2021 Kia K5 GT Review: An Almost-Perfect Everyday Sport Sedan

You learn very quickly that the traction-off setting in the 2021 Kia K5 GT really means off.

Not every modern car is honest on that front. But the K5 is. Switch into the Sport Plus driving mode—exclusive to the GT—and this sharp-suited sedan will happily lay down two thick strips of rubber on the road. Uh, if you’re so inclined.

It’s this honest approach to simple fun that defines the K5 GT. Kia’s new sport sedan doesn’t offer layers upon layers of obfuscation between driver and road in the quest for smooth, efficient progress. It doesn’t shield you from its occasionally scrappy nature, either. That’s what makes it such a welcome addition to the four-door landscape—and at a great deal, too.

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2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD Review: A Covetable Mainstream Sedan?

Kia might be killin’ it lately with its SUV lineup, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten what got it to where it is today.

At the turn of the century, the mid-size sedan was still the place to be in the automotive kingdom. Everyone was in on the action, and Toyota built a veritable empire on the back of the Camry’s reputation. Kia threw its hat into the ring in 2000, knowing that to be taken seriously, it needed to fight on the main card. In the intervening 20 years, Kia has kept improving its four-door offering, culminating in this, the 2021 Kia K5.

Times change though: the metric for success is now the crossover. That’s what makes the K5’s arrival feel like such a grudge match. Kia didn’t have to put a lot of effort into this fight, since the spotlight is shining elsewhere. Instead, it’s built a lean, mean fighter ready to worry other sedans, packed with practical solutions to the everyday grind and a bevy of high-tech features. Beyond that, the K5’s camera-friendly looks might even draw eyeballs away from the current heavyweight crossovers, with a style none of ’em can hope to match.

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Honda Accord vs. Kia K5: Which Sedan is Right for You?

Honda Accord vs. Kia K5: Can Korean Style and Power Persuade You To Make The Switch?

It’s no secret the Honda Accord is the knee-jerk reaction for anyone shopping in the mid-size sedan market. Over 40 years of refining and honing has made the Honda an unbeatable all-rounder, capable of transporting a family and their things reliably and in comfort, for a reasonable sum.

Kia wants to make a point with its flashy exterior design on the K5, but the message is more than skin-deep. A handsome interior plays host to a well-equipped technological suite. All-wheel drive is available for maximum sure-footedness, but the party piece is the K5 GT with its 290-hp turbocharged engine.

Does Kia provide enough style and substance to make would-be Accord shoppers swoon? We line the two up for a head-to-head feature and capability comparison.

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Detailed Specs

Price / $25,090 - $31,490
Engine / 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder / 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder
Power / 180 hp / 290 hp
Torque / 195 lb-ft / 311 lb-ft
Drivetrain / FWD / AWD
Transmission / 8AT / 8DCT
Fuel Economy (city/hwy) / 24–27 mpg / 32–37 mpg
Cargo Capacity / 16.0 cu ft

Our Final Verdict

Kia K5

Performance 7.0
Features 8.0
Comfort 7.0
Quality and Styling 9.0
Value 8.0