Kia K5 pros and cons (my brutally honest opinion). Sorry Kia!

Kia K5 pros and cons (my brutally honest opinion). Sorry Kia!

It’s true. I had absolutely no idea what a Kia K5 was as the guy at the rental car counter handed me the key fob. All I knew was that I had reserved a full-size car. How bad could it really be?

It turns out that the K5 is an extremely well-built and fun to drive sedan. It felt spacious yet sporty, and I found it to be a really good car for a long road trip. It was massively underpowered though.

I spent an entire day with the 2022 Kia K5 in Nashville Tennessee recently, and I’ve got a lot to say about that experience. The following is my full list of pros and cons.

Scott from DriveAndReview with 2022 Kia K5
That feeling when you just know that you’ll never (ever) get a Kia press car to review once you post this article. Screw it. Let’s do this!

All the pros and cons of the 2022 Kia K5

Having already had a chance to drive a 2022 Kia Forte recently, I already knew that Kia is building really good cars these days. It’s no surprise that there is more that I like about the K5 than I dislike. Here we go:

Pros

  • This was probably the most solid-feeling car that I have ever driven. The particular K5 that I drove had 2083 miles on it, and it never rattled or made a weird sound once – even when driving over gnarly railroad tracks.
  • Outward disability is fantastic. It’s very easy to merge in and out of traffic in the Kia K5. I don’t know how they did it, but there are very few blind spots in this car.
  • The driving position feels really sporty for a large car. This is a good thing in my opinion, because I hate the feeling of a sitting on a squishy sofa when driving big cars like this. Kia really nailed the driving dynamics.
  • Speaking of the driving position, I liked the way that the dashboard of the K5 wraps around the driver. This creates a very sporty “cockpit-like” feel which I found to be very engaging.
  • The front doors of the K5 open nearly 90° – which makes getting in and out of it extremely easy.
  • Easily one of the best things that I liked about the Kia K5 was the powerful the climate control system. It was nearly 100°F on the day that I drove this car, but the interior always cooled down quickly after getting back into it after a long break.
  • I have a feeling that there will be many people who disagree with me on this, but I really liked the cloth texture they used in the seats of the K5. It’s not exactly soft, but it feels very comfortable and I suspect that it would stand up to a lot of abuse.
2022 Kia K5 interior
Holy crap this is a nice car! The interior feels much more sporty than the exterior would lead you to believe. For what it’s worth, I said the same thing about the Kia Forte interior (at least they’re consistent). 
2022 Kia K5 rear end
I’ll admit it: the K5 has the best booty of any new car that I’ve driven this year. 
2022 Kia K5 center console
Yeah, there’s a lot of plastic on the inside, but it was perfectly silent and didn’t squeak a bit. The k5 is solid.
Kia K5 blind spots
I can actually see out this thing!

Cons

  • This is subjective I know, but the base model K5 doesn’t look all that great in my opinion. Sure, the body lines are nice, but the tiny wheels and tires make it look really weak.
  • The adaptive lane assist system in the K5 is really annoying. Yes, you can turn it off. However, when it’s on, it feels like someone is yanking the wheel out of your hands if you even slightly veer off track.
  • The turbocharged 1.6 liter 4-Cylinder engine is extremely weak. It was plenty enough to get around town in regular traffic, but you’re not going to win any races from a stoplight.
  • The audio system didn’t sound all that great. As much as I tried to make it sound better by tinkering with all the settings, I just couldn’t. Music sounded hollow and flat.
  • The front seats don’t have very much lumbar support. My lower back was killing me after just two hours of driving.
2022 Kia K5 base model wheel
Not. Enough. Wheel. And. Tire.
2022 Kia K5 small wheels
Seriously, it should be a crime to build new cars with wheels this tiny.
2022 Kia K5 base engine
180 hp may seem like a lot, but after an entire day of driving this thing around, I can assure you that it’s just not.
2022 Kia K5 front seats
The front seats would be fantastic with more lumbar support. Until that happens, I declare these to be poopy. 

Two good reasons why you should buy a Kia K5

If I didn’t need to rent a car that day in Nashville, I probably still wouldn’t know what Ia Kia K5 is. That’s unfortunate, because overall, I found it to be a really nice car.

It was so nice as a matter fact, that I would probably even consider buying one for myself if I ever needed a car of that size. Here are two good reasons why you might want to consider the K5 as your next car:

1. It drives smaller than it really is

The K5 is roughly the same size as the 2022 Chrysler 300 S that I recently drove. However, it feels like a completely different class of car. The driving position of the 300 was very upright and old-school, whereas the driving position of the K5 is more low-to-the ground and sporty feeling.

2022 Kia K5 steering wheel and dashboard
How can anyone hate this interior??
2022 white Kia K5
Throw larger wheels and tires on this bad boy (and definitely a bigger turbo), and I’d totally rock a K5 as a daily driver.

If you need a big car but you hate the feeling of driving a big car, the Kia K5 is your solution. From the drivers seat, it was easy to forget that I was driving a big honkin’ four-door sedan.

2. It’s built like a tank

Remember when Kia used to build really crappy cars? I’m old enough to remember those days, and I’m happy to see that Kia has finally figured things out. The 2022 K5 that I drove around Nashville for a day was probably the most solid-feeling car that I’ve ever driven in my life. If you’re looking for a large sedan that will last you many years, the K5 needs to be on your shortlist.

2022 Kia K5 front end
Psst. Kia is building really good cars these days.

Two good reasons why you shouldn’t buy a Kia K5

Honestly, I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about the 2022 K5. There was very little about it that I didn’t like (with most of those things being quite petty). Here are two reasons that would make me think twice about buying a K5 of my own:

1. The base engine is underpowered

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a car of this size that massively disappointed me when I stomped on the gas. The turbocharged 1.6 liter 4-Cylinder in the particular car that I drove produces a measly 180 hp. That’s not enough for a car of this size in my opinion, and it really killed the driving experience for me. If you really want to get a K5 of your own, get it with the 2.5 liter 4-Cylinder instead (which is also turbocharged).

2022 Kia K5 driving experience
If you have enough time for a dissapointed-looking selfie when you mash the gas, it’s not a fast car. BTW, if you want to see what I look like when I’m really disappointed, read my list of Nissan Versa pros and cons. It makes the K5 seem like a rocket ship!

2. You’ll have to spend a lot of money to get something that doesn’t look cheap

Even though the base model 2022 Kia K5 is well-equipped with all of the latest tech and safety equipment you’d want, the wheels and tires it comes with are hilariously tiny. Really, if I’m going spend $40,000 on a car, it had better come with nicer-looking wheels and tires than what came on my 2010 Honda Fit.

base white Kia K5
I hate to say it, but the base K5 just screams “cheap” from 10ft away.

I know. These two reasons were specific to the base model only. Higher-trim models of the Kia K5 are much nicer, and I would have an extremely difficult time trying to justify reasons not to buy one. I really like the K5. Just not the base model.

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