PINEHURST, NC — September 16, 2020 — What you are looking at is the 2021 KIA K5 (formally Optima) LXS Sedan. This is one that anybody on a budget, in the market for a sedan, may want to look at. “Why?” You ask. Because, with a starting price of $23,490, it’s affordable. Then, you look at the styling, the mileage, the safety features, the warranty, the layout of the car, and you say, “Wow, this is a lot of car for, basically, $24K.” At least I did, but my precious darling drove this car as well and she will want to weigh in on some of the aspects of it for sure.
Laurie – I have to be honest. It has been delightful driving trucks and large SUVs lately, and I, for one, believe that market can only grow in these COVID times. But it was awfully nice getting into a maneuverable, pleasant, four-door sedan again—if, for no other reason, that it is so much easier to park in a crowded grocery store parking lot!
Our Kia came in Everlasting Silver with Black interior and it looked nice and really was easy to enter and exit. Plus, the seat was very comfortable for the driver or passenger, and I know as I was both – just not at the same time.
The LXS in the 2021 Kia K5 designates it as an All-Wheel Drive model, and something to consider in a $24K car. Nice. The K5 is powered by a 1.6L Turbo, 4-cylinder engine and paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. I am still not sold on the 4-cylinder engine in a sedan with standard seating for four. I always feel like the car is underpowered at 25 to 35 mph, the standard speed for neighborhoods and cities/towns, like ours. It just has a guttural growling that sounds like the chipmunks are straining. Of course, when you hit a straight stretch with a 55 mph speed limit, you can step down on the gas pedal, and, surprisingly, the four chipmunks respond quite well and quite quickly, getting the turbo kicking in a hurry.
Our particular LXS did not have some of the features that were touted on the Kia web site, https://www.kia.com/us/en/k5. The website and the picture below point to a 10.25” screen, but ours had an 8” screen and size does make a difference. Also, there was no GPS, but it seems you can hook up your phone to use the screen, under the title “UVO link”. Maybe, and I am thinking this is truer than I want to admit, a younger person with a smart phone and a cable to plug it into the car could probably waltz through the requirements to hook their life, music, and destinations quite easily. Not so, this gray haired, older gent. There was no Sirius XM – okay, it sounds trivial, but this the first car we have had without XM in a very long time. There were no heated or cooled seats and no power seats, which are referred to on the website. There was no phone charging in the phone charger area. Hmmmmm. Maybe, just maybe this is the Kia K5 that goes into the rental car fleets, a sort of stripped-down version of the real one.
On a very positive note, I did get 36.7 mpg just tooling around Pinehurst. This actually exceeded the Monroney prediction of 27mpg around town, and 37mpg on the highway, with an average of 31 mpg.
The driver’s cockpit and manipulation areas were as simple and straightforward as one could want. Gear shift to the right and just where you would expect. Air conditioning ahead of that with each side having its own set of controls. Big fan symbol to increase the fan speed and small fan symbol to decrease. Cruise control on the right of the steering wheel, and voice activation button, receiving the call button, and ending the call button were on the left. There was a steering wheel looking button on the right, but couldn’t figure out what it was. It didn’t seem to heat up the steering wheel, but the same symbol appeared in the center of dash when pressed.
Radio was simple, and to the left of the steering wheel on the dash was a button for opening the trunk.
Kia DID offer quite a bit of safety equipment for the small price tag. Under Kia Drivewise Driver-Assist Technology, we had Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – Pedestrian, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Following Assist; Driver Attention Warning; Leading Vehicle Departure Alert; and High Beam Assist.
Under Safety, we had Dural Front Advanced Airbags and Driver’s Knee Airbag; Front and Rear Seat Mounted Side Airbags; Full Length Side Curtain Airbags; Electronic Stability Control; Traction Control System with Anti-Lock Brakes, and the Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
The Rear View Camera with Dynamic Guidelines was under ‘Interior, Comfort and Convenience’, but it sure seems like a safety feature to me.
The 10 year/100,000 mile Power Train Warranty, the 5 year/60,000 Mile Limited Basic Warranty, and the 5 year/ 60,000 Mile Roadside Assistance Warranty are all good, especially the last one.
Laurie—let me cut in, honey. There were a few “extras” on this car that I did miss. I know it’s because of what I have come to expect in a car…and folks, you’ve got to know that I’ve been reviewing cars for a really long time…three decades! The thing is, in that time, I have been very fortunate to see the progression of improvements, innovations, and styling in all manner and size of vehicles. The second consideration is, I have gotten older during which time the industry has, as a whole, attempted to rely more on what the car can do than what the driver should do. We were taught to look in the rearview mirror and turn to look over your shoulder to make sure no car was alongside you or out of the mirror’s field of vision, remember? Now we have beeps, buzzes, and flashing lights. And on and on and on…
Now, the 2021 Kia K5 LXS had manually adjustable seats, for example. To cut costs and keep the MSRP under $25k? Perhaps. But safety features that we all have come to rely on and, frankly, take for granted, such as the blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, safe exit assist and conveniences such as a Smart Key and push button start and remote start are all included in the base price.
Therefore, what has Kia done? They’ve come up with a practical, elegantly designed four-door sedan that is roomy, responsive and, for one price, gives you what you need to help ensure you get from Point A to Point B without incident.
Oh, yeah…no GPS. Well, driving locally, as we do, a GPS is not needed. For distances, just program your destination on your cellphone or portable GPS device.
Who buys this car? You do!
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Southern Pines KIA, 10910 US Hwy 15, Southern Pines, NC 28387
- Sales 910-684-1010
- Service 910-218-1919
- Parts 910-242-4664
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- SALES: 844-327-7844
- SERVICE: 866-981-4128
- PARTS: 888-718-4159