Displaying items by tag: Kia
Kia’s prestigious SUV, the multi-award winning Sorento, won two new globally recognized laurels - the Red Dot and iF model design awards.
Since 2009, Kia has won 47 Red Dot and iF design awards
With the latest Red Dot and IF awards, the design-driven Kia brand continues its remarkable string of successes in these two competitions. Since 2009, when the Kia Soul became the first Korean model to win Red Dot, 26 Kia models have won this award. As for the iF award, which Kia won for the first time in 2010, the number of awarded Kia models, including the new Sorrento, climbed to as much as 21.
Shortly after last year’s premiere, the Sorento received recognition for outstanding off-road vehicle design in 2020 from Auto Bild Allrad magazine. After that, he won the most significant German car award, the Golden Steering Wheel 2020, in the segment of large sports SUVs. In March this year, it became the Women's World Car of 2021 in the category of large sports SUVs.
The new generation of sports SUV was created in cooperation with Kia's world design network. Karim Habib, head of Kia's global design center, said: "In designing the new Sorrento, we wanted to first develop the robust aesthetics of previous generations of models, while using a greater dose of sophistication and elegance. is a mature and balanced but confident design. We are delighted that prestigious institutions, which share design awards, such as Red Dot and iF, have recognized our work. "
Red Dot and iF: two globally most important design awards
The Red Dot and iF design awards are among the largest and most significant design competitions in the world. The Red Dot Award is awarded each year at the North Rhine-Westphalia design center and is divided into three disciplines: product design, brand and communication design, and concept design. The Red Dot Awards for product design have been awarded since 1955, and this year's competition was attended by manufacturers and designers from 60 countries, who submitted 7,800 products. The submitted products were evaluated by an international jury, which consisted of about 50 independent designers, design professors and journalists from various sectors. In addition to aesthetics, products are evaluated on the basis of criteria such as the degree of innovation, functionality, ergonomics, quality and environmental friendliness.
The iF Design Award, organized by the International Forum Design GmbH of Hanover, has existed since 1954 and is one of the leading independent design institutions in the world. This year, competitors from 52 countries registered more than 9,500 products, and the competition itself experienced several novelties. These are e.g. digital preliminary phase ('Online Preselection') in which half of the submitted works entered the finals ('Final Jury'), transparent evaluation was performed in all categories, including the new categories 'user experience' (UX) and 'user interface' ( UU). Other categories are products, communications, packaging and service design, architecture, interior design and professional concepts. This year, the iF jury was composed of 98 independent international design experts. All award-winning products are published in the "iF World Design Guide" catalog (ifworlddesignguide.com) and in the "iF Design App".
No Ferris wheels or fried dough, but the Carnival is good fun.
Drop the fantasy for a moment. As much as we'd all love to project the rough-and-tumble, outdoorsy ruggedness associated with the deep-voiced sales pitches in SUV ads, how often are you really tackling anything more challenging than a gravel parking lot or a dusty fire road?
Buyers in need of three-row seating but who won't capitalize on the off-road Sporting aspect of a sport utility vehicle can get loads more utility out of a less ostentatious, less understood class of vehicle. The clever buyer shops for a minivan—or as Kia is calling it, a multipurpose vehicle (MPV). As much as we love the SUV of the year-winning Kia Telluride, the new 2022 Kia Carnival MPV could be a smarter fit for most families.
If you haven't heard of the Carnival, you're not alone. Kia introduced it as a new nameplate for 2022 to replace its Sedona minivan, which Kia has sold in the U.S. since the 2002 model year.
The Carnival rides on a lighter, stronger platform than the outgoing Sedona and features boxy, SUV-inspired sheetmetal reminiscent of newer Kia designs, including the Telluride, Seltos, and Sorento. (A neighbor even asked if it was an SUV or a minivan, which surely would thrill Kia's designers.) This is also the first model to don the newly redesigned Kia badge.
Cavernous Cargo Carrying
The Carnival is more spacious than the van it replaces, too. With 40.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row bench, it has 6.3 cubic feet more cargo volume than the old Sedona and at least 6.7 cubes more than any other current minivan. Stowing the third-row seats is easily doable with one hand via a chunky handle on the back of the seat, and with the seats folded, the load floor is completely flat.
Space behind the second row is class-competitive but a few cubes behind a comparable Honda Odyssey or Chrysler Pacifica. The Carnival's second-row seats are removable (in all models save the range-topping SX Prestige), a feature the Sedona didn't offer. To do so, lift a lever under the back side of the seat and fold the seat forward; removal requires no more than average adult strength, but the awkward shape means it may be wise to enlist the help of a partner.
