Kia’s First-Ever Sorento Plug-in Hybrid, Available Now in Dealerships

• Two all-new PHEV & HEV powertrain options, a first for Sorento

• Estimated all-electric driving range of up to 51 kilometers on PHEV

• Sorento PHEV Price starting at $44,995 MSRP

• Sorento HEV to arrive in the fall, pricing to be announced

Kia Canada introduces the first-ever Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, the initial product offering out of seven all-new plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles under the brand’s Plan S strategy. Two more powertrain options offer Canadians the opportunity to be inspired to take their adventures to new heights utilizing eco-friendlier driving solutions. Kia announced the 4th generation Sorento just last year, which delivered on its promise to be stronger, lighter, roomier and more technologically advanced than previous generations. This ‘greener’ 3-row, SUV with unmatched cargo utility, all-wheel drive and exceptional fuel efficiency is a natural evolution of this longstanding nameplate in Canada.

The Sorento PHEV will officially debut at the Montreal Electric Vehicle show September 17 – 19 and at the Quebec City EV show October 1-3, 2021. Alongside Kia’s other EV models, the Soul EV and Niro EV, attendees will be among the first to see and test drive the brand- new Sorento PHEV. Kia representatives will also be available to provide information about how HEV, PHEVs and EVs can be conveniently integrated into everyday life and will be busting myths and common misconceptions about green vehicle ownership.

“We are thrilled to now offer an HEV/PHEV option of Kia’s best-known model, said Elias El-Achhab, VP & Chief Operating Officer at Kia Canada. “This milestone enhancement to the Sorento comes at the right time in Kia’s transition to providing more sustainable and ‘green’ transportation options, especially on a vehicle that Canadians trust.”

Dynamic Styling, Inside and Out

The exterior of the 2022 Sorento HEV/PHEV maintains its sharp, modern lines, accentuated with high-tech details – elevating the entire Sorento experience beyond a standard SUV.

• Kia’s modernized “tiger face,” with “eyeline” details and a wide and thin front grille extending into the headlight and hood structure

• The hood edge wraps around the body side and integrates into the rear shoulder line, enhancing length and width

• Standard LED headlamps and optional signature LED forward lighting includes daytime running lights. Headlamp and DRL modules are separated for a high-tech look

• Strong side character line emphasizes muscular and athletic profile

• Available split-vertical LED taillights

• Two new wheel designs in 17-inches (LX HEV) and 19-inches (EX HEV + all PHEV trims)

The interior continues the strong, solid and sophisticated modernity of the exterior. Following a credo of “Refined Boldness,” the interior designers instilled the cabin with unexpected materials to cast a striking effect and introduce two new interior colour options:

• Available navy blue leather (SX only)

• Available light grey leather (SX only)

• Unique to HEV/PHEV includes standard Shift by Wire and available ambient lighting

Kia Canada Announces Highest July Sales in Company History

– Brand delivers sixth consecutive monthly sales record
– Best-ever July Certified Pre-Owned sales
– Niro EV sales are on the rise

August 4, 2021 – Kia Canada today announces record July sales of 8,305 units, marking 6 consecutive months of record-breaking year over year sales for the brand. Strong sales were led by Forte at 1,685 units and Sportage at 1,242 units. These results contribute to Kia Canada’s best ever YTD in history, with 49,575 units sold. Kia also continues to see records set in 2021 for CPO sales with a best-ever July, delivering 714 units.

The brand is also celebrating Niro EV’s best-ever sales month in its history with 364 units sold. This milestone is critical for Kia’s recently-announced Plan S strategy, which outlines Kia’s shifting focus to electrification and commitment to diversifying their product offering of eco-friendly mobility services. 

“The new face of Kia has arrived and consumers are taking note,” said Elias El-Achhab, Vice President and COO at Kia Canada. “We look forward to continuing this momentum into the second half of 2021 and beyond, providing Canadians with mobility solutions that are sustainable, meaningful and inspiring.”

