The 2021 Kia K5 continues this year's trend of carmakers placing minimal premium on a brand new or heavily revised model. Cars Direct got a look at an early order guide showing that Kia's new midsize sedan will start at $23,490 before a $965 destination charge, for a total of $24,455. The destination fee doesn't change, and the MSRP is but $100 more than the outgoing entry-level 2020 Optima LX. That also puts the Kia $120 under the 2020 Hyundai Sonata SE, $520 under the Honda Accord LX, and $925 below a Toyota Camry SE. The K5 is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque shifted through an eight-speed transmission, giving it a little less horsepower than the competing trio — the 23 hp given up to the Toyota is the largest difference — but more torque than the other three.
The K5's trim steps have been rearranged compared to the Optima, so instead of LX, S, Special Edition, EX, EX Premium and SX, there will be the K5 LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX and performance-minded GT. The LXS will start at $27,555, the GT-Line at $30,055. Those will be the only two trims offering AWD, and the four-wheel system has late availability as well. Cars Direct didn't mention a price for the EX.
The GT and its exclusive 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder with 290 hp and 311 lb-ft tied to an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox will be late availability. The order guide showed that trim costing $31,455 after destination. That's $1,700 less expensive than the less powerful, top-of-the-line Optima SX. Among rivals, only the V6-powered Camrys come close to the K5's output, with 301 hp and 267 lb-ft from a 3.5-liter V6. The Camry TRD stands at $670 more than the K5, butt the only big-ticket extras available for the Camry TRD are two-tone paint jobs costing from $500 to $925. One of the K5 options will be a GT1 Package that adds LED headlights, better driver assistance features such as forward collision avoidance and park assist, adaptive cruise control, semi-self driving on the highway, 12-speaker Bose audio, ventilated front seats with memory, and more. Upgrading to GT1 spec will cost $4,000, taking the price to $35,455. The Toyota Camry TRD V6 doesn't offer some of the GT1's finer tech. The Toyota Camry XLE V6 needs to be optioned up to match a K5 GT1, the Toyota coming out to $38,325.
Cars Direct also saw a bulletin to Kia dealers outlining some lease and purchase offers that will run through August 3. Kia Motor Finance will offer low-interest financing for buyers from 0.9% APR for 48 months to 3.9% to 72 months. On the lease side, the biggest money-saver is a 24-month contract for a K5 Ex that saves $1,600 on the GT-Line, $1,900 on the LX, and $2,000 on the EX.