Spied! 2021 Kia Optima Prototypes Spotted Testing In The Colorado Mountains

Think of this as evolution.

After the Hyundai Sonata received a major revamp for the 2020 model year, next up is its Kia cousin, the Optima. While we were out and about in the Colorado Rockies, we happened to spot two prototypes rolling down Interstate 70 toward Denver. Based on earlier spy shots we’ve seen and the timing, we’re dead certain these are examples of the 2021 Kia Optima in action. From the front, it certainly looks like this sedan gets a new headlight and grille treatment. Look at it in profile and it’s harder to tell the changes. However, it seems the overall silhouette is ever so slightly sleeker than the Optima we know today.

2021 Kia Optima
There’s still a fair bit of camouflage, but we’re sure there’s a new Optima under there. [Photo: TFLcar]

While Hyundai’s redesign is comprehensive, it seems the 2021 Kia Optima is taking the evolutionary approach. That’s no bad thing, as the current Kia Optima is already a good-looking car with a well appointed interior. We did not get a chance to spot the interior of this car, but we suspect that it will get at least a mild overhaul in the Optima’s next iteration.

Since many of Hyundai and Kia’s cars share platforms, it stands to reason the 2021 Kia Optima will share its underlying structure with the Hyundai Sonata. That means the next model may get new engine choices, including a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine and a 1.6-liter turbo unit. In the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, the larger displacement engine makes 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. That makes it slightly more powerful than the 185 horsepower 2.4-liter engine the Optima has now. The 1.6-liter turbo engine manages 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque in the Sonata.

More updates (hopefully) soon

Since Kia hasn’t officially revealed this car yet, it’s likely this will in fact be a 2021 Kia Optima, rather than a 2020 model. We’ll keep following developments moving forward and provide any updates. Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more Optima news, views and real-world reviews!

While we wait for a new Optima, check out the 2020 Kia Soul below: