Written by Marco Carvajal
2021 Kia K5 GT
Test driving the 2021 Kia K5 GT, a fast, attractive, and stylish sedan for everyone. This GT is one of the most powerful K5 trims and it is also the top-of-the-line of the Kia K5 lineup.
The new K5 may sound like a new model for most, but it has been known for several years with a different name. It is was previously known as the Kia Optima a very successful Kia model.
During the past two decades, the K5 predecessor, the Kia Optima has offered attractive styling and very good value for money, but now the newly renovated Optima has a new name, K5. The name K5 was previously used in China and South Korea, but KIA decided to use the name K5 now in the US and other international markets.
The new K5 includes bolder styling than the previous Optima, new engine and transmission options, and available all-wheel drive. The new K5 looks similar hatchback but it is a regular sedan.
The new K5 is a sporty mid-sized sedan. It is produced by Kia Motors since 2000. It features a driver-oriented cockpit, advanced technology, turbocharged engine, available all-wheel drive, and an all-new safety system. This model reflects Kia’s “Give It Everything” philosophy.
The K5 is one of these sedans that can be driven by everyone it offers value, quality, and a nice style for a really low price! The K5, just like the previous Optima, is one of these cars that look great without hurting your wallet. From 23K to 30K you can buy a beautiful brand new sedan that will look amazing. The K5 is one of these types of cars that made Kia so popular in the United States.
The new Kia K5 is available in five trim levels, LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX, and GT. I am test driving the GT trim model priced around 30K, one of the best models I enjoy driving, it is the top of the K5 line.
The Kia K5 is manufactured at the West Point plant in Georgia.
The GT model features a strong 290-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters for better control.
- Driver-oriented cockpit
- Quick-shifting 8-Speed Dual-Clutch Transmission
- The engine on base trim models is a 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine producing 180 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque
- The GT model features a stronger 290-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine
- Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
- Fuel Economy MPG (31 MPG Average; 27 MPG City / 37 MPG Highway)
- Flat-bottom, sport steering wheel
- 18-inch alloys with 45-series performance tires
- Power driver’s seat (10-way)
- Nine-airbag system, including a Driver’s Knee Airbag
- Available UVO link services
- All-Weather Drive options
- LED fog lights and LED taillights
- Panoramic sunroof available
- Remote start and climate with Smart Key
Trims and Pricing for the 2021 Kia K5
$23,490 Starting MSRP
$24,490 Starting MSRP
$25,390 Starting MSRP
$27,990 Starting MSRP
$30,490 Starting MSRP
Engine and Performance
The advanced in-house developed, 8-speed “wet” DCT, Dual Clutch Transmission, gives a powerful engine shifting on the K5 sports sedan.
The standard 180 hp turbo delivers 195 lb.-ft. torque starting at 1,500 rpm, produces good power at low engine speeds and exceptional confidence-inspiring performance when you need it.
The K5 is smart, its engine adopts Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) functionality. Uses electro-hydraulic system to control AWD coupling for a quicker response and more precise control.
The standard engine on the first trim models is a 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine producing 180 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, managed by an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission.
The powerful K5 GT model features a 290-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Driving the K5 you feel onboard a luxury sports sedan with great noise isolation with almost total lack of exterior noise at cruising speed. Kia is giving so much value by offering the sedan for only $30K.
Dubbed All-Weather Drive, available all-wheel drive (AWD) with the 1.6T engine provides all-weather capabilities and enhanced driving performance by actively distributing torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driving situations.
Inside the K5, you can sit in a comfortable pilot’s seat and enjoy with high-tech displays, upscale finishes, and views through a wide panoramic sunroof.
The optional available 10.25-inch touch screen puts control at fingertips with standard Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay. Available UVO link services let you start the car and pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin through the UVO link app or online portal. UVO Connected Routing helps you through traffic by optimizing your drive time. Remote Engine Start and Climate pre-acclimatizes the cabin before passengers enter the vehicle.
The new GT-Line model is also one of the most interesting trims along with the GT trim model, with a sport design exterior, sport interior upgrades, and an available panoramic sunroof.
A mix of premium and sporty upholstery options including red leatherette seating, satin chrome metallic, and wood-like finishes on the dashboard and door panels, depending on the K5 trim.
The K5 is very handsome with the shark skin-inspired mesh design on the front grille and dual chrome exhaust tip garnish on the GT-Line and GT.
The side view looks very sporty, with the K5’s low-slung and fastback silhouette confirms the impression it was made to run, highlighted by a chrome garnish that spans the roofline and wraps around the rear glass.
The centerpiece is Kia’s modernized “tiger face,” with the wide and thin front grille extending into the headlight and hood structure.
Shark skin-inspired mesh design on front grille and dual chrome exhaust tip garnish is one of the main features of GT-Line. Its wide-track suspension is the widest in class, with advanced lightweight materials for responsive handling and agile steering.
Finally, the newly designed 18-inch alloy wheels come with sporty Pirelli P-Zero tires to produce a very sporty look.
New to K5 and the Kia brand is available Forward Collision-Avoidance (FCA)-Junction Turning. The front camera and radar can detect vehicles when turning at intersections, helping avoid collisions.
Smart Cruise Control (SCC) automatically adjusts to maintain the driver’s pre-set speed and to keep a safe distance from the vehicle traveling directly ahead.
K5’s advanced nine-airbag system offers protection from the front and sides within the cabin, including a Driver’s Knee Airbag
One must-have feature for me is the “Snow” drive mode that enhances driver security and all-weather confidence. Normal, Smart, Sport, and Custom drive modes adjust settings for the engine, transmission, optional AWD, and steering mapping to provide the desired driving experience.
The list of safety and other features is very extensive, it is very difficult to find a sedan priced from $23K to $30K with so many features and value.
A lightweight yet robust steel structure, built on an all-new Kia vehicle platform, helps secure passenger safety.
The Traction Control System (TCS) is designed to help reduce or prevent wheel spin when you accelerate, while Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) helps keep your vehicle in place as you move off an incline.
Smart Cruise Control (SCC) automatically adjusts to maintain the driver’s pre-set speed and to keep a safe distance from the vehicle traveling directly ahead. On highways where information is available, Highway Driving Assist (HDA) can control the vehicle’s steering, acceleration, and deceleration functions.
New to K5 and the Kia brand is available Forward Collision-Avoidance (FCA)-Junction Turning safety feature.
Safe Exit Assist (SEA) uses rear corner radars to detect any approaching cars from behind, warning your passengers.
K5’s advanced nine-airbag system offers protection from the front and sides within the cabin, including a Driver’s Knee Airbag.