Next-generation model looks as though it will be a radical redesign with several eye-catching elements.
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The next-generation Kia K5, the South Korean version of the car sold elsewhere as the Optima, has been teased in a series of shadowy sketches.

Before local fans of the short-lived Optima line get too excited, however, Kia Australia has confirmed today that the current LHD-only (left-hand drive) program for the mid-sized sedan will continue into this new generation.

Enthusiasts of global automotive movements may read on, and watch from afar.

Design

While today's sedan is a slight design evolution of the third-generation Optima, the new car promises to be a radical reinvention of the long-standing nameplate.

Up front there's a highly integrated and 3D interpretation of the brand's tiger nose grille, and a Z-shaped daytime running light.

The new Optima will feature a character crease below its shoulder line, and a fastback-style silhouette. The sketched-out car features frameless door windows, although this is unlikely to carry over into the production model.

Like the heavily facelifted Mohave, the new Optima will have a full-width taillight arrangement. The chrome window arch seen on today's car is brought forward to the new model, but now wraps around the base of the rear windscreen.

The dashboard has a low, flat, horizontal design, and is dominated by an curved panel housing a digital instrumentation display, and a wide touchscreen infotainment system.

Under the skin, the new K5/Optima should once again share a lot in common with the latest Hyundai Sonata.

In the USA, the next-generation Sonata will be sold with an entry-level 142kW/245Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, or an up-spec 134kW/264Nm 1.6-litre turbo. Both engines drive the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic.

Australia

As noted, the new Optima will not be sold in Australia, due to the absence of a right-hand drive option for global markets.

In 2018, just 577 Optimas were sold in Australia, a 20 per cent decrease from the year before. The Optima only accounted for 2.0 per cent of the medium car market, which continues to be dominated by the Toyota Camry (15,269).

The Mazda 6, in second place, shifted just 3328 units. Indeed, the Optima was outsold last year by its more expensive rear-wheel drive sibling, the Stinger (1957).