Kia recently introduced the EV6 for the first time on Canadian soil in a show stopping performance by award winning artist Fefe Dobson. They came together in an outdoor concert where Dobson and her band plugged into the EV6 to power an electrifying performance broadcast to a crowd of in-person and virtual concert goers on July 27.

Kia Introduces Special Edition Stinger Scorpion

• Stinger Scorpion arrives in Canada this fall

• Receives enhanced appearance package with darkened elements

• Only 120 limited run models to be produced

• Priced at $54,695 and available for pre-order now

July 15, 2021 – Earlier this year, Kia Canada announced an evolutionary change to the Stinger which delivered on refined comfort and exhilarating performance with its product enhancements. Now, the Stinger is packing an even bigger punch with a limited run 2022 Stinger Scorpion. This striking appearance package adds to the fully-loaded GT Elite trim, featuring a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 with 368 hp, all-wheel drive and the latest in safety and convenience features. An exclusive 120 units of this model will be built for Canada and will be equipped with black Nappa leather interior and a choice of three complimentary exterior colour options: Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black and Ghost Grey.

“Since its introduction, Kia Stinger set the bar high for performance-inspired sedans packed with valuable features and head turning design, said Elias El-Achhab, VP & Chief Operating Officer at Kia Canada. “This vehicle has been a pillar in creating excitement and growth for the brand and we’re excited to share this exclusive model to keep changing the game.”

This fully-loaded Kia Stinger Scorpion edition features the following additions to the GT Elite model:

• Distinctive 19-inch black wheels

• Rear spoiler

• Black side mirror caps

• Black fender garnish

• Darkened exhaust tips

• Exclusive carbon fiber pattern trim inside the cockpit

The Kia Stinger Scorpion edition is available for pre-sale now for $54,695 (MSRP) with delivery expected this fall.

Kia Canada Powers Up Buyer Knowledge with All-New EV Experience Centre in Vancouver

The first-of-its-kind by Kia, the Electric Vehicle Experience Centre educates Canadians on the benefit, opportunities and future of electric vehicles

TORONTO, June 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Building on their strategy to make substantial commitments to progress in the green space, Kia Canada is launching it’s first-ever EV Experience Centre, showcasing the brand’s dedication to building a greener future for Canadians.

Located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, the EV Experience Centre (EVEC) is a place for the public to learn everything they need to know about electric vehicles including the difference between hybrids (HEV), Plug-in-hybrids (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), different types of vehicle chargers, government incentives and the many benefits of driving electric.

“Making the transition to an EV can be daunting. A lot of questions surface for the average consumer. The EV Experience Centre serves an important purpose to answer these questions and educate the public about the benefits of electric vehicles,” says Mark Ahnert, Dealer Principal, Vancouver Downtown Kia.

“The future of the automotive industry is electric, and with Kia Canada introducing 7 all-new plug-in hybrid or dedicated electric models by 2025, the EV Experience Centre will offer the public an EV learning opportunity like no other,” said Elias El-Achhab, Chief Operations Officer, Kia Canada. “We thank Downtown Kia for their investment in the EV Experience Centre, as well as our sponsors RBC, BMO and Kia Finance who supported this initiative to demonstrate their commitment to green initiatives in the community.”

The EV Experience Centre
The EV Experience Centre invites consumers into a user-friendly space designed specifically to answer questions about life with an EV. When visitors enter the EV Experience Centre for their pre-booked 90-minute visit, they will be greeted by one of Kia’s EVisors. The EVisor is an experienced EV educator that will guide visitors through the immersive experience.

While on tour, Visitors can expect to walk through the following experiences with their EVisor; The Kia Innovation Story Wall, an opportunity to learn about the history and future of mobility technology, the Chargehub kiosk where they will get to look at the different charger hardware and how to navigate public charging networks and lastly, the Total Cost of Ownership kiosk, where EVisors will outline all associated costs of owning an EV, potential savings and the available Federal and Provincial EV incentives.

