Remember the Kia Optima? Well, it has been retired for 2021 and substituted by another suitable midsize sedan: the K5.
The new name, the fresh look, is as bold appearing or even more so than its predecessor. Length and wheelbase are up by two and 1.8 inches, respectively. Width rises another inch, though the height is down by 0.8 inches.
The sporty EX gets a 1.6-liter turbo gas inline-4 cylinder engine developing 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. It is coupled to a seamless eight-speed auto. An independent MacPherson front and a multilink rear suspension handles the bumps of irregular surfaces with little sacrifice. The column-mounted motor driven power steering is perfectly weighted and provides decent feedback.
Sitting on the steel-unibody based car is a wide and thin front silver-metallic radiator grille that extends into its LED headlights and the hood. The cabin offers such helpful amenities as a 10-way power driver and six-way manual passenger leatherette seats, 60/40 rear seat, manual tilt/telescopic steering column, panoramic sun roof, dual auto a/c with rear vents, push-button start, 4.2-inch LCD instrument display, power windows, door locks and outside mirrors, and an infotainment system with an eight-inch touch screen. Satin chrome accents on the center console garnish, dash pad bezel and air vents convey elegance. Trunk volume is admirable at 16 cubic feet.
Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction control systems, forward and blind-spot collision avoidance assists, as well as lane-keep and lane-follow assists, rearview camera, front and rear crumple zones, side-impact door beams, three-point front seatbelts with pretensioners, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.
EPA estimates on our EX trim, which is rated at 27 city/37 highway, came in around 30 mpg in city for out test and peaked 39 on highway. The easy-on-the-pocket K5, like the outgoing Optima, is not your typical sedan. A lively, fun-to-drive attitude, coupled with a muscular stance and gas-sipping abilities, make this Kia a best buy in our eyes. Indeed, it is a tough act to beat if you consider the Korean automaker’s basic 10-year/100,000-mile limited power train and 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranties.
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length: 193.1 inches
Width: 73.2 inches
Height: 56.9 inches
Weight: 3,228 pounds
Fuel capacity: 15.8 gallons
Base price: $27,990
Price as tested: $32,355
Web site: www.kiausa.com
Nitish S. Rele operates motoringtampabay.com and Khaas Baat, and was an automotive editor/columnist for the Tampa Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.