There’s Only 1 Area Where Consumer Reports Ranks the Kia K5 Higher Than the Kia Optima

The Kia K5 is the latest generation of the midsize sedan you might have known as the Kia Optima. The K5 has flashier design language with sleeker body lines, aggressive headlights, and the newest version of Kia’s badge. It also sports good powertrain updates and a completely refreshed interior.

In general, the Kia K5 is a vast improvement over the Optima. However, Consumer Reports found one K5 flaw that its predecessor lacked. Should it be a dealbreaker for potential Kia K5 buyers?

A look inside the 2022 Kia K5

2022 Kia K5 Kia Optima
2022 Kia K5 cockpit | Kia

Kia optimized the sleek midsize sedan’s base turbocharged engine to make 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A bigger turbo-four produces 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque and impressive acceleration. When Car and Driver tested the Kia K5 GT, it hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.

Even the’s base engine is still reasonably speedy, pushing the car to 60 mph in just under eight seconds. Consumer Reports also enjoyed the smooth shifts from the base engine’s transmission, an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The 2022 Kia K5 has room for five riders on cloth or synthetic leather seats. Riders in front can enjoy heated and ventilated seats. Plus, a moonroof is optional.

Every 2022 Kia K5 trim comes with smartphone integration, and the UVO infotainment system is highly user-friendly. But wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present only on the two trims below the GT-Line. Each trim has a generous selection of crash-prevention features, and the car passed crash tests with flying colors.

The K5 starts at a reasonable $23,790. Depending on your drivetrain choice, the LXS trim costs $24,790 to $26,590. GT-Line models can cost nearly $28,000, but Kia has moved the most powerful engine to the GT.

The EX boasts the most lavish cabin and numerous safety features, so Kia has priced it at $28,690. The GT trim will cost you at least $31,190.

Where the Kia Optima is superior to its replacement

Consumer Reports tested the Kia Optima and gave it perfect scores in front-seat and rear-seat comfort. However, the Kia K5 received 4 out of 5 for its front-seat quality.

The Optima’s front seats offer a wide range of adjustments, whereas the K5 doesn’t offer a power lever in some trims. Additionally, CR’s testers reported that the K5’s seats don’t offer adequate lumbar support. Its doors are also slimmer than the Optima’s, making front-seat access more challenging.

Though both cars earned the same rear-seat comfort rating, CR still prefers the Optima’s rear row. Both models have wide seat cushions, but CR noted only the Optima’s were exceptionally supportive.

The Kia K5 still ranks higher than its predecessor

Despite those critiques, the Kia K5 impressed CR testers in other areas. Its fuel economy —a combined 32 mpg in CR’s real-world testing — is four points higher than the Optima’s mileage. The K5 is also more conservative about its greenhouse gas emissions, making it a more environmentally friendly choice.

In addition, it offers a better drive, especially when it comes to emergency handling. During the avoidance maneuver test, the Optima’s tires didn’t do an excellent job gripping the pavement. The K5 had minimal body roll and great grip even when testers detected some slight understeer.

The K5’s ride isn’t as smooth as some of its rivals, but Kia has softened the suspension. Its cabin also has better insulation than the Optima. And though the Optima might have premium seating, its replacement is still the most well-rounded choice.

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