Tuesday, November 30, 2021

2022 Ford Maverick



FORD INTRODUCES A PICKUP FOR NON-TRUCK PEOPLE WITH NEW COMPACT MAVERICK

The 2022 Ford Maverick revives an old Ford nameplate but is a new —- and very much different — vehicle from its predecessor.

The 1970s’ Maverick was a compact sedan designed to challenge the imports beginning to arrive from Japan.

The 2022 Ford Maverick is a compact pickup truck that essentially is a truck for people who never really gave serious consideration to buying a pickup but always had the thought in the back of their mind.



It is the smallest of the company’s lineup of trucks and the first to offer a hybrid drivetrain as standard. The combination of a 2.5-liter gas engine and electric motor is mated to a continuously variable transmission and offers fuel mileage of up to 40 miles-per-gallon which, Ford tells us, makes it the most fuel-efficient truck on the market today.

Want more horsepower than the 191 ponies and 155 pound-feet of torque the hybrid offers?



An Ecoboost 2.0-lit 4-cylinder gas engine also is available. Matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission, it produces 250 hp and 277 pound-feet of torque and delivers up to 4,000 pounds of towing capacity when equipped with the optional 4K Towing Package. Front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive available.

EPA mileage figures are for the 2.0L are 23 miles-per-gallon city, 30 highway, 26 combined for front-wheel drive, 22/29/25 for AWD models.



Perhaps the remarkable thing about the Maverick is a starting MSRP of under $20,000 for the base XL trim that this review is based on. That’s before any options and the destination delivery fee are added on, but even then you would be hard-pressed to find a better bargain.

In addition to the the XL trim, the Maverick also features an upgraded XLT model starting at $22,280 and a top-of-the-line Lariat trim for $25,490.



Standard equipment on the XL includes a locked tailgate, LED automatic on/off headlamps, a second-row bench seat with under-seat storage, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a rotary dial gear shift with normal, tow/haul, slippery, eco, and sport drive modes for standard models and normal, tow/haul, slippery, mud/ruts, and sand modes for those with the optional F4 off-road package.

Bluetooth phone communications, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto also are included on the XL, and audio functions work off an 8-inch touchscreen.

But the XL model is pretty much basic when it comes to other convenience features. The driver’s window, for example, is one-touch up but not one-touchdown and the AC/heater is one-zone.

The Maverick is available only with a Crew Cab which features good space and is easy to get in and out of. The interior emphasizes function and simplicity. It made me think back to the pickups back in the day before they became fancy SUVs with cargo beds and luxury car price tags. 

No, you won’t find much in the way of fancy add-ons or plush materials in the XL, but upper trims offer more in the way of extras to upgrade the interior.

Exact pricing on my test XL was not listed on the spec sheet, but on the list of equipment in addition to the standard features were the 2.0L engine and 8-speed automatic, floor liners, rear-seat bins, manual rear sliding window, and Ford co-Pilot360 (blind-spot alert, pre-collision assist, rear park assist, and lane-keeping system).

The 4.5 foot bed also featured a spray-in bedliner.

By the way, if you were wondering about the color of my test vehicle in the pictures, I would call it some shade of blue. Ford calls it Area 51. Go figure.

What I liked about the 2022 Ford Maverick XL: The size is ideal for those who want a vehicle for runs to the local Lowe's or Home Depot and other such chores. You get both hauling capability and an easy vehicle to drive. Performance from the Ecoboost (turbocharged) 2.0L engine has lots of punch and more than doubles owing capacity to 4,000 pounds over the standard hybrid. The no-frills cabin isn't fancy by any means but is still very functional and comfortable. Infotainment functions are user friendly..

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Ford Maverick XL: The console could use a bigger storage bin. This is the first vehicle I’ve driven in quite a wheel that had steel wheels instead of alloy. The upgrades in upholstery and alloy wheels make the jump to the XLT trim worth the extra $2,255 in MSRP.

Would I buy the 2022 Ford Maverick XL? I would buy the Maverick, but I would splurge to get the XLT trim for the extras it offers. An upgraded interior likely would ease the spartan-like feel of the XL model.



Wednesday, November 24, 2021

2022 MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS CONVERTIBLE


MINI GETS A REFRESHING, BUT STILL VERY MUCH REMAINS A MINI IN ALL ASPECTS

Just as the word “dated” began to appear in reviews of the iconic Mini in recent years, the 2022 Mini Cooper Convertible arrives refreshed and updated but still with the sassy attitude that has been an integral part of its DNA for just over six decades.