With 18 Kia dealers in BC equipped to sell and service EVs, the EVEC is a great place to learn about electric vehicles in an educational environment before heading to their local dealership. Customers interested in an EV can go to to locate one of our EV dealers.

Put Your Knowledge to the Test
At the end of the tour, Visitors are invited to test-drive one of Kia’s 4 green vehicle options. The test drive is an optimized route to showcase the benefits of various EV charging networks, HOV lane access for EVs and preferred parking for EVs.

Source: News Wire

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line Review

The master of reinvention does it again

Kia is no stranger to reinventing itself and its products – even when it’s not explicitly necessary to do so.

While some constants remain, like pricing that usually undercuts the competition by a healthy margin and all kinds of desirable features for the money, the automaker’s ability to pivot has been instrumental in its sales success in recent years. In fact, it finished 2020 ahead of rivals like Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, and Volkswagen – an impressive accomplishment given Kia has only been on the market in Canada since 1999, giving each of those brands a decades-long head start.

The Sorento has been around for the better part of Kia’s Canadian history, launching in 2002 as a crucial step towards what it’s achieved to this point. The first generation wasn’t very good, but it was improved steadily from there before being completely revamped back in 2014. Not only did it look totally different but it was even better than before, delivering a quality product that’s capable of holding its own to this day.

Rather than allowing the ink to dry as it writes the pages of its own history book the brand is at it again, with a significant overhaul to its popular midsize SUV that might not have been necessary but is welcome nonetheless. And once again this right-sized sport utility has taken on a whole new identity, with the 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line in particular built to look about as adventure-ready as they come.

Styling: 9/10

Kia might not enjoy the same rugged reputation as, say, Subaru or Jeep, but this new X-Line trim at least looks the part of an SUV that could bear either one of those badges. It doesn’t add any more cladding to the wheel arches or rocker panels, but this version of the Sorento has slightly more ground clearance than the rest of the lineup to go with unique roof rails and a few other finishes of its own.

While it can be had in a number of hues ranging from a semi-gloss grey to a vibrant blue, it’s the so-called Aruba Stone green of this tester that sets the Sorento X-Line’s look off to perfection. Unfortunately, it’s far more understated inside and Kia decided against including anything unique in this trim. That means an underwhelming cloth upholstery and a few textured plastic panels from the rest of the lineup in what’s a fairly understated space overall.

Comfort: 8/10

Even so, the seats were supportive over the course of testing – somewhat surprising given their lack of contouring and Kia’s reputation for chair comfort (or lack thereof). The rest of the materials inside are a similar about-face from the brand’s usual, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and improved plastics throughout the cabin.

The ride quality, too, borders on premium-market levels, with the multi-link rear suspension in particular lending a rare kind of composure to this properly proportioned SUV. It’s not often a sub-$50,000 sport utility this size delivers such refinement on all manner of surfaces, managing everything this side of washboard-rutted dirt roads with ease. It’s certainly on the firm side, with a short rebound that’s not quite supple, but it’s nice nonetheless.

Sadly, the insulation from outside interference isn’t on the same level, with lots of wind noise making its way inside – even in calm conditions. Beyond what’s generated by the door mirrors, the lack of sound-deadening means much of what’s happening outside makes its way in.

Driving Feel: 9/10

The intrusion of wind noise is disappointing if only because of how buttoned-down the Sorento is otherwise. Handling is sharp, with impressive responsiveness from the electric power steering system – though there is some noticeable body roll when entering the highway or hustling along a winding country road. It’s certainly tolerable, though, particularly given how controllable the roughly 1,790-kg (3,946-lb) sport-utility is, not to mention the progressive braking feel that brings it to a halt in a hurry.

Power: 7/10

The X-Line is the first step in the Sorento lineup that sees a turbocharged engine stuffed under the hood. Gone is the V6 of old, replaced with a 2.5L four-cylinder that makes substantially more torque than the motor it replaces. That’s the stuff that makes it move, and with the peak 311 lb-ft kicking in at just 1,700 rpm the Sorento is happy to get going once it all hooks up. It does struggle for that to happen in the first place, however, with a couple of bizarre hiccups holding it back from its full potential.

