After test driving the K5 EX just a couple months ago, Kia dispatched us a sportier version of the midsize sedan, i.e. the GT version. Its all-wheel drive system makes the ride an even more appealing proposition to tackle wet or untoward road conditions. Pick sport from the drive modes (normal, smart, custom and snow also offered) and you can have a fun and lively jaunt.
The GT is equipped with a 1.6-liter turbo gas inline-four cylinder engine developing 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. It is coupled to a seamless eight-speed auto. An independent MacPherson front and a multilink rear suspension handle the bumps of irregular surfaces with little sacrifice. The column-mounted, motor-driven power steering is perfectly weighted and provides adequate feedback.
Length and wheelbase in all the K5 sedans increase by 2 and 1.8 inches, respectively, and width rises another inch, though the height is down by 0.8 inches. Sitting on the steel unibody-based car is a wide and thin silver metallic radiator grille extending into LED headlights and the hood. Dual chrome exhaust tips and a spoiler are clearly visible in the rear.
The cabin offers such helpful amenities as a 10-way power driver and six-way manual passenger leatherette seats, 60/40 rear seat, manual tilt/telescopic and flat-bottomed steering column, panoramic sunroof, dual auto AC with rear vents, push-button start, 4.2-inch LCD instrument display, power windows, door locks and outside mirrors as well as an infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. Satin chrome accents on the center console garnish, dash pad bezel and air vents convey elegance. The trunk volume is excellent at 16 cubic feet.
The dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems, forward and blind-spot collision-avoidance assists as well as lane-keep and lane-follow assists, rearview camera, front and rear crumple zones, side impact door beams, three-point front seat belts with pretensioners, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
The reasonably priced K5, like the outgoing Optima, is not your average sedan. A spirited, fun-to-drive attitude, coupled with a muscular stance and all-wheel drive capabilities, render this Kia a best buy. Indeed, it is a difficult act to beat if you consider the Korean automaker’s basic 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain and 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranties.