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2022 K5 GT-Line FWD
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wife decided she was uncomfortable driving the SUV on the backroads between our home and the kids' school this year, and wanted a sedan. It made sense to get something that was:

1. Good on MPG.
2. Rode nice.
3. Comfortable for a family of 4, not cramped.
4. Sporty / attractive looking
5. No worries / warranty / no hassles

Had their been inventory, and Honda prices not been astronomical, we'd have bought an Accord 2.0 Turbo touring, or a CPO Acura TLX. Both cars are light years ahead of the Kia in power, comfort, and material qualities. But being a year where little to nothing makes sense, there weren't any to be had, so we broadened the search.

On my 1-5 above, the Kia checks all the boxes.

1. We're getting 30-35 MPG on 87 Kroger/Costco gas in all city/backroad driving. It's reasonable to expect 40MPG mixed and 45MPG all highway if you aren't driving it like you stole it.
2. It doesn't ride bad. It's firm-ish, but forgiving. I'm 6'2''/270 and the seats aren't something I'd want to drive cross country in, but for an hour or two, they're fine.
3. This is a BIG car by modern standards. She had a newer Mercedes C class for a couple year and the back seat would have been dreadful for even a middle school kid. I think it's got S class backseat room. With the seats all the way back, the rear passenger legroom is adult sized. It has good shoulder room. The trunk is like an 80s Cadillac. You could put a dogsled team in there, with the sled.
4. Give credit to Kia. The K5 looks good. I'd offer the front styling on the K5 looks more BMW than the naked-mole-rat looking thing they're selling now. The paintjob is what you'd expect on a cheap car, so no bonus points there, but the styling/appointments/lighting - they're on par with anything right now. It's attractive.
5. The 10 year warranty was the deal closer. The stealership...errr...dealership also offers lifetime powertrain coverage for any reason to the original owner. Looks like the kiddo is getting a Kia for his first car in 7 years. He could do worse.

Okay - so the bad?

The non-fancy stereo is just so-so.
The rear speakers are anemic. The bass is pretty flat. The highs are muddy. The touchscreen and carplay all work fine, but are a bit sluggish compared to the other cars and aftermarket units. Cheap CPU in them I suspect. It's an economy car and it's sufficient for that. It needs an 8 or 10 inch sub, a 4x100 amp, and some livelier drivers on the doors to be passable. I'm in no hurry to hack it up - so maybe we'll do a spare tire sub this winter, but the rest will suffice.

The engine sound is nothing particularly attractive.
It's moany, clicky, droney. For the love of God, don't put an open exhaust on this thing. A properly tuned Honda B/K motor with a good exhaust system has a spirity, gurgly, sporty sound. The subaru flat 4, has that unmistakable growl/gurgle. The Kia engine sounds like a sewing machine making love to a leaf blower on top of a diesel generator. It's not a good noise. But it works.

Throttle response.
Stomp the pedal and respond to that text message. You're going to be waiting a while before that WOT signal engages. This is warranty protection to keep the lead foots out of breaking the valvetrain or the turbo seals. And it's deliberate.

Traction (or lack there-of)
Even if you figure out the throttle response (and it's do-able - it's just a signal process program or fooling a sensor on any car that's DBW) you're not going anywhere anyway. It's going to chirp one wheel, bog the car, and squat angrily, searching for traction at 1/10th the pedal input you gave it. Don't even think about taking this thing to the dragstrip, unless you want to feather it out of the hole in 2nd, if it will even let you do that. :)

Lighting
No LED bulbs. Anywhere. Interior, indicators, backups, license lights - all cheaped out. Why? Did saving $2 per car really make that big of an impact?

Washing it
The attractive nooks and shapes that catch your eye are a complete pain in the rear to wash. Keep that in mind if you have any inkling of OCD. The front and rear are a pain to keep clean.

All in all, we're not unhappy with the purchase, though if the MPG isn't a big drop off on the AWD car, we'd probably have opted for that one if we'd known the traction was so poor on the FWD. I can't imagine it's going to do well in snow/ice conditions.
 

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Pretty much my impressions as well, probably the closest description of the engine sound lol. After playing with some of basic audio parameters, it’ll do for now. Sport mode helps the throttle lag.
 

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2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD
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702 Posts
One thing about the lighting, I know the LED interior lights are an optional package. My K5 had the LED interior lights done (save for the vanity mirror lights). They are decently bright at night.

As for the exterior lights, at least swapping the incandescent bulbs for LEDs are painless and easy. lol The headlights are full LEDs, no matter the trim level. If you have fog lights, those are also LED. The rear lights can be LEDs but that depends on the trim level (you can still swap them out otherwise). It's just the rear turn signals, reverse, license plate, and trunk lights that would need to be swapped for LEDs.

But hey, at least it has more stock LEDs than my mom's 2020 Toyota RAV4. lol And some of them still require extra resistors to prevent hyperflashing. Front and rear turn signals, reverse lights, even the fog lights are all halogen/incandescent bulbs. :( Interior lights are all incandescent as well.

Still, would have been nice if Kia went all the way and at least made all the exterior lights LEDs.
 

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2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD
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702 Posts
lol Yeah, the stock bulb reverse lights are sooo damn weak... I also recommend changing out the trunk light to LED, too. The difference is literally night and day.
Sky Cloud Tints and shades Midnight Horizon Hood Automotive lighting Car Trunk Vehicle
 
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