Those planning to frequently swap between using the maximum space behind the first row and using the second-row seats may be better off with Chrysler Pacifica's Stow 'n Go solution rather than wrangling the second-row seats into and out of the Carnival. Once they're removed, however, not only does the Kia have more space behind the first row than any other minivan, but its cargo volume also measures larger than that of the colossal Chevrolet Suburban (145.1 versus 144.7 cubic feet).
Three Roomy Rows Of Seating
But don't go thinking the Carnival is just a cargo van stand-in. The new MPV can be ordered in seven- and eight-passenger configurations, both with ample legroom in all three rows. Third-row access is near effortless with a one-hand pull of a handle beneath the second-row armrest that folds and slides the seat forward; older kids will have no problem operating it themselves. Third-row legroom matches the Pacifica and is a couple inches behind the Sienna and the Odyssey. A 6-foot-1 passenger has just enough legroom in the way back, but their head likely will be brushing the ceiling. Also, the rearmost windows border on claustrophobia-inducingly small.
The second row is really where it's at. Beyond the 40.5 inches of legroom, its neat aspect comes with the SX Prestige and its "VIP" second-row seat. The Prestige swaps out the standard second-row bench for two leather-lined, heated, and cooled lounges that are more comfortable than the furniture in most living rooms. You can slide them way back, to make room for the Prestige's party trick: full recline with power-extendable legrests. Friends compared them to the plush recliners in upscale movie theaters. At $47,275, the Carnival SX Prestige is pricey, but it's less than other top-spec minivans. And it easily represents the most luxurious rear seating experience in any car under $50,000.
Up front, there's an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, but that's only on the base model. All other trims showcase a huge 12.3-inch display that's set high on the dash to keep your eyes near the road. Through the infotainment screen, the driver or front passenger can access the cabin camera and the intercom (standard on EX and above), which allow parents up front to talk to and keep an eye on kids in the back without turning around.
Living With The Kia Carnival
For the most part, it all comes together as a well-executed people mover.
There are six USB charging ports in the car (eight with the rear seat entertainment displays) plus two three-prong household outlets and two 12-volt power outlets. Including the wireless charging pad that's standard on EX trims and higher, it's possible to charge as many as 13 devices at once. The Carnival has 11 cupholders, too—no matter how many people you pack into this thing, no phone need go uncharged and no cup or juicebox unheld.
The interior design is just as handsome as the bodywork. Kia integrates metal-look trim throughout the cabin, and leatherette upholstery is standard on the EX and SX. Especially with the Prestige trim's dual 12.3-inch front displays, the cabin gives off real Mercedes-Benz vibes. That said, the metallic trim can cause dangerous glare for the driver in the wrong light. What's more, Kia's overreliance on capacitive-touch buttons for HVAC and infotainment controls can be frustrating, as they lack tactile feedback and can be tough to find without taking your eyes off the road.
SX trims and above include dual 10.1-inch displays as part of a rear entertainment system. The displays feature preinstalled apps for streaming Netflix, Youtube, and Twitch, and there's a kids mode with graphics by Pinkfong, the South Korean children's educational empire behind last year's Baby Shark phenomenon. Factor in the HDMI, USB, and wireless device-mirroring capabilities, and the entertainment prospects are vast.
The rear entertainment displays are not perfect, however. Streaming content through any of the preinstalled apps requires connecting the system to a paired smartphone's Wi-Fi hot spot because unlike its competitors, the Carnival does not include one. In an effort to treat the Carnival as a mobile office for an afternoon, we were also frustrated to find the HDMI input produced a fuzzy, low-res image and too much lag to accurately use a cursor, though Kia insists the examples we drove were pre-production units and this could change.
Kia Carnival Driving Impressions
The biggest surprise from our time with the Carnival? How well it drives.
Kia has developed a new 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 for the Carnival. With 290 hp and 262 lb-ft, it's the most powerful engine in the segment and is tied for the most torque. Paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic that is rarely caught in the wrong gear, the engine provides ample acceleration. The Carnival is also rated to tow 3,500 pounds, which is typical for this class.
Vans like this need to ride well, too, and this Kia achieves that. The combination of relatively soft springs and tires with plenty of sidewall delivers a plushness that won't wake the baby in the back seat if you hit a pothole. More impressive, though, the Carnival exhibits next to no body roll and minimal secondary ride motions. It's genuinely fun to drive. And when you're just on a highway slog, Kia's lane centering and adaptive cruise control systems are among the best in the business.
