Kia’s sales have come on strong, especially with their top selling and popular Telluride SUV. And their newly developed K5 sedan is destined to follow, especially since it can be had with AWD and was awarded one of Kelly Blue Books “Best Midsize Cars for 2020.”
K5 replaced the company’s Optima sedan but this new model was completely redesigned. Its stylish new look is sexy with a sloping roofline that gives it a sporty, coupe-like appearance.
The 2021 K5 is offered in four trims of LX, LXS, GT-Line and EX that was tested. And it was sumptuously decorated and outfitted.
The interior boasts nicely supportive, heated/cooled leatherette front seats. The cockpit itself is ergonomically designed with a burly, jet-like t-handle transmission shift handle along with a 10.25-inch touchscreen with voice control. Makes you feel like you are in a jet cockpit.
K5’s large touchscreen serves the usual compliment of rearview camera, audio, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and apps. But that’s not all. Get this. Instead of listening to music, there are selectable mood scenes and sounds to comfort you as you drive. There’s Warm Fireplace with sounds of a crackling fireplace; Rainy Day and raindrops; Calm Seas with waves breaking on a shore; Open Air Café and sounds of folks chatting, dishes clinking; Snowy Village with footsteps in crunchy snow; and Lively Forest with birds singing and trees blowing in the wind. All very unique and soothing.
As for Bluetooth, Kia’s system allows two phones to connect simultaneously. And a wireless phone charger is a vertical drop-in type in front of the console box. Kia says it reduces charging time and increased charge rates plus it adds a cooling fan.
Selected voice commands allow turning on the A/C and the heated steering wheel. Other goodies include Remote engine start that can set A/C and heater temps. And with Kia’s Smart Key, the trunk lid will automatically open when standing behind it as long as the fob is on the person.
We especially liked the Safe Exit Assist that sounds a chime to alert exiting driver and passenger not to step out as traffic is approaching. It can also lock the rear doors when the K5 is equipped with Power Child Lock.
Speaking of the back seat, a notice will appear to remind the driver of a passenger or package remains in the back seat when exiting the car.
The rear seat itself is soft and comfy for two adults or three youngsters. A high transaxle hump, though, sacrifices middle seat leg room.
Trunk space is generous (16.0 cubic feet) and can easily accommodate two large rollie bags or a pair of golf bags when the 60/40 seatbacks are flipped. Beneath the trunk floor is a space saver tire with some room around it to stow a few small items.
K5 gets its grunt from one of two engines. On the GT it gets a potent 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with
290-hp and 311 lb/ft of torque. Tested was the standard 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that generates 180-hp and 195 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to the standard 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, it earned EPA mileage estimates of an impressive 37 city, 47-highway mpg. Almost hybrid numbers.
The combination moved K5’s 3,148-pound curb weight with ease. Both standing stop and highway passing acceleration was expressly quick.
K5 has four driving modes of Normal, Smart, Custom and Sport. The latter adjusts engine and transmission settings for livelier performance. And it does so ever so quietly.
Ride wise on premium Pirelli 18-inch tires is smooth. Pirelli tires are commonly only found on expensive Euro cars. So Kia didn’t cheap out on the rubber that meets the ground.
Handling too is impressive. With a tight 36-foot turning radius combined with electric assisted power steering, K5 parks easily. Sharp turns produce nary any body lean and the sedan remains nicely controlled.
Kia equipped K5 with a long list of the latest safety features. Included is forward collision avoidance w/pedestrian alert; blind spot collision avoidance assist; rear cross traffic alert; safe exit assist; lane keeping assist/lane following assist; driver attention warning; leading vehicle departure alert, and more.
Extra cost options added $3,400 to the bottom line and included navigation, EX premium package, Bose audio, forward collision avoidance for cyclists and junction turning, smart cruise, highway driving assist (can adjust speed based on posted speed limits and maintain distance from a vehicle ahead of it) and many more.
With a sunroof, K5 carried a base price of $27,990. Add the aforementioned option package and K5 had a bottom line of $32,355 with delivery. A compelling price for this much content, comfort and performance. And even more enticing is that K5 can be had with AWD, a must here in the Snowbelt.
As all Kia vehicles, K5 carries extremely generous warranties of 10 years/100K powertrain, 5/60K basic; and 5/60K roadside assistance. You can’t go wrong with this impressive coverage.