With an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic shuffling torque to the standard all-wheel-drive system, it seems this turbocharged Sorento model suffers the same problem that has plagued this type of transmission since Kia (along with sister brand Hyundai) introduced it. Roll onto the throttle and the powertrain feels bogged down, with a sputtering sensation similar to starting a manual-equipped vehicle in third gear instead of first. Combined with a significant delay in throttle response when the engine’s ignition stop-start system is engaged, and “sluggish” only begins to describe the everyday operation here.

Fuel Economy: 7/10

Such a system leads only to marginal fuel savings – it’s aimed more at reducing unnecessary emissions when idling at a stoplight – and this all-wheel-drive Sorento isn’t especially efficient. Officially, it’s rated at 11.1 L/100 km around town and 8.4 on the highway, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), resulting in a combined average of 9.9 L/100 km. That’s better than the slightly smaller – but more seriously rugged – Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and either of its available engines, but worse than the Subaru Outback Outdoor XT and its turbo motor.

Real-world testing saw mixed results, with an initial evaluation drive spanning 200 km netting the same 9.1 L/100 km average the Outback is rated for. It’s worth noting, however, that while Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system is full-time in nature, the one fitted to the Sorento is an on-demand type that disconnects the rear wheels when four-wheel traction isn’t required. But just like the Outback (and so many other SUVs like this), the Sorento comes with a terrain mode select system that can tailor the drivetrain to conditions like mud, snow, and sand. The final tally after a week of testing, meanwhile, stood at 10.1 L/100 km over the course of 600 km of mixed driving.

Practicality: 8/10

Even with its raised suspension, the Sorento X-Line lags the Trailhawk version of the Cherokee and every Outback this side of the newly announced Wilderness edition when it comes to ground clearance, standing 209 mm (8.2 in) compared to 220 mm (8.7 in). But then the Sorento delivers far more usable space inside despite a similar overall footprint to both of those SUVs.

The emphasis is on passenger space here, with its 2,815-mm (110.8-in) wheelbase stretching longer than those of both rivals. With three rows of seating, there’s ample room for six occupants inside – the maximum given this X-Line trim’s second-row captain’s chairs. Both also slide on rails to provide more legroom for those using the rearmost seats, and this 6-foot-3 author was able to easily divvy up the space to get comfortable in either back row without feeling cramped.

Unlike the Mazda CX-9, this is much more than an oversized two-row, and the Sorento is genuinely used to accommodate more than a family of four. Of course, just like any SUV, up to and including massive entries like the Cadillac Escalade ESV, the second-row is best enjoyed without anyone behind it. That’s how the kids can take advantage of the maximum 1,060 mm (41.7 in) of legroom that’s barely off the mark of that long-wheelbase Escalade. (No, seriously – at 1,067 mm (42 in), there’s not even a noticeable difference.)

It’s also how to get a decent 1,090 L of cargo room to work with – closer to that of a smaller Honda CR-V than a proper three-row SUV like the Kia Telluride, but still more than enough for a family of four to fit its stuff inside. It’s the 357 L with the third row upright that’s rather cramped and narrow, rendering it all but useless for a road trip’s worth of gear.

User Friendliness: 8/10

Whether in that grocery-getter format or with the cargo area opened up entirely (with both rear rows folded, there’s 2,139 L available), the tailgate opening is wide and the liftover height reasonably low. The rear doors open nearly 90 degrees, revealing wide frames that make it easy to climb aboard or help a little one into a car seat. What’s more, all four doors extend all the way to the bottoms of the rocker panels, keeping road grime off of pant legs when climbing in and out.

It’s easy to pick up on the Sorento’s right-sized vibe from the driver’s seat, with outstanding outward visibility in all directions and a good sense of control when reaching for features or functions. The eight-inch touchscreen mounted high atop the dash is flanked by physical controls, while the HVAC system below it is easy to see at a glance.

