New Model News

Kia changes Optima name to K5 for the U.S. in 2021, gives it turbos under hood

Kia is changing the name of the Optima for the 2021 model year, aligning it with what the car is called overseas.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The change is official. Kia is changing the name of its Optima mid-size sedan to the K5 for the U.S. market for the 2021 model year. Additionally, the car is getting a host of exterior and interior upgrades. The Optima is called the K5 overseas.

Kia will sell the K5 in LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX, and GT models. The first four will be available this summer. The K5 GT will go on sale in the autumn.

The car's design isn't new. The model debuted in Korea last year. What is new is the packaging for the U.S.

2021 Kia K5 A dashed LED light across the deck lid is available.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The exterior of K5 GT-Line and GT models features a shark skin-inspired mesh design on the front grille and dual chrome exhaust tips. All models have the company's new signature daytime running lights and taillights. LED taillights with dashes that span the deck lid are available. A new gloss black appliqué is on the rear glass. The K5 rides on fresh 16-, 18-, or 19-inch alloy wheels depending on trim level. Models with 18- or 19-inchers are equipped with Pirelli P-Zero tires.

K5 LX, LXS, GT-Line, and EX models come standard with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

The K5 GT gets a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and makes 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. That is significantly more horsepower than what you'll get from the turbo-four in the base model Kia Stinger but less than what comes from the Stinger's available twin-turbo V6.

2021 Kia K5 Most models will have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder power plant.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

LXS and GT-Line models are available with all-wheel drive. The system is front-wheel drive based, which is a first for a Kia sedan. All-wheel drive will not be available until late 2020.

Kia is giving the K5 Normal, Smart, Sport, and Custom drive modes in most models, which adjust engine, transmission, drivetrain, and steering mapping to provide the desired experience. The K5 GT gets Sport+ mode. All-wheel drive models have Snow mode.

Inside, the car features unique highlights including an aircraft-like shift knob, optional red leatherette upholstery, available satin chrome metallic and wood-like finishes, a panoramic sunroof, and a flat-bottom steering wheel (GT-Line, GT only).

The K5 comes standard with an 8-inch infotainment touch screen. A 10.25-inch touch screen is available. Opting for the larger screen will get you available navigation, multi-phone Bluetooth capability, and user profiles for mirror placement, seat settings, and radio settings. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are only available on models with the smaller screen.

2021 Kia K5 Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

A Bose 7 Premium sound system is available. It comes with 12 high-performance speakers.

Additionally, wireless smartphone charging is available, now with a cooling fan. Natural language voice recognition, remote start with climate control, and a hands-free trunk is available. Buyers can also get a Sound of Nature ambient system. This system is also available on the Kia Seltos.

2021 Kia K5 The cabin is outfitted quite nicely for a mass market model.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Rear Occupant Alert is standard and joins a long list of standard and available safety and driver assist technologies that includes forward collision warning, driver attention warning, lane follow assist, forward collision avoidance assist, blind spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, reverse parking distance warning, parking collision avoidance assist, navigation-based smart cruise control, highway driving assist, and safe exit assist.

The Kia K5 will be assembled alongside the Sorento and Telluride at Kia's West Point, Georgia plant.

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Safety and technology awards

Four Hyundai cars earn top marks for teen drivers

Best SUV for Teens $35 to $40k: 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid

Hyundai
Each year, U.S. News & World Report ranks vehicles in several categories. One relates to teen drivers and how well a vehicle performs in areas such as safety and available technology features. The 2021 rankings for Best New Cars for Teens were just released and one automaker hit it big. Four vehicles from Hyundai's 2021 lineup took top spots in various categories. They include:
  • Best Car for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid
  • Best SUV for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai Kona
  • Best Car for Teens $25k to $30k: 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
  • Best SUV for Teens $35k to $40k: 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid


2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Best Car for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai Elantra HybridHyundai


All vehicles that earned awards in the 2021 survey are available with safety features that include forward collision warnings, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and lane keep assist. The vehicles also carry safety features and controls that allow parents to monitor their teen's behavior. Through the available smartphone app, parents can receive alerts when the vehicle goes over a set speed or if the teen leaves a set geographic area. The idea is that the functionality allows parents to coach their young drivers on their driving habits.


