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Consider the Kia K5 and Hyundai Sonata to be corporate cousins under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella. The midsize sedans have plenty of similarities being from the same stock, but they aren’t figurative twins in different outfits. They do share one significant commonality, however — the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord outsell each by a significant margin. But between the K5 and Sonata, one model is certainly the more popular choice among buyers so far this year.

The Kia K5 is outshining the Sonata in overall sales

The Kia K5 is far outpacing its corporate cousin for overall sales through the first eight months of 2023, according to sales figures from GoodCarBadCar. Through August, Kia has sold 43,592 K5 units while Hyundai has moved 29,251 Sonata models.  

One notable reason the K5 may be outselling the Sonata is the 2024 Kia model is already on sale. The 2024 Sonata, meanwhile, won’t be available until this winter, according to Hyundai. Those who want the latest and greatest could therefore be drawn to the K5. Other buyers, meanwhile, could simply be waiting to purchase the 2024 Sonata, which will be refreshed.  

Hyundai has given the 2024 Sonata a more streamlined and futuristic look inside and out, and it will be available with all-wheel drive for the first time. It stands to reason some buyers interested in either model, but particularly those faithful to the Sonata, are simply waiting it out until the 2024 model hits dealers.

Speculation aside, the K5 and Sonata have both proved popular choices in the midsize sedan category, even if they can’t match the sales pace of the Camry or Accord. And there is no clear winner overall between the K5 and Sonata among buyers.

The K5 was introduced in 2020 for the 2021 model year. In its first year fully on sale, 2021, the Sonata outsold its corporate cousin by a relatively close margin, 84,343 units to 77,195 for the K5. In 2022, the K5 flipped the script and outsold the Sonata by about 14,000 units, though sales were down for both models. The K5 has kept its sales lead so far into 2023.

Comparing the Kia K5 and Hyundai Sonata

Just as there is no consistent sales champ between the Kia K5 and Hyundai Sonata, there is no clear leader between the two models on the spec sheet, at least until final details are released about the revamped 2024 Hyundai Sonata.

For 2023, the K5 starts at $25,290, just $40 more than the Sonata, with the Sonata offering four trims, plus hybrid variants, to the Kia’s four trims with no hybridization options.

The base Sonata is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine developing 191 hp, while the K5 is motivated by a 180-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to the front wheels. The K5 can be had with all-wheel drive, but Sonata buyers looking for that convenience will have to await the 2024 model.

Both models are fitted with a turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 290 hp in their top trims.  

Inside, the K5 and Sonata are mirrored in size and share similar feature lists across their ranges, underscoring they both come from the same Hyundai Motor Group camp. As such, they also share industry-leading warranties — a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage and a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty.

The 2024 Sonata could shake up the sales standings, but buyers interested in either model should shop the other as both models are more similar than the ways in which they are not. Beyond the nuts and bolts, styling preference could also play the role of a deciding factor.


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