That Highway Driving Assist is part of a generous collection of driver assist active safety tech. Automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane centering, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert are all standard, even on the base model. The EX trim adds front parking sensors and Highway Driving Assist adaptive cruise control; the SX gains auto rear braking and an (invaluable) high-res 360-degree camera system; and the SX Prestige boasts a blind-spot camera feed in its 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
Our only complaint about the mechanicals is the lack of choice. With the new Sienna debuting with a hybrid-only powertrain and Chrysler offering a plug-in hybrid Pacifica, some buyers will be dismayed by the Carnival's 22 mpg combined fuel economy rating. (Queried about the lack of a hybrid offering for the Carnival, a Kia representative said, "Be on the lookout for what's in store. ") Drivers in colder climates may also be lured away by Chrysler and Toyota's available AWD—the Carnival is FWD only.
We mentioned earlier that Kia is marketing the Carnival as an MPV, a multipurpose vehicle. Nothing wrong with that; it can manage stand-in duty as a comfortable road tripper, an executive luxury limo, or even a full-blown cargo hauler.
But consider the Carnival's strengths: smooth ride; thoughtful, family-friendly features; intuitive tech; and a vast, high-quality cabin. Lean in to the stereotype, Kia. The Carnival is an excellent modern minivan.
"The Kia Rio is a competent supermini, but because it doesn't excel in any one area, it's difficult to recommend over the competition"
The Kia Rio has matured rather impressively since the first, rather mundane and budget-focused version arrived over a decade ago. While still good value, the updated Rio is now more sensible than penny-pinching, and a worthy competitor in the hard-fought supermini class.
Best reliable small cars
While it may not be as stylish as some, its strengths are practicality, fuel efficiency and generous standard equipment, not to mention the seven-year warranty that makes any Kia a trouble-free ownership proposition. It's a competent all-rounder and deserves to be weighed up against European rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa, SEAT Ibiza, Hyundai i10 and Skoda Fabia, as well as the Nissan Micra and Toyota Yaris.
Compared to the Ford and SEAT, the Kia feels pretty average from behind the wheel. Its steering responses are dull and it doesn't feel as poised or agile as the Ford Fiesta, yet it doesn't have the comfortable ride of the Renault Clio, either.
There are three engines to choose from, our favourite of which is a 1.0-litre petrol with either 99 or 118bhp. This is a relatively modern three-cylinder and it's quite peppy – which suits its position near the top of the price list. The range-topper also gets 48-volt mild-hybrid tech and a clever manual gearbox, helping to make its running costs more competitive. The two versions can reach 62mph from rest in 10 and 9.8 seconds respectively, but aren't quite as quiet or smooth as the equivalent rival engines.
There's also the less expensive 83bhp 1.25-litre engine, capable of returning up to 49.6mpg. Meanwhile, for those who still want fuel-efficiency but whose driving is mainly urban, the 99bhp petrol engine still returns up to 52.3mpg.
Further adding to the Rio's common-sense credentials is its spacious interior. It's now available as a five-door only, so access to the front and rear seats is easy and nobody on board is likely to feel claustrophobic. Nor is your luggage likely to complain of being cooped up – there's 325 litres of boot capacity, which is about 10% more than a Fiesta.
Even the Rio's trim levels are sensibly named, dubbed simply 1, 2, and 3, although the range-topping model is known as GT-Line S. Even the entry-level 1 trim includes air-conditioning, which hasn’t always been standard on the most basic cars in this class, and 2 versions onwards get a new eight-inch touchscreen. It should be noted that you can only choose the most powerful petrol engine in the 3 trim and above. We recommend the mid-range 2 in 99bhp 1.0-litre form as a good all-rounder.
It's clear, then, that while the Rio has plenty going for it, it's no class leader in this tough segment. While many will appreciate its no-nonsense character, it doesn’t really excel in any one area and its rather sedate looks and driving experience mean it won’t be a car you buy with your heart. However, if you're more interested in hassle-free and affordable transportation, there's no ignoring that long warranty, nor the fact that the Kia Rio finished in 23rd place out of the top 75 cars in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.
The Kia Rio engine range has been overhauled for the latest model and all of the engines offer decent efficiency. There's no full-hybrid version to rival the Renault Clio E-Tense, Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris, but the top 1.0-litre petrol engine now gets an innovative gearbox and mild-hybrid setup to help boost efficiency.
