2021 Kia K5 GT review: Optima prime

Really like that profile.

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The 2021 Kia K5 GT proves a undesirable name are unable to torpedo a fantastic vehicle. Certain, Studebaker Dictator, Ford Probe and Toyota Estima Lucida G Luxurious Joyful Canopy are all far worse monikers than K5, but this 4-doorway — specially in pinnacle GT trim — is so enjoyable and able, attractive and swift you would not treatment what it truly is termed.

Table of Contents


  • Torquey, responsive motor
  • Spacious, handsome cabin
  • Creative bodywork

Do not Like

  • Occasional lane-maintaining wonkiness
  • Transmission efficiency

Even if it isn’t going to essentially stand head and shoulders earlier mentioned the midsize-sedan group, the new K5 is in the vicinity of the prime of its section in practically every single group. This Kia feels fresher than the gracefully growing older Honda Accord, is far more intriguing than the dowdy Subaru Legacy and it truly is swankier inside and out than Toyota’s common Camry. In brief, the K5 is as nicely-rounded as a beachball.

Spicing factors up, this sedan serves up plenty of visible pizzazz. Entrance and heart, the K5 wears a reimagined model of Kia’s signature tiger-nose grille. The main opening is stuffed with a geometric mesh sample and flanked by a pair of leering LED headlamp assemblies with pronounced tails that move alongside the front fenders. This example’s Sapphire Blue paint is just about the fantastic coloration. In profile, the K5 resembles a mashup of Volkswagen’s Arteon and an Audi A7 ahead of the A-pillars it truly is shockingly comparable to the former, aft of them, it truly is the latter’s spittin’ graphic.

That gracefully curving roofline terminates in a curt bottom that’s practically as intricately developed as the car’s front finish. The trunk lid is shockingly brief, but the opening is plenty large, so loading freight should not be an exercise in playing cargo Tetris. The area itself measures sixteen cubic ft, a whisker significantly less than you get in an Accord but a skosh more than provided by a Camry. The rear backrests fold flat for toting more time products, nevertheless the passthrough opening is just not especially large.

As with other redesigned Kias, the K5’s interior wows, getting each fashion-forward and useful. The dashboard is strongly horizontal and deeply sculpted, furthermore the components on exhibit are all of great good quality. The front doorway panels are wrapped in supple plastics that are handsomely grained, the frosty-silver accents sprinkled all over search wonderful and you should not bring about frustrating glare in vivid daylight and the sites exactly where really hard polymers are made use of, none of them reek of pinched pennies. About the only factor I you should not treatment for is the piano-black trim, which is just not all that high quality.

Enhancing usability, the car’s heart stack is ever so a little angled toward the driver, so the infotainment screen and weather controls are less difficult to achieve. In contrast to quite a few vehicles these days, the K5 comes with a conventional mechanical shifter. With a meaty T-deal with, this equipment selector appears to be like awesome and is tremendous satisfying to use. And so are this car’s seats, which are wrapped in a good-feeling leatherette materials (authentic cow hides are not available, at minimum not on the seating surfaces). The front chairs get the work accomplished and you will find a surprising amount of area in the back again. Lanky travellers will have plenty of home for their heads and legs in this Kia.

Two infotainment units are available, one with an 8-inch exhibit and an uplevel giving with a ten.3-inch touchscreen. Curiously, each multimedia arrays assist Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile, nevertheless only the foundation method presents wireless connectivity for these smartphone-mirroring units. If you choose for the significant screen — which is lovely and comes with embedded navigation — make positive to bring a charging cable.

When it comes to usability, Kia’s most recent infotainment method is a winner. The upgraded method on the ten.3-inch screen is not only lifeless basic to use and blazingly responsive — in no way stuttering or lagging — it truly is easy on the eyes, as well. Home-screen icons search like small purple neon symptoms and the radio tuner is exhibited as a sequence of nixie tubes for a touch of whimsy, anything we could all use a small more of these days.

Differentiating them from lesser K5s, sporty GT versions characteristic a burly 2.5-liter turbocharged motor. As powerful as a fistful of fentanyl tablets, this 4-cylinder firebreather provides 290 horsepower and 311 pound-ft of torque to the front wheels, far more of each and every than the foundation 1.6-liter turbo gives. Why all-wheel push is only available with the smaller motor is anyone’s guess, but as you could possibly consider, the K5 GT has no hassle squealing its tires when you give it the spurs. This sedan pulls ferociously from about 2,250 rpm on up, nevertheless it truly is plenty punchy down below that pace. In use, some powertrain vibration can be felt in the cabin (remember, 2.5 liters is a significant 4-cylinder), but the motor is peaceful and usually nicely-mannered.

The K5’s interior is attractive and properly structured.

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Building the most of that mountain of torque is an 8-pace twin-clutch automated transmission. After the K5 is rolling, this gearbox shifts imperceptibly and about as quickly as a mind synapse, helping the vehicle hit 60 mph in as small as 5.8 seconds. The efficiency here is amazing, other than at low speeds. Regrettably, as with practically all twin-clutch transmissions, using off from a standstill is in no way as easy as with a torque converter. At instances, faint but noticeable judders can be felt and when creeping alongside at idle, this kind of as in major visitors, the vehicle seems to surge, to go inconsistently as you modulate the pace, anything that will get frustrating.

At the pump, hope 24 mpg all over town and 32 mpg on highway drives. Merged, the 2021 Kia K5 GT need to return 27 mpg.

Apart from that all-you-can-eat buffet of torque, you will find nothing especially magical about the way this sedan drives. Dynamically, it truly is totally knowledgeable, with middle-of-the-street steering, brake-pedal feel and chassis efficiency. Numerous driving modes are supplied, but truly, they only adjust the steering bodyweight and transmission shift plan. This example’s trip is absolutely on the firm facet, no question enhanced (or degraded?) by its 19-inch wheels wrapped in rather low-profile 245/forty Pirelli P Zero all-period tires. The K5 GT is just not stiff ample to shatter spines or bring about heads to toss when you hit larger bumps, but you unquestionably feel the street.

When it comes to driver aids, this Kia presents plenty. Features like forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-maintaining support, lane-departure warning, a driver interest observe and automated superior beams are normal throughout the K5 range. Quite common stuff. Naturally, all sorts of other amenities are supplied, as well, from rear cross-visitors alert and adaptive cruise handle to parking sensors and blind-location checking. For the most portion, these technologies operate correctly, nevertheless the automated superior beams can be a bit spastic and the lane-centering method does bizarre factors in certain corners. When navigating moderate turns, the method will annoyingly and relatively forcefully tug at the steering wheel, combating your grip as you operate to preserve the vehicle on your meant line. On straight asphalt and through lesser corners the lane-centering characteristic will work fantastically, it just will get a small wonky when pushed.

The K5 has an virtually Audi-like rear finish.

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As it sits, the K5 GT I am tests here checks out for $35,705 together with $965 in shipping charges. A $ninety five cargo protector and $155 in carpeted ground mats pad the foundation price tag, as does the $4,000 GT1 Deal. This expensive insert-on features a bunch of amenities like the larger touchscreen, a high quality Bose audio method, power front seats with heating and ventilation furthermore a slew of basic safety tech. Still, this vehicle is moderately priced taking into consideration how great it feels and quickly it moves.

Despite its questionable name, the 2021 Kia K5 GT is one of the most enjoyable mainstream sedans you can acquire right now, specially if you want anything with a sporting edge and lots of power. Of class, if K5 isn’t going to float your boat, you can constantly connect with this vehicle what it is: amazing.