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Design Story of the New Kia K5 (Optima) Interior

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Kia K5 Optima

Kia’s new K5 were finally unveiled. The sporty appearance, which feels sharp, was released and at the same time, the design was K5. But the K5’s reputation isn’t just an exterior design. The sporty interior is also a big part. What about the interior of the new K5? Together with researcher Jeong In-ho from Kia Interior Design Team 2, who was in charge of the new K5 interior design, we examined the core of the new K5 interior.

Q. What are the overall characteristics of the 3rd generation K5 interior design?
The interior of the K5 is designed with a future-oriented sporty sedan that maximizes the driver’s focus. To implement this, three directions were set: ‘Wide & Horizontal’, ‘Pure volumes’ and ‘Solid & Refined’. By applying the straight lines to create a wide sense of space, while not twisting or twisting the face complex, honest proportionality to increase the volume. In this space, hard and tidy details were added to give a sporty personality.

Q. How is this different from the previous generation K5?
The interior of the new K5 inherits the advantages of the previous generation K5. The existing K5 received a good reputation for its horizontally oriented design and a neat layout. This also applies to the new K5. The difference is that it’s more driver-centric than ever before. The existing K5 design is rather static, and it was a pity to appeal to Kia’s sportiness and personality. Recalling that, we applied three-dimensional modeling and sporty layout to maximize the driving performance emotionally.

Q. Recently, Kia’s interior design seems to be choosing and focusing on customer preferences. Is this part of the K5?
In the past, we have worked hard to add quality and quality through materials such as leather and stitching. Recently, however, users tend to prefer practical aspects such as enlargement of the display and convenience in using them. The new K5 interior was designed with these needs in mind. Emphasis was placed on providing high-tech images by applying large displays and touch-type control systems. Of course, in order to feel the satisfaction when the driver actually used, the high-quality soft material is applied at the touch part.

Q. The large AVN display feels like one connected to the cluster.
The design connecting the cluster and the AVN display is actually an interior design that many brands have already proposed. In order to differentiate, K5 has realized the shape that AVN display is stretched around the cluster while keeping up with the trend of integrated display. This is where you can feel the sporty spirit that Kia Motors pursues. The display and air conditioning control system has also minimized physical buttons and applied touch-type buttons for sporty and high-tech images.

Q. It seems that the front view of the driver’s and passenger’s seats is very broad.
We wanted to create a horizontally open space through horizontally oriented strings connected from the dashboard to the door. The same reason is the application of a slim design air vent. You can see that the air vents at the front end protrude to both ends slightly off the dashboard, giving the front a wider visual effect.

Q. When you drive, the floor console is where your hands go as much as the steering wheel. What is the most important factor in designing this part?
It focused on maximizing driver-centric sportiness, the most important part of the K5’s interior design, and optimizing user comfort. The new console is taller and wider than the previous generation. The console’s location is also biased towards the driver, not in between, taking into account its usability and sporty design.

One of the features of the floor console design is that the location of the smartphone wireless charger has been changed to a vertical mount in front of the center armrest. Other existing vehicles have applied the wireless charging function to the front console tray, which is not only inconvenient because the user has to reach out, but also has a difficulty in the front tray for storing various accessories. The tray is an improvement for the original use and to increase the convenience of wireless charging the smartphone.

Q. The recently launched Hyundai Sonata has a button-type shifting system control system. Why did the K5 use a dial-type transmission instead of a button?
The dial-type shifting system is one of the differentiating points. In addition to the cable shift levers that are traditionally used, we also wanted to suggest a different operating feeling than the electronic shift buttons that are widely applied in modern cars. The dial-type transmission was first applied to Kia’s existing Niro EV and Soul Booster EV. However, the dial used in the new K5 has a new design that improves the sense of luxury than before.

* The transmission of the new K5 supports dial type (SBW) or lever type (SBC) depending on specifications.

Q. What is noteworthy about the K5’s door trim design?
As mentioned earlier, the biggest feature is the string from the dashboard. The interior design of the front and side is connected with lines to give unity and maximize the sense of space The garnish, which rises linearly on the top of the armrest, is also a design point applied to emphasize the sporty image. Armrest centers have long horizontal mood lighting. Looking closely at the mood lighting, we applied a stripe pattern, which is a united pattern with the shape of the airflow applied to the air vent bezel.

Q. Please tell me more about mood lamps.
The mood lamp changes color in conjunction with drive mode. Depending on the drive mode, the color of the cluster and infotainment display changes, as well as the mood lamps on the front and door of the passenger seat. The signature color for each mode allows passengers to feel a new interior space. Of course, the mood lamp can be changed to the color you want.

Q. What do you want customers to focus on in this K5 interior design?
The new K5 is designed to maximize driver-centric usability under the theme of ‘Sporty’. All of the control systems were centered around the driver to optimize usability, and the asymmetrical structure wanted to add sportiness. In addition, in order to play the role of a medium-sized sedan, we tried to feel a spacious interior when sitting in the passenger seat and the back seat. I hope everyone on board the K5 feels this.

Jose Antonio López

Passionated about Korean cars from Kia & Hyundai. Photographer. I love being in nature, hiking. Tech lover.

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