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The current generation Honda Accord has been a class leader since it was introduced in 2018. It has garnered an Edmunds Top Rated award for the last two years, meaning it outranked all other midsize sedans. But there is a new challenger for the title: the all-new 2021 Kia K5.

The K5 replaces Kia’s Optima sedan.

It features more aggressive styling and the latest technology features. Edmunds’ experts performed a full evaluation of the Kia K5 to answer the question: Is it better than the Honda Accord?


The Accord has a standard turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 192 horsepower. The K5′s standard engine is a turbocharged 1.6-liter good for 180 horsepower. The Accord’s slight power advantage doesn’t mean much in real-world driving. In testing, both sedans accelerated to 60 mph in 8 seconds and delivered similar overall performance. More powerful four-cylinder engines ― 252 horsepower in the Accord, 290 horsepower in the K5 ― are available for both sedans.

Fuel economy is also essentially a tie. The EPA estimates the Accord with the standard engine and continuously variable automatic transmission will get up to 33 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The Kia, with its base engine, will get up to an estimated 32 mpg combined.

The Honda has an excellent continuously variable automatic transmission that minimizes the delays in response that this type of transmission can sometimes exhibit. The Kia’s traditional automatic is marginally better, and even though acceleration is dead even, the K5 feels more responsive. Both sedans have standard front-wheel drive, though Kia goes one step further and offers optional all-wheel drive.

Winner: K5


The K5 and the Accord ably soak up imperfections in the road for a comfortable ride. The Accord, however, tends to feel a little busier and unsettled on rough pavement. As far as seat comfort goes, they deliver appropriate support and cushioning for long road trips.

In the back, each car has plenty of rear legroom for passengers to stretch out or to fit a bulky rear-facing child safety seat. These sedans have tapering rooflines and, as such, rear headroom starts to get tight for adults more than 6 feet tall.

The interior design and quality are also comparable. Both feature a visually striking horizontal dashboard with upscale materials. The Accord gains a slight advantage when it comes to outward visibility since the K5′s taller decklid somewhat obscures your view out of the back.

In terms of cargo capacity, the Honda offers up to 16.7 cubic feet in the trunk compared to the K5′s 16 cubic feet. That difference is marginal, and it’s balanced out by the Kia’s larger trunk opening that makes loading items a bit easier. All things considered, we’re certain that drivers and passengers will find the interiors of both the Accord and the K5 to their liking.

Winner: Tie


It’s easy to operate the touchscreens in these sedans. Yet the K5 gets an edge for some of its features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is standard on every trim level, for instance, while Honda doesn’t offer such integration for the base trim Accord. You also get wireless versions of these systems in the K5. This is particularly helpful in conjunction with the available wireless charging pad that features a cooling fan and a spring-loaded panel to keep your phone secure.

The Kia K5 continues to pull ahead in this category thanks to its advanced safety features and driver assistants. While they don’t come standard on every trim level as they do on the Accord, their overall operation is smoother and less prone to false alarms.

Winner: K5


The Honda Accord’s base LX trim starts right at $25,225 including destination fees. The base Kia K5 LX is just a bit less at $24,455. Kia’s pricing advantage is consistent through the midlevel trims all the way up to the top, where the luxurious Honda Accord Touring trim costs $37,355 and a loaded-up Kia K5 GT rings in at $35,455.

Warranty coverage runs for five years or 60,000 miles with the Accord. Kia extends it out to 10 years and 100,000 miles.

Winner: K5

EDMUNDS SAYS: In the areas where it matters most to shoppers in the midsize sedan class, both the Honda Accord and the new Kia K5 easily meet or beat expectations. They’re comfortable, enjoyable to drive and have plenty of tech features. As close as they are, the Kia K5 edges out the Accord when it comes to value and a few features that add up to a better overall experience.


This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Mark Takahashi is a senior reviews editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @mark_takahashi.

Related links:

—2021 Kia K5 review

—2021 Honda Accord review

—2021 Kia K5 video review

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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