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Kia Optima could be renamed the K5 here in the U.S.

Sven Gustafson

We recently showed you the Korean version of the 2021 Kia Optima, which is called the K5 there. And if a report is to be believed, the midsize sedan could carry that nameplate here, too, when it debuts.

Korean Car Blog reported earlier today that Kia plans to replace the Optima name with K5 in its overseas markets, including the United States, saying it got confirmation from company officials in South Korea. Autoblog sought similar confirmation from Kia here in the U.S. but haven't heard back.

Further, Motor1 reports that Kia was granted trademark protection in the U.S. for “K5” in 2012 and again this year. Reports have also swirled that the brand has applied for a trademark protection in Korea for a new logo that is similar to the stylized Kia badge shown on the “Imagine by Kia” electric sedan concept from Geneva in March. It appears Kia has submitted at least 50 trademark registrations since May with the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service, with a modernized script in both red and black versions, both set against a white background, that look almost like “KN” with the N being backwards. It can be seen as an attempt to spiff up the existing no-frills logo of a brand that has made major strides in the quality and refinement of its vehicles. Many will note there's already an alternate Korean-market Kia logo that customers frequently apply to their cars here in the United States. 

At any rate, the new Optima/K5 features aggressive, muscular new styling and a powertrain likely to mirror that of the new 2020 Hyundai Sonata, with a choice of either a 191-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a 1.6-liter turbo-four making 180 hp, both mated to an eight-speed automatic.

Going on sale this month in Korea, the K5 grows nearly 2 inches longer to 193.1 inches, and an inch wider, to 73.2 inches. It also gets a longer wheelbase, and the height drops by nearly an eighth of an inch to 56.8 inches. 

Despite the overall decline in sedan in the U.S., the Optima still sells respectively, with 89,482 sold through the first 11 months of the year, a drop of 5%.