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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2022 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2021 Kia K5 EX

Vehicle Type: Midsize Gasoline
 overall score
Category Ranking: 8

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $27,990
Price as Tested: $32,355

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 14.8
EPA City mpg27
EPA Highway mpg37
EPA Combined mpg31
built after November 2020

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [O]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [O]
  • Driver Monitoring [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [O]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:

Overall Observations

At a time when most automakers are dropping their 4-door sedan models, cars like the new Kia K5 prove there’s a lot of life left in this erstwhile mainstream segment. The midsize K5, an updated version of the company’s long-running Optima sedan, gets a stylishly redesigned exterior with a longer, lower look that makes it a sedan you’d actually like to be seen in. The passenger cabin is equally well done and is roomy enough for 4 adults to share the space in comfort. The K5 is also a strong value proposition, with a long list of desirable standard features including, in our test vehicle, bright LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, and an easyto- use infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Our test car came equipped with a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (180 hp) that trades just-adequate acceleration for good fuel economy. By contrast, the performance-oriented GT version with its 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (290 hp) delivers all the power most people could ever want. Figure in an impressive 5-year/60,000-mile factory warranty and a full complement of advanced safety features, and the Kia K5 becomes an attractive, practical, value-oriented choice.
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Good value, withabove-average fueleconomyratings
  • Many safety/comfortfeatures for the price
  • Bold interior/exteriorstyling
  • Spacious passengercabin

Weak Points

  • Steering feels vague,disconnected from theroad
  • Slow acceleration; feelsunderpowered
  • Delayed throttleresponse
  • Steering-wheel vibration

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3320.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 193.1 / 73.2 / 56.9
Wheelbase (in): 112.2
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 60/60,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Pirelli P Zero
Front and rear tire size: 235/45 R18
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Auto 8-speed
Drivetrain type: Front wheel
Engine/motor: 1.6L 4-Cyl. turbo
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5500

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:








Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




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Cargo Capacity:

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