2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (2024)

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The sedan formerly known as Optima has bold styling and is seriously comfortable

Joel Stocksdale

Oct 12th 2020 at 9:00AM

2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (2)

2021 Kia K5 GT-Line/Image Credit: Zac Palmer

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Kia stepped it way up with the K5, putting together a stylish, comfortable and affordable sedan. The standard trims are not the best drivers, but the performance-focused GT adds a spunky and fun dimension to the picture.



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    The 2021 Kia K5 replaces the long-running Kia Optima as the brand’s midsize family sedan, and it brings with it bold, aggressive exterior styling and a seriously comfortable driving experience. Not only that, it’s a good value compared to the competition. And while it does sacrifice some sportiness for its comfort, Kia will introduce a high-performance GT model by the end of the year that should rectify the lack of driving excitement. There are some sedans on the market with a slightly better blend of sportiness and comfort, such as one of our favorites, the Honda Accord, as well as the gracefully aging Mazda6, but the Kia’s strong points are enough to make it a must-see for midsize car shoppers.

    What's new for 2020?

    The Kia K5 is a new model introduced this year, but it could certainly be considered the next-generation Optima with a name change.

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (3)

    2021 Kia K5 GT-Line

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    What's the K5's interior and in-car technology like?

    While the K5's exterior is bold and aggressive, the interior is less in-your-face. That’s not to say it isn’t still stylish, though. The dashboard has a unique design with separate levels that gives it some visual interest. On most models, you get aluminum-look trim on the dash and doors, but the EX features fairly convincing matte-finish faux wood trim. The plastics are all high-quality with a welcome number of soft touch surfaces and interesting, attractive patterns.

    The instruments and infotainment screen occupy a large monolith in front of the driver and the center of the dash. The gauges are analog with a display nestled between them. The standard infotainment touchscreen is an 8-inch unit (in the photos above) flanked by physical shortcut buttons and knobs. It's the same system that Kia has used for several years, which is easy to use but a bit dated in appearance. Available as an option on the GT-Line and EX is a 10.25-inch screen (pictured below). It’s larger and features updated graphics that are nicer to look at, but it functions similarly. That’s not a bad thing. Instead of normal shortcut buttons, this system also picks up touch-sensitive shortcut controls rather than physical buttons. Quite simply, they don't function as well and we're glad the climate control sticks with traditional buttons and knobs regardless of infotainment system.

    Also worth noting is that seating accommodations are quite comfortable. The front seats in particular are thickly cushioned with gentle bolstering. The seats have lots of adjustment so a comfortable position is easy to find. The rear seats aren’t as nice, but are far from offensive. Space is reasonable as well, and we go into greater detail with that in the next section.

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (4)2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (5)

    How big is the K5?

    The K5 measures in at 193.1 inches long, 73.2 inches wide and 56.9 inches tall. It also has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches long. Compared to the Optima it replaces, it’s about 2 inches longer in both overall length and wheelbase. It’s about the same width and about an inch shorter than the Optima. Next to segment benchmarks such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the K5 is within an inch either way of both sedans.

    Inside, the K5 offers plenty of legroom and shoulder room for both front and rear passengers. However, head room is a touch tight in both rows despite the specs showing that the K5 has more headroom than the Optima, Accord and Camry. On paper, shoulder room is nearly identical to the Honda and Toyota. Legroom specs vary considerably among these cars, but having sat in the back, there’s plenty of legroom in the back of the K5 for adults to be comfortable for long periods of time.

    Cargo space for the Kia K5 is 16 cubic feet. That falls between the Accord and Camry. The Accord has 0.7 cubic foot more space and the Camry has 0.9 cubic foot less. It's roughly similar to the Hyundai Sonata.

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (6)

    2021 Kia K5 GT-Line

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    What's the K5's performance and fuel economy?

    Every Kia K5 except for the GT gets the same turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic transmission. It makes 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. LX, LXS, GT-Line and EX trims get front-wheel drive as standard, and all-wheel drive is an option on the LXS and GT-Line. Fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 27 mpg in the city, 37 on the highway and 31 combined. The base LX trim is the only trim to get auto start-stop, and its fuel economy is slightly higher with ratings of 29/38/32 mpg. The all-wheel-drive K5s see a dip in fuel economy to 26/34/29 mpg.

