Sedans & Coupes

The 2021 Kia K5’s Design Language Refuses to Release Your Attention

Critics and consumers alike have shown that they don’t just care about a car’s performance. A comfortable, well-designed interior is often one of the biggest factors buyers consider when looking at vehicle options. Some cars, like the Kia K5, have both a striking interior and exterior design.

This brand-new model enters a competitive class of midsize sedans, alongside popular rivals like the Honda Accord. Would anyone buy a K5 over the Accord based on interior design alone? Here’s what MotorTrend had to say after comparing the two vehicles.

The Kia K5’s looks

For this comparison test, MotorTrend opted for the Kia K5 GT-Line, a middle ground between the lowest and highest trims. You can immediately tell from the outside that the Kia K5 has a more youthful appearance. Its angular body lines and narrowed-eye headlights really make it stand apart from other sedans. The rear diffuser and shiny 18-inch wheels complete its racecar-like image.

On the inside, the Kia K5 has red synthetic leather seats, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel. This K5 is equipped with AWD, so it also comes with an impressive 10-inch touchscreen. MotorTrend also appreciated the artsy design of the HVAC vents and the speakers.

The Kia K5 can seat five riders and provides generous legroom for all. However, due to the sloping roofline, headroom might be restrictive for taller passengers in the rear. Drivers get 16 cubic feet of trunk space, which is above average for the class.

How does the Honda Accord’s design compare?

MotorTrend clarifies that the Honda Accord’s outward appearance isn’t ugly, but it certainly won’t turn any heads. Besides the tell-tale Honda badge, it’s hard to distinguish this sedan apart from the others. MotorTrend describes it as formal and more mature compared to the Kia K5.

The Accord EX-L is one level below the range-topping Touring trim, so it has a pretty nice interior. The black leather upholstery doesn’t look as striking as the K5’s red seats, but MotorTrend liked the dashboard’s faux wood trim. However, MotorTrend also thought that the infotainment screen and gauge cluster looked too small and outdated.

The Honda Accord doesn’t have a sloping roofline, so its second row is a friendlier place for passengers. However, compared to the K5, it doesn’t have as much room for front-seat riders to stretch out. The Honda Accord has slightly more trunk space than the Kia K5, closer to 17 cubic feet.

What else does the Kia K5 offer?

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The Kia K5 GT-Line tested by MotorTrend comes with a 1.6-liter turbo-four capable of 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It’s one of the few trims available with AWD and comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. In MotorTrend’s testing, it reaches 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds.

With some extra curb weight and AWD equipped, this Kia K5 gets 29 mpg combined city/highway. MotorTrend found that it wasn’t as fun to drive as the Honda Accord. While somewhat sporty, the steering wheel lacks feedback, and the suspension sometimes jitters over smooth pavement.

The Kia K5 has a ton of standard tech features to enjoy, like wireless smartphone integration, HD radio, and Bluetooth. The GT-Line loses the wireless smartphone pairing with the AWD Special Edition Package, but that includes a bigger standard touchscreen. Most essential advanced driver’s aids are included on the base model.

Ultimately, MotorTrend thought that the Honda Accord was a better overall value compared to the Kia K5. In the looks department, the Kia K5 is the obvious winner. We wouldn’t call the Accord a slouch, but the K5 is a definite trendsetter amongst the majority of its rivals.