Friday, July 23, 2021
ADVT 
Reviews

2021 KIA K5

BY Benjamin Yong, 31 May, 2021 10:28 AM
  • 2021 KIA K5

Time tested pickup continues to deliver

After several generations, the Kia Optima badge has officially been retired. But don’t fret, for the four-door lives on in our market, but is now called the K5 after its South Korean counterpart. And the styling both inside and out has changed nearly as drastically as the name, as Darpan examines below.


“K5 is the breath of fresh air that the mid-size sedan segment never knew it needed,” says Kia Canada COO Elias El-Achhab in a news release. “We’re anxious to share this innovation with Canadians — K5 delivers the top of-the-line design finishes drivers love, with the added bonus of turbo performance, a roomy interior and the latest in safety technologies.”


Gone is the signature tiger nose grille, replaced by what the manufacturer calls the tiger face, which, somewhat confusingly, is a sharkskin-inspired mesh grill extending well beyond the anterior edge of the headlamp housings. The aggressive update complements the GT car’s long and lean fastback profile — the 4,905 millimetres overall length is in excess of 50 millimetres more than the outgoing Optima.


Approaching traffic will definitely notice something different oncoming when they see the softly pulsing orange “Heart Beat” signature LED daytime running lights zig-zagging up the front fender. Optional 19-inch alloy wheels shod with Pirelli P-Zero rubber, divided light bar connecting the LED tail lamps and a coat of Wolf Grey paint finish off the unique exterior look on our GT-Line loaner.

The interior has no shortage of interesting design choices as well. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a T-handle shift knob, especially in this segment. Kia’s positioning as a value brand is made evident via the analogue vs. digital gauges, simulated wood dash trim and absence of steering wheel paddle shifters. Not so much a complaint but rather an observation, as the instrument panel and cabin in general look great. There’s nothing budget about the tech, however. The available 10.25-inch infotainment monitor has a split-screen function to display two apps side-by-side, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now allow cordless operation. Feeling stressed out from sitting in traffic? Users can turn on “Sounds of Nature,” providing soothing background noise like waves crashing on a beach or gentle rain falling.


A benefit of having such a lengthy body is increased cargo capacity. After folding down the 60/40 rear seats, I was able to slide an entire crib inside. Were it not for the frame of the trunk intruding into the space, even larger items would no doubt fit.


The K5 offers the choice between two turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains: a 2.5-litre (exclusive to the GT) or the 1.6-litre we tested sending 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft torque to all four wheels, and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.


I was actually a little surprised that I’d be able to hear any sort of feedback from the small displacement motor, but engineers have included an Active Sound Design feature —love it or hate it — producing artificially enhanced noise through the Bose stereo speakers. The output is smooth and linear and the vehicle is just really pleasant to drive. The 2021 Kia K5 is built in West Point, Georgia and starts at $29.595.

HIGHLIGHTS


MSRP: $35,995

Motor: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Horsepower: 180 @ 5,500 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 195 @ 1,500 rpm

Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive

Fuel economy: 12.0 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)

MORE Reviews ARTICLES

2021 Toyota Tacoma

2021 Toyota Tacoma

At the core of its capability is the tried-and-true 3.5-litre V6 engine making 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.

2021 Toyota Tacoma

GM's newest vehicle: Off-road, self-driving rover for moon

GM's newest vehicle: Off-road, self-driving rover for moon

General Motors is teaming up with Lockheed Martin to produce the ultimate off-road, self-driving, electric vehicles — for the moon. The project announced Wednesday is still in the early stages and has yet to score any NASA money.

GM's newest vehicle: Off-road, self-driving rover for moon

Edmunds: Five fuel-efficient used car picks under $25,000

Edmunds: Five fuel-efficient used car picks under $25,000

Used car prices are also up nearly 25%, partly due to a lack of inventory on the used market. This combination might make you more inclined to seek out a fuel-efficient vehicle for your next purchase.

Edmunds: Five fuel-efficient used car picks under $25,000

Ford's big bet: Fans of F-150 pickup will embrace electric

Ford's big bet: Fans of F-150 pickup will embrace electric

Branded the F-150 Lightning, the pickup will be able to travel up to 300 miles per battery charge, thanks to a frame designed to safely hold a huge lithium-ion battery that can power your house should the electricity go out. Going from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) will take just 4.5 seconds.

Ford's big bet: Fans of F-150 pickup will embrace electric

Cool tech, crazy turns: A reporter's take on driverless cars

Cool tech, crazy turns: A reporter's take on driverless cars

During our rides, the minivans slowed for speed bumps and carried out a textbook right-on-red turn. Most impressive was a careful maneuver at a green light where a woman with a walker stood dangerously close to the corner.

Cool tech, crazy turns: A reporter's take on driverless cars

Edmunds: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport vs the Subaru Forester

Edmunds: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport vs the Subaru Forester

Off-road, the Bronco Sport is impressively capable of tackling trails that would normally stymie a typical small crossover SUV. 

Edmunds: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport vs the Subaru Forester

PrevNext