The wireless Apple CarPlay connection wasn’t perfect during testing either, routinely claiming the phone wasn’t responding and reverting to the infotainment home screen – though Apple Music continued to stream through the speakers, and a simple tap of an icon would bring the interface back up on the display.

Features: 8/10

Both wireless CarPlay and Android Auto connections are included in the Sorento X-Line but satellite radio isn’t; it only comes in the EX trim and higher. The bigger disappointment is the absence of a power tailgate – a feature that really should be included for this model’s pre-tax price of $41,345 including freight. There’s also no sunroof. The front seats and steering wheel are heated, however, while there’s a wireless phone charger up front, eight USB ports peppered throughout the cabin, and quick-release buttons to stow the second-row seats from the cargo area.

Safety: 8/10

This trim includes a decent assortment of advanced safety features, too, like automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist with a lane-follow function. But the latter makes the absence of adaptive cruise control especially strange. As a point of reference, competitors such as the Outback or Toyota RAV4 Trail include adaptive cruise.

The fourth-gen Sorento performed well in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with top marks across the board and a Top Safety Pick rating overall. It’s only the headlights that held it back, with the basic ones here earning a rating of “Poor.” The Sorento comes equipped with six airbags throughout the cabin, as well as a government-mandated backup camera and automatic lightning, while the X-Line adds rear parking sensors absent from cheaper trims.

Value: 9/10

The Sorento’s in-between sizing makes it tough to compare pound-for-pound with other entries on the market. Its closest competitor in terms of size and space might well be the GMC Acadia, which also comes with three rows of seats – though its off-road-inspired AT4 trim is substantially more expensive than the Sorento X-Line and starts at $50,298 before tax. In the same vein, there’s the Cherokee Trailhawk that does without a third row but costs at least a few thousand dollars more (and, it should be noted, is much more capable off the beaten path).

The Subaru Outback Outdoor XT also skips a third row of seats but has a similar look and feel to the Sorento X-Line – and it’s priced within $200 of this Kia, coming in at $41,170 before tax. The same goes with the Toyota RAV4 Trail, which rings in at $41,230, though its TRD Off-Road package pushes that price to at least $44,750 before any specialty paints are applied. As tested, this version of the X-Line rang in at $41,695 before tax, including a $250 charge for the green paint.

The Verdict

The biggest price advantage the 2021 Sorento brings to the table, X-Line or otherwise, is its size for the money. While there’s a lot to like about a larger three-row like the Telluride, the Sorento is stuffed with all kinds of practicality without taking up any more space in the driveway than a Subaru Outback. Add in its pseudo-adventurous persona, and Kia has served up yet another winner.

The 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line also happens to look cool, too. Anyone shopping in the mid-size segment would do well to place this sport utility at the top of their shortlist.

Source: AutoTrader

Kia Canada celebrates best March in history and a strong season of automotive award wins

TORONTO, April 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Fresh off the heels of numerous record-breaking months in 2020, Kia Canada kicks off 2021 with its best March in Canadian history with 7,750 units delivered and propels into even more record-setting territory with its best Q1 ever with 15,046 units. With just one year into its model introduction, strong sales are being led by Seltos for the first quarter with 3,452 units sold – proving to be a best-seller for the brand.

“Our sales success over the last year and heading into 2021 is the end result of world-class product that delivers on strong quality, safety and design,” said Elias El-Achhab, VP and Chief Operation Officer for Kia Canada. “The introduction of the all-new reimagined Sorento, and the new ‘Carnival Life Utility Vehicle’ will add to this momentum for 2021.”

In addition to its record-setting sales performance, Kia took home an abundance of Canadian automotive awards for numerous vehicles in its lineup.

