2021 Kia K5 GT Sedan


Ranked #22 in Midsize Sedan

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Key Spec of 2021 Kia K5 GT Sedan
fuel economy


fuel type

Regular unleaded


290 hp @ 5800 rpm

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

2021 Kia K5 GT Sedan Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

If there could be an automaker that could be a worldwide inspiration, it has to be Kia. It grew from being an unreliable and offbeat name to something that now rivals the German epics, giving them a good run for their money. With a subtle comeback, the Korean automotive manufacturer gained back the spotlight with superb reliability and practical nameplates. Moreover, the brand includes some exemplary vehicles in its portfolio. 

2021 Kia K5 GT Sedan Latest Updates

  • Apr' 26, 2022 : The Top 10 Fastest Midsize Sedans You Can Buy In 2022 Read More »

ProsConsWhat's New

Fresher attire to the rivals

An all-wheel-drive option is not available

An all-new platform

Substantive interior and exterior styling

Awkward seating position

Great value for money

Over All Rating


Out of 10

Pricing and Features5.00
Engine and Performance3.00
Fuel Economy4.00
Notable Rankings

#22 in Midsize Sedan

#29 in Sedan

Pictures & Videos


Base$30,490 onwards

  • 19-inch machined aluminum Wheels
  • Am/Fm/Hd, seek-scan Radio
  • Front Fog/driving lights

Colors and Styles

2021 Kia K5 GT Sedan in Ebony Black color
Ebony Black

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

The 2021 Kia K5 GT is one such example. Bold, stylish, upmarket, and brilliant in terms of performance, at least for the price tag it carries. The K5 replaced the Optima and is a successful attempt at being a performance midsize sedan without compromising on the functionality part. The K5 GT stands against the likes of Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, and Hyundai Sonata N-Line. The redesigned 2021 Kia K5 GT comes with meaner and sharper looks, interiors that resemble closely the Hyundai Sonata meaning it is going to be a tough tussle at the end of the day.


The Kia K5 GT is a single standalone option that sits on the top of the trim pyramid of the K5 lineup. It offers exclusive upgrades along with a bigger and more powerful engine. The Heated Sport Bucket Seats along with Sport Leatherette wrapping are invariably attractive. Panoramic Sunroof allows the space for ambient lighting and Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning maintains the temperature regulation. The pair of 2.5L Turbo Inline 4-cylinder Engine and 8-speed Quick-shift DCT Automatic Transmission makes up the case under the hood that is complemented by a Sport Tuned Suspension to manage the equivalent handling and ride frequency. The 19-inch Machined Alloy Wheels with Pirelli P Zero Tires have also been attached that are pretty appealing in their own senses.





Key Features

Panoramic Sunroof


2.5L Turbo Inline 4-cylinder Engine


8-speed Quick-shift DCT Automatic Transmission


Navigation unit


6-speaker audio set


Automatic High Beams Headlights


Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering


Sport Tuned Suspension


19-inch Machined Alloy Wheel w/Pirelli P Zero Tires


Heated Sport Bucket Seats


Flat-bottom Steering Wheel w/Paddle Shifters

Apart from styling and accent, it is also potent in its safety suite that cases Lane Departure Warning System, Lane Keeping Assist, Front Collision Mitigation System, and UVO eServices Emergency Sos. One can’t really question its credibility in this stance. One is also destined to be content in his/her overall experience as the 6-speaker audio set assures that no rhythmic note goes untapped and an 8" color TFT touchscreen comes alongside. Therefore, the K5 replaces an established platform with attitude and class. 

Which Trim should you buy?

The 2021 Kia K5 GT serves as a performance-biased midsize sedan replacing the old Optima nameplate. It brings stylish and sleek looks, premium interior vibes, and engagement, all at an affordable sticker price of $30,490. The 2021 Kia K5 GT being the cherry on the cake of the redesigned K5 portfolio, sponsors various noteworthy performance upgrades including a much-appreciated powertrain pack and corresponding handling dynamics. So it is unlikely that one would not prefer it. 