While still retaining its distinctive overall outer appearance, the 2022 Mini gets new bumpers front and rear, a revised grille and new wheel designs, and three new colors — Island Blue, Rooftop Grey and Zesty Yellow.



The traditional circular display for infotainment functions still dominates the interior, but several upgrades are given to the seats along with other tweaks.

The convertible is offered in three trims starting with the base S and followed by the more performance-tuned Cooper S. The top-of-the-line John Cooper Works trim that served as my test model tops off the portfolio.



The John Cooper Works and Cooper S both come with a 2.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine though the John Cooper Works is tuned for a significant boost to 228 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque over the 189/206, respectively, for the Cooper S. The base Cooper trim comes with a 1.5-liter 3- cylinder rated at 134/162, respectively.

The John Cooper Works model does not come with the manual transmission that is available on the other trims, but gets an 8-speed Sport Automatic as standard. 



That power train scoots it from a zero-to-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, a half-second quicker than the Cooper S, according to the company clockers. Fuel economy for the setup in the John Cooper Works is reported at 24 miles-per-gallon city, 33 highway, and 28 combined using premium fuel.

As might be expected (demanded?) of a vehicle in the $40,000 range (more on that later) the 2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible comes with a nice collection of tech and safety features.



Among standard comfort and safety features are Active Driving Assist with Forward Collision, Pedestrian Detection and Lane-Keeping Assist, an active rollover protection system, automatic modes for headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an 8.8-inch touchscreen to activate infotainment functions, 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth Connectivity, rear park assist, JCW sport suspension, and a multi-function, leather-wrapped steering wheel.


Mini has always prided itself on giving buyers several options to personalize their vehicles, and the 2022 Mini John Cooper Works is no exception. My test JCW included two packages that added $6,000 to the bottom line.

The Iconic trim package included a heat front seats, dual zone automatic climate control, keyless entry with push-button start, red exterior mirror caps,  Piano Black exterior trim, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a Harmon Kardon premium sound system, and performance summer tires.

The Touchscreen Navigation Plus package added navigation, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, (but not Android Auto, at least according to the spec sheet), and some other features.




Most tech stuff is out of parent company BMW’s stable, but generally a bit more intuitive to operate. The circular display screen, however, does result in a lot of wasted space on the display, but it is a Mini signature design. They aren’t likely to give that up any time soon.


In all the bottom line for my test 2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible came to $45,750 including the $850 destination charge. As with some other Mini models, that’s a $500 increase over most 2021 prices.

What I liked about the 2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible: It is fun to drive (and would be more fun with a manual transmission) and has a sophisticated interior with lots of tech features. Raising and lowering the soft top is a snap, and there even is a pause if you just want the exposure of a sunroof without a full retraction. You can also raise or lower it at low speed. You can still see the head-up display even if you are wearing polarized sunglasses. The front sport seats are supportive and comfortable, and front-seat riders have plenty of room. 


What I didn’t like about the 2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible: The view in the rear view mirror is restricted when the top is lowered because it doesn’t fold flat enough. You don’t see what is behind you until the following vehicle is very close, and even then you get only about the top half. Truck space is very negligible. Yes, this is a subcompact convertible so you can’t expect much, but this one won’t even fit a beach umbrella. Publicists claim the Mini seats four adults, but anyone who wants to ride in the back needs to compromise, like say amputate their legs.

Would I buy the 2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible? I am a big fan of convertibles, but the Mini wouldn’t be my first choice. It’s a fun car,  though, and would work as a second vehicle or for daily commutes to work. If that is a bit out of what you would want to spend for a second car, the Cooper S starts at just over $7,000 less.




Friday, November 12, 2021

2021 HYUNDAI VENUE DENIM EDITION


FEATURE-LOADED VENUE DENIM EDITION 

TO GET A NEW TRIM NAME FOR 2022


At under $25,000 for the top trim, the Hyundai Venue is one of the best bargains available in the subcompact SUV segment today. It offers a full array of standard safety and convenience features at what is by today's standards is a very affordable price.

The 2021 Hyundai Venue comes in three trims: SE, an upgraded SEL, and top-of-the-line Denim Edition for this year with Limited scheduled to replace the latter on 2022 models. This review is based on the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim Edition, which will be the last to carry that trim designation.

