In this video, Mark Takahashi takes these two popular midsize family sedans to our test track. But we didn't take just any old Accord or K5. Since this is a "sport" sedan comparison test, we have the sporty versions of the two top midsize sedans: the Kia K5 GT and the Honda Accord Sport. These sport versions have more performance, power and speed. Can the Kia K5 GT out-sport the Honda Accord Sport? We answer this and a whole lot more in our sport sedan comparison test. It's the Honda Accord Sport vs. the Kia K5 GT!
MARK TAKAHASHI: Honda, that beacon of reliability and practicality. And they've had a few fun models sprinkled in there over the years, too. Kia, the new kid on the block by comparison. They've taken on the establishment and won. The Kia K5 just stole the Edmunds top rated crown away from the Honda Accord in the midsize sedan class.
But family sedans are boring, right? Or are they? What we have here are these sporty versions of the two top rated sedans in the class. The key a K5 GT, and the Honda Accord Sport, as determined to our exhaustive and thorough testing procedures. For the sake of simplicity, we're leaving off the Mazda 6 and Toyota Camry TRD, well that and we couldn't get a Camry TRD. I mean, do they have any idea who I think I am?
If you want to see a showdown with those, leave a comment below. In this video, we're concentrating more on the performance aspects of these sedans. If you want more in-depth information on things like comfort and convenience, we have links to videos below that will give you all the information you need. But this is the fun zone.
As always, head over to edmunds.com for all your car shopping needs. And to get a cash offer on your vehicle, head to edmands.com/sellmycar. Let's get the specs out of the way first. The Honda Accord Sport with the top powertrain in the Accord lineup starts just above $33,000 and comes with a 2 liter, turbo charged four cylinder that makes 252 horsepower and 273 pound feet of torque.
That's paired with a 10-speed automatic. Want some bonus points? That's a detuned version of the same engine that's in the Honda Civic Type R. The Kia K5 GT costs about $2,000 less and gets a 2.5 liter turbo. That puts out 290 horsepower and 311 pound feet of torque.
That's mated with an eight-speed dual clutch automatic. But the Kia K5 GT goes further with a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, and steering. Seems like you get more with the GT, right? That already sounds like the Kia K5 GT enjoys an insurmountable advantage over the Accord.
But keep in mind, the Accord already gets high marks for its sporty handling. On top of that, we need to find out how all of these changes affect the K5's driveability and comfort. Both of these are offered only in front wheel drive, which leads me to question whether or not those front tires can handle all this added performance.
Supporting K5 models are offered with all wheel drive and the smaller engine, which is a bonus for those who live in weather prone areas. Tires are vitally important, too, and the K5 gets 245 Pirelli P0 all-season tires mounted on 19-inch wheels, while the Accord Sport gets 235 Michelin primacy MXM-4's also mounted on 19s.
Thankfully, we're at the Edmunds test track where I can safely explore the potential of these more than mild but less than wild sedans. So let's go turn and burn.
Despite having a traditional automatic transmission, the Accord has very slight pause between the time you get on the pedal and when you finally start to take off. This really isn't that big of a deal these days. I mean, a lot of cars do that. But it does make it feel just a little less responsive. It hits 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds which is quick for the class, especially when you consider that the regular record does it in about 8 seconds.
It sounds OK at full throttle, at least it doesn't sound like you're going to break anything. As I'm heading into this next hairpin, I'll get on the brakes hard, but not pushing it through the firewall. The thing is though, I'm trying to downshift into second gear and it won't let me do it until I'm halfway through the turn, even though I know I have the revs there. It's frustrating. I like getting all my breaking in downshifting done just before I turn in, and it keeps the car a little more settled all the way through. Now in this turn, body roll, it is certainly there.
But the Accord is still pretty well-mannered. It doesn't encourage you to drive it any harder, mostly because it feels like you're not going to get anything else out of it. This is an Accord Sport, after all. It's not something like an Accord Type R. Ooh. Accord Type R.
I could get behind something like that. Tire howl it is definitely there. But it gives you a good indication of how much grip you have left. Is it fun? Yeah, reasonably it is.
But what happens if I turn up the aggression just a little bit? Let's find out. Oh, yeah. Front and plows really hard. I lose all the grip up front, and I have to back out of the throttle just because there's nothing left I can pull from those poor tires.
All right. That's enough. I'm going to cool it down, head back to pit. One thing I noticed pulling into the pits, the Accord, on the brakes, they were steaming. There were really, really hot.
So that's one thing to keep in mind, especially because I wasn't really truly torturing them that much. The Kia K5 GT has upgraded rotors and calipers, so it's possible those brakes might not have as much of a problem. We shall see.
Right off the line, the K5 GT has a distinct pause before you start getting any acceleration. On top of that, there are some awkward lurches as the dual clutch transmission tries to settle in and get you a higher gear. It's much less of an issue if you slap it over to manual mode. But in the everyday drive and commute, it can get pretty tiresome. I do like the engine sound better in the K5. Down low, it has this subtle little flutter, something that you might expect from a Subaru Boxer engine. But higher up, it gets smoother and a little more pronounced.
As far as brakes go, well, there's not a whole lot to say there about feel. And again, that's a good thing. They do seem less prone to overheating than the Accord, but the unfortunate thing is it took 134 feet to come to a stop from 60 miles an hour. That is not very good. Coming into these sharper turns, I am able to grab second gear quicker than in the Accord. Allows it to rev up a little higher.
The sport tuned suspension does a much better job of managing body role. It just feels a lot more planted. And neither car have much in the way of steering feedback. But at least in the K5 GT, you can switch it to Sport Plus Mode. It gives you a little more effort, at least it feels the part.
As I get back into the throttle, the fun, it just dies. Yeah, ugh. Yeah. With the added power, it's much easier to overwhelm those front tires, and it feels like you have to be a lot more careful about that than in the Accord. It's a clear case that this car would greatly benefit from stickier tires or limited slip differential, and definitely all wheel drive. As it is, you have to baby the K5 GT out of turns.
And that's the big letdown. Up until that point, it's pretty damn good. Once you can lay that power down, the ups are so quick, power is plentiful. I like the way the transmission works when I'm driving it hard like this, but in the everyday commute it kind of falls apart.
It seems the opposite with the Accord, where it's smoother in everyday driving and a little too conservative for spirited driving. As for ride quality, I feel the bumps more than I would in the Accord or a regular K5, but it's nothing close to what I'd consider harsh. I think it's a good mix of sporty stiffness and comfortable compliance. In fact, I'd like to see a sport tuned suspension in the Accord Sport.
At the end of this test, I'm somewhat surprised. I probably expected more from the Kia K5 GT and a little less from the Honda Accord Sport. Even more surprising, I'd take a supporting K5 with all wheel drive over either of these. It's a clear cut case that more power doesn't always equate to a better or sportier car.
Fortunately, all the things that make the K5 our top-rated sedan remain. It's comfortable. It's a joy to drive. It's packed with tech, and you get a lot for your money. That said, if your budget can swing it, I suggest stepping up to the Kia Stinger or Dodge Charger, if you're serious about fun.
And let me know if you want to see that comparison, because I sure as hell want to shoot it. Thanks for watching, and as always hit that Subscribe button below. I'm going to try and squeeze in a few more laps before they kick us out. See you.