I have always enjoyed driving … it is one of those moments where I get to collect my thoughts, experiencing a sense of peace and serenity as the country side zooms by. And to be given a K5 to go outstation with fills me with anticipation. Having won the car for a week’s drive, I now have better bonding time with it, getting to know its characteristics and quirks better. What I have learned so far that I missed in my earlier test drive:-

1) automatic repositioning of the driver’s seat when the engine is turned off and on. When turned off, the car seat moves backwards for easy egress whereas pushing the car’s Start button would reward you with the front seats moving into its last saved position. I don’t know about the rest but each time this happens, I feel like I’m in Batman’s Tumbler where his seat moves from one point to another in drive mode and weapons active mode.
2) the HID Xenon lights at night is seriously bright. Coupled with its Static Bending Lights, every road imperfection when cornering can be seen with clarity. It’s a pity that this feature cannot be properly demonstrated during short test drives because such drives only happen during daytime office hours. However, if the showroom has a basement nearby, it might be worthwhile to showcase this useful (and safe) feature. I appreciate every moment of it when I drive at night.
3) The Infinity sound system sounds like any loudspeaker. Take out the badge and you would never have guessed it’s from such a prestigious company. Having said that, I have to admit I have not had the proper time to try to tune the system. Hopefully more to report on this later.
4) This car is HUGE! I mean, I know it’s a D segment but seriously when parked next to other D segment vehicles such as the Camry/Accord/Teana, the road presence of the K5 beats the rest senseless.

K5 badge …. merely having this badge at the rear of your car adds 5hp and 10Nm to your output.

But …. having a Kia On Tour sticker takes away 10hp. Seriously, wherever I go with the car, I felt like a Kia salesman and people just stare at me wondering if they should just come up and ask me about the company car. Not allowed to tamper with the stickers, I am told. Sigh.

Coming back to my trip. The mission: To test maximum fuel consumption efficiency by heading south from 1 Utama to Pontian, Johor before running on B roads to Johor Bahru then coming up north to Seremban for some food before returning home. All in all, the journey consists of approximately

– 650km of highway
– 80km of B roads
– 10km of city drive

Like most journeys, I prefer to travel in the morning. Cold, fresh air, the mild lightening of the horizon by the morning sun and the occasional morning fog makes for a surreal driving experience. On a practical side, driving in a cold(er) environment increases engine efficiency as the outside air helps to keep things chill in the engine bay and in the cabin, negating further unnecessary wastage of energy for air conditioning.

A good start of the day … fresh RON95 from Dengkil R&R; Southbound. Trip meter shows range of about 780km.

Now, I have always refrained from commenting much about FC on cars mainly because some manufacturers cheat by manipulating the method to measure fuel used, others drive at unrealistically slow speeds of 80-90kph on 110kph highways which no one does. I’ve seen some even go as far as pitting 3 units of the same make very closely back to back so that the front car breaks wind resistance, creating slipstream for rear cars. In a Nissan fuel efficiency contest, the winner inflates his tires to about 50PSi to reduce tire resistance and trails behind a lorry in the journey to Malacca. Most of these methods do not reflect actual scenario that is reasonable to expect from a normal drive.

So my methodology is simple: Use auto cruise at the maximum legal speed limit whenever possible and drive in the most efficient manner possible by not flooring it whenever I have the chance. Some might call it driving like a wussy but I’d like to see it as enjoying the ride while not getting into trouble with the law.

Upon reaching Ayer Keroh rest area for breakfast, my Korean boss who was with me explained the meaning of Kia. The name “Kia” derives from the Hanja ki (起) meaning arise or come up out of or rising up and the a (亞) stands for Asia. So Kia (起亞) is roughly translated as arise or come up out of Asia or Rising out of Asia.The K5, like the Forte has definitely risen Kia’s regard in the Malaysian market with sales figures continuing to do well month after month.

Driving the K5 on a highway at 110kph can be pretty boring. This is because you feel as though you’re travelling slower thanks to the illusion created with a long bonnet and you don’t see the road rushing towards you. The good NVH (except for the Nexen tire noise which gets vocal at times depending on road conditions) as well as its capable suspension further accentuates this point.

In case you’re interested to know, 110kph has the engine running at about 2,250rpm.

Nevertheless, we managed to stay focus before turning off at Simpang Renggam exit to head towards Pontian. Those familiar with this road would understand why I say abysmal is too mild a word to describe the road conditions. Patches of pot holes and tram lining cracks along the road dot a good 10km heading inwards towards Pontian. If you’re not careful and happen to veer off the road even for a split second, the uneven road may even tear a gash along the sidewall of your tire. Sounds like an ideal place to test the K5’s suspension!

