It will feature something a lot of enthusiasts demand.
We recently learned that the next-generation Kia Optima, which is slated to arrive this year, will actually go by a different name. Instead of being called an Optima, the 2021 model of Kia's midsize sedan is expected to use the K5 name, which was previously reserved for global variants. We also knew that the new K5 would receive a sporty GT variant, but now we have proof that it will receive another important feature: all-wheel-drive.
Blame the EPA website for ruining Kia's big surprise but the next-generation K5 with AWD has already been rated for fuel economy in the United States. The government website shows the K5 AWD model using a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission rated at 26/34/29 mpg city/highway/combined.
If this is the same 1.6-liter engine used in the Hyundai Sonata, it will produce 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful (but less torquey) 2.5-liter four-cylinder is expected to act as the K5's base engine producing 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Even though the Hyundai is mechanically similar to the Kia, it does not currently the option for AWD for some reason.
In fact, only the Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, and Toyota Camry currently offer AWD in the mainstream midsize sedan segment. The Kia Stinger and Volkswagen Arteon offer it as well but at a higher price point. The K5's fuel economy numbers put it in a similar ballpark as its AWD competitors.
The AWD model powered by a 1.6-liter engine is the only K5 variant that is currently listed on the government website, meaning the others likely have not been tested yet. Base models will send their power to the front wheels only but the sporty GT model still remains a mystery. Hyundai has already said its mechanically similar Sonata N-Line will be front-wheel-drive but Kia could differentiate itself by offering the K5 GT with AWD.