    The GT trim level is the only one to get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. It comes with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive only. Fuel economy numbers weren't available at the time of this writing.

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (7)

    2021 K5 EX 1.6T FWD

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    What's the K5 like to drive?

    Where the Kia K5 excels is in comfort. The suspension is tuned soft, but with excellent body control so that you have a smooth, sumptuous ride. The cabin is very quiet, as is the engine and transmission. Throw in supportive seats and seating position, and the K5 is easily one of the most comfortable family sedans.

    But if you want to drive with some vigor, the K5 falls short. The steering is nicely weighted with some feedback, but isn’t quite as good as that of the Honda Accord or Mazda6. The soft suspension exhibits a fair bit of body roll in corners. The chassis doesn’t respond quickly to inputs, either, and there’s very little grip. Plus, the transmission is slow to shift, so it’s hard to make the most of the 1.6-liter engine.

    We expect the Kia K5 GT will solve some of our dynamic disappointments with the regular K5. It has a sport-tuned suspension that should, in theory, improve the handling. It will also have far more horsepower, and its dual-clutch automatic should be a snappy shifter. Though we hadn't driven it at the time of this writing, we have driven a prototype of the closely-related Hyundai Sonata N Line, and it was promising.

    What more can I read about the Kia K5?

    2021 Kia K5 First Drive | Comfy, cool, but not quite king

    In our first drive of the K5, we give detailed driving impressions and how the K5 fares against the competitive midsize sedan segment.

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (8)

    2021 Kia K5 Interior Driveway Test | Full of flair

    We dive deep into the Kia K5's interior with the sporty GT-Line model to see how it stacks up.

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (9)

    2021 Kia K5 Luggage Gallery

    Flip through our set of photos where we find out how much luggage fits inside the K5's trunk.

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (10)

    2021 Kia K5 luggage test

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    What features are available and what's the K5's price?

    The base Kia K5 LX starts at $24,455, including the destination charge of $965. This base model features 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, heated mirrors, cloth seats with six-way manual adjustment on the driver and passenger seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-inch infotainment screen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety features include rear occupant alert, forward collision warning and emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist and automatic high-beam headlights. Some of the more notable features available on higher trims either as options or standard equipment include leatherette upholstery, heated seats, heated steering wheel, navigation, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and wireless phone charging.

    All prices below include the $965 destination charge. You can find more information on each of the below trim level's added feature content plus specs and local pricing here at Autoblog.

    • LX: $24,455
    • LXS: $25,455
    • GT-Line: $26,355
    • EX: $28,955
    • LXS AWD: $27,555
    • GT-Line AWD: $30,055
    • GT 2.5T: $31,455

    2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (11)

    What are K5's safety equipment and crash ratings?

    The base K5 includes standard forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist and a rear occupant warning system. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems are added on the LXS, GT-Line, EX and GT trim levels. EX also adds rear parking sensors as standard. GT-Line and EX get several safety feature options not available on LX and LXS. GT-Line options include adaptive cruise control with or without navigation-based curve speed assist and highway steering assist. The EX only has the navigation-based adaptive cruise control as an option, and it also has optional rear emergency braking. The GT has the same options list, but rear parking sensors are also an option.

    The K5 earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. Its side crash test rating was five stars, while the front and rollover rating were both four stars. The IIHS has not yet tested the K5.

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    Featured Gallery2021 Kia K5 GT-Line

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      2021 Kia K5 Review | Price, features, specs and photos - Autoblog (2024)


      Is a 2021 Kia K5 a good car? ›

      Lows Driver's seat set too high, larger wheel-and-tire combo hurts ride isolation, hi-po GT model can overpower the front tires. Verdict The K5 is a pretty impressive family sedan thanks to an attractive price, upscale features, and a potent 290-hp engine option.

