Kia and Honda have a long history of competing against each other. Right now, Kia’s K5 is going head to head with the Honda Accord in an attempt to claim the top spot in the five-passenger, four-door, family sedan market. The truth is that there is a lot to like about the K5, and many will be attracted to its sporty appearance. Don’t be swept away by the K5’s good looks. Give yourself an opportunity to at least test-drive the Accord. When you do, it’s likely you’ll decide that while you like looking at the K5, you prefer driving the Accord.
The Kia K5 isn’t as new as Kia wants you to believe
The Kia K5 isn’t the brand-new Kia vehicle the company likely wants you to believe it is. The truth is that it’s actually a rebranded version of a very familiar vehicle, the Kia Optima. That doesn’t mean that Kia hasn’t tweaked the vehicle; there are some changes. These changes include a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive (the Optima was strictly front-wheel drive), improved power, and additional Kia Drive Wise safety technology.
The problem is that even with all of these things, the K5 still falls short when compared to the 2021 Honda Accord.
What the 2021 Honda Accord brings to the table
The 2021 Honda Accord is part of the vehicle’s tenth generation. As CNET Roadshow reports, Honda only made a few relatively minor adjustments to the most recent version of the vehicle. While the changes might be minor, the vehicle still has the edge over the competition, including the Kia K5. The 2021 Honda Accord is such a nice vehicle, that MotorTrend even compared it to the Audi A4 . . . and the Accord beat the A4!
In the parking lot, with the K5 parked beside the Accord, the K5 looks outstanding. It has a sleeker, sporty style that will appeal to contemporary drivers. Things change when you slide behind the wheel. When it comes to actually driving the cars, the K5 fell way short of the 2021 Accord.
The K5 starts to drop the ball with fuel economy. The K5 averages are 26/34/29 mpg, which isn’t too bad until you look at the Accord’s fuel stats which are 30/38/33 mpg. It doesn’t matter if you plan on owning the car for a year or 20 years, four miles per gallon adds up to savings!
Where the Accord really leaves the K5 in the dust is during the test drive. The K5 fails to provide the sporty, fun ride the exterior promises. Complaints include that the vehicle has too much vibration through the steering wheel and foot pedals. There were also complaints that the overall ride was rougher than expected.
“While the K5 isn’t particularly entertaining to drive, its standard powertrain and hushed cabin provide a refined experience,” Eric Stafford wrote in his Car and Driver review. “The 290-hp GT model comes with performance equipment that provides blazing acceleration, but the added potency is prone to overpowering the front tires.”
The 2021 Accord handles so smoothly that it’s easy to forget you’re driving a family sedan rather than a pricey luxury sports car. The steering is responsive, the braking solid, and the car is beautifully balanced, making both curvy and rough roads fun to drive.
“But even without ’em, the Accord Sport strikes an excellent balance of comfort and composure; this car will eat up highway miles with cool, collected confidence and it won’t get all pissy if you toss it into a corner with gusto,” Steven Ewing of CNET wrote after driving the 2021 Honda Accord Sport.
According to MotorTrend, braking is the only area that the K5 outperforms the Accord. The K5 managed a 60-0 mph stop in just 116 feet while the same maneuver took the Accord 129 feet to accomplish.
Purchasing a Honda Accord or a Kia K5
Consumers Reports gave the 2021 Kia K5 an overall score of 73 out of 100. The vehicle scored well on the organization’s road test and has a high predicted customer satisfaction rating. If you’re still interested in the K5, you have five different trim options to choose from. Based on the trim you select and the special features you choose, you can expect to pay between $23,590 – $30,590.
Not surprisingly, the Honda Accord got more love from Consumers Reports. Its overall score is 84. It scored an 85 out of 100 on the road test and received the same predicted customer satisfaction score as the K5. The Accord has six trim levels, including a hybrid version. You can anticipate spending between $24,970 and $36,900 on a new Honda Accord.