The season of award wins for the brand include:

  1. AJAC’s Best Large Utility Vehicle in Canada – Kia Telluride (second year in a row)
  2. AJAC’s Best Large Car, Kia K5
  3. AutoTRADER Award for Best Subcompact SUV – Kia Seltos
  4. AutoTRADER Award for Best 3-Row SUV – Kia Telluride
  5. AutoTRADER Award Best Sub-compact Car – Kia Rio
  6. Auto123 Winner of Best Midsize and Full-Size Vehicle – Kia K5
  7. Auto123 Winner Best Midsize SUV – Kia Telluride
  8. ALG 2021 Residual Value Award for the Kia Rio in the Sub-compact segment

Source: Global News Wire

Kia Canada Continues Record-Breaking Sales Trend into 2021

Source: Kia Canada Inc.

Kia Canada continues to shatter sales records as it records its first month of record-breaking sales this year. Fresh off the heels of numerous best-ever sales months in 2020, the brand recorded 4,650 units sold in February with Seltos leading sales, followed by Sportage and the first full month of retail deliveries of the boldly reimagined Sorento.

“Kia is definitely off to a solid start this year,” said Elias El-Achhab, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Canada. “In spite of lockdowns in February, our strong product lineup has outperformed in the 2nd month of the year. And with the Kia Carnival, our Life Utility Vehicle set to arrive in dealerships in the coming weeks, we look forward to seeing the momentum continue.”

The brand is seeing accolades pour in with J.D. Power having named Kia the number one mass-market brand in the 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study in addition to three awards as well as two AJAC category winners for the first-ever Kia K5 sedan in the Best Large Car category and Best Large Utility for the 2nd year in a row for the award-winning Kia Telluride.

The 2022 Kia Carnival is a minivan for SUV-lovers

The Sedona successor boasts segment-best cargo space and a truck-like exterior

Kia revealed the 2022 Kia Carnival today, its newest vehicle in the North American market and a significant entry into the stylistically stagnant minivan segment.

The South Korean automaker is throwing around a couple of novel acronyms with the new-gen Carnival, both of which, no doubt intentionally, make it seem more SUV-like than minivan-ish.

They’re calling it an MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) and the first LUV (Life Utility Vehicle), and though it may be those things, it also replaces the discontinued Sedona, which was a true minivan.

But take it in from the exterior and you can definitely see where Kia is coming from. The 2022 Carnival has a geometric grille, more prominent wheel arches, chrome mouldings, and an overall more square profile that’s decidedly unlike the “typical rounded-out form” of its competition like the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. It’s also the first Kia to wear its new badge on the hood above the grille.

The North American Carnival is certainly more “utility” than its Korean cousin of the same nameplate, which has a more upscale vibe. That said, the Carnival available in Canada and the U.S. is no slob in its interior appointments and a serious upgrade from its predecessor.

Upfront, there’s a panoramic dashboard, slim metal air vents and two colour options, including the Martian Brown leather shown in the photo gallery. But much like with the popular three-row SUV segment, its real significance lies behind the front seats. The Carnival’s segment-best cargo space is on display here with removable second-row seats in most trims, fold-flat third-row seats for best-in-class cargo space and a convenient new middle seat that slides forward to provide parents easier access to their littles.

In some models, the VIP Lounge Seating option fits the second-row captain’s chairs with leg rests, ventilation and heating.

And how many USB ports are too many in 2021? According to Kia, that number is now in the double digits as the Carnival has up to nine ports with two inverters. Add that to its long list of tech including Apple CarPlay, quiet mode, passenger view, and safety features that minivan shoppers will appreciate like lane-keeping, smart cruise control and a surround-view monitor.

The least newsworthy things are the vehicle’s fundamentals. Riding on Kia’s new N3 platform, the Carnival is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine making 290 horsepower (up from 276 in the outgoing Sedona) and 262 lb-ft of torque, which it runs through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front two tires only in all models. Even with aerodynamic tweaks to make it more fuel-efficient, that lack of AWD may be noticed by Canadian buyers.

We’ll find out soon enough. The 2022 Kia Carnival will be available in five trims (LX, LX+, EX, EX+ and SX) at dealers in Canada this spring. Prices start at $34,495. 


