Sleek styling sends a visual message that the 2022 Kia K5 mid-size sedan is ready for action. (Manufacturer photo)

Sleek styling sends a visual message that the 2022 Kia K5 mid-size sedan is ready for action. (Manufacturer photo)

2022 Kia K5 GT-Line sedan lives up to the sporty new name

Sharp styling, attractive pricing and all-wheel drive boost the latest version of a familiar mid-sizer.

The Kia K5, all-new as a 2021 model, gets a selection of newly standard features for its five trim levels for 2022, and now wears Kia’s trippy latest logo. The K5 is a mid-size sedan previously known as the Optima.

In ascending order based on pricing, K5’s trims are LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX and GT. Front-wheel drive is standard throughout, and LXS and GT-Line are available with all-wheel drive.

The GT model was rolled out a bit later than the others, and stands alone in having a 290-horsepower engine compared to their 180-horsepower jobbie. But both engines are turbocharged and the majority engine is plenty powerful, on top of which it gets much better gas mileage. To be specific: Fuel economy ratings are 29/38/32 mpg for the LX, and 27/37/31 mpg for the EX. The GT’s numbers are 24/32/27 mpg.

Every K5 model has an eight-speed automatic transmission. In keeping with the GT’s singularity, it sports a wet dual-clutch type.

With pricing starting at $24,685 (including a $995 destination charge) for the LX trim, the K5 is a good deal. Standard features of the LX include LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with two USB ports, Bluetooth, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. On the safety front, it also comes with automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.

Red synthetic leather seats are a standard feature of the 2022 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD model. (Manufacturer photo)

Red synthetic leather seats are a standard feature of the 2022 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD model. (Manufacturer photo)

Laying out another $1,000 for the LXS model brings on some additional standard features, all of them appealing, such as keyless entry, two USB ports for the back seat, split and folding rear seats, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. LXS is also the most affordable trim offering the option of all-wheel drive.

I drove the GT-Line model with all-wheel drive ($28,685). This trim injects the K5 with a sportiness booster, adding a GT-Line grille and red synthetic better-than-leather upholstery, a gloss black rear spoiler, black-finished alloy wheels, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. Its infotainment system is upgraded to a 10.3-inch touchscreen. Other niceties include LED foglights and taillights, heated front seats, and a wireless phone charger. The GT-Line AWD also adds a Snow mode to the K5’s drive mode menu.

The K5 GT-Line’s streamlined design is long and low and looks ready for action. It has the handling chops to back it up. The artful interior styling could be mistaken for that of a much more expensive car.

Outboard rear seats are bolstered all around, enough to qualify as buckets, though there’s a large drop-down console between them that functions as a third seating position if needed. Two convenient latches located in the trunk pop the seatbacks loose for easy folding.

A $1,900 GT-Line AWD Premium Package on my test car added a panoramic sunroof, LED projection headlights, advanced driver-assistance safety features, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, highway driving assist, LED overhead interior lighting, and a heated steering wheel.

The 2022 Kia K5 is badged with the brand’s trippy new logo. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2022 Kia K5 is badged with the brand’s trippy new logo. (Manufacturer photo)


Base price, including destination charge: $28,685

Price as driven: $31,280

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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