One of the best things the Venue, which debuted as a 2020 model, has going for it is a long list of standard features. Even the base SE comes with keyless entry, an 8-inch touchscreen display, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


It also looks good on the outside and has lots of room for its class on the inside (though the rear legroom can get kind of tight depending on where the front seats are set). The cabin is not luxury class by any means, but neither does it have the kind of spartan, bare-bones look that many vehicles in this price range do.

Hard plastics? Sure, but the Denim upgrades the interior with a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, and distinct seating surfaces to give it a more upscale look.



A notable feature on the Denim trim is the inclusion of navigation in the 8-inch touchscreen. Sure, you can get turn-by-turn directions on your Smart phone, but do you really want to squint at your phone when you’re looking for a way out of rush-hour traffic or around an unexpected road block?

All Venues come with a 121-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that is mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Thus the emphasis is more on fuel economy (30 miles-per-gallon city, 33 highway, 31 combined) over performance. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel is not offered.



With 113 pound-feet of torque, the Venue takes 8.6 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph, according to the website zeroto60times.com. That’s not neck-snapping, course, but for most driving situations, especially in urban environments, the Venue gets around OK.

Like most smaller vehicles, it gives the impression of a much snappier performance when getting around town, and the smaller size (159.1 inches long, 69.7 wide) makes getting in and out of tight spaces a snap.



The drive mode selector is a knob on the console that lets you move in normal, sport, or snow  mode. You can feel a noticeable bump when turning it from normal to sport.

Cargo space behind the back row is about that of a trunk in a full-size sedan. Its 18.7 cubic feet is more than adequate for grocery store runs, and if it’s not, you can fold the second-row seats and get 31.9 cubic feet for your luggage or Home Depot runs.

Pricing for the 2021 Venue starts at $19,935 (including destination and delivery) for the SE trim. The SEL starts at $20,785, and the Denim Edition tops the list at $22,245. There are slight increases for 2022 models, but if that bothers you, there is little difference between 2021 and next year’s Venues as far as changes so you can go with the older version.

What I liked about the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim Edition:
The plentiful techno features are very user-friendly. There are knobs to adjust both the radio and A/C controls, which is nice. Driving in Sport mode ups the performance. Safety features like Blind Spot Warning and Forward Collision Avoidance are standard. It also has an alert for when a vehicle in front of you at and intersection pulls away as well as a audio warning about cameras at upcoming intersections.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim Edition: I would prefer a standard automatic over the CVT, though this is a fairly advanced CVT and has a Sport mode to increase performance. Road noise at higher speed infringes on audio volume.

Would I buy the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim Editiion? Subcompacts are not among my favorite crossovers, but this one comes packed with lots of features that make for an enjoyable ride. I would have to consider it. The Denim Edition actually offers a slightly less expensive price with many of the same features as the SEL trim when the SEL Premium Package, reviewed on this site last August, is included.



Thursday, November 4, 2021

2022 KIA CARNIVAL MPV



KIA ALL-IN WITH THE CARNIVAL MPV REPLACING SEDONA IN MINIVAN MARKET


The 2022 Kia Carnival is yet another vehicle out of the South Korean automaker's assembly plant that merited a new name rather than simply being recognized as a “refreshing” of the model it replaces in the lineup.

Like the 2021 K5 when it took over for the longstanding Optima sedan, the 2022 Kia Carnival replaces the outgoing Sedona nameplate that enjoyed a two-decade run in the minivan segment.



Kia publicists prefer to call it the 2022 Kia Carnival MPV for “Multi-Purpose Vehicle” though with a minivan’s boxy shape, sliding side doors, and three-row seating it is going to take a while for the MPV moniker to catch on.

Kia itself says the 2022 Carnival stakes a claim “on the unoccupied space between SUV and family hauler.” Frankly, I didn’t even know there was a space between the SUV and the family hauler, but apparently the folks at Kia’s California Design Studio think there is one.



Whatever you call it, the 2022 Kia Carnival debuts as a solid competitor to sales leaders Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica in the minivan segment. It does all the right things you want in a minivan and in an attractive manner that will ease some of the “soccer mom” scorn usually associated with the class.

Its 3.5-liter, V6 engine pumps out a significant 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque that gives you a feeling of confidence when negotiating expressways and interstates as well as when merging into intersections. The website zeroto60times.com caught the Carnival SX that this review is based on at 7.0 seconds for its zero-to-60 mph test with the SX Prestige a couple of ticks slower at 7.2.



That engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and that combination checks in with fuel-mileage rating of 19 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway, and 22 combined. Towing capacity is listed at 3,500 pounds. The fuel numbers stack up favorably with its non-hybrid competitors, and the towing capacity is competitive among its rivals.