Get to know the New Kia

New Kia brand showcase|
Part Ⅰ: A total transformation

Join Ho Sung Song, President & CEO at Kia global headquarters, as he presents how we are planning to bring a total transformation to focus on our customer needs.

New Kia brand showcase|
Part Ⅱ: A new brand purpose

Join Artur Martins, Head of Global Brand & Customer Experience at Kia Vision Square, as he shares the story behind our new brand purpose and “why” we exist.

New Kia brand showcase|
Part Ⅲ: A new brand look & feel

Join Kyungmi Lee, Head of Marketing Communications at our iconic brand experience space Kia 360, as she explains how even the new brand look and feel come together to inspire you.

New Kia brand showcase|
Part Ⅳ: Design for the future

Join Karim Habib, Head of Kia Global Design at Kia Design Center, as he illustrates how our future design will inspire our customers.

2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD Review: A Covetable Mainstream Sedan?

Source: Auto Guide

Kia might be killin’ it lately with its SUV lineup, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten what got it to where it is today.

Engine: 1.6L I4 Turbo
Output: 180 hp, 195 lb-ft
Transmission: 8AT, AWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 26/34/29
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 9.2/6.9/8.2
Starting Price (CAD): $31,345 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $37,995 (inc. dest.)

At the turn of the century, the mid-size sedan was still the place to be in the automotive kingdom. Everyone was in on the action, and Toyota built a veritable empire on the back of the Camry’s reputation. Kia threw its hat into the ring in 2000, knowing that to be taken seriously, it needed to fight on the main card. In the intervening 20 years, Kia has kept improving its four-door offering, culminating in this, the 2021 Kia K5.

Times change though: the metric for success is now the crossover. That’s what makes the K5’s arrival feel like such a grudge match. Kia didn’t have to put a lot of effort into this fight since the spotlight is shining elsewhere. Instead, it’s built a lean, mean fighter ready to worry other sedans, packed with practical solutions to the everyday grind and a bevy of high-tech features. Beyond that, the K5’s camera-friendly looks might even draw eyeballs away from the current heavyweight crossovers, with a style none of ’em can hope to match.

Daring exterior design

First off, don’t fall for the Kia marketing speak that calls this the “first-ever” K5. That’s long been the home-market name for what we called the Optima. Now the whole world will call the mid-size sedan K5. That’s that sorted.

It’s not like you’d confuse this with the old Optima anyway. The K5’s design is dramatic, dripping with style in this GT-Line trim. The distinctive “tiger nose grille” now stretches right across the front of the car, incorporating the headlights too. In the daytime, it’s reminiscent of the hidden eyes on classic ’60s muscle cars, but with the wholly modern slashes of the yellow DRLs wrapping around the corners. It’s aggressive, though many of the vents you see on either end are indeed fake. Same goes with the big chrome “exhaust” tips.

The only other piece of chrome on the K5’s body arcs up over the doors, before looping under the rear glass in one uninterrupted line. The chrome’s varying thickness emphasizes the K5’s sweptback profile, giving it more than a hint of big-brother Stinger. There’s no hatch here, though: it’s a traditional trunk, with 16.0 cubic feet (434 litres) of available space putting it at the higher end of the class.

Every K5 comes with alloy wheels, though the base LX makes do with wee 16-inch rolling stock. The GT-Line gets the smart two-tone 18s seen here. Add it all up and the K5 is a seriously good-looking sedan. I’m used to people asking about the cars I’m photographing, but the K5 drew more questions and compliments than (nearly) any other bit of mainstream metal I’ve driven this year.

Practical, tech-forward interior

Step inside and the K5 continues to impress. It’s not as adventurous as the exterior and doesn’t play with colour the way other Hyundai Group products do, but it’s a clean, thoroughly modern layout. The whole center stack is canted toward the driver, like a classic BMW, with a row of redundant buttons for climate control. Open-pore wood wraps around the doors and onto the dash; I appreciate that there’s at least a sliver of it on the rear doors, too. A couple of cheaper plastic pieces show up right near the transmission shifter, but it’s nothing worse than you’ll see elsewhere in the class. The shifter itself is a traditional PRND unit, which is welcome.

