2021 Kia K5 GT - Driven
When Kia change the name of the Optima to K5, it was more than just a name change. With that new designation came a sportier sedan with a simple and attractive interior, and a pair of engines that put you one two different sides of the same fence: Economy or Performance. After driving the GT-Line AWD, we felt like we were wanting more. It looked faster, but it was essentially the same car as the standard K5 with AWD and sportier looks. So, does the K5 GT scratch that it? Well, it really does, but it certainly has it flaws, the most important of which is, arguably, the lack of AWD – something can actually be dangerous for unskilled drivers or those not used to having 300-horsepower at their disposal. Keep reading to learn why.
2021 Kia K5 GT-Line - Driven
After two decades and four generations in U.S., Kia has decided to globally rebrand the Optima as the K5 – a name it had be using for the Optima in the Korean market since 2010. With the name change came a much sportier exterior, a simple yet attractive interior, and a pair of engines that split the difference between great fuel economy and great performance – you can have one or the other. In early 2021, we had the opportunity to spend a week with the more economical K5 with a 1.6-liter inline-four that was good for 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Fast forward a few months, and Kia graced us with the K5 GT-Line AWD, which comes at a $1,600 premium over the FWD model plus a few extra standard goodies, including a special “Snow Mode.” Is it necessary to have a K5 with AWD, though?
2021 Kia K5 - Driven
Let me introduce you to the Kia K5 midsize sedan – a car that really doesn’t need much of an introduction because you’ve known it as the Kia Optima ever since it hit the market back in 2000, but I’ll discuss that a bit later. Like the Optima, the K5 is known for its attractive styling, sexy yet functional interior, and – naturally – a great value for the money. Highlights of the new k5 (or 5th-gen Optima, if you like) are even bolder styling, new engine offerings, and, believe it or not, available all-wheel drive. Pricing for the new Kia K5 starts out at a very reasonable $23,590 (making it one of the most affordable midsize cars on the market) with the loaded, more powerful, range-topping GT trim commanding just $30,590. With this in mind, is the Kia K5 right for you? Keep reading to find out.
2021 Kia K5
It’s been almost a decade since Kia introduced the 2011 Optima in the U.S. and the time has come for a generation swap. Call it a model swap, actually, as the new 2021 Kia K5 mid-size saloon is here to take over from where the Optima left off.
Kia will assemble the K5 next to the crisp-looking Telluride SUV at its plant in West Point, Georgia. Before the first cars roll off the production line, let’s look at what customers will be getting from the 2021 K5 sedan.