Review: 2011 Kia K5 (Optima) Korean-Spec

Posted on 15. Nov, 2010 by in Auto News

The Korean word for "five" sounds like "oh" as in "Oh, snap!" Or "OMG." So in Korea, which makes the new Kia K5 to a "KO", at least in name. But Kia has the new Camccord fighter actually land a knockout on the all important D-segment, or is it just one win by decision?

One thing is certain: this is not how we look at any Optima have seen before. From a distance, intersects the K5 significantly more aggressive and attractive profile. On closer inspection, however, begins its exterior design, display a certain amount of visual discord. Consider the K5 an automotive Monet: gorgeous from a distance, but to obscure more than a little up close.

One of the largest is the visual distractions chrome accent that runs on top of the side windows. When the belt through the rear door and tailgate openings goes, it creates a cacophony of cut lines to make them look a bit like Chucky to turn the children's films.

A little further back, driving the design clutter. The Audi-inspired taillights conspire with the trunk opening and rear bumper to an overhang of the K5 create an unpleasant appearance bucktooth.

The front of the car shows no sequitur more design elements. The in-vogue-for-the-moment LED position lights look shocks against the fog light bulb. The bright white light of the LEDs overwhelmed the yellowish light of incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, the position lights not follow the contours of the fog lights and therefore look like an afterthought. What's worse, are lower trim level models without navigation lights left with a length of black plastic in its place, which would not look inappropriate in a Tic Tac factory.

Speaking of lights, is another element that misses its mark, the "eyebrow" light near the back of the headlight assembly. Perhaps this piece is to imitate the beautiful light treatment on the K7 (Cadenza), but on the K5 it looks disjointed and incomplete.The final piece of the puzzle is the K5 exterior design faux air intake on the fender. On some models it is lit, which helps to give it some visual appeal, but on most models, it is as useless as third nipple Krusty the Clown.

The K5 the interior is reminiscent of an apartment, which I recently purchase. Promotional literature for this apartment has. Much of the fact that the kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom were each designed and decorated by a different world-class architects and designers On paper, the idea sounds a work a dream team of top architects and designers on a project like a good, in fact they have miserably. The result was a patchwork of areas with different shapes, colors, textures and designs that looked as if everyone had been made without regard to the other by hand. The final product was completely inappropriate and lacked both cohesion and coherence. The interior of the K5 seems to have suffered a similar fate. A good example is the way the dashboard meets the door panels.

It seems as if no one assumed that these two areas may one day together in the same space. There is a complete lack of unity or flow between the two elements, as if the doors had been developed by one person, and the dashboard of another, and neither man knew what the other was doing. The door panels themselves are another example of the interior design lack of rhythm. The speakers appear to have been added afterwards, as they protrude tumor-like out the door, so that the whole thing a wry, front-heavy look. Finally, the selector lever is cut with his leather boots, faux-wood, high-gloss center and chrome release button also shows the K5 Frankenstein approach to interior design.

If this sounds overly harsh, consider the K5 own in-house competition. By comparison, the K5 kissing cousin, the Hyundai Sonata, an overall interior design concept that is much more cohesive, lines flow together in unbroken harmony with a sense of balance and unity. It's a night-and-day difference from the design-by-committee look of the K5's interior.

Sits behind the wheel of the K5, is the first thing you notice is that the steering wheel is smaller than you might expect. On the road, the wheel feels even smaller than four spoke to no less than a dozen buttons are overcrowded. On the positive side, three of these keys to the K5 cruise control, include a feature not commonly found on mid-sized cars in Korea. On the other side of the street at the Hyundai dealership, both the Sonata and Grandeur (Azera) are green with envy, like cruise control is not available, either.

Another neat trick is hiding the K5 sleeve is its heated steering wheel. Hiding is the appropriate word here, however, obscured, as the switch completely through the steering wheel and is nearly impossible to find and just as hard to activate. It is worth noting, however, that this feature is not available on other cars in this class (at least in Korea), so kudos to the K5 it.