In addition to the SX and SX Prestige trims that sit at the top, the 2022 Kia Carnival also comes in LX (base) and EX trims. All 2022 Kia Carnival models are front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is not offered.

Though the sliding side doors are a dead giveaway, the Carnival has a sleeker look about it than the typical minivan usually has. From the direct front or rear, it could easily be mistaken for one of the numerous crossovers on the road today.

LED headlights and daytime running lights are standard acdross the line, and the SX gets LED fog lights as well.

Inside the 2022 Kia Carnival SX is roomy and loaded with numerous infotainment functions to keep tech-savvy people happy. Among the standard features on the SX are navigation with a 12.3 touchscreen, USB chargers on all three rows, an intercom system for communication between front- and third-row riders, wireless phone charger, heated front seats, power sliding doors (operable either via the key fob or a gentle tug on the door handle), tri-zone climate control, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.



Seating capacity is up to eight passengers with the second-row sliding chairs removable for more storage space. You can get up to 145.1 cubic feet behind the first row, 86.9 behind the second, and 40.2 with all seats in place.

SX models also get at no charge a surround view monitor (invaluable when maneuvering in tight spaces), a dual screen rear-seat entertainment system, parking assist, driver’s seat lumbar support, and memory driver’s seat and outside mirror position. The SX also gets a roof rack and rides on standard black 19-inch wheels.

The 2022 Kia Carnival also is the first with the company’s new, more modern-looking, logo.

The LX starts at $32,295 when the $1,175 destination and delivery charge is added on. The SX starts at $42,295. My test vehicle had only one charge for an option, $495 for the silver paint, which ran the final bottom line to $42,770.

What I liked about the 2022 Kia Carnival SX:
At last, Kia has restored the knob to surf radio stations, making the infotainment system even more user friendly. The interior overall is roomy, especially when it comes to stowage area behind the back row seat. It drives and handles well for a minivan. Features include an Auto Hold function to keep you still when stopped at an intersection and the surround view camera and front and reara parking assist systems provide a comfortable feeling. Lots of safety features are included in the base price.

What I didn't like about the 2022 Kia Carnival SX: The storage box on the console could be bigger. Places to put odds and ends in general are somewhat limited throughout the cabin. It's not too difficult to get into the third row, but I wouldn't call it easy either. It's a low rider so be careful going over speed bumps.

Would I buy the 2022 Kia Carnival SX? As much scorn as the minivan segment might get, nobody yet has come up with a better vehicle for hauling families and all their stuff. The Carnival rates as one of the top newcomers in the segment so yes, if I was in the market for a minivan, I would give the 2022 Kia Carnival a long look and hope I could afford the SX. 



Tuesday, October 19, 2021

MIAMI AUTO SHOW

 



SAMA GIVES NISSAN Z TOP HONORS 

AT MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

The 2021 Miami International Auto Show opened this past weekend in Miami Beach, and though there were considerable no-shows, there also were several interesting vehicles on display on the Miami Beach Convention Center floor.

At the top of that list would be the new 2023 Nissan Z, which earned “Star of the Show” honors from the Southern Automotive Media Association, a Miami-based media group that has recognized top vehicles at the show since the organization’s founding in 2007. (Just for the record, the show dates back to 1971.)

The iconic, seventh-generation Z also was on display (see above) at a special reception at an opening reception at a Miami hotel the night before the show’s Saturday opening (Oct. 16). 

The Z features a twin-turbo V6 engine that is rated at 400 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque from 1600-5200 rpm and mated to either a 6-speed manual or 9-speed automatic transmission that features standard and sport modes.

When it goes on sale next spring it will be offered in two grades — Sport and Performance — in the U.S.

The Z — Nissan has dropped the numerical designation from the name —  will hit showrooms as a coupe with a convertible to follow later.

Though the Z received top honors from SAMA, it was not the only vehicle to get attention on the show’s Media Day.

Stellantis, the corporation that emerged when Fiat-Chrysler and the French PSA Group (think Peugeot and Citroen) joined forces, showed the new resurrected Wagoneer SUV and the L version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV.

Like Ram’s breakaway from Dodge, the Wagoneer is now a stand alone brand after a long history under the Jeep banner. The 2022 model is available as a standard Wagoneer and the fancier Grand Wagoneer. It may be a separate vehicle now, but it still retains Jeep’s traditional seven-slot grille!

