The Kia K5 is the brand’s cheapest midsize sedan, slotting directly below the Stinger. If the name seems unfamiliar, that’s because, for 2021, Kia decided to ax the Optima name in exchange for K5. However, the K5 is a major leap forward over its predecessor, offering tons of standard safety equipment and powerful engine options at a reasonable price. Car and Driver recently reviewed the K5 and ranked it as one of the top five in its segment.
The Kia K5 is cheaper than its competitors
The 2021 Kia K5 has a starting price of $23,490, making it one of the cheapest offerings in its segment. Well-known competitors such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord carry a base price of $24,425 and $24,770 respectively.
In terms of trim levels, there aren’t many to chose from, given that plenty of the K5’s best features come as standard. The entry-level trim is the LX, which includes great tech features such as an eight-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Even the base trim gets six-way adjustable seats, daytime running lights, and keyless entry.
The range-topping GT trim level still doesn’t break the bank with its $30,490 starting price. Competitors like the Camry and Accord start closer to $35,000 with similar options. Being that it is the top trim level, the GT benefits from 19-inch wheels, a quad-tip exhaust, and Kia’s SynTex leather-like material as standard. Additionally, the GT benefits from a tuned suspension setup and GT brake calipers to improve overall performance.
The K5 offers a 290-hp engine
Powering the base Kia K5 is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine developing 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Although front-wheel drive comes as standard, all-wheel drive is available in higher trim levels for an additional $2,100. The only transmission option available for this engine is an eight-speed automatic.
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The most powerful engine option is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder developing 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Like with the less powerful engine, the 2.5-liter is available with an all-wheel-drive system. The larger engine also benefits from an eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite having the same engine, the GT trim offers an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission for greater performance.
According to CarBuzz, the K5 in base trim level has a curb weight of around 3,115, making it fairly light given its size. As a result, the K5’s competitive edge comes from its lightness. Although the GT model hasn’t arrived just yet in the U.S., the dual-clutch transmission should make the already decently quick K5 feel much faster.
The K5 is loaded with standard safety equipment
As the midsize sedan segment becomes more competitive, carmakers are forced to offer more standard safety equipment. The Kia K5 certainly doesn’t fall behind, offering some of its best safety features as standard.
Included in all K5 trim levels are forward collision-avoidance assist, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and lane following assist.
If you move one trim level upwards from the base LX to the LXS, you also get blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, and safe exit assist.
This means that if safety is your main concern over any other option, the safest version of the K5 starts at $27,990. As you’d expect, the higher trim levels include these safety systems as standard. Regardless of which trim level you go to, the included standard features offer great value.