Car Review: Kia’s new K5 midsize sedan will make you forget the venerable Optima

Kia still believes in sedans, and the new K5 is a car that’s using its good looks to help make that point. The new midsize sedan makes a statement with sleek looks and an expressive new face thanks to LED lighting that seems to snake up the hood before disappearing.

The body is long. You would think it’s a hatchback with the higher rear roofline, but it’s a regular sedan with a standard trunk.

Inside, there is room to spread out with good head and legroom, even for those riding in the back seat.

This new Kia comes nicely equipped. Heated and ventilated seats and a panoramic sunroof are part of the EX trim level. My tester came with the premium package that ups the game with a large 10.25″ touch screen, a better sounding audio system and a host of safety goodies.

While the looks and interior are impressive, the driving experience is also vastly improved from previous Kia sedans. The ride is more composed and less jumpy on some of our rough roads. The new K5 feels more confident when in the corners, though I could use a tiny bit more feel when it’s pushed hard. The small thrifty turbo engine packs a nice punch for most sedan drivers. If it’s not enough, a new 290hp version should be hitting the showroom shortly.

Cost: $27,990; as tested $32,335
MPG: 27 mpg City; and 37 mpg Highway. I managed 30.2 mpg in 256 miles of mixed driving.
Options: $3,400 EX premium package
Safety: blind spot collision avoidance assist-pedestrian; rear cross traffic collision-avoidance assist; forward collision avoidance-assist, cyclist & junction turning; vehicle stability management; safe exit assist with power child lock; smart cruise with stop-go; parking collision avoidance-rear
Things to know: The 2021 Kia K5 is all new and takes over for Optima. It has good looks with lots of space. The new K5 feels more like a premium sedan but with a price that isn’t in that category.

• Impressive interior space and high-quality materials
• Handsome looks make the humble midsize sedan fresh
• Good performance from a small fuel efficient turbo engine

• Sleek style leads to less rear vision
• The sloping roofline means you should watch your head when getting through the back door
• Could use a little bit more steering feel when in the corners

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