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The 2023 Kia K5 fills the automaker’s midsize sedan role and does so well. It’s affordable, handsomely styled, and offers an industry-leading basic warranty. However, the K5 isn’t all things to all people; it has a few issues that could be a deal breaker for potential owners. Check out some of the Kia model’s shortcomings, like reserving all-wheel drive (AWD) for only the Kia K5 GT-Line trim.

What’s wrong with the 2023 Kia K5? 

  • No hybrid variant
  • Anemic base engine
  • All-wheel drive (AWD) is restricted to one trim
A pair of 2023 Kia K5 GT-Line models pose under an overcast sky.
2023 Kia K5s | Kia

The new K5 is in its third model year after the automaker discontinued the Optima in 2020. Further, the K5 is a capable alternative to the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry in the midsize segment. However, the Kia model fails to offer the fuel economy or four-wheeled grip of the Camry and Sonata’s many AWD and hybrid trims. 

Does the Kia K5 have a hybrid?

Unfortunately, the 2023 Kia K5 goes without a hybrid option at any trim level. Instead, the most fuel-efficient trims in the model’s lineup are the 1.6L inline-four-cylinder-equipped versions, like the GT-Line. 

The K5’s 1.6L trims could get as much as 27 mpg city and 37 mpg at highway speeds. However, fuel economy figures drop with the addition of the GT trim’s 290-horsepower, 2.5L inline-four-cylinder mill. Specifically, the K5’s premier sport sedan trim returns 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. 

A blue Kia K5 model shows off its rear-end styling.
2023 Kia K5 | Kia

Does the 2023 Kia K5 GT-line have a turbo?

All of the engines in the 2023 Kia K5 are turbocharged, including the GT-Line. However, the 180-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6L inline-four-cylinder engine is slightly anemic compared to the 2023 Toyota Camry’s 202-horsepower base engine.

Still, potential owners who want the most performance possible from their K5 can opt for the GT trim. The K5 GT produces a smile-inducing 290 horsepower, much more than any trims in the Honda Accord’s 2023 lineup. Moreover, the GT starts at around $32,585, around $1,520 less than the most affordable 301-horsepower V6 Camry model.  

Will Kia offer the K5 GT in AWD?

The 2023 Kia K5 GT doesn’t offer AWD. Instead, the range-topping GT puts its 290 horsepower down via the front wheels only. 

Instead, potential owners who want AWD in a new K5 will have to opt for the GT-Line trim. However, the GT-Line’s optional AWD grip will reduce fuel economy. According to TrueCar, the AWD model drops to 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. 

What does the Kia model do well?

The 2023 K5 offers a sporty aesthetic and performance to match in the GT trim. Moreover, the Kia model’s five-year, 60,000-mile warranty goes beyond the basic warranty coverage from Toyota and Honda’s cars in the segment. 


2023 Kia K5: Comfort and Low Ownership Costs Earn It Best Midsize Car for the Money Award