Kia’s found one of the best uses of piano black as well: as the surround for the instrument panel. It reminds me of a black hole, with the panel pulling the trim inward. 

Today’s crossovers get all the credit as practical vehicles, but there’s a lot of everyday cleverness baked into the K5. The wireless charger isn’t wedged in ahead of the shifter, for example: instead, it’s a tidy drop-in slot just ahead of the center storage. It keeps phones out of the field of vision. Another smart detail is a little raised ridge on the door panel, beside the window controls. It’s just enough to make closing the door easier for the short-limbed among us while still in the car.

Trimmed in synthetic leather, the front seats are comfortable, though the bases could use more contouring. Passenger space is plentiful front and rear, with the panoramic sunroof offering an extra dose of natural light. The sloping roofline does eat into rear headroom slightly, but the tape measure shows it as the average for the class at 37.4 inches (950 mm).

The 10.25-inch infotainment display is crisp and responds quickly to inputs. Kia’s custom font can be slightly difficult to read at a glance, however. The screen real estate allows for smartphone mirroring in addition to a panel of native display, for things like navigation. There’s a catch there, though: only the smaller 8.0-inch screen will do wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You’ll need a plugin for the larger UVO setup.

Smooth daily driver

The K5’s drivetrain is perhaps its least impressive feature. Every trim bar the upcoming GT uses the family 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It produces an adequate 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, just as it does in the K5’s platform sibling, the Hyundai Sonata. An eight-speed auto handles shifting duties here too. The torque peak comes on nice and early at just 1,500 rpm, which makes it fine for the cut-and-thrust of city driving. The K5 never feels out of its depth on the highway, but it does get noisy if you ask for an overtake. The steering feel is expectedly light, but it never feels vague. The K5 remains composed through corners, with a bit of lean to let you know when it’s approaching the limits of the winter tires. A snow driving mode is selectable, but the weather only threatened it during my time with the K5.

This particular model is AWD. Like most of the others in the class, the K5 essentially functions as a front-driver unless it senses slip, to minimize the fuel efficiency losses of AWD. On that front, it works: the EPA quotes 26/34/29 mpg for city, highway, and combined, respectively. (Canadian figures are 9.2/6.9/8.2 L,100 km.) That’s on par with the rest of the all-paw players in the segment.

Curiously, AWD is standard on all trims in Canada, with exception of the high-performance GT. That model will arrive packing a more powerful 2.5-litre engine, with power up to 290 hp and 311 lb-ft, all coursing through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission to the front wheels. We’ve tried the combo in the similar Sonata N-Line already and while it was impressive, it will be interesting to see how Kia markets the performance model sending its power to just one axle.

Standard driver assistance tech on the K5 LX includes forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, auto high beams, lane departure, lane-keep, and lane-follow assists. Blind-spot monitoring, safe exit assist, and rear cross-traffic alert join the lineup on the LXS. The GT-Line offers improved FCA, adaptive cruise control, and Highway Driving Assist through options packages (equipped here), as does the EX.

A note on trims: our Canadian-spec tester is essentially a loaded GT-Line AWD Special Edition in the US. It isn’t limited to the Wolf Gray exterior but loses out on the unique red interior of the Special Edition.

Verdict: 2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD Review

The 2021 Kia K5 is a deeply impressive all-rounder. It offers a competitive on-paper package and then wraps it up in a confident, stylish exterior. Spacious, comfortable, and brimming with tech—if not quite as much as its Sonata sibling—the K5 is yet another compelling argument to go against the current crossover grain.

Prices start at $24,455 for an entry-level LX ($31,345 CAD), including destination. The GT-Line AWD goes for more but still rings in at a reasonable $30,055 ($37,745 CAD). That’s bang on with the class, and while the K5 can’t topple any single model in one discipline, it’s never far off. If you’re looking to get off the crossover train, this is one sedan worth checking out.