Toyota also previewed the new Corolla Cross, an SUV-version of its best-selling sedan, as well as its full-size Tundra pickup. The Tundra is all-new for 2022 and Toyota East Coast Communications Director Zachary Reed is particularly high on it.

“It’s incredible,” he said. “I can say with supreme confidence that this new Tundra is better in every single way over the outgoing model. It is absolutely a game-changer.”

As for the Corolla Cross, Reed said it is expected in dealerships in the next few weeks. The first ones just rolled out of the new Mazda Toyota plant in Huntsville, Ala., last week, Reed said.

I mentioned “no shows” earlier. The list of manufacturers with vehicles on display included Cadillac and Chevrolet from General Motors, Ford and Lincoln, Hyundai and Genesis, Kia, and Subaru.
In addition to a Toyota display, Lexus is there, and Stellantis leads the way with displays for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Ram in addition to Jeep and Wagoneer.

Notably absent are usual participants Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi from Japan and all the European brands. No Audi. No BMW. No Jaguar. No Land Rovcer. No Mercedes-Benz. No Porsche. No Volkswagen. No Volvo.

No doubt much of that has to do with Covid cautions — even the Miami show’s scheduled February 2021 dates were pushed back to the traditional fall time period because of the pandemic — but also perhaps a change in the way some manufacturers are looking at auto shows as opposed to using other venues to get their products in front of the public.

Detroit even canceled its 2021 North American  International Auto Show in September for a program it called Motor Bella. It was an outdoor event featuring three days of press and industry previews followed by three days for the public. 

The current Miami Show opened to the public last Saturday afternoon and runs through Sunday (Oct. 24). For information on hours and tickets, visit www.miamiautoshows.com.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

2021 NISSAN ROGUE PLATINUM

 


NISSAN GIVES POPULAR ROGUE CROSSOVER SUV EXTENSIVE MAKEOVER FOR 2021


Fully redesigned, the 2021 Nissan Rogue looks to continue its role as not only the company’s best seller but also as one of the most popular compact crossover SUVs on the market today.

Through the first three quarters of the year, the Rogue holds a solid third place in U.S. sales as one of three in its class with over the 200,000 mark behind only Toyota’s RAV4 and Honda’s CR-V.

Only one other small SUV, Chevrolet’s Equinox with 151,111, has managed to get over the 150,000 mark for the first nine months.

The Rogue also jumped over 40 percent when compared to last year’s COVID-restricted sales numbers, among the biggest increases in the segment with a total of 234,646 sold from the first of the year through September.



No doubt, the upgrades Nissan gave the Rogue have played a big part in that sales success.The 2021 Nissan Rogue, which went on sale last fall, looks sharp, has a quality interior, and is packed with a myriad of convenience and safety features that make it ideal for families, seniors, and young couples alike.

The Rogue comes in four trim levels starting with base S that is equipped with such standard features as LED headlights with automatic on/off, LED fog lights and taillights, NissanConnect technology with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, two USB ports up front, Bluetooth hands-free communications, keyless entry, and safety systems like forward collision warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.



SV and SL trims keep adding features. At the top of the portfolio, the Platinum trim this review is based on incorporates features from those trims and adds such exclusive features as a 12-inch digital dashboard display, a head-up display that gives the driver speed and cruise setting at a glance, a wireless charging pad, upgraded leather seats with quilted stitching, and heated rear seats.

All the features in the optional SL Premium package also are standard on the Platinum. That adds Bose Premium Audio and Nissan's ProPilot Assist with Navi-link to the features.



By the way, "assist" is the key word on the word on the ProPilot Assist system. It is not a hands-free system but allows the driver to cruise even in heavy traffic with its adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems.

Cargo space across the lineup is good with 36.5 cubic feet with the Divide-N-Hide setup in the Rogue Platinum lowered, an extra 5.5 cubic feet over the rest of the lineup. With the second-row seats folded, max cargo space is 74.1 cubic feet.

Passengers in the front enjoy up to 41.5 inches of legroom. Those in the second row get up to 38.5.

All Rogues come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, and there is about the only rub. The engine could use a bit more punch. It is rated at 181 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 181 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm, resulting on less-than-inspiring performance. The website zeroto60times.com reports the Rogue Platinum takes 8.1 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph.


The good news is that fuel economy is good (25 miles-per-gallon city, 32 mpg highway, and 28 combined for all-wheel-drive Platinum models and 26/34/29 for those with front-wheel drive).  Numbers for other trims vary slightly with the FWD S model topping the chart at a combined 30 mpg.

