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Sedan sales aren’t too hot right now. Consumers are throwing their Benjamins at crossovers, SUVs, and trucks instead; however, that’s not deterring Kia from updating its Optima for the 2021 model year. New spy photos show for the first time an Optima prototype testing in Death Valley. 

Heavy camouflage and cladding cover everything but the roof and side skirts. However, don’t expect a complete redesign underneath. Instead, expect a design that further refines the current design, which received the tiniest of refreshes for the 2019 model year. Much like the new Kia Forte, the 2021 Kia Optima will borrow heavily from the Kia Stinger. The design will emphasize a sleek roofline and wider proportions. Like the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, the Optima’s platform-mate, the 2021 Optima will grow in both wheelbase and width. 

Inside, the 2021 Kia Optima will feature a ton of technology introduced on the 2020 Sonata while also providing a tad more interior space. Some features may get restricted to higher trims and a price premium, but tech such as NFC capability, wireless charging, parking assist, and more should be available along with showing the blind spot monitor view in the instrument panel. A redesigned dash and new materials are also expected. 

Gallery: 2021 Kia Optima

It’s too early to know what powertrains Kia will offer in the 2021 Optima; however, there should be new or revised four-cylinder engines possibly with or without turbocharging. There are also hybrid and PHEV variants expected, too, though those are expected to launch about a year after the gasoline-powered models hit dealerships. 

With sedan sales declining, automakers with a sedan-heavy lineup need to keep their products feeling fresh. While some automakers are abandoning sedans, such as Ford, Kia still has to compete with Honda, Toyota, and others. A refreshed Kia Optima could help boost its declining sales. The 2021 Kia Optima should debut early next year and go on sale after that. 

Photos: Automedia

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