Kia Rio MPG & CO2
The most efficient engine is the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol. With a manual, it can return up to 52.3mpg on the WLTP cycle, and it's both more economical and more powerful than the naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine. It's the engine we recommend due to its reasonable mix of performance and economy, and it's a good choice for company car drivers too, as it falls into a low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band.
The more powerful version of the same 1.0-litre engine is the strongest performer in the line-up, but owing to its small size and mild-hybrid technology, it still manages 52.3mpg and emits 122-126g/km of CO2. A small battery and generator can add torque to help the engine pull away, while an innovative manual gearbox can automatically disconnect drive while coasting to allow the engine to switch off briefly.
The 83bhp 1.25-litre petrol is the cheapest engine in the Rio range, returning up to 49.6mpg and emitting 130g/km of CO2. In late 2018, Kia ended production of the diesel version of the Rio hatchback. All Rios are liable for road tax of £150 a year.
The Kia Rio occupies insurance groups four to nine (out of 50), with the 83bhp 1.25-litre petrol costing least to insure and the range-topping 118bhp 1.0-litre 3 and GT-Line S trims sitting in group nine.
One area in which the Rio excels, like all Kias, is warranty cover. Lasting for seven years or 100,000 miles, the brand’s warranty offers fantastic peace of mind and should give owners confidence in the reliability of their cars. It's fully transferable to subsequent owners of the car, too.
Kia servicing costs are generally competitive. Petrol models need a service every 10,000 miles or once a year, with diesels needing attention every 20,000 miles or once a year. Kia offers a ‘Care-3’ service pack that costs £299 and covers you for the first three services. For an extra £30, you can get the car’s first MOT included, and for £599 you can cover the cost of the car’s first five services.
The front-wheel-drive hybrid version of Kia's redesigned Sorento mid-size three-row crossover packs a solid 227 horsepower and a 37-mpg EPA combined estimate.
The new 2021 Kia Sorento hybrid doesn't make a big deal of itself, despite being the first electrically assisted version of Kia's mid-size crossover. It's got a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and it drives like you'd expect—except that the little four feels like it has about 25 percent more displacement than it actually does. In fact, the Sorento hybrid's combined output—227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque—nearly matches that of the 2020 Volkswagen GTI. Like a GTI, the front-wheel-drive-only Sorento torments its front tires with torque. Unlike the compact GTI, though, it has three rows of seats and an EPA combined estimate of 37 mpg. Thus concludes our references to the Volkswagen GTI, but we hope the comparisons helped you subliminally internalize the idea that the Sorento hybrid is actually kind of fun.
To get the Sorento hybrid's 227 horses out of a 1.6-liter turbo-four, you'd generally have to boost the bejesus out of it. Kia didn't do that. But it did pair the engine with a sizable electric motor and a 1.5-kWh lithium battery that enables some neat tricks. Such as producing an abundance of torque off the line and sailing along at highway speeds with the engine off. And yes, achieving solid fuel-economy ratings of 39 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway.
Kia's highly specific spec sheet lists the 1.6-liter as making 177.2 horsepower and 195.4 pound-feet of torque from 1500 to 4500 rpm. The electric motor generates a claimed 60.1 horses and 194.7 pound-feet from zero up to 1600 revs. Notice that those two torque figures are both almost the same and happen at low revs, which helps explain why the hybrid's low-end grunt feels diesel-like in strength. It's simply a smooth, prodigious shove that's out of proportion to the gas engine's displacement.
The 1.6 does sometimes lug at low rpm, particularly when climbing grades, as the transmission holds a tall gear and leans on the electric motor for help. But that's a common hybrid trait. As dealership sales reps like to say: They all do that. And, as we tend we say: At least it's not a CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission). Should you desire a lower gear from the Sorento hybrid's conventional automatic, there are paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel.
The Sorento hybrid offers no dedicated electric-only mode, but nonetheless it relies on electric power surprisingly often and at high speeds. Light on the throttle, downhill, you'll see the green EV indicator light come on at 80 mph. While its relatively tiny battery means you won't ever go far on electricity alone, this Sorento is good at seamlessly juggling its propulsion options without calling attention to the machinations happening beyond the firewall.