2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Best Car for Teens $25k to $30k 2021 Hyundai Ioniq HybridHyundai


To earn a spot on the U.S. News Best Cars for Teens rankings, a vehicle has to score well in several categories that include crash test scores and available advanced driver assistance features. The vehicle must also have scored well in the publication's rankings for its segment and price level.


2021 Hyundai Kona Best SUV for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai KonaHyundai

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Electric vehicles

Three new EVs we can't wait to see

The F-150 Lightning is just one of several new EVs we'll see soon.

Ford

With all the crazy news coming out of the auto industry this year, it'd be easy to believe that the rollout of new models is slowing to a snail's pace. The pandemic and ongoing microchip shortage have slowed vehicle production, to be sure, but they haven't put the brakes on automakers' push to roll out exciting new electric vehicles. In the next few months alone, we'll see several new electric trucks, cars, and SUVs hit the market, some of which will break new ground and help define their segments. We're on board with this trend 100 percent, and to help you get excited, we've rounded up a few of our favorites.

Here are the three upcoming electric vehicles we're most excited to see.

Ford F-150 Lightning

One of the world's best-selling and most popular vehicles is going electric. The Ford F-150 Lightning is set to arrive in 2022 with a fully electric powertrain, forward-looking technology, and a familiar style that will make any truck lover feel at home. We don't have full details on the truck, but Ford has shared some awe-inspiring performance numbers. The Lightning will offer around 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, which should push the truck to 60 mph from a standstill in just four seconds. Payload capacity comes in at up to 2,000 pounds, and towing will reach 10,000 pounds for specific configurations.


Ford F-150 Lightning The Lightning will offer impressive capability in a familiar package.Ford


The Lightning's starting price will come in under $40,000, but don't get your hopes up about actually buying one for that amount. Ford says the entry-level Lightning is a commercial truck that will be a stripped-down work-ready vehicle, which likely means features like vinyl seats and far fewer of the desirable tech goodies that you'll want. To get the truck you and your family will want to drive, you'll need to spring for the XLT model, which starts just shy of $53,000. That's quite a bit more, but it is still a somewhat reasonable price to pay for what will surely be a capable electric pickup.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

The S-Class is a unique model in Mercedes-Benz's lineup. The car typically showcases the automaker's latest technologies and design techniques and offers a glimpse of the features that eventually trickle down to the rest of Mercedes' vehicles. Soon, we'll see the EQS, a fully electric flagship sedan that paves the way for the brand's other electrified offerings. The car will have a range of well over 400 miles on a charge, up to 516 horsepower, rear-axle steering, and breathtaking technology.


Mercedes-Benz EQS The EQS will usher in a new electric era at Mercedes.Mercedes-Benz


The EQS is expected to land sometime late in 2021 and will carry a price tag that matches its premium brand name and top-notch feature set. Pricing for the "entry-level" EQS 450+ will come in at around $100,000, while the top EQS 580 4MATIC will land well north of that number. Remember, though, that Mercedes offers a long list of ultra-desirable options for its cars, so you'll likely shell out more than the base price to get the features you want.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Hyundai Ioniq name is nothing new, but the way it will be seen in the automaker's lineup will change significantly going forward. Rather than being a model name within the Hyundai catalog, Ioniq will split off and become its own sub-brand, covering a line of electric vehicles of all types. The Ioniq 5 is the first such vehicle and will be offered in single- or dual-motor configurations that generate 225 or 320 horsepower. The car's futuristic design is attractive and features a pixelated look for the front-end, lighting features, and rear. Inside, the vehicle is clean but comforting and offers the features buyers expect in a family crossover.


Hyundai Ioniq 5 The Ioniq 5 is the first in what will be an entire line of new EVs from Hyundai.Hyundai


The Ioniq 5 should go on sale in late 2021 and is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000.

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