2021 Kia K5 GT Review - Price, Performance, Features, Interiors, MPG and Rivals

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P. Gupta

Content Writer

November 23, 2020 at 05:15 AM

The all-new 2021 Kia K5 GT comes with a 290 horsepower 2.5L turbocharged engine, and an 8-speed DCT but there is no AWD even as an option. It is based on a newly developed N3 platform which is the same a the Hyundai Sonata and also has a vast list of features and specifications just the rest of the K5 models. The Kia K5 GT will go for sale sometime by November 2020 for a price of $30,490.

2021 Kia K5 GT Latest Updates:

Kia finally broke the mold with the new K5 replacing the Optima sedan. The 2021 Kia K5 is a whole-new car with no familiarity with the outgoing model, while the new GT garnishes the outstanding fine lines with sporty specs filled with performance. Kia's most powerful midsize sedan, the K5 GT, with its 2.5T GDI engine gets 290 horses and 311 pound-feet of torque and shares the N3 platform with the latest Hyundai Sonata. Priced at an MSRP of $30,490, the 2021 K5 GT will release sometime in November 2020 and will be competing against the V6-powered midsize sedans such as Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima.

Read More About 2021 Kia K5 GT:

Funnily, though the 2021 Kia K5 LXS and GT-Line can be had in an AWD setup, the more powerful GT comes in an FWD setup only. Nevertheless, certain highlights in the 2021 K5 GT's sporty interiors add to the adrenaline rush. A promising replacement of the Optima, the all-new Kia K5 GT leads the pack with athleticism and power, and so will it lead the affordable midsize sedan segment. Following the alphanumeric badging system, Kia’s product portfolio in names in the US; such as the Kia Forte is the K3, the Cadenza is the K7, and now the fifth-gen Optima is called K5.

2021 Kia K5 GT

Model Specs

Price Range


Release Date

November 2020


2.5L Turbo Inline-4


8-speed  DCT






  • Glacial White Pearl
  • Everlasting Silver
  • Wolf Gray
  • Gravity Gray
  • Passionate Red Tint Coat
  • Sapphire Blue
  • Crystal Beige
  • Ebony Black


All-new for 2021

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What's the Price of the 2021 Kia K5 GT?

At the top of the Kia K5 lineup, is the 290 horsepower GT. A front-wheel-drive model equipped with an 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission and a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters. The 2021 Kia K5 GT starts at an MSRP of $30,490, $1,400 more than an AWD K5 GT-Line trim.





Key Features

290 hp turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine


GT Body Styling


Sport Black Outside Mirrors


Mirror-mounted LED Turn Signals

  Sport Black Rear Spoiler
  LED Front Fog Lights
  LED Rear Combination Lamp
  Quad-Tip Dual Exhaust
  GT 19-inch Alloy Wheels
  LED Interior and Map Lighting
  8-Speed DCT Transmission w/Steering-Mounted Paddle Shifters
  GT Sport Tuned Suspension and Brake Calipers

Then again, it is also $1,700 cheaper than the top-spec Optima SX priced at $32,190. Please note that all prices exclude a destination charge of $965 to ship the car from Kia’s West Point, Georgia assembly plant to your local dealership when it gets ready to go on sale anytime in November 2020.

What Engine powers the 2021 Kia K5 GT?

All-new for 2021, the sportier K5 GT, unlike the other trims, gets a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine making 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. That engine gets paired with Kia's own 8-speed "wet" Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) along with paddle shifters. The K5 GT's 2.5T engine churns out 45 more horses than the 2.0-liter turbo in the Optima.

The recently-revealed Genesis G80 shares the four-pot with the K5, although Kia gets a different transmission which is class-exclusive. Other versions of the 2021 Kia K5 are driven by a 1.6-liter turbo-four rated at 180 horsepower. It will be available with an optional all-wheel-drive setup that distributes torque between the front and rear wheels and also sports a Snow mode. The K5 GT misses out on the AWD setup.


2021 Kia K5 GT

2020 Nissan Maxima

2020 Toyota Avalon






2.5L Turbo Inline-4

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6






8-Speed DCT


8-Speed Automatic








267lb-ft@4,700 rpm

The K5 GT sports sedan can be considered a smaller Stinger GTS, and it rivals with the Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima. Packing more than 300 hp, both these Japanese rivals may be powerful but lack the sporting character that the 2021 Kia K5 GT promises. Also, the quick-shifting transmission and class-leading torque ratings make GT, the most powerful midsize sedan from Kia.

How quickly can the 2021 Kia K5 GT Accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH?

The high-performance 2021 Kia K5 GT runs from 0-60 MPH in just 5.8 seconds. Kia's potent 2.5-liter I4 engine mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic, that uses a different technology for its rapid shifts, are all conducive to a much sportier driving experience. 