Priced at $34,760 to start for the base S trim, the hybrid costs $1700 more than a non-hybrid Sorento S, which employs a 191-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic. That model is only rated for 26 mpg combined, and the EPA figures that over five years, the hybrid will save you $1750 in fuel. Your mileage may vary, of course, but you'll notice that those estimated savings neatly erase the hybrid's price premium. It looks as if a half-decade is your financial break-even point, if that's a motivating factor. But the hybrid also is the significantly more powerful option, and that's a worthy upgrade on its own. Just don't expect it to outpace the nonhybrid Sorento's optional 281-hp 2.5-liter turbo-four that we've already driven.
In terms of drawbacks, the Sorento hybrid has a couple. It's only available as a front-driver, so if all-wheel drive is nonnegotiable you'll need to look elsewhere—or wait for the upcoming plug-in hybrid variant that drives all four of its wheels with a combined 261 horses and a significantly larger battery. The hybrid also shouldn't be your pick if you expect to tow much with it, as its 2000-pound tow rating lags behind the nonhybrid models' 3500-pound max. But if neither of those factors is an issue, you may as well spring for the hybrid over the standard Sorento. Think of it as a five-year investment in free horsepower.
The verdict: Compact cars are often purchased as basic transit, and the 2020 Kia Forte answers that call, but if you splurge for a GT trim you’ll get a bit of inexpensive fun without sacrificing everyday drivability.
Versus the competition: Some compact sedans offer versions with sporty appearance packages that fail to deliver on the fun mechanics, but the Forte GT is not guilty of that. Its performance and cabin upgrades deliver enough action to help the car stand out yet keep costs reasonable.
The Forte competes in the compact sedan class against the likes of the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla; see them compared. Each of those cars offers an enthusiast version: the Civic Si, Elantra N Line and Corolla Apex.
Kia’s compact sedan was redesigned for 2019 and has seen few changes since. The biggest was 2020’s addition of a sport-oriented GT trim level with a new turbocharged engine and sport suspension.
Peppy and Playful
The Forte GT is pleasantly peppy. Its upgraded engine — a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder — hustles fairly quickly off the line, and you’ll hear it; the throaty exhaust note comes on strong and is a nice complement to the engine’s added oomph. The four-cylinder is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that behaves nicely, with well-timed, smooth shifts; a six-speed manual is also available. Other Forte trim levels make do with the standard 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable automatic transmission.
Regardless of whether you choose the manual or automatic transmission, the GT’s added fun will cost you 3 mpg combined versus the standard engine: The regular Forte 2.0-liter is EPA-rated 31 or 33 mpg combined with the manual and CVT, respectively, while the GT is rated 28 or 30 mpg, respectively. The Forte GT and Elantra N Line are a bit thirstier with a manual than is the Civic Si, which is rated 30 mpg combined, but they offer more efficient automatics, which the Honda lacks. The Corolla Apex tops them all at 32 mpg with a stick shift and 34 mpg with an automatic, but it comes with trade-offs I’ll address below.
The Forte’s selectable driving modes alter its character quite a bit — for better and for worse. For extra responsiveness, pop it into Sport mode for more aggressive acceleration response and shift timing. Smart mode is designed to save gas, and it dulls acceleration and overall responsiveness.
Besides its unique drivetrain, the GT also gets a sport-tuned suspension. It handles nicely; the firm suspension deftly navigates curves with little lean, and there’s adequate shock absorption over bumps. Its steering has a quickness that further helps deliver a playful, connected-to-the-road feel.
The Forte GT is fairly well matched in terms of power against the Honda Civic Si and Hyundai Elantra N Line, which shares its engine with the Forte GT. (This comparison is most relevant because their weights are relatively similar.) Toyota’s sport-oriented version of the Corolla disappoints; like the others, the Corolla Apex has the added visual flair of a sport model and some suspension upgrades, but not enough performance goodies to make it much more entertaining to drive than a regular Corolla — which is to say, about as fun as attending a condo board meeting.
Clean, Sporty Cabin
The Forte’s clean, horizontal dashboard design appeals for its simplicity; elsewhere, the cabin strikes a jazzy tone with sport seats with red contrast stitching, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and pops of glossy black trim on the dash and doors. There’s some hard plastic on the door panels and at knee level, but most surfaces feel decently padded.
The sedan’s multimedia system is also well-done. The standard tabletlike 8-inch touchscreen sits high on the dash for good visibility. It’s responsive, and the system’s clear graphics and straightforward menu structure simplify operation.
Under the screen are several physical climate controls, which are also located within easy reach. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration are standard, and a wireless charging tray for compatible phones is optional. Other available features include heated and ventilated front seats and a 320-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system.
