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Kia K5, Sorento Win 2020 Good Design Awards

Kia K5 and Sorento among select group of car companies to be honored with Good Design Awards, an international accolade.

Kia received two major design prizes for its latest models: the new third-generation Kia K5 sedan and fourth-generation Kia Sorento SUV. They were both honored with recognition in the Transportation category of the annual Good Design Awards.

The midsize K5, known as the Optima in its previous two generations, was honored for design elements including Kia’s hallmark “tiger nose” grille and “heart beat” daytime running lights, while its interior layout conveys a futuristic and high-tech appearance, aided by its 12-inch digital instrument cluster.

Corporate sibling Hyundai also won Good Design accolades for its 2021 Hyundai Elantra, the EV concepts, 45 and Prophecy, and the Hyundai Hi-Charger, an ultra-fast EV charging infrastructure.

2021 Kia K5 tail lamps

When Kia introduced the K5, it said a number of other exterior design traits give the K5 visual impact:

  • Shark skin-inspired mesh design on front grille and dual chrome exhaust tip garnish (GT-Line, GT)
  • Taillights with available LED “dashes” span the width of the rear deck lid
  • Gloss black applique on rear glass enhances fastback shape while maintaining sedan functionality and cargo space
  • Newly designed 16-, 18-, or 19-inch alloy wheels (18- and 19-inch wheels come with sporty Pirelli P-Zero tires)

The Sedona also incorporates the “tiger nose” grille, which wraps around the integrated headlamps on each side, for what Kia calls a “confident and mature presence.” Because there’s nothing we hate more than an immature presence in a vehicle’s grille.

2021 Kia Sorento inlays

The Sedona’s exterior and interior was designed in the U.S. at Kia’s Irvine, Calif., studio. Among the exterior flourishes, the Korean automaker says, are a “strong side character line [that] emphasizes muscular and athletic profile” and a “distinctive dynamic wave shape at [the] base of the C pillar.” Interior touches include “eye-catching vertical center air vents [that] impart a sense of strength and presence” and available metal texture inlays or open-pore wood inlays because good design is an option not a standard feature.

The best new 2020 car and transportation designs went to BRP, CL Yachts, Cooper Tire, Damen Yachting BV., Genesis, Green Motion SA., Federal Tire, CNH Industrial Italia SpA., e.GO Mobile AG., Ferrari SpA., FPT Industrie SpA., Hyundai Motor Company, Lucid Motors, Kenda Rubber Ind. Co., Ltd., Kia Motors Corporation, Nikola Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Pininfarina SpA., TMH International AG., Zapp Scooters (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

What do you think? Has Kia earned these accolades? Are their designs among the best internationally?

Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.