Kia spent two decades transforming the Optima midsize sedan from a joke to a really desirable car – so that it could revamp and start anew.
The 2021 Kia K5 is the replacement for the Kia Optima. While the name is a sterile alphanumeric combination, it is more likely to be associated with car buyers. Chevy SUV Compared to anything else wearing a Kia badge, the K5 looks great on paper. The last Optima was a good looking car, but Kia took things a step further this time around, adding a bigger touchscreen, more driver-assistance technology, optional all-wheel drive and a sporty GT model.
If Kia is to grab the attention of the buyers then it needs to exit all the stages. The K5 has several rivals, including the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy, and Volkswagen Passat as well as its sibling – the Hyundai Sonata.
Pricing for the 2021 Kia K5 starts at $24,555 (all prices include a mandatory $965 destination fee), but this only buys one entry-level LX model. Our test car was the range-topping K5 GT, with a more powerful engine and sport-tuned suspension. The GT starts at $31,555, but our test car also had the optional GT1 package, which adds a 10.25-inch touchscreen, Bose premium audio system, and adaptive cruise control, among other features. This took the MSRP to $35,705.
design and interior
The K5 shares a basic platform with the Hyundai Sonata, but the designers did a good job of separating the two. Where the Hyundai has smooth lines that look like it’s floating on the side of the road, the K5 is a bit more muscular, with a raised hood and a front bumper that looks like the chin of a 1940s comic book character. grows. It suits the personality of both the sedans. The Hyundai is a comfortable cruiser while the K5 is supposed to be sportier.
However, the main distinguishing feature of the K5 is the lighting. Up front, you get the squiggly LED daytime running light that Kia calls “Heart Beat”, along with a horizontal light blade at the rear. While the overall shape of the K5 is very sleek and attractive, many other sedans have a similar shape these days. The styling is subjective, but the lighting design makes the K5 more distinctive.
Sleek styling usually comes at the cost of interior space, but that’s not the case with this Kia. The K5 has more front headroom and legroom than other midsize sedans and only 0.2 cubic feet less rear headroom than the class-leading Toyota Camry. However, the rear legroom is slightly below average.
The styling is subjective, but the lighting design makes the K5 more distinctive.
At 16 cubic feet, trunk space is above average, but behind the class-leading Honda Accord’s 16.7 cubic feet. The K5’s Hyundai Sonata sibling also offers a tad more cargo space at 16.3 cubic feet. Kia also offers a 60/40 split-folding rear seat to accommodate tall objects, but this feature is not available depending on the K5 LX trim level.
The interior design was clean and functional, although the slope of the roof somewhat hindered rear visibility. Our K5 GT test car had nuances like heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, driver memory system for seat and mirrors, and panoramic sunroof, proving that Kia is still taking its reputation as a value brand seriously. takes. The materials didn’t feel very high-end (Kia only offers leatherette instead of genuine leather upholstery), but were acceptable considering the car’s price. However, Kia used a lot of shiny plastic which created distracting glare on sunny days.
Tech, infotainment and driver assist
The standard infotainment system includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen, but you can get a 10.25-inch touchscreen as an upgrade. Oddly enough, Kia only offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with the smaller screen. While you still have to plug in to use CarPlay and Android Auto on the big screen, it adds natural-language voice recognition and multi-connection Bluetooth.
Our test car had an optional 10.25-inch screen with cool-looking graphics, including old-fashioned radio tubes for radio stations. We appreciated the shortcut buttons for individual menus, but found the buttons on the right side of the screen a little difficult to reach from the driver’s seat. The voice-recognition system – which is designed to recognize simple phrases like “turn on the air conditioning” – had no apparent comprehension issues but was a little slow to respond.
Wireless phone charging is also available with an unusual design that involves dropping the phone into a vertical slot. It seems like a clever way to save space, but Kia still left a phone-sized cube — without charging — ahead of the shifter.
