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[Behind the wheel] Spacious K5 flaunts virtues of good family sedan

It is no secret that Kia Motors has a knack for pulling off spacious interiors, and its New K5 is a prime showcase of that ability. 
The New K5 (Kia Motors)
The New K5 (Kia Motors)

The moment I opened the door of the midsize sedan, I instantly noticed the lofty space in the back, large enough not only for tall adults but also luggage on the floor. The front seats were equally spacious, allowing plenty of legroom. The interior design was lean, modern and simple, accentuating the space. According to Kia, the wheelbase was stretched 10 millimeters longer and 10 millimeters higher from its previous model.

This is important for people like me who tend to stack a lot of stuff on the front passenger seat but also move the legs a lot as a passenger. It also fits family users with babies or small children who need piles of stuff even going out for a short trip. This spacious design would certainly be highly favored by motorists with families.

Kia explained that the facelift version of the best-selling K5 sedans focused on ensuring safety as well as comfort.

The windshield side molding was adjusted while a large undercover was attached to absorb and block the outside noise, vibration and harshness. The seats with new cushion pipes put my body at ease while driving.

In order to maximize safety, the carmaker used advanced high-strength steel for 51 percent of the vehicle body and installed seven airbags, including one in the driver’s legroom below the steering wheel. The vehicle stability management system, rear parking assist system, hill-start assist control and emergency stop signal also help drivers prioritize safety above all else.

But this doesn’t mean that the New K5 has given up on the fun of driving.

I especially liked the diesel engine for the media test drive held in Gyeonggi Province between Ilsan and Songchu on Wednesday. Journalists were given the opportunity to test both the 1.7 diesel engine and the 2.0 gasoline engine.

The 1.7 diesel engine is facilitated with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and the “idle stop-and-go” function, which helps the vehicle achieve high fuel efficiency of 16 kilometers per liter. It boasts 141 European horsepower with a maximum torque of 34.7 kilogram meters.

While driving, the pedals were quite responsive and the suspension and seven-speed DCT definitely smoothened the steering, thus enhancing the drivability. The noise was indeed detected at a minimum level, and lessened the tension of driving.

I didn’t have the chance to drive the gasoline model but instead rode in the passenger seat.

When switched to the sports mode, the excitement of the roaring engine and fine vibration reached the front seat and brought dynamicity to the whole journey. But somehow, the noise seemed louder than in the diesel-engine car.

The New K5 is an important product for Kia Motors, which is seeking to expand its U.S. market share with the midsize sports sedan starting in October. And I would bet this will the heads of motorists seeking sounder safety and reinforced drivability.

By Bae Ji-sook (