen the space, a flat-bottom steering wheel for added sportiness, and a rotary shift knob to enhance its spaciousness. There is also plenty of available tech inside this new-generation sedan, including an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen, an available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and an optional 12-speaker Bose audio system.

Tech isn’t all the Optima will be known for, as it will have plenty of luxury amenities available. These will include ambient mood lighting, synthetic and natural leather options, metallic- and wood-effect trim, and more.

The 2021 Optima’s global engine lineup will include a diesel engine, but we don’t expect to see that in the U.S. Diesel engine aside, three gasoline engines will make it to various markets around the world, but there is no clarity on which will make it to the U.S. market. These engines include a 152-ps (150-horsepower) 2.0-liter MPI four-cylinder, a 160-ps (158-hp) 2.0-liter continuously variable valve lift engine, and a 2.5-liter direct-fuel-injection four-cylinder with 194 ps (191 hp).

The only engine Kia confirmed for the U.S. is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’ll set up shop in the forthcoming Optima GT. This engine will inject 290 ps (286 hp) and 422 Nm (311 pound-feet) of torque into this revamped sedan for a mid-six-second 0-60 mph sprint time.

All the engine other than the Optima GT’s unit will pair with either a standard six- or eight-speed automatic transmission. The Optima GT will boast an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.

While it stopped short of confirming standard safety equipment, Kia did confirm the 2021 Optima will have all the latest in available safety tech. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with automated braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, driver-attention warning, highway driving assistance, a 360-degree camera, rear cross-traffic automated braking, and more. We expect the 2021 Optima to follow in the footsteps of the current model and offer most of these safety features standard.

Pricing & Release Date

Kia has not confirmed when the 2021 Optima will arrive in the U.S., but it mentioned it’ll be in many markets in the first half of 2020. Stay tuned for updates.

Pricing is not available yet, but we expect it to be slightly higher than the current model, which ranges from $24,115 to $32,915 (destination fees included).

This redesigned fastback sedan will battle other midsize sedans, including the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Hyundai Sonata.

Learn more about the current Optima on sale now »

Pictured: 2021 Kia Optima

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