Engine and Performance

The 2021 Kia K5 GT, being the pinnacle trim, fits an energetic 2.5L Turbo Inline-4 engine that cranks out 290-hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a lively 8-speed DCT gearbox, while the power flows to the front-wheel strictly. Yet, this doesn’t stop the K5 GT from being athletic and nifty on the roads. It offers launch control that limits the wheelspin and this Kia midsize sedan can flaunt a 5.2-second 0-60mph time simultaneously. Push the throttle for a longer time and it can cross the quarter-mile line in flat 14-seconds, which is commendable for this segment with an efficient functionality coefficient. The gear upshifting and downshifting also feel seamless because of which there is no hassle in flooring. 


2021 Kia K5 GT

2021 Nissan MaximaSV 3.5L

2021 Toyota AvalonXLE

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line2.5T







2.5L Turbo Inline-4

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6

2.5L Turbo Inline-4







8-Speed DCT


8-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automated Manual 


290 hp @ 5,800 RPM

300 hp @ 6,400 RPM

301 hp @ 6,600 RPM

290 hp @ 5,800 RPM


311 lb-ft @ 1,600 RPM

261 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM

267 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM

311lb-ft @ 1,650RPM

0-60 MPH(seconds)





Quarter Mile(seconds)





Top Speed (mph)





The Kia K5 GT sports some very impressive figures worth applauding. The engine is a replica of what’s inside the Sonata N-Line that drives home the point that the same would also be as competent as the former. It is then closely followed by Nissan Maxima with a 5.7 seconds acceleration on the clock. The last on the list is the Avalon which is underwhelming in all aspects, despite producing the highest power of 301 hp. Therefore, the Kia clinches the affair quite convincingly.

How well does the 2021 Kia K5 GT handle?

The 2.5L Turbo Inline-4 setup punches out great figures, and it makes Kia K5 GT more athletic and potent than most of its contemporaries. The 8-speed DCT offers blistering quick shifts, increasing the thrill by scooting off the line in 5.2-seconds to 60-mph. However, the front-wheel-drive system invites excessive wheel spin, and steering torque is also inevitable. Even with the launch control, the front tires lack grip. 

On the brighter side, the electrically assisted steering does reduce one’s effort while maneuvering and anti-roll bars further aid in maintaining the stability. The sport-tuned suspensions have been attached as well to the wheels for countering undesirable camber, caster, and toe. The ride height and frequency also remain within the boundary. Hence, it is reasonable to mark it impressive but it is still advisable to design an AWD or 4WD for the sedan as FWD with such power surge is not an ideal combination. 

Braking Performance

The 2021 Kia K5 GT fits upgraded brakes, decorated by the “GT” stickers on the brake calipers. To be exact, 13.6-inch brake rotors in the front and 12.8-inch ones in the rear assist the K5 GT to come to an abrupt halt from 60-mph in 124-ft. The 4-wheel ABS, Electric Parking Brake, and Brake Assist are other tech-ends that accompany the braking unit and enhance the overall prowess and agility of the machinery. The figure is enough for high-speed highways yet the comparison casts a different story altogether. 


2021 Kia K5 GT

2021 Nissan MaximaSV 3.5L

2021 Toyota AvalonXLE

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line2.5T

Brake Front (in.)





Brake Rear (in.)





Curb Weight (lbs)





60-0 MPH (ft.)





The competitive curb weight means, the midsize sedan with the best braking performance wins this challenge, and the Hyundai Sonata N-Line is crowned in this division. Meanwhile, despite having the same stature as that of the former, the Kia comes at the bottom. Unlike power dynamics, the Toyota showcases its arrogance in its braking efficiency, missing the podium by a margin of 5 ft only, despite having the smallest pair of brakes- 11.7 inches at the front and 11 inches at the rear. 

