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A grey 2021 Kia K5 is driving on a downtown street.

The New 2021 Kia K5: A Sedan with Sport and Style

Move over, Optima. For 2021, Kia is offering the exciting new K5 midsize, and it will be available in the fall of 2020. But if you loved the Optima, don’t worry: the new 2021 Kia K5 is the Optima’s next iteration and essentially takes over the Optima name with a few elegant tweaks. This is a fun upgrade of a well-loved vehicle, from the unique future-forward exterior to the comfortable interior that will have enough room for a family of tall folks. If you’re looking for a sedan that looks exciting and fresh while also offering the performance and safety features you desire, then the new K5 is the car for you. With an MSRP of $23,490, the Kia K5 is an affordable sedan with a lot of style and tech features to please any modern buyer.

The Sporty Exterior

Let us begin with the grille inspired by shark-skin. Unless you’re a gear head, a car’s grille is often the least of your concerns, but even if you have no idea what the grille is, you’ll notice the nose of the Kia K5. With the lines in the grille creating a V shape in the front, it automatically draws your eye to just because it is different. And when the car is running, there are even lightening-shaped LED lights on the front end that will certainly be memorable as you drive past a crowd. The general shape of the K5 has an overall panther-like quality that gives it a sense the car is about to pounce as it accelerates.

But aside from the exciting outside appearance, you will also enjoy the many exterior features of the Kia K5. These include plenty of luxury items such as an available panoramic sunroof, solar-absorbing glass to keep the interior cooler, an acoustic windshield to quiet noise from the road, and heated exterior mirrors to melt ice on wintry days. Together, these features help make the K5 as comfortable as it is stylish.

Unique Interior Design

A man is shown in the open doorway of a 2021 Kia K5, from an interior view.

Once you open the door and reveal the crisp interior layout, you will see the K5 isn’t like any other vehicle on the road. The dash display will appeal to those who prefer clean lines. This is not a fussy vehicle, and in the command center, you will find easy-to-read displays and well-laid out controls. The steering wheel is an attractive three-spoke design with plenty of grip and a straight line of controls for audio, phone, and cruise control across the midline. Slender air vents blend into the lines of the dash upfront, while chrome accents add an elegant finish.

All trims also offer plenty of features like dual-zone automatic climate control, six-way adjustable front seats, remote keyless entry, a tilting and telescoping steering column, and a USB port and charging outlets in the front console. The standard infotainment consists of Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, an eight-inch infotainment screen, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Upper trims gain infotainment upgrades like UVO (Kia’s voice-activated system control for the infotainment), navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, multi-device streaming so that you can link more than one phone at a time, and a twelve-speaker Bose audio system. Other luxury options include wireless phone charging, additional USB ports and chargers, synthetic leather trim, ten-way adjustable seats with driver’s seat memory and lumbar support, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, and faux wood accents.

Rounding out this exhaustive list of available features is a smart key system. With the smart key, you gain remote starting and a push-button start feature, but do not worry that this is less secure than a traditional key as it includes an engine immobilizer to prevent theft if the vehicle senses unauthorized entry. And with 46.1 inches of legroom in the front and 35.2 inches in the rear, the Kia K5 has plenty of space for passengers over six feet tall to be comfortable in any seat. Cargo space in the trunk is also generous at 16 cubic feet, which is slightly over the average 15 cubic feet found in most sedans.

Performance and Drivetrain

Engine sizes for the Kia K5 will vary depending on which trim level you purchase, but the base engine is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a modern eight-speed automatic transmission. While you might not expect much from an engine this size, it is enough to accelerate the K5 from 0 to 60 mph in around 7.4 seconds. Rated fuel efficiency with this engine is 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. One more thoughtful feature of the K5 is its available all-wheel drive, which can be had on either the LXS or GT-line trims.

But if you purchase the GT trim of the K5, you will instead get a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that features an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. With 290 horsepower, this engine can move the K5 from 0 to 60 in well under 6 seconds. Altogether, the engine and transmission of the GT trim provide a sporty driving experience that is further enhanced by the trim’s sport-tuned suspension, stronger brakes, and sport seats.

A black 2021 Kia K5 is driving psat hills, shown from the side.

Remarkable Safety Features

If you value all the latest and greatest safety features, the new Kia K5 will be sure to fulfill your expectations with its impressive range of engineering and technology designed to keep its occupants safe. Beginning with the design of the vehicle, Kia is rolling out the N3 platform, which is better designed to handle impacts with its lightweight steel structure. The N3 steel structure more readily absorbs the energy of an impact that isn’t avoidable, and then the system of nine advanced airbags will deploy wherever necessary to cushion the passengers.

Added to the structural strength of the new platform are additional features such as anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, rear door child locks, tethers for booster seats, and tire pressure monitoring. These features help improve the all-around safety of the K5. And some of them, like the traction and stability control, will assist the driver under dangerous driving conditions.

More advanced driver-assisted safety features on the Kia K5 are also comprehensive. Even on the base trim level, buyers will gain forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, driver attention warning with leading vehicle departure alert, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and lane following assist. Each of these features is operated by onboard computers that scan the environment around the vehicle using radar and cameras. If the K5 senses that other cars, people, or objects are too close, then the system will warn the driver and, in some situations, automatically attempt to avoid a collision.

However, the safety features of the Kia K5 do not end there. A rear occupant alert will remind you that a child may be in the back seat before you get out of the vehicle. A rearview monitor with dynamic parking guidance will help you when backing up, especially when you’re backing into a parking space. And high beam assist will adjust your high beams when there’s oncoming traffic, so you never have to worry about blinding other drivers. And these are only the base level safety features!

If you upgrade to the higher trims, you gain additional features such as blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, junction-turning accident avoidance, and safe exit assist (which prevents the rear seat passengers from exiting into oncoming traffic). With all of this equipment, the Kia K5 will certainly make a mark on highway safety. From design to technology, this is a well-rounded set of features for any buyer to appreciate.


With so much to offer, the new 2021 Kia K5 can be expected to have an exciting release on the market this fall. If nothing else, the appearance alone will attract buyers who want a unique vehicle that has bold lines and a sporty vibe. On top of the magnetic appearance, the K5 won’t be thirsty for fuel, and buyers will see savings at the pump. The generous technology and safety features will also make the K5 a step ahead of many competitors in this price range. The 2021 K5 is going to be a vehicle to watch this fall, and even buyers who have never driven a Kia may find themselves wooed to this manufacturer when it hits the lots.

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