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Front Page - Friday, August 4, 2023

Behind the Wheel: Kia K5 challenges ever-popular Honda Accord

By Chase Bierenkoven | Edmunds

The midsize sedan market lacks the diversity of models it once did, yet what remains is a competitive set of vehicles. Honda’s Accord has been a long-standing fixture in this class and for 2023 it receives a full redesign that introduces added legroom, greater fuel efficiency and new styling elements.

A key rival is the Kia K5, which has been one of Edmunds’ top-rated sedans since its introduction a few years ago. Both sedans scored well in Edmunds’ testing, but which one should you buy? Edmunds experts compared them to find out.

Comfort and interior

The Accord and K5 feature straightforward yet elegant interiors that have traditional physical buttons for climate controls and volume adjustments. The Accord does have an advantage in rear seat legroom, as it offers 40.8 inches compared to the Kia K5’s 35.2 inches.

But Edmunds experts noticed some faults. Shorter drivers may have a harder time seeing the gauges when the driver’s seat is raised, and the front seats could benefit from more padding to be more comfortable. Some trims are also missing rear air vents.

These issues aside, the Accord’s cabin does a solid job of keeping out cabin noise, and all-electric driving in hybrid models only adds to the serene experience.

While the Accord is impressively quiet inside, the Kia is even more so. Edmunds experts compared the K5 to some luxury cars in noise levels, and the front seats provide better cushioning and support than the Honda’s.

Additionally, the K5’s suspension does an excellent job of soaking up bumps and road imperfections and does so without being overly soft. The Accord does the same but to a somewhat lesser degree.

Winner: Kia K5

Performance and MPG

The K5 and the Accord have very different performance goals. To the Accord, performance means strong fuel economy. To Kia, that means power and acceleration. The entry-level K5 has a 180-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that gets an EPA-estimated 31 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

The base Honda and its 192-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder manages a slightly better 32 mpg. The hybrid Accord, found in upper trims, performs even better, offering up to an estimated 48 mpg in mixed driving.

Kia does not offer a hybrid version of the K5. However, there is the sport-oriented GT trim level featuring a 290-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The powerful GT trim livens up what would otherwise be an average driving experience. Especially when equipped with the larger engine, the K5 is more fun to drive than the Accord, which is on the whole less nimble than its predecessor.

The base engines in both cars are evenly matched, and the winner here depends on what you want out of your midsize sedan: more fun or better fuel economy.

Winner: tie


The Kia starts at $26,515, and the Accord at $28,390 including destination. At the top end, the K5 lineup ends at $32,915 with the GT. Honda’s hybrid model commands a $4,000 premium over the base model and tops out at $38,435 for the Touring Hybrid trim. In most trims, a comparably optioned Kia K5 costs thousands less than a similar Accord.

Kia has a reputation for undercutting its competition and offering strong warranties, and the K5 is no different. It offers a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty paired with a five-year/60,000-mile basic coverage warranty. Honda does not come close to that, offering a three-year/36,000-mile basic and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Winner: Kia K5

Edmunds says

The newest Accord is a solid choice for a family sedan, especially if hybrid-based fuel economy is a priority for you. But its improvements aren’t significant enough to unseat the Kia K5 as Edmunds’ top-rated model. It offers standout looks, a stellar warranty, affordable pricing and excellent features in a way that the Accord can’t quite match.

Chase Bierenkoven is a contributor at Edmunds and is on Twitter