It’s amazing how two midsize sedans with the same powertrain and platform can feel so different. But such is the case with the hyundai sonata Limited, our year-long test car, and a 2021 Kia K5 EX I had for two weeks. After just a day into the swap, a clear winner emerged.
Open the doors, and you’ll notice many similarities between the two cars, including the same sleek and responsive 10.3-inch touchscreen. Our K5 test car was $2,275 cheaper than our Sonata, and that price difference was evident in the features list. It was missing our Sonata tester’s fully digital instrument cluster and leather upholstery. The EX also didn’t offer a 360-degree camera system (a flaw the 2022 model remedies). A traditional gear stalk takes the place of the Sonata’s tidy and convenient push-button shifter. Overall, our Sonata’s interior looks sleeker and more streamlined.
Both cars have eye-catching exterior designs, but the K5 gives off athletic vibes. That doesn’t mean it’s better to drive, though. Unfortunately, the K5 can’t match the Sonata’s light and nimble feel on the road. Both vehicles share a 180-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides sufficient power, with the K5 perhaps a little more eager from a stop, but it’s in the twists and turns where you’ll find the biggest differences. The K5’s dull steering brings to mind the handling of large sedans of yesteryear. The Kia’s tires are more prone to slipping, with the Sonata providing better grip around turns. Neither vehicle has a buttery-smooth ride, but the Sonata feels slightly more plush (both testers sit on 18-inch wheels). Although the K5 has its merits, driving it made me appreciate how well-rounded the Sonata is. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.