Kia has been excellent at building cars that seem more expensive than they are. The K5 is the latest entry in the competitive mid-size segment.
Two engine options are offered on the 2022 K5: A 180-horsepower turbocharged 1.6L four cylinder, and a 290-horsepower turbocharged 2.5L four 4 cylinder. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The K5 range includes the FWD LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX, and GT, while the LXS and GT-Line are offered with all-wheel drive. Standard equipment across all K5 models include LED headlights and daytime running lights, dual zone automatic climate control, AM/FM/HD stereo with six speakers, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, an 8-inch touchscreen, cruise control, and USB ports.
Stepping into the GT adds fog lights, 19-inch wheels and heated front seats, the EX takes those heated seats and adds ventilation for to help keep the driver and passenger cool in the summer.
Safety features across the lineup include 9 airbags, an active lane departure system, forward collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, and a driver attention alert. All trims but the LX also have a blind spot warning system, rear collision warning and the EX and GT trims both have rear parking sensors.
In a world filled with ever-ballooning MSRPs and ever-growing SUVs, the Kia K5 GT-Line feels like a bit of an anachronism. It's a $28,000 sedan that focuses on a good driving experience and value above all else. A new all-wheel drive system adds a bit more peace of mind this year, but otherwise, the K5 GT-Line experience is the same as before: excellent.
The GT-Line, as the name suggests, is not the full-fat GT that puts down front-tire-shredding amounts of horsepower. Instead, it's all about keeping up appearances, and in that vein, I'm a fan. This K5 wears the same aggressive bumpers, wheels, grille and spoiler as the GT, and combined with the $445 Wolf Grey paint job, it's a looker. The tapered rear silhouette is attractive and Kia's new logo blends in effortlessly.
Inside, I'm left wondering how the K5 GT-Line is able to keep its base price so low. The sedan's new red "leather" option feels pretty dang expensive for a no-cost choice, and since it's completely vegan, it won't weigh on your conscience. Sure, there are a few instances of hard plastics, but they're mostly on the lower panels, where my hands don't often stray. The cabin's layout is straightforward, with a healthy amount of physical buttons and switches that are easy to use with little distraction. The rear seat may not have the sheer legroom of, say, a Honda Accord, but it's sufficiently roomy back there for my 6-foot frame, although that fastback-style roofline may frustrate taller passengers.
The Good ~ Just the right amount of sporty ~ Great interior ~ Impressively inexpensive
The Bad ~ Minor driver assistance annoyances ~ Not the best-sounding engine
The Bottom Line The 2022 Kia K5 GT-Line offers a great driving experience and solid features for surprisingly little money.
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