The Right Spec: 2022 Kia K5


22 Kia K5 front

While hammering away at his keyboard in preparation for publishing this post, it dawned upon your author that The Right Spec for any new vehicle these days is – thanks to the chip shortage and a myriad of other supply problems – whatever resides on the lot. Or at least doesn’t have an exorbitant markup placed on its sticker.

Why are we profiling a family sedan this week? Because there are still swaths of Americans, believe it or not, who’d rather have this type of machine in their driveway than yet another SUV to add to the line of vehicles in the school pick-up line. And as for why the K5, in particular, was selected – well, let’s just say we hope to start an argument in the comments.

Fresh off the boat is the GT model, a trim that endows the K5 line with a 2.5-liter turbo GDI engine good for 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. These are not insignificant numbers, especially when compared to the dishwater 1.6L found in other trims. More importantly? It’s knocking on the door of the 300 horsepower Stinger GT-Line sports sedan and not really that far adrift of a GT1 or GT2 which makes 368 ponies.

Yes, yes – there’s a solid argument to be made about driveline configuration and where all that power is being sent. The K5 GT is only available as a front-wheel-drive machine, with all-wheel drive currently limited to certain trims equipped with the 1.6L engine. The Stinger, of course, shunts all its power to the rear unless the buyer pops for all-wheel drive, which is available with either engine.

The top-rung K5 is offered in a wide array of colors, including the tremendously annoying Sapphire Blue shown here. It is my opinion that the K5 is a much better-looking car than the Stinger (remember the argument we’re predicting in the comments?) with headlights that look like lasers instead of goiters and better side profile proportions. I will maintain, to my dying breath, that Kia made the Stinger’s front doors too short, with the B-pillar rudely intruding on ingress and egress. The K5 does not have this problem, likely thanks to its front-wheel-drive platform.

22 Kia K5

And therein, of course, lies the rub. While the snazziest K5 and entry-level Stinger are close in power numbers, their driven wheels are a world apart. For some, that’s non-negotiable – and we understand that. Your author didn’t pilot a Dodge Charger as his family car for a decade without understanding this concept. However, there’s a $5,000 walk from the K5 GT to the $36,090 Stinger GT-Line, not an insignificant sum.

If the parental units are of a sporting mind and hell-bent on getting another Kia, that price point is attractive after remembering the brand remains famous for including enough features to fill a bucket. The K5 GT gives up little to the Stinger GT-Line in terms of amenities, including the 10.25-inch jumbotron infotainment screen and aggressively bolstered front seats.

It’ll all come down to whether rear-wheel drive is worth an extra five grand. Argue away in the comments.

Please note the prices listed here are in United States dollars and are currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.

[Images: Kia]

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