2021 Kia K5 GT review: Optima prime

Love that profile.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Kia K5 GT proves a nasty title cannot torpedo an excellent automotive. Sure, Studebaker Dictator, Ford Probe and Toyota Estima Lucida G Luxury Joyful Canopy are all far worse monikers than K5, however this four-door — particularly in pinnacle GT trim — is so nice and succesful, trendy and swift you will not care what it is referred to as.


  • Torquey, responsive engine
  • Spacious, good-looking cabin
  • Artistic bodywork

Don’t Like

  • Occasional lane-keeping wonkiness
  • Transmission efficiency

Even if it does not essentially stand head and shoulders above the midsize-sedan crowd, the new K5 is close to the highest of its phase in practically each class. This Kia feels more energizing than the gracefully getting older Honda Accord, is much extra attention-grabbing than the dowdy Subaru Legacy and it is swankier in and out than Toyota’s well-liked Camry. In brief, the K5 is as well-rounded as a beachball.

Spicing issues up, this sedan serves up loads of visible pizzazz. Front and heart, the K5 wears a reimagined model of Kia’s signature tiger-nose grille. The principal opening is crammed with a geometrical mesh sample and flanked by a pair of leering LED headlamp assemblies with pronounced tails that movement alongside the entrance fenders. This instance’s Sapphire Blue paint is simply concerning the excellent shade. In profile, the K5 resembles a mashup of Volkswagen’s Arteon and an Audi A7; forward of the A-pillars it is shockingly just like the previous, aft of them, it is the latter’s spittin’ picture.

That gracefully curving roofline terminates in a curt bottom that is practically as intricately designed because the automotive’s entrance finish. The trunk lid is shockingly brief, however the opening is a lot giant, so loading freight should not be an train in enjoying cargo Tetris. The house itself measures 16 cubic ft, a whisker lower than you get in an Accord however a skosh greater than supplied by a Camry. The rear backrests fold flat for toting longer gadgets, although the passthrough opening is not significantly giant.

As with different redesigned Kias, the K5’s inside wows, being each fashion-forward and practical. The dashboard is strongly horizontal and deeply sculpted, plus the supplies on show are all of fantastic high quality. The entrance door panels are wrapped in supple plastics which are handsomely grained, the frosty-silver accents sprinkled all through look nice and do not trigger annoying glare in brilliant daylight and the locations the place laborious polymers are used, none of them reek of pinched pennies. About the one factor I do not look after is the piano-black trim, which is not all that premium.

Enhancing usability, the automotive’s heart stack is ever so barely angled towards the driving force, so the infotainment display screen and local weather controls are simpler to achieve. Unlike many automobiles lately, the K5 comes with a standard mechanical shifter. With a meaty T-handle, this gear selector appears to be like cool and is tremendous satisfying to make use of. And so are this automotive’s seats, that are wrapped in a decent-feeling leatherette materials (real cow hides are usually not obtainable, at the least not on the seating surfaces). The entrance chairs get the job completed and there is a stunning quantity of house within the again. Lanky passengers may have loads of room for his or her heads and legs on this Kia.

Two infotainment programs can be found, one with an 8-inch show and an uplevel providing with a ten.3-inch touchscreen. Curiously, each multimedia arrays help Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although solely the bottom system presents wi-fi connectivity for these smartphone-mirroring programs. If you go for the large display screen — which is gorgeous and comes with embedded navigation — ensure that to deliver a charging cable.

When it involves usability, Kia’s newest infotainment system is a winner. The upgraded system on the ten.3-inch display screen just isn’t solely useless easy to make use of and blazingly responsive — by no means stuttering or lagging — it is simple on the eyes, too. Home-screen icons appear to be little purple neon indicators and the radio tuner is displayed as a collection of nixie tubes for a contact of caprice, one thing we might all use a bit extra of lately.

Differentiating them from lesser K5s, sporty GT fashions characteristic a burly 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. As potent as a fistful of fentanyl tablets, this four-cylinder firebreather delivers 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque to the entrance wheels, way more of every than the bottom 1.6-liter turbo supplies. Why all-wheel drive is simply obtainable with the smaller engine is anybody’s guess, however as you may think, the K5 GT has no bother squealing its tires while you give it the spurs. This sedan pulls ferociously from about 2,250 rpm on up, although it is a lot punchy under that velocity. In use, some powertrain vibration may be felt within the cabin (bear in mind, 2.5 liters is a giant four-cylinder), however the engine is quiet and customarily well-mannered.

The K5’s inside is trendy and properly organized.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Making probably the most of that mountain of torque is an eight-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission. Once the K5 is rolling, this gearbox shifts imperceptibly and about as rapidly as a mind synapse, serving to the automotive hit 60 mph in as little as 5.8 seconds. The efficiency right here is spectacular, besides at low speeds. Unfortunately, as with practically all dual-clutch transmissions, taking off from a standstill isn’t as easy as with a torque converter. At occasions, faint however noticeable judders may be felt and whereas creeping alongside at idle, similar to in heavy site visitors, the automotive appears to surge, to maneuver inconsistently as you modulate the velocity, one thing that will get annoying.

At the pump, count on 24 mpg round city and 32 mpg on freeway drives. Combined, the 2021 Kia K5 GT ought to return 27 mpg.

Aside from that all-you-can-eat buffet of torque, there’s nothing significantly magical about the way in which this sedan drives. Dynamically, it is fully competent, with middle-of-the-road steering, brake-pedal really feel and chassis efficiency. Several driving modes are provided, however actually, they solely change the steering weight and transmission shift schedule. This instance’s trip is totally on the agency aspect, little doubt enhanced (or degraded?) by its 19-inch wheels wrapped in comparatively low-profile 245/40 Pirelli P Zero all-season tires. The K5 GT is not stiff sufficient to shatter spines or trigger heads to toss while you hit bigger bumps, however you actually really feel the street.

When it involves driver aids, this Kia presents a lot. Features like forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping help, lane-departure warning, a driver consideration monitor and computerized excessive beams are customary throughout the K5 vary. Pretty typical stuff. Naturally, every kind of different facilities are provided, too, from rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise management to parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring. For probably the most half, these applied sciences work completely, although the automated excessive beams could be a bit spastic and the lane-centering system does bizarre issues in sure corners. While navigating reasonable turns, the system will annoyingly and reasonably forcefully tug on the steering wheel, combating your grip as you’re employed to maintain the automotive in your meant line. On straight asphalt and thru lesser corners the lane-centering characteristic works fantastically, it simply will get a bit wonky when pushed.

The K5 has an virtually Audi-like rear finish.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As it sits, the K5 GT I’m testing right here checks out for $35,705 together with $965 in supply charges. A $95 cargo protector and $155 in carpeted ground mats pad the bottom value, as does the $4,000 GT1 Package. This dear add-on features a bunch of facilities just like the bigger touchscreen, a premium Bose audio system, energy entrance seats with heating and air flow plus a slew of security tech. Still, this automotive is fairly priced contemplating how good it feels and rapidly it strikes.

Despite its questionable title, the 2021 Kia K5 GT is among the most nice mainstream sedans you possibly can buy at present, particularly in order for you one thing with a sporting edge and many energy. Of course, if K5 does not float your boat, you possibly can at all times name this automotive what it’s: superior.

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