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Kia K5 GT hides a punchier and sportier engine than the standard K5. This means the former would fail to be a relevant choice for buyers looking for an economical midsize sedan. But before you rush away from here, the K5 GT flaunts some convenient figures. It delivers 24/32/27 mpg in city/highway/overall conditions. Combine these figures with a 15.8-gallon fuel tank, and the practical K5 GT can be relied on for more than 420 average miles on a full fuel tank unless you thrash “the” pedal. 


2021 Kia K5 GT

2021 Nissan MaximaSV 3.5L

2021 Toyota AvalonXLE

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line2.5T

MPG (City)





MPG (Highway)





MPG (Combined)





Fuel Capacity (gallons)





Range (City/Hwy/Combined)





The Korean sport midsize sedans are neck and neck to each other, the K5 GT gets an upper hand with a larger fuel tank. On the other hand, the Nissan and Toyota rivals are down by slightly underwhelming figures of 24 and 26 MPG, respectively. Yet with an 18-gallon fuel tank, the Maxima shares the same practicality reputation with the Kia K5 GT. If one has to choose one then it has to be Kia for its better trade-off between thrust and economy.


The 2021 Kia K5 GT hosts an auspicious space inside. It’s mixed with a subtle but elegant layout, and also boasts upscale vibes along with sporty enigma blended in harmony. Since both Kia and Hyundai share technology, similarities in interiors are nothing surprising, especially when the cabin is uplifted to look so stylish and handsome. 

The front sport seats are shaped for hours of driving comfort. The power-adjustability further adds convenience. The dash design expresses some simple lines and curves. The T-shaped gear handle impersonates a cockpit. There’s ample space in the front, and towards the rear too, even for the tall crowd. The rear wide doors allow easier ingress and egress. When it comes to the fit and finish, the K5 GT nails the brilliant styling and utilizes Syntex seating materials with contrast stitching, the leather-wrapped steering is also an interior highlight. The silver accents sprinkled around the parts of the cabin along with gloss-black surfaces garnish the cabin. 


2021 Kia K5 GT

2021 Nissan MaximaSV 3.5L

2021 Toyota AvalonXLE

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line2.5T

Seating Capacity





Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)





Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)





Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)





All these midsize sedans offer impressive cabin layout and styling, but the Toyota Avalon stands out with the roomiest interiors. The upmarket and premium vibes are relevant in all but Nissan Maxima SV 3.5, for it is the base trim. As far as cargo capacity is concerned, they are at par with one other having a variation of less than 2 cu-ft throughout. Even the seating arrangement of 5 passengers is quite generic among the rivals. Thus, one can be satisfied with each one of them provided accents are not taken into consideration. 

The interior highlights of the 2021 Kia K5 GT include:

  • Sport front seats
  • Leatherette seating surfaces
  • Power adjustable driver’s seat
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Heating and ventilated front seat functions
  • Steering Mounted Controls 

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The 2021 Kia K5 GT lets the buyers choose from two infotainment system options: a standard 8-inch unit or an optional 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen system. Along comes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though the wireless iteration of these smartphone integration systems is limited to standard screen-size only. The sharp graphics and purple icons remain similar in both systems, along with great touch-response and intuitive system layout. A 6-speaker setup comes as standard, but we recommend opting for the optional, thumping 12-speaker Bose sound system for a more premium experience.

Some of the features are:

  • Apple CarPlay 
  • Android Auto
  • 6-speaker setup
  • Navigation unit
  • Optional 12-speaker Bose sound system
  • Optional 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen system

The 2021 Kia K5 GT is no less than a treat to the eyes. The Korean automaker has done a splendid job with the design language, making the Optima replacement both dynamic and charismatic. Upfront, the tiger-nose grille is a unique styling language shared with various Kia-badged vehicles, but the leering LED xenon shape headlights are what makes this family midsize sedan standout in the segment. The side stance reveals the aggressive sides along with the chrome trim that tricks the vision and gives the impression of a fastback or coupe-like roofline. In the rear, the Audi-inspired LED taillights stretch left to right and add to the sportiness of the K5 GT. To end the exterior babble, the quad exhaust tips and diffuser make the K5 GT hard to forget.