The large optional touchscreen featured cool looking graphics, including old-fashioned radio tubes for radio stations.
A 12-speaker Bose audio system with subwoofer and external amplifier is also available. If you get sick of listening to music, Kia also offers “sounds of nature,” including “lively woods,” “calm ocean waves,” “rainy day,” “hot fireplace,” and “open-air cafe.” is. In a white noise machine on K5 wheels.
Standard driver-assistance technology under the Kia DriveWise banner includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a driver-attention monitor and Lane Follow Assist with automated lane centering. Optional features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. The latter may use a navigation system to reduce speed for changes in highway curves or speed limits.
On the highway, adaptive cruise control decelerated sharply and smoothly, though we didn’t have the opportunity to test the automatic speed-limit adjustment feature. The system also has a stop-and-go function, which comes in handy in heavy traffic. However, it’s worth noting that several competitors—including the Honda Accord, Subaru Legacy and Toyota Camry—offer some of the features of Kia’s system, without adaptive cruise control as standard equipment. We found Kia’s Lane Follow Assist to be less efficient than the lane-centering function of Subaru’s iSight system—which isn’t quite right.
The standard powertrain is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, with either standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Those are respectable specs for an entry-level powertrain in a midsize sedan, and the availability of all-wheel drive is a perk for new car buyers in colder climates. Note that you can also get all-wheel drive on the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry, and it’s standard on the Subaru Legacy.
Our test car like the Kia K5 GT model gets a 2.5-liter turbo-four that produces 290 hp and 311 lb-ft, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission for faster shifts. The GT is only available with front-wheel drive, but Kia claims it will do zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. It’s quite fast for a mainstream sedan.
Most mid-size sedans make you look like an adult. It makes you look like a goon.
However, Kia did more than pack on power. The GT gets 19-inch wheels with model-specific suspension setup and high-grip Pirelli P-Zero tires for better handling. Even with those tires, though, the GT was powerful enough to spin its wheels on command. The “Sport+” drive mode also disables traction control and allows the engine to stay at its boiling point without upshifting. You don’t usually expect that kind of behavior from a car like this. Most mid-size sedans make you look like an adult. It makes you look like a goon.
However, the situation will not be completely out of control. K5 is much more than theatrics; It’s got a trick to back up its bravery. Many modern cars feel like they’re violating the laws of physics when rolling around in corners, but the K5 felt light and curious, as if it really wanted to move. That excellent chassis tuning was left over by numb steering, but the K5 is far from the only sporty car with that problem. The ride was also a bit harsh, but justified considering the handling benefits of this suspension setup.
gas mileage and safety
The most fuel-efficient 2021 Kia K5 model is the base LX with a 1.6-liter engine and front-wheel drive, which gets a fuel-economy rating of 32 mpg combined (29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway). Other models with the 1.6-liter engine get 31 mpg combined (27 mpg city, 37 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive and 29 mpg combined (26 mpg city, 34 mpg highway) with all-wheel drive. The 2.5-liter GT is rated at 27 mpg combined (24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway), and we managed 26.4 mpg according to the car’s trip computer.
Fuel-economy ratings are respectable for a mid-size sedan, but it’s worth noting that the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry are all available with more efficient hybrid powertrains. Kia had previously offered the Optima Hybrid but has not discussed plans for the hybrid K5.
K5 get one”Top Safety Pick+Rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with a top “Good” score in all crash tests, and a top “Superior” score for front-crash prevention technology. However, the headlight rating is “Good” depending on trim level ” to “bad”.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released 2021 K5 a. gave Five Star Overall Safety Rating, with four stars in frontal and rollover crash tests and five stars in side crash tests.
Kia offers a 10-year, 100,000 mile, powertrain warranty and a five-year, 60,000 mile, limited warranty. Those are the longest warranty terms in the business. They are unmatched by rivals, of course, except the Hyundai Sonata from Kia’s sibling brand.
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