Eye-catching design. The Kia K5 came out as an all-new model for 2021 as the replacement for the Optima. The midsize sedan made a splash when it was released thanks to its daring design. The crisp, attractive design is far more aggressive than the majority of other sedans in the class. For some, it might be too much.

For 2022, Kia has fitted its new logo to the K5. It’s not a large change, but the K5’s exterior didn’t need any updates. With zigzag daytime running lights, a slim grille, sharp edges, a sloping roofline, and full-width taillights, the K5 has a stunning design. Against sedans like the Honda Accord and Subaru Legacy, the K5 looks like a concept car.

The K5 isn’t nearly as radically designed on the inside. It borrows upscale elements from the Kia K900 and sporty cues from the Kia Stinger to be a nice blend of the two. Designers didn’t forget about ease of use, though, as the layout of the center console is straightforward. For the price point, the K5’s cabin looks and feels well above average.

Seriously impressive tech. Kia offers the K5 with some impressive tech features as standard. The standard eight-inch touchscreen has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on top of six audio speakers, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and an HD radio. While the standard touchscreen doesn’t offer the same real estate as the available 10.25-inch unit or the same crisp graphics, it offers wireless smartphone compatibility.

The GT-Line is the first in the lineup to come with the larger 10.25-inch touchscreen. Other available features include a wireless charging pad, a Bose audio system, multidevice Bluetooth connectivity, and navigation.

Choosing between the two infotainment systems is difficult. Upgraded graphics, customizable profiles, and the ability to connect two Bluetooth devices simultaneously are reasons to upgrade to the 10.25-inch screen. But the larger unit also brings tricky-to-use digital buttons. We think the larger touchscreen is worth the extra money, but understand the allure of wireless connectivity.

Plenty of space. The K5’s interior offers a good amount of space for five people but isn’t the roomiest midsize sedan in the segment. In the back, the K5 has 35.2 inches of rear legroom, which matches the Nissan Altima. While that’s enough space to get comfortable, it doesn’t match the Honda Accord that offers up to 40.4 inches.

On the plus side, the K5 has a cavernous trunk that offers up to 16 cubic feet of cargo space. That easily beats options like the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima, but, once again, the Honda Accord is the segment leader with 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

A tad bit sporty. Power for the K5 ranges from usable to impressive. The standard engine in the K5 is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 180 horsepower. The engine doesn’t have blistering performance in a straight line, but it’s plenty powerful enough for daily use. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and routes power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is optional with the base engine.

For better performance, there’s the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It produces 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque, which are mega figures for the class. Thanks to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 2.5-liter engine helps the K5 get to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. One strange thing is that Kia only offers the more powerful engine with FWD. While it offers some serious performance, the lack of AWD will dissuade some shoppers.

If there’s one major downside to the K5’s performance, it's fuel economy. With the base engine, the K5 is created to get up to 32 mpg combined. The available 2.5-liter four-cylinder has a combined fuel economy rating of 27 mpg. These figures are average for the class.

Final thoughts. The 2022 Kia K5 isn’t a leader in the midsize class, but it offers the look of a sports sedan, some high-tech features, a roomy interior, and serious performance with the optional engine. The K5 doesn’t get much wrong, being a stylish and well-equipped family sedan.

The Honda Accord manages to do a few things better than the K5. It has a roomier cabin, a more spacious interior, and a design that won’t ruffle anyone’s feathers. For a similar amount of performance and luxury, there’s the now-discontinued Mazda6. That sedan has an elegant design, is enjoyable to drive, and has a punchy turbocharged engine. The Mazda6 isn’t nearly as spacious as the K5 and isn’t available with all-wheel drive.

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