2021 Kia K5 GT

2021 Nissan MaximaSV 3.5L

2021 Toyota AvalonXLE

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line2.5T

Curb Weight 




















Ground Clearance










The 2021 Kia K5 GT would easily rank at the top of the list when it comes to the styling quotient. Apart from that, even the dimensional aspects, for stability, are generous in appeal and are somewhat parallel to others. The Hyundai is a replica of the former meaning no change can be spotted as such between the two, except a slight difference in the wheelbase. The lengthier streamlined silhouette of each model helps them to stay aerodynamic in their respective plays. The body style, inherently, supports such sedans in curbing the inclination towards the rollover. Therefore, fairly shining in this section, all the options weigh in equilibrium. 

The exterior noteworthy highlights of the 2021 Kia K5 includes:

  • 19-inch 5 double-spoke alloy wheels with Pirelli P Zero all-season tires
  • Signature “Heart Beat” daytime running lights
  • Shark-skin inspired black front grille
  • Tiger nose-shaped grille
  • Quad exhaust tip

The 2021 Kia K5 GT serves as an extraordinary blend of performance and functionality that also prioritizes safety. This Kia midsize sedan has been awarded IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ title, while it boasts a top-notch 5-star score in the NHTSA crash testing. Besides, it also incorporates safety aids like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Driver Attention Warning with Lead Vehicle Departure Alert. The list does entail support from the Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and High Beam Assist. Not just on the outside but the inside is also crashworthy as it tends to own assets like the 9 Airbags and Rear-view Monitor with Dynamic Parking Guidance.

Some of the features are:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection
  • Driver Attention Warning with Lead Vehicle Departure Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Lane Follow Assist
  • High Beam Assist
  • Rear-view Monitor with Dynamic Parking Guidance
  • 9 Airbags 

2021 Kia K5 GT vs 2021 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5L

While the Kia K5 GT packs incredible performance and impeccable styling at such an attractive price tag, the Nissan Maxima SV 3.5L poses as an entry-level to Maxima ownership. The latter boasts more horses from its 3.5L V6 block, but the K5 GT wins in terms of agility. The sleek, meaner, and sharper looks surely make the Kia winner in this game. Even the practicality scale strengthens the argument for the Kia badging. 

2021 Kia K5 GT vs 2021 Toyota Avalon XLE

The Toyota Avalon in its TRD attire would have meant a substantial price difference, but even the XLE flaunts on par with the K5 GT. Yet the latter is quicker off the line and more nimble and zesty. The Avalon leads to cabin roominess along with better ergonomics. The exteriors of the K5 GT offer something fresh to the buyers who are already familiar with Toyota’s design language. But it is the overall approach of Kia in its powertrain pack that gives it an edge. 

2021 Kia K5 GT vs 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line 2.5T

Both the Kia K5 GT and Hyundai Sonata N Line 2.5T are the same eggs with different shells. The exact powertrain and dimensions make both midsize sedans equally potent. Picking either of these would have the buyer be entertained behind the wheel, without compromising on the functionality.

Final Verdict

The 2021 Kia K5 GT is a fresh offering in the segment. Thanks to the unique exterior and interior styling, a huge crowd would love to own this Kia-badged sports midsize sedan. The powertrain is energetic but lacks engagement most of the time. The interiors are both functional and fashionable. While the aggressive exterior attire offers a fresh outlook to some older designs.


vehicle bio
base price


body style

4dr Sedan

engine type

152 cu in

horse power

290 hp @ 5800 rpm


311 lb.-ft. @ 1650 rpm


8-Speed Auto-Shift Manual w/Overdrive


193.1 in


112.2 in


73.2 in


56.9 in

Ground Clearance

5.3 lbs

passenger volume

105.3 cu ft

cargo volume

16 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.