2021 Kia K5 Fastback Review

Starting with the year 2000, South Korean carmaker Kia began manufacturing a mid-sized sedan for the global markets. Depending on the region where it sells, this car is currently known as either K5 (South Korea), Optima (U.S.), Magentis (Europe), and even Lotze (also South Korea).
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2021 Kia K5 Fastback South Korea2021 Kia K5 Fastback South Korea2021 Kia K5 Fastback South Korea2021 Kia K5 Fastback South Korea2021 Kia K5 Fastback South Korea2021 Kia K5 Fastback South Korea2021 Kia K5 Fastback South Korea
That could change as of 2020, as it seems Kia is targeting giving the car a single global name. That global name will be K5, and the car that will tie all the loose ends together is a variant of the decades-old sedan.

Revealed in December 2019, the new K5 Fastback is a preview of the future design language of the carmaker. Dubbed “one of Kia’s sportiest designs to-date,” the Fastback is according to the Koreans their greatest leap forward between generations.

Aside from the visual differences from the sedan (the new car was born in design studios on three continents, including North America), the new K5 will also use for the first time in the range an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.

1Exterior design & features

Compared to the existing sedan, the new K5 is longer and wider, but at the same time is lower. The numbers show the car is built on a 2,850 mm wheelbase (45 mm more) and stands 4,905 mm long (+50 mm), and 1,860 mm wide. The roof of the Fastback now sits 20 mm lower than before, at 1,445 mm. 

There are visual changes all around the vehicle, not only when talking about the overall shape. At the front, the K5 uses a new interpretation of the carmaker’s tiger nose, with integrated LED headlamps and a special signature for the daytime running lights.

At the rear, the defining feature is the fact that the standalone light units have been replaced with a new LED daytime running light that spreads for the entire width of the car.

It is the profile of the car that shows the biggest differences between models. When looked at from the side, the new K5 reveals a classic fastback silhouette, with the rising and dropping of the shoulder line creating the end result.

The K5 rides on a choice of 16-, 17- and 18-inch machine-cut aluminum alloy wheels and will be available in a wide range of colors. 

There will also be a distinct GT version that brings 19-inch wheels, a more aggressive front and rear bumpers, special ‘GT’ badges, as well as dual twin exhaust tips.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

The interior of the K5 is described as being minimalist in design, but very modern in terms of appointments.

As usual, the dashboard is the element that integrates the infotainment system. In the case of the Fastback, we’re talking about a wide infotainment display that is physically attached to the instrument cluster replacing the existing screen integrated into the surface of the dashboard. 

There will be a wide range of customization options for the K5, allowing for a plethora of upholsteries (cloth, synthetic leather and leather) and color to be specified (single- and two-tone color schemes). For the dashboard, Kia went for metallic and wood-effect surfaces that will vary from trim to trim.


As said, the infotainment system has been repositioned in the Fastback K5 to be somehow linked to the instrument cluster. The top of the range screen is sized 10.25 inches, and it sits right near the 12.3 inches screen of the cluster. An optional 8-inch head-up display is also available. 

Kia made is so that some of the car’s functions could be controlled by voice. Things like climate control, electric windows, heating for the steering wheel, seats and rear glass, and the audio system, can be turned off and on just by saying the right words. 

The sound system is a 12-speaker BOSE unit, and there are also an interior lighting system and wireless phone charging.

As first for a Kia, the K5 Fastback comes with the Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) system that allows the car to move on its own out of a front-and-back parking space, controlled only by the key fob.


The K5 is the first in its range to use an all-wheel-drive system. It is run by a wide range of engines, linked to one of three available transmissions.

For the North American and Korean markets, the K5 will be made available with at least two engines, the 1.6-liter T-Gdi, and the 2.5-liter T-GDi. Both run on gasoline and develop 180 ps/265 Nm of torque and 290 ps/422 Nm of torque, respectively.

The more potent unit is fitted on the GT variant of the K5, and is said to be able to reach 62 mph from a standstill in 6.6 seconds. 

In other markets, the K5 will be offered with a wider choice of powertrains, including a 2.0-liter MPI (152 ps, 192 Nm), 2.0-liter CVVL (160 ps, 196 Nm), and a 2.5-liter GDi (194 ps, 246 Nm). Hybrid engines will be added later on. 

The gearboxes that go with these engines are either six- or eight-speed automatic. For the biggest of units, a new eight-speed wet double-clutch transmission is available and provides five drive modes: Smart, Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Custom.


The Kia K5 Fastback is level 2 autonomous, and in certain conditions can drive itself in and out of a parking lot, or help the driver keep the car under control and on the set course.

The range of driver assistance features include forward collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot monitor, smart cruise control lane following assist, driver attention warning, and highway driving assist. Of the usual safety systems, the K5 is equipped with nine airbags, ESC, and vehicle stability management.


The current K5, with its many names, is one of Kia’s most successful models, and with the launch of a new variant, the range is likely to become even more appealing.

The global rollout of the K5 will begin in the first half of 2020.