Sunday, February 14, 2021

2021 Kia K5 GT: The Brand's Midsize Vehicle Gets Turbocharged


Highlight: The K5 was formerly known as the Optima.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $35,705 (Base SE Model: $24,455)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; an electronic stability control system; a traction control system; a rear camera; a hill start assist system; a forward collision avoidance system; a lane keep assist system; a driver attention warning system; a high beam assist system; temporary spare tire; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (LX): 16-inch wheels; front wheel drive; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a fuel saving stop and go system; a single exhaust muffler; an automatic brake hold feature; cloth seats; a manual operated tilt-telescopic steering wheel; front seatback pockets; a dual zone automatic a/c; and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system

Standard Equipment (GT): 2.5-liter turbo gas engine; a 290-horsepower engine; 19-inch wheels; front wheel drive; an 8-speed dual clutch transmission; a MacPherson strut sport tuned front and rear suspension; a sport tuned gas shock absorber; dual quad tip muffler; mounted motor driven power steering system; a gloss black rear spoiler; paddle mounted steering wheel; LED foglights; a manual tilt-telescopic steering wheel; black leather-like seats; a power driver’s seat; 60/40 second row seats with adjustable headrests; a rear seat armrest with cupholder; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a push-button ignition starter; a variety of driving modes; a rear spoiler; an electronic blind spot system; a rear traffic cross alert system; a lane keep assist system; a panoramic sunroof; and a wireless charger

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a 10.5-inch touchscreen; SiriusXM; Bose premium audio system; memory driver's seat with outside mirrors; ventilated front seats; a leather wrapped shift knob; power front passenger seat with lumbar support; a heated steering wheel; a radar activated cruise control system; a forward collision avoidance assist system for cyclists; a highway driving assist system; a parking collision avoidance-rear; a cargo mat and carpeted floor mats

Other Trims:



GT with a 1.6-liter engine

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/HD

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto: Yes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Depending On Trim

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder/180-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 29-city/38-hwy

What’s New: The K5, which replaced the Optima, is all-new for the 2021 model year. Its wears a new name, new styling directions, more high-tech features and an optional all-wheel drive configuration.

Why: The K5 is the Optima’s replacement. When compared to the outgoing Optima, the new K5 only increased from last year’s model. The 2021 model carries a new name, a new fastback design and adds an optional all-wheel drive configuration. While the vehicle shares a platform, with its sibling, the Hyundai Sonata, the exterior and interior stylings are quite distinct. The Korean automaker hasn’t simply added a different badge on the hood of the vehicles like was the case with a number of its domestic competitors years ago.

The front-wheel drive Kia is in a segment that is attempting to steer clear from becoming extinct, as a result of consumers thirst for crossovers, which are car-based utility vehicles. The stylish five passenger K5 is available in a variety of trim levels with a 4-cylinder engine. The trim levels range from a LX to a LXS to a GT to an EX.

Up until recently, the affordable K5, which has a starting price under $25,000, was only available with a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. The 1.6 engine only pushed out an uneventful 180-horsepower, until the 2.5-liter, with the 290-horsepower engine, was phased into the build process. 

The peppier 2.5-liter engine is reserved exclusively for the K5 GT trim. With the larger engine, Kia's design and engineering team has outfitted the vehicle with 19-in wheels, a sport-tuned suspension system, leather-like black seats and an oversized sunroof.  

While the earlier produced K5s were only available with one powertrain, Kia still managed to add some flair to the midsize segment. The K5 we tested initially was optioned out with red leather-like seats, a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment screen, a radar activated cruise control system and a highway driving assist system. Although the GT model was definitely a looker, it lacked the heart and soul that we found once we got behind the wheel of the 2.5-liter GT. The power from underneath the hood now matches the sporty, fastback design,

Furthermore, there are also a number of new safety aids that are available on the K5 that didn't make it on to our test vehicle. Some of those features range from an safe exit assist system to a parking distance warning-reverse system to a parking collision avoidance assist system.

Lastly, the K5, like its sibling the Sonata, still offers one of the best new vehicle warranties in the midsize segment.

But: Unlike the K5 GT, with the 1.6-liter engine, the K5 GT, with the 2.5-liter engine, we reviewed was not available with an all-wheel drive configuration.

Moreover, there is no hybrid model available in the K5. Consumers seek a hybrid model have the option to buying the Optima.

Verdict: For buyers seeking a value-packed stylish midsize family sedan with an upscale fastback roof design, the K5 is a worthy contender in its segment. Kia has invested in a segment where both Ford and Dodge has opted out of. In our opinion, strategically, this seems to be a great decision in a world, where the 'Detroit Three' expects for everyone to step into pricier crossovers and trucks.

We were pleasingly satisfied that the midsize vehicles now offers its customers two 4-cylinder powertrains.

Competition: Chevrolet Malibu; Honda Accord; Nissan Altima; Toyota Camry; VW Passat; and Subaru Legacy

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