The Forte is mid-pack in both backseat headroom and legroom, but it loses points for child-safety seat accommodations. Front legroom is tight when rear-facing car seats are in place, and installation isn’t easy; the lower Latch anchors are buried in stiff upholstery and require some muscle to access. Other compact sedans have similar legroom issues but easier-to-access Latch anchors.
According to manufacturer specifications, the Forte’s trunk space is slightly larger than its competitors’ at 15.3 cubic feet. In practice, though, it’s disappointing. The trunk is deep, but the opening isn’t very tall, so fitting anything other than small items inside is tough. Its hinges also intrude into the space, potentially crushing cargo. Its cargo net, however, is a nice way to keep smaller items from rolling around (and getting crushed).
Safety and Value
The 2020 Kia Forte is well-equipped with a lot of standard safety features. All models get a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and a driver attention warning system.
Upper trim levels get even more standard safety equipment: a blind spot warning system with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert is standard on EX, GT-Line and GT trims. On the GT, adaptive cruise control and a reverse parking distance warning system are optional; they’re unavailable on other trims.
Competitors offer similar levels of standard and available safety features, but the Forte GT costs a lot less. With the automatic, it starts at $23,655 — lower than automatic versions of the Elantra N Line ($26,195) and Corolla Apex ($26,065). The Civic Si — which comes only with a manual transmission — starts at $26,155 in sedan trim. All prices include destination charges.
Budget is usually top-of-mind for compact sedan shoppers, but those willing to spend a little extra for fun will get just that with the Kia Forte GT.
Previously known as the Optima, Kia's new family sedan tries to stand out in a competitive segment.
The 2021 Kia K5 is trying to impress. This midsize sedan replaces the Optima in North America and adopts sportier styling than that of its predecessor. The Optima wasn't really known for its dynamic experience—it was a nice sedan that didn't impress or disappoint. With the K5, however, Kia seeks to change that. An all-turbo powertrain lineup, available all-wheel drive, and a spacious cabin all help the K5 generate some buzz in the still-crowded midsize sedan segment.
Whether you like it or hate it, the K5 is easily spotted in a crowded parking lot. The front end gets a new iteration of Kia's "tiger nose" grille and adds fake air vents, plus those Z-shaped daytime running lights. The rear is more mature, as it adopts dual exhaust tips and taillights that connect via a thin LED strip. The flashier exterior made an impact on our judges—some welcomed the new styling direction, but testing director Kim Reynolds described it as "more alien than interesting."
Sharing its platform and powertrains with the Hyundai Sonata, the K5 has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder base engine with 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The optional turbo 2.5-liter is only available in the GT model, where it produces 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of twist. With its extra power, the K5 GT is much punchier than the Honda Accord 2.0T and delivers more torque than the Toyota Camry V-6.
Naturally, the 2.5-liter became the favorite among judges, as it made the K5 more fun to drive. The GT also handled well in our figure-eight test (though its sport suspension delivered a stiff ride on the street). We were especially thankful that Hyundai and Kia are still differentiating these platform-sharing cousins at a time when many automakers are dropping out of the sedan segment altogether.
With the Hyundai Sonata also participating in this year's competition, judges tried to find the differences between both (besides the sheet metal). "There was a spell when their products were very different from one another, but after getting out of the Sonata N-Line and into the K5 GT, the lines are increasingly blurred," features editor Christian Seabaugh said.
Although the Kia K5 and Hyundai Sonata drive similarly to each other, the differences were more notable inside. Our top-of-the-line K5 EX came with heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 10.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a panoramic sunroof. When compared to the Sonata SEL Plus, which is a trim below the fancy Sonata Limited, the K5 EX misses some important features, such as a digital instrument cluster and the ability to use your smartphone as a key. The "Smaht Pahk" feature that made the Sonata a star during the Super Bowl is also not available in the K5. But with a $32,355 price tag, this K5 EX offered a lot of bang for the buck.
We had mixed opinions when it came to the interior styling. Some judges preferred the K5 and its traditional shifter, but others liked the Sonata's airy cabin, a result of its compact button shifter. "As much as I like the fake wood trim and the different dash, I don't think the K5's styling will age well," Motortrend Buyer's Guide director Zach Gale said. On the other hand, editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin preferred the K5's driver-oriented center console: "Everything is within easy reach."
Although the K5 brings significant changes to Kia's midsize sedan, it didn't have enough to move the needle for our editors. And even though it stands out among the competition in terms of design and optional powertrains, it continues to be overshadowed by the Accord (and perhaps even the Sonata).