Test drive Kia K5 and Skoda Superb
Test Drive

Test drive Kia K5 and Skoda Superb

Prices for new cars are changing so quickly because of the collapsed ruble that we decided to do without them in this test. Just imagine that you need to choose: Kia K5 or Skoda Superb. It would seem, what does Toyota Camry have to do with it?

In the dispute between large D-class sedans, the Kia Optima has almost come close to the eternal bestseller Toyota Camry, but there is a feeling that the image of the Japanese model will provide it with full-fledged leadership for a long time to come. Therefore, let's leave it outside the scope of this test and see what the bright and very fresh Kia K5 sedan model, which is the leader in the class at least in practicality, that is, the Skoda Superb, has to offer.

It always seemed to me that people were tired of the hegemony of the Toyota Camry and should be happy to look at any other car of comparable consumer qualities, but the car market does not work that way. Camry has a huge loyal audience and an image of such strength that it easily finds buyers in the primary and secondary markets at any age and with an appearance of any degree of boring. And it's not at all a fact that a more modern, bright and technologically advanced car is able to move the Camry off the pedestal, even taking into account the fact that it is being sold cheaper here and now.

Unless only one like this blue K5 in the top GT-Line with its long hood and a la liftback appearance. On this, perhaps, even I would have driven, although the format of a large sedan is still far from me. Just because the K5 is not perceived as heavy, does not oblige to have a fifth-size belly and does not require slow solidity from the owner. The driver in a trendy T-shirt with rolled-up trousers looks quite normal in it, and the car itself, moreover, does not have to be exclusively black.

The concept of the largest sedan in the class implies a special space and some privileges for rear passengers, but there are no ministerial-scale seats in the cabin. In the front, you want to sit lower, because the ceiling is pressing, the rear lacks climate control, although, frankly, it is quite possible to do without this. But there is a small paradox: there is no "climate", but there are side buttons to move the front passenger forward. Although the presence of the "floating chair" function is completely confusing in the question of who is in charge here.

Seriously, I didn't believe until I tried it myself, but now I'm ready to say that Koreans have found a recipe for how to truly relax a passenger or co-driver on a long journey. It turns out that it was enough just to give more freedom to the right-hand seat, which at least has room for this. And this is the most convenient feature for those who often travel in a car not alone.

As for other family entertainment, there are no peculiarities. In addition, the longest car in the class could not bypass the Skoda Superb in terms of the length of the rear seats, which turns out to be very valuable in a situation when children are trying to whack the backs of the front seats with their boots. And although it looks like a liftback in body shape, it is not, which is somewhat disappointing after the first attempt to open the trunk of the Superb. Because it could be that way too, but either it is very costly, or in fact, it is not at all necessary for conservative sedan buyers.

The 5-liter Kia K2,5 has what older people call "a good move", and this is some counterbalance to the too lean Volkswagen habits. This is neither good nor bad, just a slightly different philosophy with a larger displacement, softer “automatic” and more relaxed suspensions. There were no turbo engines and there are no, but reproaches for low manufacturability are hardly appropriate in a car consisting of color screens and cameras of different stripes.

Even if we discard the excessive colorfulness of the top versions and change the GT-Line bumpers to a simpler version, the Kia K5 will not cease to be a big car with an original appearance and decent driving characteristics. The only concern is that the newfangled style can quickly win back, and in a few years the sedan will not seem fashionable, but simply pretentious. This never happens with Skoda cars that are always in the “berry again” state.

Test drive Kia K5 and Skoda Superb

"Is this a Superb brought from Europe?" - the inspector on a sunny Saturday, it seems, was not interested in anything except the updated Skoda. Looking at the LED optics, he even forgot about the euro exchange rate and closed borders.

“I haven’t seen one yet,” he muttered dryly in response to my stories about LEDs, digital tidy and the missing rear-view camera. And he let go.

