2021 Kia K5 EX new car reviews

Didn't we just talk about a K5? Yes, we did, but that was the all-wheel-drive version of the GT-Line trim, whereas this one is a front-wheel-drive EX–one step up on the trim ladder.

What's it like to drive? Keep reading to get our impressions.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Just south of the shifter, you’ll find the controls for seat warming and cooling. It's a toggle-like switch: rock it up for warm, down for cooling.

The action of the switch feels nearly perfect. Just the right amount of click.

No sharp edges, no cheap feeling. It’s a solid switch that exudes confidence.

It's intuitive, too: up for warm, down for cold.

Three LEDs then signal the actual heating or cooling.

And that pretty much sums up the latest Kia sedan: a competent, attractive, easy-to-use sedan that just makes sense.

I admit, the K5 initially left me underwhelmed. The transmission logic, mainly, bugged me.

Maybe some recent time in a Nissan Altima recalibrated things for me, but this time the transmission felt fine. (In fact, why not this over an Altima?)

In addition to those intuitive controls, the K5 offers great seats, terrific styling and a traditional shifter. Pull it back into D, and you can feel mechanical bits being all mechanical. Unlike some of the competition, the Kia gets a real automatic, not a CVT.

Our car wore Pirellis.

The 180-horsepower 1.6 found in our tester won’t overwhelm you with power, but it’s smooth and does the job. I'm eager to sample the turbo 2.5 as Kia says that it will reach 60 in 5.8 seconds–within a second of my M3.

If it's wrong to get excited about a family sedan, then I'm guilty as charged. The more I sat in the K5, the more I noticed details–like the ridged aluminum beneath the center vents or the interior wood inserts.

Right now, it might be this or a Camry, meaning Kia is playing with the head of the class.

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