And it IS great. Though set harder than it’s sister car, the Hyundai Sonata, body roll is kept in check and deft maneuvers evading those said road impurities are done with aplomb (I actually felt like veering an X-wing along the trenches of the Deathstar at some point). A friend of mine said if you can survive Johor roads for a year without an incident involving your suspension and tires, you can survive driving on any road. I think he may be right.

After driving for more than 3 hours, we arrived at the seaside town of Pontian.

It felt great …. not a single K5 seen on the roads here. When we parked at a seaside mamak for lunch, eyes get drawn to it like a hot chick in bikinis. Here’s another bonus driving this car: I find more people giving way for me to cut into their lanes as they want to stay behind it. Next thing you know, those at the back would be pointing at various parts of the car to his/her passengers. The K5 ALWAYS have right of way. Nice!

The trip to JB was done without much fuss. We had to go to Taman Sentosa and sometimes, finding a (legal) parking spot here can be as challenging as finding that elusive pin in the haystack while being blind folded. And when I did find a spot, it was tight and was wondering if the car can fit. Not a sweat with the guided lines on the rear view mirror as well as audio beeps from the ODO meter.

The way back was most amusing. We stopped at Tangkak R&R; for a rest and there, we encountered a bunch of tourist from China who also stopped for a pee break. Instead of moving around, they all clustered around the car, each telling his/her friends how much he/she liked the car. The elderlies asked if this was a continental and the younger ones would say this is a Kia. (should have taken a picture of that incident. Dang). Some overseas marketing for you, Kia.

At the end of the trip, here was my result:

740km travelled with 160km more to spare. That’s a theoratical 900km range for this tank of fuel.
In the end, I finally filled up today after some town driving in the Klang Valley with the following:
RM125.16 worth of RON95 with a travel distance of 810.6km. That’s about 15cents per kilometer. Not bad at all. And immediately after refilling, the trip computer shows the following range:

All in all, it was a really interesting drive. The seat support was fantastic and I didn’t feel tired at all. This is definitely a great car to drive and be seen in, especially at long distance. Though I did not ferry any rear passengers this time around, those whom I did for short drives remarked how spacious and comfortable they feel sitting behind, just like the boss. It’s got style, it’s got the performance, it’s got the safety and it’s value for money with all the features you get ….. what more can you ask for in a car, really??

Spec references on earlier article:


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  1. May 10, 2012 at 11:29 am — Reply

    Nice … I know we dun compare apple & orange but how is this car in comparison to the Peugeot 508 you reviewed earlier

  2. May 10, 2012 at 11:44 am — Reply

    That's a tough question, king. Mainly because I've not been given a 508 to drive south so it won't be an objective comparison. But if based on the little time I had testing the 508, here's what I "think":

    Legroom space:
    K5 trumps the 508

    On pick-up, the turbo charged 508 240Nm engine will beat the K5's 198Nm Theta II.

    Ride and handling:
    Comparable but I find the suspension of the 508 to be a little stiffer

    This is a hard one since each have its own unique features.

    In conclusion, it's really up to the individual's preferences. Parked next to a 508, the K5 commands better attention whereas the 508 has a classy exterior that does not "shout" at others. The biggest difference may be in terms of pricing. With the 508 being about RM27,000 pricier, the K5 makes an interesting alternative if you're looking for the best bang-for-buck D segment. For potential buyers, I would recommend test drive both cars (a few times, if necessary) and see which one captures their hearts.

  3. May 11, 2012 at 8:36 am — Reply

    Thanks for the heads up kenso … honestly I have not really tot about the K5 … but after reading your review I will take a test drive before making my final decision.

  4. May 11, 2012 at 8:51 am — Reply

    You're most welcome, king. Happy hunting!

  5. May 11, 2012 at 6:51 pm — Reply

    How does the K5 compare with your Black Beauty? Does it give you a continental car feel?

  6. May 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm — Reply

    Hi Kevin …. continental feel? Yup …. as close as an Asian car can be. The suspension, steering accuracy and body roll is all kept in check

  7. May 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm — Reply

    I must say I am impressed with the K5. Initially thought about getting the Sportage but after test driving the K5 I am sold. The only prob I had is that I am driving a 308 turbo so I keep comparing the pick up but that is unfair. Great car. Would definitely consider if I am changing my car. Love the gadgets especially the static light. Cool. Go test drive if you haven't already.