Further good news: the engine uses regular octane fuel, the CVT offers a manual shift mode via paddle shifters, and adjusting the transmission setting to Sport mode keeps the revs at a slightly higher level for more performance. 

There are also settings for Off-Road, Eco, Snow., and Automatic, each adjustable via a handy dial on the console.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue starts at $27,225for the FWD S trim including the $1,175 destination and delivery charge. The FWD SV starts at $28,915. The FWD SL starts at $33,575, and the FWD Platinum carries a starting price of $37,005.

AWD adds $1,400 to the bottom, line, which brought my test vehicle, which included a handful of stand-alone options, to $39,685.

What I liked about the 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum:
 The redesign really upgraded the exterior appeal, giving it a sexier look.The cabin is roomy and has an upscale, even premium, feel about it. Techno features are plentiful and easy to operate. Cargo space is excellent.

What I didn’t like abut the 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum: Not looking for a dragster here, but the 181-horsepow
er engine hooked up to a CVT doesn’t offer much in the way of performance. It somewhat makes up for that with decent fuel economy even in all-wheel-drive configuration.

Would I buy the 2021 Nisan Rogue Platinum? A definite yes here. The Rogue offers comfort and convenience with a full suite of techno features, especially in the Platinum trim. Still, you might find everything you want in one of the less-expensive SV or SL trims. Even the base S model is well-equipped and boasts a lot of safety features.


Friday, October 8, 2021

2021 KIA K5 GT



POWER UPGRADE ON GT MODEL GIVES PERFORMANCE A BOOST ON KIA’S K5 SEDAN


The 2021 Kia K5 GT isn’t billed as a “sports sedan,” but with a 290-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 314 pound-feet of torque it does a pretty good impersonation of one, especially when dialed into Sport mode for city environs.

The GT is the third version of the car that replaced the Optima in Kia’s lineup that I have had the pleasure of driving since last December, and I must say it just keeps getting better.

Yes, it sits at the top of the price list for the K5, but not by much. Not including the optional GT1 Package of features, my test K5 came to $31,705 including the $985 destination and delivery charge.



That is roughly about $1,600 more than the K5 GT-Line model that comes with a 1.4-liter turbo-4 instead of the 2.5-liter 4-banger in the GT. 

The optional GT1 Package is well worth the extra $4,000 if you can stretch your budget, stretching the final bottom line to $35,705.

Features in the package include a10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation (replacing the standard 8-inch screen), Bose premium sound, ventilated front seats, memory driver’s seat and power passenger seat with lumbar support, adaptable cruise control, rear parking assist, forward collision avoidance assist, and trial subscriptions to Kia’s UVO link (one-year) and Sirius-XM satellite radio (three months).

If you do much highway/city expressway driving, the adaptive cruise control (Kia calls is Smart) alone is worth the extra money.



Standard equipment included in the GT’s base MSRP ($30,490) includes the aforementioned 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, panoramic sunroof, dual zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and push-button start, power trunk release, power driver’s seat with lumbar support, leather-wrapped steering wheel (with controls for cruise, audio, and Bluetooth), and LED headlights, fog lights and taillights.



Safety features include blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, leading vehicle departure alert (never get honked at at an intersection again!) and an assortment of air bags that includes full length side bags. There’s also Driver Attention Warning system to keep you alert.

In addition GT features at no extra cost include an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, 19-inch alloy sport wheels, sport-tuned suspension, quad dual exhaust, Syn-Tex covered sport seats, GT designed steering wheel with paddle shifters, heated front seats, and a wireless phone charger.



With its 2.5L engine, the GT is offered in front-wheel drive only. AWD is available only with the 1.6L engine. EPA fuel mileage numbers are 24 miles-per-gallon city, 32 highway, and 27 combined using regular octane fuel. Zero-to-60 mph is in the 5-second range.

All in all, the K5 is an alluring choice for those who haven’t given up on sedans just yet.

What I liked about the 2021 Kia K5 GT: The GT model has a little more moxie than the EX reviewed here in late July and GT-Line reviewed last December. The  GT Premium Package adds to a already plentiful list of standard features. The infotainment system is user friendly (with one exception noted below). All K5s have an exterior look of more expensive sedans and generous trunk capacity.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Kia K5 GT:
As user-friendly as the infotainment system is, I still would like a knob to use to surf the radio dial. 

Would I buy the 2021 Kia K5 GT: Yes. It’s a tough call between the GT and EX and GT-Line trims. No matter the trim, the K5 is a very good buy with many features not usually found in this price range.