But the 300hp Maxima does the same in 5.7 seconds, while the 301hp Avalon accelerates to 60 MPH in flat six seconds. The front-wheel K5 GT is outright the quickest and has an additional Sport+ mode that makes the drive even more exciting and engaging. 


2021 Kia K5 GT

2020 Nissan Maxima

2020 Toyota Avalon

0-60 MPH

5.8 sec

5.7 sec

6.0 sec

Quarter Mile


14.3 sec 

14.6 sec

Top Speed 


145 MPH

130 MPH


2.5L Turbo Inline-4

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6

The Kia K5 with its standard 180 horsepower engine isn't inspiring but is more than enough for daily driving. In a straight-line performance, 2021 K5 takes 8 seconds to accelerate to 60 MPH off-the-line. Comparing the GT-Line and GT, Kia might have similar aggressive styling cues but the K5 GT gets sports-tuned underpinnings for true sporting performance that includes an exclusive quick-shifting transmission.

What's special about the 2021 Kia K5 GT's Performance?

The front-wheel-drive K5 GT is Kia’s most powerful midsize sports sedan, courtesy of a ravishing combination of 2.5T GDI, and slick 8-speed DCT with paddle shifters. That’s not it though. Kia equips the 2021 K5 GT with performance-tuned equipment, making it a true sibling to the Stinger GTS.

On the GT, rear quad-exhaust tips are all real and exclusive. Even the exhaust note is unique and extremely soothing. The K5 GT also wears sticky Pirelli P Zero summer tires that add to its braking and cornering performance versus the regular models.

Kia’s third generation, the all-new N3 platform underpins the new K5 GT. It’s now longer and lower than the Optima. The overall length is up 2 inches over, and even the wheelbase grows by 1.8 inches as well. This new platform makes up for a stiffer body and chassis than the one it replaces.

This allows the K5 to drop some weight with greater use of high-strength, lightweight steel. Certainly, the Kia's sportiest midsize exits corner with much more control and ease. The new architecture first made its way in the all-new 2020 Hyundai Sonata, and it brought quite a difference in its performance.

Kia offers five driving modes; Normal, Smart, Sport, Custom, and Sport+ for the top-of-the-line K5 GT. The driver can dial in the desired personality for how the engine, transmission, steering, and drivetrain respond. The K5 GT's Sport+ mode delivers even more spirited driving performance. Since the GT gets some of the GT-Line's styling flourishes, the key features differentiating the Kia K5 GT from its lower GT-Line version are as below:

  • A 290hp 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters
  • Upgraded brakes
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Sport front seats

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How frugal is the MPG rating of the 2021 Kia K5 GT?

The range-topping 2021 K5 GT gets a powerful turbocharged 2.5-liter engine producing 290 hp and 311 lb-ft. Unfortunately, the EPA doesn't have fuel economy figures for the GT model just yet. Though the rest of the models with 180 hp 1.6T engine allow the 2021 K5 to earn 29 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway.


2021 Kia K5 GT

2020 Nissan Maxima

2020 Toyota Avalon

MPG (City)




MPG (Hwy)




MPG (Combined)




Fuel Capacity

14.8 gallons

18.0 gallons

14.5 gallons

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)


360/540/432 miles

319/464/377 miles

These numbers are above-average, and we expect similar ratings for the more powerful GT. Kia equips the 2021 K5 with a large 14.8-gallon fuel tank that promises more than 500 miles of range. As most of the K5 GT rivals are V6 powered, they tend to return lower mileage. Kia's small turbocharged engine should get better MPG ratings. 

How indulging is the Interior of the 2021 Kia K5 GT?

The 5-seater K5 delivers a more upscale, spacious, and quieter cabin than the outgoing Optima. Kia touts the all-new K5 with a traditional interior layout that's pretty straightforward - and upright gear selector rather than trendy dial or push buttons. On the dashboard lies the new infotainment display that seamlessly stretches into the instrument panel, flanked by buttons. Beneath the central vents are physical controls for the climate system.

It also has a dazzling 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with customizable themes and high-resolution graphics. The K5 GT has a sportier interior, too. Sharing most of the styling cues with the GT-Line trim, Kia equips the K5 GT with red, faux leather seats, a flat-bottomed, leather-stitched steering wheel, and paddle-shifters with aluminum fixtures. The Kia K5 has a clean, spacious cabin layout that's comfortable for both front and rear passengers.