  8. May 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm — Reply

    wow that is an impressive fuel economy u achieved!

  9. May 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm — Reply

    Hi Simon,

    Thanks! It's not really that great …. a lot of K5 owners have reported similar excellent FCs in their outstation drives. I dare say it's very achievable for the K5

  10. Name *
    May 23, 2012 at 5:38 am — Reply

    I read your articles with great pleasure and love your unbiased and objective reviews with amazement.
    Would like to ask your expert opinion on this :
    I am planning to get RM 150k +/- range car.
    Getting married and planning to start a family soon.
    Living in Penang so mostly will be city driving and expect small tight parking spaces ( but can deal with it )
    Doesn’t mind getting an Asian made car or Conti car.

    Initially set up my mind to get a K5 after reading your amazing review on this baby but got distracted by VW Golf TSi and your recent review on Peugeot 508. ( BUT 508 is out of reach for me )
    Can you please give your view on this ?
    What would you get if you are in my position ?
    Many thanks

    • May 23, 2012 at 7:23 am — Reply


      First of all, congratulations on getting married! It’s pretty cool that you’re planning to have not one, but TWO “wives” at almost the same time. Both requires long term commitment from you and if you don’t like them, you can’t change them over night. Both can reward you with endless pleasure and when either one is moody, it ruins your day. Still, it’s really cool if you’re getting one “wife” as the wedding car to marry the other wife.

      Thank you for your compliment and while I wouldn’t call myself an expert in this field, I would share my opinion about your options. Btw, I am also Penang-kia so I know what kind of traffic you go through each day 🙂

      Based on your shortlisted vehicles, the K5 and 508 are D segment whereas the Golf is a C-sized hatchback. In determining which segment, ask yourself the following:-

      1) Do you plan to have a baby anytime soon? Strollers, diapers, luggage backs requires a lot of boot space and if you’re keeping the car for at least 5 years in which perhaps you’ll have a baby in 2 years, a D segment might suit your needs better.
      2) Are there any other cars at home? Does your future wife drive a hatchback? If so, having another hatch may not make as much sense as a D segment
      3) Who drives the car more often? Ladies appreciate the smaller Golf which is easier to park and move around the tight “lorong”s around Chowrasta Street
      4) Servicing convenience? Between Kia, VW and Peugeot, you might have the biggest headache in Peugeot since their only present SC is located in Juru
      5) Do you ferry people often? While the rear seats of a Golf is fairly comfortable, the K5, being a larger car has better rear legroom.

      To summarize, here’s what I think:

      Size – K5 > Golf
      Performance – Golf > K5
      Ride and Handling – Golf > K5
      Cabin convenience – K5 > Golf
      Specifications – Golf = K5 (I say equal because useful features like panoramic sun roof, KEYSSEY, electric seats with memory on the K5 are balanced with one-touch remote window up/down, curb view side mirror, front and rear parking sensors, parking lights of the Golf)

      One more point to consider if FC. Without a doubt, the Golf trumps the K5. My Golf gives me about 500km for 50litres. With the K5 for city driving, most report around 6xxkm for about 70litres of fuel. It’s not a fair comparison considering the different segments but as a buyer, these are important information. In terms of servicing, K5 needs to visit the SC once every 10,000km whereas the Golf is 15,000km. In terms of costing, I think the Golf is cheaper in the long run.

  11. Name *
    May 23, 2012 at 10:02 am — Reply

    Again, thank you very much for the informative feedback 😉

    It’s a silly question to ask you in the first place knowing that you actually own a Golf !! * facepalm* Ahahah 😉
    So if given a chance now to choose btw the both, I’m sure you’ll pick that Golf again right ?!

    Anyway, Good that you asked actually.
    Currently I am just driving a small Myvi around Penang and find it really convenient and easy to zip through the traffic and find a parking spot with ease. My fiancee on the other hand doesn’t own a car and rely on me to fetch her around. And she really needs a car to get to work !!

    So the decision this time is rather an important one, in the fact that :
    1) It will be a major upgrade for the household ( Switching from a 50k car to a 150k car ) So it cannot be a screw up. Must choose a car that can actually last ( Don’t plan to sell it in 5-7 years, knowing that car is a liability rather than investment )
    2) I plan to buy a new car and yes, I think I will be driving it for most of the time. In return, I will passover my current Myvi to my fiancee.
    3) My in laws and parents are actually against me getting a Korean made car compared to the VW, reason being the common perception that it has almost to none resale value and doubtful reliability.

