Update: A Kia spokesperson provided a statement on the report, saying "KMA has made no official announcement regarding the all-new Optima and I can’t comment of future product offerings. Regardless of the badge, Optima remains an important component of Kia’s award-winning lineup of vehicles."
The new Hyundai Sonata is hot, by most accounts. And its sibling, the Kia Optima, promises to be just as sultry when it debuts in the U.S. in a few months. Design sketches previewing the Kia sedan's updated look hit the web in October and November, but we won't see the brand-new Optima in the sheet metal until 2020... and it might not even be called the Optima at all.
Korean Kia officials say the company is dropping the Optima nameplate entirely. That's according to a report from TheKoreanCarBlog. In the Optima’s place, Kia might use the Korean K5 nameplate globally for the sedan. And there is some evidence to support those claims.
Gallery: 2020 Kia K5 (KDM Spec)
We learned that the company filed and was granted a trademark for the term "K5" in the U.S. in 2012 and kept the trademark active for six years. Kia re-filed for that same trademark this year (September 2019) to keep the term "K5" a property of the company, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the company the wordmark in November.
But there's been a lot of logo and nameplate talk from Kia as of late. Just this week the company filed a trademark in Korea for a stylized new logo. The filing shows red or black text mimicking the same text found on the Imagine by Kia concept, which debuted at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. The new Mohave SUV, meanwhile, wears a custom badge unique to the lineup. It's too early to speculate on Kia's future branding plans, but this could be part of an effort to change the company's image among consumers.
What we know thus far about the upcoming Optima/K5 is that it goes on sale in its home market of South Korea this month. We don't know when the U.S. model goes on sale officially, but it should be early in 2020. And when that model does go on sale, it will be identical to the Korean spec pictured here.
As far as engine options go, the Optima/K5's options should align with those found on the Sonata. Hyundai's product uses either a base 2.5-liter engine, 191 horsepower (142 kilowatts) and 181 pound-feet (245 Newton-meters) of torque, or a more powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, capable of 180 horsepower (134 kilowatts) and 195 pound-feet (264 Newton-meters) of torque. We'll know more for sure when the Optima/K5 shows up in the U.S. early next year.