The restyled Superb is the first Skoda in my memory, to which others show genuine interest. It seems that apart from the chrome trim on the back and new optics, there are no noticeable differences from the pre-styling version, but somehow magically from 20-30 meters the Superb looks like it is a slightly plump new Octavia.

But there is a problem: even such a rare and refreshed Skoda Superb is lost against the background of the Kia K5. Looking at the Czech liftback, you understand that we have already seen all this somewhere: straight stampings, a slightly stretched wheelbase, a huge clearance by the standards of classmates and an overly serious face. While Kia is a mix of peeped solutions in premium and its own, already recognizable features. It turned out so bright and unusual that it would be even awkward to use such a "Kia" in a taxi.

Another thing is that after the change of generations (Optima turned into K5), the large D-class sedan is no longer available in Russia with a turbocharged engine. With a new 2,5-liter naturally aspirated "four" with 194 hp. forces Kia K5 rides recklessly, but is not at all ready for feats, and in the declared 8,6 s to 100 km / h it is not at all believable. At low revs at a ragged pace, traction is often lacking, while the Skoda Superb has a 2,0-liter supercharged TSI. And although in the amount of horsepower the Czech liftback even loses (190 hp), a noticeable pickup from almost idle and a flat torque shelf thanks to the turbine make the difference - the Superb turns out to be noticeably faster.

Test drive Kia K5 and Skoda Superb

At the same time, Superb noticeably loses to the K5 in ride smoothness: after the Korean, the suspension in the Czech liftback seems too stiff (here MacPherson in front and multi-link in the back), and the seven-speed "wet" DSG robot is shallow in traffic jams and generally requires getting used to after the classic "automatic". But the almost five-meter Skoda, although it clearly did not tune in to a sporty mood, is controlled as predictably and accurately as possible. There is also a proprietary Drive Select system, in which you can play with the settings of the transmission, electric power steering, accelerator pedal responsiveness and suspension stiffness (if there are adaptive DCC shock absorbers, they are set for an additional fee).

In general, the Skoda Superb configuration is still a designer, and it seems impossible to do without incidents here. Especially if you decide to use the configurator yourself and order a car for yourself. For example, in our case, the liftback with all security systems, adaptive LED optics, combined interior (leather + Alcantara), top-end Canton acoustics, Columbus multimedia system (with Apple CarPlay and navigation support), digital tidy and a dozen more expensive options was deprived ... rear view cameras.

But the main trump card of the Skoda Superb is not cool engines, options, security systems and not even advanced optics, but a huge trunk and the largest rear sofa in the class. Moreover, the trunk is not just big - there is a regular rectangular shape and a lot of all kinds of nets, hooks, laces and other useful devices. And yes, you run out of things before the trunk fills up to the top shelf.

Of course, with the new Kia K5, the Koreans have swung to leadership in the class, and the Toyota Camry is no longer funny. And everything seemed to go according to plan, but the pandemic and the collapsed ruble intervened in the matter. In addition, the all-wheel drive Kia K5 was never brought to Russia (and there are such cars in the USA and South Korea), and the turbo engines were removed from the configurator altogether. Therefore, the balance of power among the D-class sedans has not changed yet: the K5, like the Optima, will compete primarily with the Skoda Superb, Mazda6 and the related Hyundai Sonata.

Test drive Kia K5 and Skoda Superb

Body typeSedanLiftback
Dimensions (length / width / height), mm4905/1860/14654869/1864/1484
Wheelbase, mm28502841
Ground clearance, mm155149
Curb weight, kg14961535
engine's typeGasoline, R4Gasoline, R4, turbo
Working volume, cubic meters cm24951984
Power, hp with. at rpm194/6100190/4200-6000
Max. cool. moment, Nm at rpm246/4000320/1450-4200
Transmission, driveAKP8RKP7
Maksim. speed, km / h210239
Acceleration to 100 km / h, from8,67,7
Fuel consumption, l10,1/5,4/7,18,4/5,3/6,4
Cargo space, l510584

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