Pricing for the K5 starts at $29,595 in Canada, $23,590 in the US.
The K5 is the new-generation Optima.
Kia has pulled out all the stops for their midsize sedan.
Congratulations are in order. Yes, to Kia for their lovely new K5 sedan, but that will come in a moment. The cheers are for you, dear reader, who is curious about this sedan if mostly because you are considering a right-sized vehicle for your needs instead of an SUV like everyone else.
It’s difficult to fault consumers who fall under the spell of the SUV. In fact, it’s inevitable. Kia alone, of its 11 nameplates, only four are conventional cars. This is a snapshot of the industry and where the money and the efforts are invested. Even so, Kia’s gone all-out with the new K5 as the sedan ticks ALL of the boxes.
In a segment that’s lost all North American players in the last few years but that has been partially or completely dominated by Japanese cars, Kia’s loaded the car with what could only be considered a modern-sedan buyers’ complete wish list. The Korean car company had no choice to do so if their hope is to take on the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and its own non-identical twin, the Hyundai Sonata. The complete list of segment participants also includes the Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Mazda6, and Volkswagen Passat.
Above all, one feature, which used to set one car apart, now has become a must-have offering for all but three of these midsize sedans, and the K5 offers it as standard. But that’s not all it has. Remember, ALL the boxes. Should the K5 be given your full attention and become your latest acquisition? Read on:
Why you should buy a 2021 Kia K5:
That included feature is AWD. Fitted as standard on all trims (optional on most in the US), except the GT, it provides all the necessary traction to face our cold and snowy climate.
Every version of the K5, once more save for the GT, is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine. It produces a very acceptable 180 horsepower and a generous 195 lb.-ft. of torque from as low as 1,500rpm.
For $29,595, K5 LX get the powertrain, a serious battery of active safety features (lane keep assist, blind spot detection, more), an 8-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a heated steering wheel and front seats, and more. This makes the K5 a stronger value proposition than many compact cars.
The as-tested GT-Line, at $35,995, throws in a 10.25-inch screen, heated rear and cooled front seats, on top of leather, a panoramic sunroof, and so much more.
No matter the trim, the 2021 Kia K5 is uniquely and attractively styled. Every angle and surface reveal various details for a nearly upscale look. The GT-Line also features a rear spoiler, black 18-inch wheels, and a sporty grille.
The cabin is impressively spacious for four or five passengers. Rear occupants are treated to plenty of legroom. Upfront, driver and passenger are faced with a premium dashboard, lovely materials, and good fit and finish.
Why you should not buy a 2021 Kia K5:
Complaints surrounding the new Kia K5 are limited to only a few points, one being projected reliability. Despite incredible sales success over the last decade, both Hyundai and Kia have suffered a number of setbacks, or owners have. What’s most upsetting and the reason why this point is being made has to do with some issues that date back a decade and are only being addressed now.
According to the provided numbers, the 2021 Kia K5 should return a combined average of 8L/100km. The reality is well north of this number and by roughly 20%. The vast majority of my diving done with the K5 was completed on the highway and I managed just over 10L/100km. I suspect that mixed summer driving numbers will be close to this.
In this segment, the answer has long since been: Toyota Camry. And it remains the midsize sedan to beat. For all the right reasons, from reliability, drivability, available AWD, and ownership costs, the Camry carries on as the one to buy. Heck, Toyota’s even reversed its thinking and improved its value proposition for the current-generation car.
What’s off here is that the 2021 Kia K5 is an astounding car. All week, it got looks, and a 2019 Accord Sport 2.0 6M-owning neighbour of mine even asked about it. Physically, it may very well be the best looking in the category, far more attractive than the Hyundai Sonata, which on its own, is a compelling reason to buy. Insert the contents and the drive and the K5 has all the necessary attributes to the rise to the top.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this cream will stay fresh for very long. Perhaps a 36-month lease to enjoy the car, because it is enjoyable.