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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross used the Internet of Things to connect to the My Mitsubishi Connect app

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North Americ

Mitsubishi has enlisted Aeris and Dealer-FX to better connect owners to their vehicles. Using integrations with the Aeris Mobility Services and Dealer-FX ONE platforms, the My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will now enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

The system will push timely notifications from the vehicle to the app and the owner's smart mobile device allowing them to act in a matter of seconds rather than trying to remember that a warning light cane in while operating the vehicle.

"Mitsubishi customers are dreamers, achievers, entrepreneurs – active in their communities and in their family homes, and their time is extremely valuable," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer of MMNA. "The My Mitsubishi Connect app allows us to enhance their experience, be more efficient with their time and continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering high quality, top value vehicles with leading-edge technology in the U.S."

This isn't the company's first IoT foray. When it debuted, Mitsubishi Road Assist+ was the first hardware-free, smartphone-based app provided by an OEM that allowed owners to realize the cost savings of usage-based insurance without having to own "connected car" with built-in telematics capabilities or aftermarket-installed telematics hardware.

Mitsubishi continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market. The company recently relocated its headquarters from California to the Nashville, Tennessee area near where Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance member Nissan has its North American headquarters.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from Mitsubishi executives, among other benefits.

The My Mitsubishi Connect and Mitsubishi Road Assist+ apps are currently available on the Google Play store and the Apple's App Store for use on Android and iOS devices.

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