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 K5A 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 K5Most 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 K5Wireless 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 K5The 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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The Hyundai Palisade got a mild refresh for 2023.

Hyundai

Earlier this year, Hyundai announced changes to the Palisade for 2023. The list includes a new front fascia, an updated grille with new headlights and daytime running lights, a 12-inch touchscreen with navigation, and more. A new XRT trim joined the lineup as well, bringing brawny off-road styling and dar exterior trim. Today, Hyundai announced pricing for the SUV, which starts at a little more than $32,000.

2023 Hyundai PalisadeA new XRT trim adds rugged styling. Hyundai

The Palisade's powertrain carries over from 2022, which includes a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. Inside, the SUV got several new and updated technology features, including a more powerful wireless device charging pad, an updated digital key system, and a larger infotainment display.

As Hyundai's flagship SUV, the Palisade edges on luxury territory, with plush leather upholstery and a serene cabin that offers excellent noise cancellation and comfort. Captain's chairs and seven-passenger seating are available, but a second-row bench comes standard and brings eight-passenger capacity to the SUV.

Muscular SUVs are more popular than ever before, so Hyundai gave the posh Palisade an outdoorsy treatment with its XRT trim. The new Palisade XRT builds on the SEL trim with 20-inch wheels, a more rugged bumper and lower body cladding, a sunroof, and leatherette upholstery. To be clear, XRT is an appearance package that does not improve off-road capability to a large degree.

2023 Hyundai PalisadeTop trims border on the quality and design of some luxury brands. Hyundai

Standard safety equipment is generous, and includes forward collision warnings with avoidance, lane keep assist, lane following assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, driver attention warnings, high beam assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Pricing for the base Palisade SE starts at $36,245, which includes a $1,295 destination charge. The top Calligraphy AWD model starts at $52,095 after destination. All-wheel drive is available for all trims as an added-cost option.

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The N Line forms a midpoint between the standard Kona and the Kona N.

Hyundai

Hyundai has a lot going on, with new EVs hitting the market, but the brand has been on a surprising run with performance models lately. The Veloster N is an excellent, rowdy hot hatch, and the brand followed that act with the Kona N and Elantra N. Hyundai’s Kona N takes the hot hatch formula to the next level with an incredible powertrain and useful space, but it’s too much for many people. The mid-point is Hyundai’s N Line, which borrows styling cues from the hottest N variants but lacks the all-out grunt of those vehicles.

2022 Hyundai Kona N LineThe N Line gets aggressive styling cues from its sportier N counterpart. Hyundai

The styling works for the Kona N Line, as it does with the Kona N, but the powertrains couldn’t be more different. Where the Kona N gets a 286-horsepower four-cylinder, the N Line comes with a milder turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 195 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which adds a layer of engagement not found in the continuously variable transmission that standard Kona models get.

That modest output lends the Kona N Line modest performance, with more noise generated than expected. In motion, the powertrain feels decently responsive, but it lacks the razor sharp nerves of steel that the Kona N brings. Shifting into sport mode changes the gauge cluster to a bright red and hastens the vehicle's responses, but again, it's important to temper expectations for a milder experience here.

2022 Hyundai Kona N LineThe digital gauge cluster responds to drive mode changes. Hyundai

Styling is more aggressive than the standard SUV, with 18-inch wheels and mean-looking exhaust tips. The Kona’s front-end design is still busy and will still be polarizing, but the dark trim and sporty aero bodywork help the situation. The N Line’s all-black interior gets red stitching and accents that help break up the otherwise monotonous color scheme. The seats are supportive and comfortable, but could be deeper for better body-holding during spirited driving sessions. There’s plenty of room up front and a surprising amount of space in back, aided by the Kona’s large-ish rear door openings. Parents will find an easy time loading kids, and older children can ride in relative luxury with plenty of legroom.

A 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, which offers configurable colors and legible information. It’s paired with a standard 8-inch touchscreen, but a 102.5-inch screen with navigation is available. Hyundai’s excellent infotainment software runs flawlessly on both units, and offers an intuitive and straightforward way to interact with the vehicle. A Harman Kardon eight-speaker stereo also comes standard.

2022 Hyundai Kona N LineRed accents liven what is otherwise a dark, monotone interior.Hyundai

The Kona N Line, while not as hot as the Kona N, offers a reasonable styling upgrade for people wanting a small SUV with sporty looks. Enthusiasts should look at the full-on N model for thrills, though, because the N Line should be viewed as more of an appearance package than a performance model.

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