2021 Kia K5 GT review: Optima prime

Victoria D. Doty

Table of Contents

Love that profile.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Kia K5 GT proves a poor identify can not torpedo a great vehicle. Certain, Studebaker Dictator, Ford Probe and Toyota Estima Lucida G Luxury Joyful Canopy are all significantly worse monikers than K5, but this four-door — specially in pinnacle GT trim — is so pleasurable and capable, classy and swift you would not treatment what it is named.


  • Torquey, responsive engine
  • Spacious, handsome cabin
  • Inventive bodywork

Never Like

  • Occasional lane-maintaining wonkiness
  • Transmission overall performance

Even if it will not necessarily stand head and shoulders over the midsize-sedan crowd, the new K5 is in the vicinity of the major of its phase in virtually each class. This Kia feels fresher than the gracefully aging Honda Accord, is significantly a lot more intriguing than the dowdy Subaru Legacy and it is swankier within and out than Toyota’s well known Camry. In quick, the K5 is as perfectly-rounded as a beachball.

Spicing issues up, this sedan serves up lots of visible pizzazz. Entrance and center, the K5 wears a reimagined edition of Kia’s signature tiger-nose grille. The principal opening is loaded with a geometric mesh pattern 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 excellent shade. In profile, the K5 resembles a mashup of Volkswagen’s Arteon and an Audi A7 ahead of the A-pillars it is shockingly identical to the former, aft of them, it is the latter’s spittin’ image.

That gracefully curving roofline terminates in a curt bottom that is virtually as intricately created as the car’s front end. The trunk lid is shockingly quick, but the opening is lots big, so loading freight shouldn’t be an workout in playing cargo Tetris. The house alone actions sixteen cubic toes, a whisker significantly less than you get in an Accord but a skosh a lot more than presented by a Camry. The rear backrests fold flat for toting for a longer time objects, nevertheless the passthrough opening just isn’t particularly big.

As with other redesigned Kias, the K5’s inside wows, currently being both of those fashion-ahead and purposeful. The dashboard is strongly horizontal and deeply sculpted, as well as the products on show are all of superb good quality. The front door panels are wrapped in supple plastics that are handsomely grained, the frosty-silver accents sprinkled during search good and never lead to irritating glare in shiny sunlight and the places where hard polymers are used, none of them reek of pinched pennies. About the only thing I never treatment for is the piano-black trim, which just isn’t all that premium.

Boosting usability, the car’s center stack is ever so a little angled toward the driver, so the infotainment monitor and weather controls are easier to access. Contrary to quite a few motor vehicles these days, the K5 will come with a traditional mechanical shifter. With a meaty T-deal with, this equipment selector appears awesome and is tremendous satisfying to use. And so are this car’s seats, which are wrapped in a first rate-emotion leatherette materials (authentic cow hides are not out there, at least not on the seating surfaces). The front chairs get the occupation accomplished and you will find a stunning sum of house in the again. Lanky travellers will have lots of room for their heads and legs in this Kia.

Two infotainment techniques are out there, a person with an eight-inch show and an uplevel featuring with a 10.three-inch touchscreen. Curiously, both of those multimedia arrays support Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle, nevertheless only the foundation procedure offers wi-fi connectivity for these smartphone-mirroring techniques. If you choose for the large monitor — which is lovely and will come with embedded navigation — make guaranteed to bring a charging cable.

When it will come to usability, Kia’s hottest infotainment procedure is a winner. The upgraded procedure on the 10.three-inch monitor is not only useless basic to use and blazingly responsive — never ever stuttering or lagging — it is straightforward on the eyes, as well. Property-monitor icons search like minimal purple neon signs and the radio tuner is displayed as a sequence of nixie tubes for a touch of whimsy, anything we could all use a minimal a lot more of these days.

Differentiating them from lesser K5s, sporty GT types feature a burly 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. As strong as a fistful of fentanyl tablets, this four-cylinder firebreather provides 290 horsepower and 311 pound-toes of torque to the front wheels, significantly a lot more of each than the foundation 1.six-liter turbo presents. Why all-wheel travel is only out there with the lesser engine is anyone’s guess, but as you could picture, 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 is lots punchy under that velocity. In use, some powertrain vibration can be felt in the cabin (don’t forget, 2.5 liters is a large four-cylinder), but the engine is peaceful and normally perfectly-mannered.

The K5’s inside is classy and nicely structured.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Building the most of that mountain of torque is an 8-velocity twin-clutch automatic transmission. The moment the K5 is rolling, this gearbox shifts imperceptibly and about as swiftly as a brain synapse, encouraging the vehicle strike sixty mph in as minimal as 5.eight seconds. The overall performance right here is impressive, apart from at small speeds. Sad to say, as with virtually all twin-clutch transmissions, getting off from a standstill is never ever as sleek as with a torque converter. At instances, faint but apparent judders can be felt and even though creeping alongside at idle, these as in hefty visitors, the vehicle looks to surge, to go inconsistently as you modulate the velocity, anything that gets irritating.

At the pump, expect 24 mpg all-around town and 32 mpg on freeway drives. Put together, the 2021 Kia K5 GT should really return 27 mpg.

Apart from that all-you-can-eat buffet of torque, you will find nothing particularly magical about the way this sedan drives. Dynamically, it is completely knowledgeable, with center-of-the-street steering, brake-pedal truly feel and chassis overall performance. Several driving modes are provided, but truly, they only transform the steering bodyweight and transmission shift program. This example’s ride is definitely on the agency side, no question improved (or degraded?) by its 19-inch wheels wrapped in relatively small-profile 245/forty Pirelli P Zero all-time tires. The K5 GT just isn’t rigid enough to shatter spines or lead to heads to toss when you strike more substantial bumps, but you definitely truly feel the street.

When it will come to driver aids, this Kia offers lots. Options like ahead-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-maintaining help, lane-departure warning, a driver interest keep an eye on and automatic large beams are standard across the K5 selection. Very regular stuff. Obviously, all kinds of other features are provided, as well, from rear cross-visitors inform and adaptive cruise command to parking sensors and blind-spot checking. For the most portion, these systems get the job done perfectly, nevertheless the automatic large beams can be a bit spastic and the lane-centering procedure does weird issues in selected corners. Even though navigating average turns, the procedure will annoyingly and fairly forcefully tug at the steering wheel, preventing your grip as you get the job done to continue to keep the vehicle on your intended line. On straight asphalt and as a result of lesser corners the lane-centering feature works fantastically, it just gets a minimal wonky when pushed.

The K5 has an pretty much Audi-like rear end.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As it sits, the K5 GT I am tests right here checks out for $35,705 such as $965 in supply expenses. A $95 cargo protector and $a hundred and fifty five in carpeted floor mats pad the foundation price tag, as does the $4,000 GT1 Bundle. This dear incorporate-on features a bunch of features like the more substantial touchscreen, a premium Bose audio procedure, power front seats with heating and ventilation as well as a slew of security tech. Nevertheless, this vehicle is moderately priced thinking of how wonderful it feels and swiftly it moves.

Regardless of its questionable identify, the 2021 Kia K5 GT is a person of the most pleasurable mainstream sedans you can invest in nowadays, specially if you want anything with a sporting edge and tons of power. Of system, if K5 will not float your boat, you can normally contact this vehicle what it is: wonderful.

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