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2021 Kia K5 | Review & Road Test

Kelley Blue Book Follow
  • Video description
  • 2 years ago
For the latest Kia K5 pricing and information:

The all-new 2021 Kia K5 goes on sale this summer with a base price of about $25,000 including destination fees.

The K5 gets a roomy and spacious feeling cabin. It gets an open layout and new infotainment display that stretches into the instrument panel for a three-dimensional layout. We love details like the airplane-inspired shift knob. Materials include leather seating on more expensive models and trim that has a satin-metallic or faux wood finish.

The K5 gets a standard 8-inch touchscreen but this 10.25-inch version is also available. It’s got split-screen, navigation, and looks quite boss. It also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard! Wireless phone charging that includes a cooling fan will cost you extra.

While the base model LX doesn’t come with much in the way of extras and has a non-folding rear bench seat it does get Kia Wise Drive, that’s their suite of safety features that offers forward collision warning, lane follow assist and some other solid safety features.

The LXS offers up that access to the trunk as well as blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alerts. We’re figuring that’s going to be more of the volume model.

The K5 gets some features from Kia’s flagship Stinger that are great adds. Powerful, angular, muscular, those are all very sexy words that come to mind when looking at this sedan. The fastback checks off the racy box, it gets that Kia Tiger Face and some great looking headlights. It may not out-dazzle the Sonata, but this is such an evolution from the previous generation Optima.

The K5 gets two engine options. The first is a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (180 hp/195 lb.-ft torque) that shows up on the base LX, the LXS, the 1.6-T GT-Line, which is more of a sport appearance trim, and the loaded EX. That engine’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The engine feels plenty powerful for the K5. I’m preferring the drive in Sport mode, though. It just feels a bit more responsive and spirited. If you can get past the one and a half to two-second lag while the turbo spools, then this engine shouldn’t disappoint.

The steering is direct, and I don’t feel any dead spots. Brakes are more than adequate. Overall the driving experience is a well-rounded a positive one in my opinion.

The second engine option sounds super compelling – a 2.5L 4-cylinder turbo (290 hp/311 lb-ft torque) on the GT, which is actually sportier. That’s not to be mistaken with the lesser-powered GT-Line. Okay, that is a bit confusing. But the performance-minded GT mates to a dual-clutch 8-speed transmission and even gets sport tires.

Kia claims a 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and we’re looking forward to verifying that when the engine arrives.

Both the Camry and Accord get more engine options on more trim levels, including a Hybrid, so if you’re looking for bigger variety, that might be a good place to start.

The grip feels decent. AWD is available as an option if you’re looking for more. The Kia gets a bunch of driving modes, Normal, Smart, Sport, and Custom driving modes that adjust engine, transmission, and steering accordingly. The K5 GT gets a Sport+ mode as well.

No that’s not in this model, but when we can get our hands on it, we’ll drive it. In the meantime, you should subscribe to the KBB YouTube channel so you don’t miss that review.

Gas mileage numbers (LX 1.6T 32 Combined/LXS/GT-Line 1.6T/EX 31 Combined) on the K5 line up with the competition nicely. Numbers on the 2.5T GT aren’t available yet.

The GT-Line gets embossed leatherette interior, black outside mirrors with LED turn signals, sport front, and rear bumpers, and a rear spoiler.

Extras on the highest EX trim include a panoramic sunroof heated front seats, wireless smartphone charging, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. The GT-Line (~$26,400) and EX (~$29,000) will both cost more than the base model. For the sporty GT, you’re looking at closer to $31,500.

Don’t look now, but the midsize sedan segment just got a bit hotter.
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