Kia Optima Model History and Generations
The mid-size Kia Optima has been on the scene since 2000 and has been a part of marketplaces across the globe. Known by many names, the Kia Optima has been a staple member of the Kia lineup for 20 years and four generations. The Optima is set to enter its fifth generation in 2021 under a different nameplate, so we thought there’s no better time than now to take a trip through the Kia Optima model history and generation lineups.
Learn all about the Kia Optima in this edition of Friendly Kia’s Family Tree.
>>> READ MORE: U.S. Kia Market Drops the Optima Name in Favor of All-New 2021 Kia K5 <<<
First-Generation Kia Optima Model History
Model years: 2000 – 2005
Powertrain variations: Gasoline
IIHS rating: Poor to Average
Engines: 2.4-liter Sirius 2 I-4 engine, 2.7-liter Delta V6 engine
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic transmission, 5-speed manual transmission
The Kia Optima joined the U.S. market as a luxurious version of the Optima that had currently existed in the South Korean market. A few exterior updates throughout this first generation helped the Optima stand apart from other sedans on the market.
Second-Generation Kia Optima Model History
Model years: 2005 – 2010
Powertrain variations: Gasoline
IIHS rating: Marginal to Good
Engines: 2.4-liter Theta 2 I-4 engine, 2.7-liter Delta V6 engine, 2.7-liter Mu V6 engine
Transmissions: 5-speed manual transmission, 4-speed automatic transmission, 5-speed automatic transmission
The second-generation Optima featured a global platform that was unique to the Kia brand, furthering its uniqueness on the market. In its second generation the Optima added in an available five-speed Sportmatic transmission to its equipment list.
Third-Generation Kia Optima Model History
Model years: 2010 – 2015
Powertrain variations: Gasoline, Hybrid
IIHS rating: Top Safety Pick
Engines: 2.0-liter turbo engine, 2.4-liter GDI engine, 2.4-liter MPI engine with 30kW electric motor
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic transmission, 6-speed manual transmission
In its third generation, the Kia Optima left behind its ordinary design in favor of a sleeker, sportier, and more recognizable profile. This generation of Optima models came fitted with a signature tiger-nose grille and in 2011 the Optima gained its first hybrid model, which set a Guinness World Record for having the lowest amount of fuel consumption in a hybrid gasoline vehicle.
Fourth-Generation Kia Optima Model History
Model years: 2015 – 2020
Powertrain variations: Gasoline, Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid
IIHS rating: Top Safety Pick+
Engines: 1.6-liter engine, 2.4-liter engine, 2.0-liter engine
Transmissions: 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed automatic transmission, 7-speed DCT
In its most recent generation, the Kia Optima re-joined the scene with another updated look, adding new design elements and more substantial features and enhancements. During its fourth generation, the Optima lineup gained another hybrid option, this time a plug-in hybrid variant. Now with three powertrain options, the Optima appeals to the masses.
Fifth-Generation Kia Optima Predictions
The fifth-generation Kia Optima is expected to not be an Optima at all, but instead a Kia K5. Kia is set to drop the Optima name in favor of the K5 alphanumeric, which is what the model has been known as in the Korean market. There hasn’t been much released about the upcoming Kia K5 but we expect to see a much sharper exterior design with angular elements, a more impressive infotainment center, and the addition of all-wheel drive.
>>> READ MORE: Kia Sorento Model History and Generations <<<
Stay tuned to the Friendly Kia blog for even more information on the Kia Optima/K5. Head over to our online inventory to view the current lineup of Kia Optima models available now in New Port Richey and the Tampa Bay area. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Friendly Kia Family Tree series to see how far Kia vehicles have come.