Kia’s K5 Checks All the Boxes Except “Ho-Hum”
In the diminishing selection of sedans, the newly redesigned Kia K5 is an affordably-priced looker among the mid-sizers. Replacing the former Kia Optima, the K5 stands apart in a pool of “safe designs” by its competitors.
Checking all the boxes starts with a pleasant driving experience thanks to the K5’s good suspension and quiet, roomy cabin. Every model includes a full suite of standard active safety features and information tech. There’s also the Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the maximum 5-Star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to consider. The K5’s powertrains also carry the Kia class-best warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles.
The five trim levels are LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX and the top-level GT that we drove. The GT sacrifices four-wheel-drive for front-wheel-drive but replaces the standard 1.6L Turbo 4-cylinder engine with a much peppier 2.5L turbo 4 cylinder, good for 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.
Other features on the top level K5 included 19” sport wheels, GT brakes, sport-tuned suspension, quad-tip exhaust, a GT Sport Design steering wheel with paddle shifters, panoramic sunroof, power sunshades, 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 360-degree camera system, power-folding exterior mirrors, and front parking sensors. On top of all this, our tester had another $4,200 GT 1 Package with Bose Premium Audio and a host of other convenience offerings.
Overall, the K5 looks sexier than most others in its segment, drives nice (even nicer with the GT engine upgrade) and has a list of included features, ratings and warranties that will attract buyers seeking a choice that’s practical but not mundane. The fact that K5 can deliver all it does for as little as $25,090 is compelling. All-in, top-shelf, plus-plus, our tester still had a super tidy bottom line price of $36,440.