The 2021 Kia Optima vs 2020 Kia Optima: What’s Different?

February 21st, 2020 by

A white 2020 Kia Optima is shown from the rear driving on a track near Freehold, NJ.

The early days of Kia have long gone and can now barely be remembered. Today, Kia is a powerhouse, delivering cars that meet more than meets people’s needs, and they deliver it style. Kia has delivered vehicles like the Stinger and the Telluride, but now is presenting us with the upcoming 2021 Optima. It’s now a worthy force in the automotive world and one that’s only going to continue to grow. That’s why today, we want to compare the 2021 Kia Optima vs 2020 Kia Optima and see what’s going to be different about Kia’s flagship sedan this year.

At Raceway Kia, we believe in brands making bold statements, which is why we back Kia 100% of the time. Kia has been around a long time (75 years), but they were a relatively unknown name in the United States just a short time ago. Now, though, Kia models are seen all over the place, and they’re no longer seen as the outsider they once were. And the Kia Optima leads the way.

The 2020 Kia Optima

Let’s start things off with what we know first. The 2020 Kia Optima was released last year and is a fine example of Kia’s upward trend towards being a legitimate household name. We, of course, already believe in the vision, but the automotive industry can sometimes take a while to be persuaded.

The 2020 Kia Optima comes in six different models, which are the LX, S, Special Edition, EX, EX Premium, and SX. Their starting MSRPs are $23,390 (LX), $24,890 (S), $26,390 (Special Edition), $27,190 (EX), $30,190 (EX Premium), and $32,190 (SX). If you know how sedans are usually priced, you can tell these prices are quite normal and affordable for this category of vehicle.

There are three different types of engines included, which will change as you move in ascending fashion up the trim levels. On the LX, S, and Special Edition trims, you’ll find a 2.4L inline 4-cylinder engine with up to 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. On the EX and EX Premium trims, you’ll have a turbocharged 1.6L inline 4-cylinder engine with up to 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with a 7-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission. The top-level SX trim comes with a turbocharged 2.0L inline 4-cylinder engine with up to 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. All models come standard with a Sportmatic Sports Shifter. The best gas mileage (27 city/37 highway/31 combined) is, not surprisingly, found on the models with the lowest amount of horsepower, which would be the EX and EX Premium.

The black and red interior of a 2020 Kia Optima is shown.

One of the best parts about the 2020 Kia Optima, other than its sleek style, modern design, and sporty performance, is the fact that it comes packed with features. Starting with the safety features, you’ll find a whole slew of advanced safety features. No offense to some of the brands out there, but Kia, along with other car companies located in Asia, is really showing how it should be done by including safety features across the board. On the 2020 Optima, you don’t have to upgrade to the highest trim levels to get the protection and sense of security you need. All safety features come standard on all models. This includes Blind Spot Collision Warning, Parking Distance Warning-Reverse, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go, and many more. It’s an extensive amount of safety features, which is always a good thing.

You’ll also find Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated across the board. Bluetooth and Siri Eyes Free are also standard. A 6-speaker audio system is standard, although the EX Premium and SX trims will come with a 10-speaker, Harman Kardon audio system.

The 2021 Kia Optima Exterior

Although the complete specs haven’t been released yet as the new model Optima is still to be launched, we have been able to scour the news articles and leaks to find you some information. First off, there are plenty of photos out there of the 2021 Optima, and it looks absolutely fantastic. You’re sure to find plenty of photos out there because the overseas version of the all-new Optima, called the K5, has already been released.

It’s a redesign year for the Optima, and, oh my, the redesign looks like a real success. From the side, you can easily see the fastback design that has been put into play, along with some tasty-looking lines that inevitably pull your eyes towards the front of the vehicle and the interesting heartbeat lighting found there. While some may just say the lighting design could easily resemble a lightning bolt or zigzag, it’s easy to see how it also resembles the spiking lines you’d find on an EKG monitor. Either way, they look great and really set the mood for a very stylish front end that also features a sporty grille (called the tiger-nose). Overall, it’s a big winner on the outside.

A blue 2021 Kia Optima, which is great when comparing the 2021 Kia Optima vs 2020 Kia Optima, is in a showroom.

The 2021 Kia Optima Interior

On the inside, there’s a 1.6L T-GDi engine. It boasts up to 177 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It’s enough to feel right on the daily commute, but not too much to lose out on your gas mileage. However, there should also be an Optima GT released at a later date that will feature a turbocharged 2.5L engine that will punch close to 300 hp. Along with this, there’s plenty of speculation that AWD will be an option on the 2021 Kia Optima, which is huge considering the lack of AWD on vehicles within this category.

Also, on the inside, you can expect a real treat when it comes to the interior design and overall looks you’ll find. It’s a minimalistic design overall that centers on the very nice looking area around the 10.3-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch gauge cluster. The general consensus is that this type of beautiful interior isn’t usually associated with mid-size sedans in this price range. Generally, you’d expect a much higher-priced vehicle to contain the great displays and easily navigable menus you’ll find inside the 2021 Kia Optima.

What Are You Waiting For?

These 2021 Kia Optimas aren’t going to last forever, so… Just kidding! They won’t find their way to dealerships until later this year, but you can be assured there will be plenty more news about the new Optimas in the coming months. We’re definitely looking forward to hearing more about them ourselves, so we’re sure you will be too.

In the meantime, feel free to come on down to Raceway Kia for any of your Kia needs. We always carry a large stock of all the latest Kia models, including the popular 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Kia Stinger. Plus, we have plenty of options for used vehicles as well. If you have any questions at all, you can always chat with one of our friendly representatives on our website or give us a call at (888) 641-6821. If you want to go on a test drive, make sure to give us a call today, and we’ll get that appointment set up for you right away. From everyone here at Raceway Kia of Freehold, NJ, we appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you soon!