    So now with you knowing my situation, I have a small Myvi at home, which in the future my wife will drive. And the next car I get, should it be a segment C or a segment D ? I mean, another small sized car / hatchback or just go straight to the big and luxurious segment D ? Because in another 5-7 years’ time, I probably would have to sell off my Myvi and get another car for my wife.
    So question is,
    NOW, Myvi – K5 ? Myvi – Golf ? Myvi – Other segment C’s ? THEN ( 5 years’ later )
    K5 – Bigger car ? Golf – Bigger car ? Segment C – Bigger car ?

    I know this is confusing and sorry for all the trouble. I just want the best and hopefully some wise planning for the future too.
    And I know you’re just the right person to ask.

    Thank you again for all the help and advice. Cheers

    • May 23, 2012 at 11:22 am — Reply

      Well, with regards to the Golf, I can’t say I would buy it if I am given the choice. The Golf was purchased because we needed a replacement for the Peugeot 308THP and the Golf was simply the closest thing that could match (and in some areas better) the performance, ride and handling as well as the ease of parking for a lady. From where you’re coming from, the reasons for purchase is a lot different.

      Your parents are not wrong … between a VW and a Kia, the VW is definitely much better in terms of resale value. The thing I don’t like about the Golf is the relative small boot space where, if you’re planning to have a family does not allow you room to grow. The Golf is a car to keep and to some, it can be used as a primary car. For me, I prefer something bigger. But the question is, MUST you buy a D segment? If yes, then the K5 is the best option, money for specs.

      How about a compromise? Get a C segment sedan instead of a D. Not only will it be a more affordable alternative with the additional moneys going to investments, it will also give you and your future wife some time to adapt to the car’s dimensions though I don’t believe this will be a major issue as we’re all quite capable of getting used to different sizes. More of a problem would be parking spaces, at home, work and leisure.

      And among all the C segments, the newly launched 408 represents the best bang for buck. Another alternative is the Prius which makes a lot of sense in a jam prone streets of Penang.

  12. WaiHon
    May 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm — Reply

    yes , Continental car feel .Better than Japanese ‘H’ , ‘N’ or even ‘T’ .
    Great korean Job .

  13. Olli Warelius
    May 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm — Reply

    Thank you for sharing. Not to many people in your position are so gracious. Your article was very poignant and understandable. It helped me to understand very clearly. Thank you for your help.

  14. June 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm — Reply

    I enjoy your wordpress theme, where did you get a hold of it?

  15. June 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm — Reply

    Interesting information…located your article on yahoo and i’ll come back for sure

    • June 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm — Reply

      Thanks … enjoy your stay

  16. Nelson
    December 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm — Reply

    Recently, I came across this local car review magazine which was published 3 months ago( I think). The review was about Kia K5 v.s the New Toyota camry 2.0. It mentioned K5 road handling is not as good as Camry, and Camry ride quality is still superior than K5. However, according to your review Kia 5 seems to have better drivability and handling and it is very close to European standards. Any comments, if the car mag trying to create a biase review towards Toyota?

    • December 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm — Reply

      Well, to be honest, I’ve not driven the new Camry but every single automotive journalist both locally as well as internationally have remarked that the handling of the new Camry is worlds better than its predecessor. So in a shoot out between the new Camry and the K5? Quite frankly, I have no idea …. must find time to check it out …. but the earlier generation would definitely lose out to the K5

  17. Eric
    August 6, 2013 at 11:07 am — Reply

    Just collected my NU Cvvl K5 3 days ago, i would say its a very comfortable car yet with sporty characters(body roll control,exterior and interior). The car always feel planted to the ground even during aggressive cornering, minimal body roll as well. I believe this is because the sport tuned suspension that mentioned in the broucher. Power wise, it comes with gentle so don’t expect great pushing power, sometimes have to be a little patient, but i would not say its very under-power, engine is quite lively and do have some level of engine sound but its not harsh, quite pleasant to be heard sometimes but maybe its just my personal preference. Sound system is superb, one of the best speaker i have tested so far even compare to bose system in CX-5. Steering is comfy bias but it is still sharp luckily, just it has filtered quite some road information to your palms but overall to me still acceptable as long as the accuracy is there. Overall package, it is really great value to money. The features it has are useful and really make you like driving a much more expensive car. There are still both pros and cons but i just love it as in conclusion! 🙂

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