First Drive: 2021 Kia K5 Is Packed With Plenty of Tech and Turbo Power

This flashy midsized sedan has a turbocharged powertrain and available all-wheel drive

2021 Kia K5 Consumer Reports

The 2021 Kia K5 gives midsized sedan buyers a sleek alternative to more ho-hum-looking competitors. The all-new K5 is slightly longer and lower than the Optima it replaces in Kia’s sedan lineup, and offers consumers the choice of two different turbocharged engines and available all-wheel drive.

Consumer Reports members will find our detailed first-drive impressions below, including what we like and what we don’t like so far.

The K5 is based on an all-new platform, shared with the Hyundai Sonata. The K5 name was previously used in the South Korean home market, but Kia decided it was time to use the same nomenclature in all markets. Most K5s sold in the U.S. will be powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, with a more powerful 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder reserved for the GT model that will go on sale in November.

Prices for K5 models with the standard engine start at $23,490 for the base LX and top off at $27,990 for the EX, before a $965 destination charge. Pricing for the more powerful GT model will start at $30,490.

The K5 competes against other midsized sedans such as the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, and Toyota Camry.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment of the all-new K5 GT-Line and K5 EX models we rented from Kia is available to you below.

We since purchased a K5 of our own and put it through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members have access to the full road-test results.

If you haven’t signed up to become a member yet, click below to access this full article and all of our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

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Update: Since this first drive was originally published in July, 2020, we finished testing the Kia K5.

Read the complete Kia K5 road test.

What we rented: 2021 Kia K5 GT-Line and K5 EX
Powertrain: 180-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
MSRP: $25,390 GT-Line; $27,990 EX
Options: $2,045 GT-Line; $3,400 EX
Destination fee: $965
Total cost: $28,400 GT-Line; $32,355 EX

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