2021 Kia K5 GT

2020 Nissan Maxima

2020 Toyota Avalon

Seating Capacity




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




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




Cargo Capacity

16.0 cu-ft

14.3 cu-ft

16.1 cu-ft

At the back, the climate-control vents are whelming, as are the two USB ports, and the contoured headliner ensures adequate headroom. It's not just the new K5's front row that is more spacious than the outgoing Optima but it also has a significantly bigger boot. That way, it turns out to be the most practical in its class.

How good is the 2021 Kia K5 GT's Infotainment system?

The top-of-the-line K5 GT comes with a standard 8.0-inch, or an optional 10.25-inch, touchscreen infotainment system. Both systems feature a split-screen functionality, a volume knob, physical buttons on the steering wheel, as well as other touch-sensitive controls.

Other options include a 12-speaker Bose Premium sound system, voice recognition system, and wireless phone charging. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are also first-time features for the brand. You also get Google Assist and Amazon Alexa further ease of use.

But the larger 10.25-inch screen brings a navigation system with real-time traffic data, the ability to connect two phones simultaneously, and UVO telematics which allows detailed driver profiles for electronic, seat, and mirror settings. The key comfort features inside the new 2021 Kia K5 GT include:

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Hands-free Phone and Audio Streaming
  • Voice Recognition
  • Cruise Control Buttons
  • 2 USB Charging Outlets, Rear Console
  • Tilt/Telescopic Steering Column 
  • 12-speaker Bose Premium Audio System
  • Dual-zone Automatic Climate Control
  • 6-way Adjustable Driver/Passenger Seat
  • Heated Front Seats

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What's unique about the 2021 Kia K5 GT's Exterior?

Kia's "tiger-nose grille" upfront dominates the new K5's fascia, as do the slick-looking Heartbeat LED daytime running lights. The 2021 K5 GT is a sporty package with just the right touch of elegance. With the new foundation resulting from the N3 platform, the K5 GT is lighter and longer than the outgoing Optima.

Sporting the Kia Stinger's fastback styling, the 2021 K5 GT features a shark-skin inspired mesh design on the front grille as well as quad-exhaust tips. Riding atop 18 or 19-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires, K5 GT's aggressive styling has a high head-turning quotient.


2021 Kia K5 GT

2020 Nissan Maxima

2020 Toyota Avalon

Curb Weight 


3,559 lbs

3,560 lbs













Ground Clearance








In comparison to the outgoing Optima, the K5's new N3 platform makes it 2 inches longer and 1-inch lower. These changes in the size, along with a sportier suspension setup and larger wheels, should go a long way in making the 2021 K5 handle a lot better too. We will know more when the car arrives for real-world testing.

What are the Safety Features of the 2021 Kia K5 GT?

The 2021 K5 safety includes Kia's "DRIVEWiSE” suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance systems which features Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with automatic braking, a driver attention monitor and lane follow assist. Other safety technology with K5 GT includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control along with a suite of airbags and stability control.

There are more standard active safety features than the outgoing Optima, while the new platform enhances the strength and agility of the K5. The 2020 Optima's 5-star safety rating from NHTSA will be retained easily. As of now, the new K5 GT is yet to be crash-tested by NHTSA and IIHS. Kia's DRIVEWiSE suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems has more to offer, with some of the key features including:

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

Should I Buy the 2021 Kia K5 GT?

Kia's all-new K5 GT shows the brand's interest in the shrinking sedan market, touted as the most powerful midsize sport sedans at affordable rates. With the new K5, Kia holds an advantage over powerful rivals such as Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima. The K5 is attractive, roomy, and quick.

It is also solidly built, has a powerful motor, and a quality interior that outshines other sedans in the class. Kia's warranty coverage for the 2021 Kia K5 is top-notch with 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain and 5 years/60,000 miles of basic coverage. At just above $30,000, the GT offers the best balance of fun, practicality, and value.

Also Read:

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2021 Kia K5 GT FAQs

When is the release date of the 2021 Kia K5 GT?

Kia has officially outed prices of the 2021 K5 GT at $30,490. It will go on sale sometime by late 2020, in November or December.

Will Kia K5 GT have AWD?

No, the 2021 Kia k5 GT will be FWD only. If you want an all-wheel-drive Kia K5, you can opt for the LXS or GT-Line models.

Which trim of the 2021 Kia K5 GT to buy?

The Kia K5 GT will be available as a stand-alone trim. Its prices will start at an MSRP of $30,490.

2021 Kia K5 GT Review
2021 Kia K5 GT Review
2021 Kia K5 GT Exterior
2021 Kia K5 GT Exterior
2021 Kia K5 GT Exterior
2021 Kia K5 GT Exterior
2021 Kia K5 GT Exterior
2021 Kia K5 GT Badge
2021 Kia K5 GT Wheel
2021 Kia K5 GT Cargo Space
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
2021 Kia K5 GT Interior
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