Sedans & Coupes

The 2021 Kia K5 Doesn’t Have Performance To Match Stunning Good Looks

Kia makes a lot of great cars that the average customer can afford to buy, but every Kia has its own flaws. For example, Kia isn’t known for making high-performance cars, and that’s the case with the latest K5. Here’s a look at the 2021 Kia K5 and the areas where it exceeds and falls short. 

The 2021 Kia K5 is stylish inside and out

Like Car and Driver wrote, the 2021 K5 is replacing the Optima as Kia’s midsize sedan offering. At a starting price of about $23,490, it’s on par with the price tags of other midsize sedans that it’s competing against.

However, Kia plans on one-upping its competitors with a significantly different and unique design. In terms of its body, the K5 is longer, lower, and its wheels are also slightly wider apart than the Optima’s were. 

The K5 also has a more distinct exterior design, and that, along with Kia’s interior styling, puts the K5 a step above competitors like the Toyota Camry or the Honda Accord. On top of that, Kia has outfitted the K5 with a ton of features, which includes an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Plus, not only is the K5’s interior built with good quality materials, but Car and Driver said that the K5’s instrument panel “has a BMW-ness to it.” There are other great reasons why the K5 has an upscale interior for its price, but unfortunately, its specs don’t quite live up to its appearance, and the K5 certainly doesn’t perform like a BMW does. 

A look at the 2021 Kia K5’s performance

The K5’s standard engine is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that gets about 180-hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. This allows the K5 to go from 0 to 60 MPH in about seven seconds, according to Car and Driver. The K5 has a top speed of about 128 MPH and Car and Driver said that it had a fuel economy of about 25 MPG, though the EPA said it got a combined 31 MPG. 

These numbers aren’t exactly sporty numbers for a car but are also pretty average specs for its class. That said, Car and Driver did compliment the K5 for its handling, as it was stable on the highway while being responsive on turns and corners. That being said, the K5’s performance does have a glaring weak spot, and it has to do with its suspension.

A disappointing suspension issue holds this car back

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According to Car and Driver, the suspension is tuned the same across all K5 trims, and even on the higher-end trims, it has the same flaw. Car and Driver said that, when on bumpier roads, the K5’s suspension has “a lack of isolation.”

This isn’t necessarily a big deal, but it does go against the upscale vibe that Kia is trying to create with the K5. Furthermore, Car and Driver mentioned that the K5’s competitors don’t have a similar flaw.

Fixing this minor issue wouldn’t be too difficult for Kia, and it would allow the K5 to maintain its image of being a refined sedan that isn’t actually a luxury car. And of course, Kia will be rolling out an optional engine that’s bigger and more powerful down the line. With this optional upgrade, customers can probably have more fun driving around in their K5. 

Plus, choosing a higher-class trim will add more features to the K5, but at the same time, this will also cost more money.