Speak of heat, both the front and rear seats with heated called special antibacterial polymer heaters Heatex. Kia claims that Heatex provides uniform heating and uses infrared waves to the driver and passengers to stimulate internal organs. The car I drove cooled front seats, contain clear the Heatex option in favor of the conventional heating elements. This and the 95-degree heat of the day I drove the car, meant that my internal organs do not have the chance to see it in action Heatex. I can report, however, that work on the cooled seats quickly and effectively, even though it was a little too loud for my taste. At stoplights, the constant drone of the refrigeration units had hope that she had an automatic start-stop system. In fact, I have often turned manually idle at red lights. However, the vertical arrangement of the switch seemed catchy and I often ended up activating the front passenger seat heater. I'd prefer a side-by-side switch layout.

More first drive reports from the Korean media have suggested that the K5 seats are hard and uncomfortable. In the 90 minutes I spent with a KDM version, I found the seats to be comfortable, but a little too flat for my taste, especially the lower cushion. In addition, the driving position was conspicuously low (lower than the Sonata) and the center console was noticeably high (higher than the Sonata), giving the cockpit combines a cocoon-like atmosphere. Interestingly, and somewhat unusual these days, Kia spent the extra nickel pictograms on the power seat control keys. It's a nice gesture, but apparently not necessary, because the only time anyone they see is when the door is open. Front legroom in the K5 is excellent, because the seats offer full front and rear adjustment. With the front seats in their most rearward position (a position that they probably have never been to, but that's the way Kia measures legroom), has the K5 nearly three-quarters-of-an-inch more legroom than the Camry and an amazing 3 , 2 inches longer than the Accord.

Front headroom is a slightly different story, at least numerically. Headroom in the front is only three-quarters-of-an-inch longer than a Camry and is almost 1.5 inches less than one in one Accord. In the real world, however, the interior of the front of the K5 feels spacious, perhaps in part due to the noticeably low seating position.

In the rear seat headroom is both numerically and realistic fixed. At 57.3 inches, the K5 roofline is lower than that of the Sonata (57.9), Camry (57.9), and Accord (58.1), and it feels like it! The K5 has the smallest rear headroom of its three competitors, almost a full inch less than the Accord, a little more than half an inch less than the Sonata, and nearly a quarter of an inch less than the Camry. Additional visibility when sitting in the back of the K5 is somewhat limited because the side windows, sweep up. This upward momentum gives the exterior a fastback-esque look, but in combination with the low sloping roofline makes the back seat feel a bit claustrophobic. On the positive side in the rear legroom is good. The K5 has (again measured in the way Kia positioned with the front seats all the way back), almost an inch more legroom than the Camry and about a quarter inch longer than the Accord. Rear passengers can also own air vents, but (oddly enough) provided only on vehicles with an automatic transmission. The holes are a nice touch, but they can not be opened and closed independently of each other as in the Sonata.

A total of K5 inside is comfortable, spacious, well equipped and quiet. Kia's engineers went to great lengths to make the K5 quiet. In fact, it has more sound than both the Sonata and the larger upscale K7 (Cadenza). That being said look, and its interior feels a bit bargain basement prices, especially in the lower trim lines and missing design consistency and continuity at all levels.

Under the hood, the K5 uses the same 2.4-liter GDI engine as the Sonata. However, a keen eye will notice a few subtle differences in the engine compartment. Firstly using the K5 is only one gas spring, which on the inside of the front wheel arch, used during the two struts Sonata, the. On the outside Cost savings for Kia and weight savings for the K5, perhaps? In addition, the air intake is wider K5 integrated deeper and better than the Sonata.

Finally, the area near the firewall will also differs between the K5 and the Sonata. Kia has more insulation and a larger, differently shaped panel near the windshield wipers, both of which are reduced to reduce noise in the cabin.

Undoubtedly, the K5 will be a hit for Kia, and it should be. It is a quiet, well-equipped, affordable and generally speaking, an attractive automobile. Unfortunately, it lacks the refinement necessary, against the likes of the Accord, Camry, and even compete with its stablemate, the Sonata. Had the K5 rather a sporty mission has been its extroverted exterior, fitting it would be a stronger case for itself. Instead, the driving feel is very close to the Sonata with less sophistication. It throws a lot of punches, and some of which met miss others of whom, but at the end of the fight, the K5 is just a knockout