Tips, Tricks & Trends

You Might Want the Kia K5 Over the Toyota RAV4

Deciding between a sedan and a crossover SUV has become increasingly challenging. Small SUVs have the “do-it-all” capability, but some sedans have become more compelling too. If you’re shopping for new SUVs, you’ll likely be interested in the 2021 Toyota RAV4. But the new 2021 Kia K5 can do a few things better.

How does driving the 2021 Toyota RAV4 compare to driving the 2021 Kia K5?

A 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE driving down a road
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in action | Photo via Toyota

Toyota’s RAV4 has been American’s best-selling crossover for the last few years. The RAV4’s mass appeal reflects its comfortable ride quality and distinct trim levels. Oppositely, Kia is looking to make a bigger name for itself with the all-new K5, which effectively replaces the Optima. So far, we’ve been pretty impressed with the K5 because of its smoothness and peppy power. 

A blue 2021 Kia K5 driving on a highway
The 2021 Kia K5 in action | Photo via Kia

The K5 comes with a turbocharged, 180-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This Kia also standard with front-wheel drive, but what’s cool is that the base engine is available with all-wheel-drive. For more power, there’s the turbocharged 290-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to a dual-clutch eight-speed automatic. The optional engine isn’t available with AWD, though. 

With the RAV4, you get a 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder and an eight-speed auto. This Toyota is a pleasant ride with good fuel economy, especially the hybridized version. However, the RAV4 engine gets pretty loud, and it’s not the smoothness option in the class. Car and Driver actually prefers the K5 over the RAV4. The team recently tested the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid XSE and the K5 GT-Line AWD and appreciated both’s models’ amenities. Nonetheless, they favored the K5 because of its lighter feel and quicker acceleration. 

Comparing car cabins 

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Back row of the 2021 Kia k5 with red authentic leather.
2021 Kia K5 interior | Car and Driver

The RAV4 and the K5 are both five seaters. An advantage the RAV4 has is more interior space; the K5’s head-room isn’t that generous. Plus, the RAV4 offers more cargo room, naturally. But Car and Driver said that hauling a kid’s bike in either model’s trunk is annoying.

Both vehicles come with cloth upholstery and have plenty of upscale amenities, including synthetic leather. Although, Car and Driver felt that Kia’s SynTex material imitated genuine leather better than Toyota’s SofTex upholstery. The SofTex upholstery looks nice enough and is durable, but it’s not the most welcoming. 

Back row of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with faux leather
2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid interior | Car and Driver

When it comes to tech, the RAV4, and the K5 offer similar features. Both come standard with active safety equipment, including forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. The two also have modern infotainment systems with touchscreen displays, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. You get a few more connections with the RAV4, such as Amazon Alexa and a wifi hotspot. 

So, would you get the crossover or the sedan?

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A 2021 Toyota RAV4 begins at $26,050, and the 2021 Kia K5 starts at $23,490. You may favor the RAV4 because of its famous reputation and various performance capabilities, including lightweight towing and off-roading. On the flip side, the K5’s trendy style and polished dynamics make it a worthy choice for someone who wants to stand out.