The fourth-generation 2020 Kia Optima wrapped in heavy-camouflage has recently been spotted for the first time by a spy photographer’s camera on its public road testing in South Korea. The Optima mid-size sedan is more commonly known as Kia K5 in both the Korean and Chinese markets, and has received a facelifted version last year in the United States. According to our sources, the new Optima prototype uses the final bodywork with a codename Kia JL3 in this public road test. The Korean-based automaker have promised major improvements for the next-generation Optima sedan and Optima GT, especially in terms of driving performance, powertrain and suspension. So, hopefully this isn’t nonsense.

Speaking of its design changes, the 2020 Kia Optima will most likely getting a comprehensive redesign that includes new headlights and taillights designs with different patterns, although the overhangs are relatively unchanged and look the same as the current model. Other design changes are reflected in the C pillar which is now adopts a different shape lines, and the new rear number plate is now placed on the rear bumper, instead of the boot lid. It seems that South Korean automaker have taken a different approach for the upcoming Optima sedan.

2020 Kia Optima Spy Shots
2020 Kia Optima Spy Shots

The most important thing is that 2020 Kia Optima will offer various powertrain options for all trim levels. The entry-level model will be available in two standard powertrain options that include a 2.0-liter CVVL and 2.0-liter LPi gasoline engine. Followed by a new 1.6-liter Turbo GDi SmartStream engine rated at 180 horsepower, and will be available for the upcoming 2020 Optima GT-Line. Moreover, the Korean manufacturer will also offer a newly available naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter Theta3 turbo engine on the new Optima GT.

2020 Kia Optima Spy Photos
2020 Kia Optima Spy Photos

For buyers who prefer a diesel powertrain rather than a gasoline unit, the 2020 Kia Optima will also be available with a 2.0-liter diesel R-engine capable of cranks out 150 horsepower in the base form or 184 horsepower (with some performance tweaks). In addition, the entry-level model of the 2020 Optima diesel also offers a new 1.6-liter U3 diesel engine rated at 136 horsepower.

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The current 2019 Kia Optima hit the U.S. market with several powertrain options. The S and LX trim levels are equipped with a standard 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission capable of producing 185 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 178 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Furthermore there is a turbocharged 1.6-liter GDI inline-four engine with seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) featuring a Sportmatic sports-shifter which is available as standard on the 2019 Kia Optima EX. The 1.6L GDI turbo enigne is able to cranks out 178 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 – 4,500 rpm.

Kia 2.0-Liter Turbocharged GDI Engine
Kia 2.0-Liter Turbocharged GDI Engine

It’s claimed to have an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 27 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined. The last powertrain option is a turbocharged 2.0-liter GDI engine available as a standard on the SX trim level with six-speed automatic transmission. The current Optima SX with 2.0L turbo engine is claimed to produce peak output of up to 245 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 1,350 – 4,000 rpm. While the EPA-estimated ratings for the Optima SX 2.0L turbo are 21 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined.

Release Date and Pricing

There’s no word on the official release date for the U.S.-spec 2020 Kia Optima, but our source revealed that this new four-door mid-size sedan would enter the production line at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia in August 2019. After that, the next-gen Optima luxury sedan will make its official debut around September 2019.

2019 Kia Optima SX Front Right Side View
2019 Kia Optima SX Front Right Side View

Talking about the official pricing, the 2020 Kia Optima is expected to go on sale at U.S. dealerships with a similar price tag and not much different from the current model. As we know that the current 2019 Kia Optima Pricing is starts at $22,990 for the LX base trim and $31,990 for the highest SX trim level, including destination charges. However, please look for official pricing details when this new luxury sedan has been released to the market.

Image Credit: Bobaedream & Kia Newsroom

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