      How well does a Kia K5 hold its value? ›

      KIA K5 Depreciation
      Years OldDepreciationResidual Value
      6 more rows

      How much is my 2021 Kia K5 worth? ›

      2021 Kia K5 Value - $15,388-$24,702 | Edmunds.

      How many miles does a Kia K5 2021 get? ›

      Compare Side-by-Side
      2021 Kia K5
      EPA Fuel Economy32 MPG 29 38 combined city/highway city highway
      3.1 gal/100mi
      474 miles Total Range
      Unofficial MPG Estimates from Vehicle Owners Learn more about "My MPG" DisclaimerUser MPG estimates are not yet available for this vehicle
      7 more rows

      What is the engine problem on the 2021 Kia K5? ›

      Summary: Kia Motor America (Kia) is recalling certain 2021 Sorento and 2021-2022 K5 vehicles equipped with 2.5L turbocharged engines. Fuel may leak at the pipe connection between the high-pressure fuel pump and fuel rail. Tip: Recalls don't affect every vehicle of the same year, make and model.

      What is the transmission problem on the 2021 Kia K5? ›

      (Kia) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Sorento and 2021-2023 K5 vehicles. The vehicle's "fail-safe" limited-mobility drive mode may be impaired, when prompted by a transmission oil pump malfunction, which can result in a complete loss of drive power.

      Is it worth it to buy a Kia K5? ›

      Is the 2024 Kia K5 a Good Car? Yes, the 2024 K5 is a good midsize car. The K5 has a well-built and roomy cabin that's packed with technology, and it's easy to live with in terms of performance. Acceleration and handling are satisfying, while more practical considerations like ride quality and fuel economy shine, too.

      Do k5s hold their value? ›

      A KIA K5 will depreciate in value by $5,466 after 5 years. Depreciation is difficult to avoid, but it can be managed. Depreciation is the difference between the original sales price, and what the vehicle will be worth in the future.

      Is a Kia K5 a reliable car? ›

      Meanwhile, Consumer Reports has rated the 2021 Kia K5 a reliability score of 3.0 out of 5.0. According to the consumer advocate website, the 2021 K5's common trouble spots are power equipment (1.0 out of 5.0) and in-car electronics (1.0 out of 5.0).

      Is KIA K5 a luxury car? ›

      The GT trim of the 2024 Kia K5 is the epitome of performance and luxury, with a starting MSRP of $31,790. This variant is powered by a robust 2.5L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, offering a compelling blend of power and efficiency.

      Which Kia model is value for money? ›

      30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. News & World Report has recognized the Kia Telluride (best 3-row SUV), Sportage Hybrid (best hybrid SUV), Sportage Plug-in Hybrid (best plug-in hybrid SUV) and Kia Soul (best subcompact SUV) in its "Best Cars for the Money" awards for 2024.

      Which KIA K5 is the most expensive? ›

      Gallery: 2025 Kia K5
      Model/Trim2024 Price2025 Price
      Kia K5 LXS$26,745$28,145
      Kia K5 GT-Line FWD$28,245$29,145
      Kia K5 GT-Line AWD$29,845$30,745
      Kia K5 EX$30,645$35,645
      1 more row
      Apr 12, 2024

      How far can a Kia K5 go on a full tank of gas? ›

      The 2024 KIA K5 boasts a 15.8-gallon tank, and with its combined 31 mpg, the 2024 KIA K5 can travel 489 miles between fillups.

      How long do Kia K5 tires last? ›

      What damages tires on my Kia K5? Some tires may last up to 50,000 - 60,000 miles, while others may last as little as 10,000 miles. There are several factors that affect the length of your tire's life. Everything from road conditions to tire usage may affect the life of your tires.

      Are Kia K5 good on gas? ›

      The new 2022 Kia K5 is a solid choice as its fuel ratings go up to 29 city / 38 highway EPA-estimated mpg!

      Which Kia K5 is the best? ›

      Starting Price: $30,590 MSRPThe K5 GT is the highest trim level, and offers the best performance and features of all the trim levels, including what they have and more.

      Do Kia K5 seats go down? ›

      Two levers are conveniently located at the top of the trunk and let you pull down the 60/40 split-folding rear seat for additional storage space when needed.

      Is Kia discontinuing the K5? ›

      It will continue to be offered in the U.S., where sedans are historically more popular. Only 874 units of the K5 were sold on this side of the border in 2023 and 934 units the previous year—well below the numbers posted by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

      What does Kia K5 compare to? ›

      Cars similar to 2025 Kia K5. Related to the K5, the refreshed Hyundai Sonata stands out with sleek styling and the most efficient hybrid powertrain in the segment, exceeding 50 mpg.

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