The all-new Kia K5 has arrived, and the reviews are mixed. Some critics are in love, while others seem to wish that Kia had stuck with the Optima name. Whether the critics are a fan or not, however, it’s clear that the K5 is a game-changer.
Cars.com seems to be on the fence. This review site is in awe of some features while being overly annoyed by others. Here’s what you’ll need to know before making up your own mind.
The Kia Optima is now the Kia K5
The Kia Optima is no more. The Optima name has been declared obsolete and has been renamed the K5.
Kia didn’t just rename the Optima on a whim, although it might seem that way. As it turns out, the Korean automaker is trying to keep its brand consistent globally. That’s why the Optima has been renamed the K5, which has quite the following in the rest of the world.
While the change in name might not be that exciting, there are some new updates that are sure to draw in consumers who might be on the fence due to the new name. The 2021 Kia K5 will come with an updated powertrain that will include a standard 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. There will also be an optional turbo 2.5-liter engine that will put out 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque on the GT-line.
All is not perfect with the new K5, however. Here’s what we found out.
The infotainment screen is leaving drivers a little touchy
Touchscreens are becoming a staple in new vehicles, but not all of them are created equal. Just because a screen is large doesn’t mean that it functions as well as a smaller one, and an annoying touchscreen is more than enough to make consumers walk away.
The new touchscreen in the K5 might just be one of those screens. Not only is it hard to use, but it lacks physical buttons. For adults who haven’t grown up with touchscreen tech, this might prove to be more than a little frustrating.
The touchscreen tested was supposedly an 8-inch screen, but upon measuring it, Cars.com discovered it is really 7-inches wide by 4-inches high. This gives the screen a rather awkward view, which affects a lot of the apps.
Cars.com reports, “If you pay any attention to such things, you realize that display height is more important than width in many important areas, including mapping, backup camera views and definitely Android Auto, which gets only the left two-thirds of this screen rather than the whole one in the standard system. Android Auto users will probably conclude that this “upgrade” is actually a net loss.”
That’s not the only part of the K5 that is sure to leave drivers a little touchy. Acceleration lag is also a big problem.
According to Cars.com, “I started noticing a consistent delay every time I stepped on the accelerator while already in motion, regardless of speed. Truly. Every. Single. Time. Ultimately, I determined by watching the tachometer that the transmission would downshift before the car would accelerate, explaining the lag — something I’ve experienced in a couple other cars with small engines and high gear counts over the years.”
It’s a small problem, but it’s also a frustrating one. Especially coming from Kia, which has become known as one of the most reliable automakers in the world.
Don’t count out the new Kia K5
Yes, there is a lot left to be desired in the new 2021 Kia K5. That being said, there is also a lot to be loved about it.
The interior is both spacious and stylish, no matter which trim level you opt for. Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, and a USB multimedia and charging port. If you upgrade, you’ll get a 10.25-inch screen.
The phone integration is also next-level. It allows drivers to use voice commands rather than having to touch the screen. Whether this makes up for the touchscreen’s issues is up to you, of course.