2022 Kia K5 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain, electrical system, airbag, and brake-related issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The 2022 Kia K5 might be a newer car, but in fact it’s just a redesigned, renamed version of the Kia Optima. According to the automaker, the “Optima changed the way people felt about the Kia brand” in a very positive way. But complaints are mounting up from customers who are impacted in a very negative way by the newer K5 version.  Ever-increasing complaints are varied, but the most common relate to loss of power and stalling. There are also complaints that the car has issues starting, airbags don’t deploy in accidents, and the brakes have problems with malfunctioning rotors.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2023

Most Common Problems

Powertrain problems are the most common according to complaints lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). Most of these report stalling or a loss of power. But there are other issues too. Electrical system issues are also high on the list, with most complaints stating there are problems with 2022 Kia K5 cars that won’t start. More than half of the airbag complaints report injuries due to airbags not deploying. And brake-related complaints say there are rotor-related and other problems.

Additionally, there are 4 recalls for K5 cars that relate to the airbags, gasoline fuel system, lane departure, powertrain, and steering.

2022 Kia K5 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Power Train
Air Bags
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings

Powertrain Problems

Most problems relate to a loss of power or stalling. But not all. There is also a recall issued on 11 October 2022 that warns about a loss of drive power because of a transmission oil pump malfunction. The recall notice states that the “vehicle’s ‘fail-safe’ limited-mobility drive mode may be impaired” by this. But there is no mention of a link to this in the various powertrain complaints.

One complaint states that a 2022 Kia 5 simply caught fire while parked. “I have filed a complaint with Kia, and since then I have gotten the run around about them looking into the vehicle and seeing what caused the issue. My car was still under the manufacturer’s warranty.”

Then there is a complaint from an owner from Illinois who experienced both a loss of power and lack of acceleration. Another owner also reports an acceleration system malfunction. “It seemed as if it was a powertrain issue or engine issue. I was not able to accelerate or slow down properly due to this malfunction and it caused me to crash. My car was totaled.”

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K5 Loses Power or Stalls

A typical complaint states that the “transmission is experiencing a loss of power and getting heavy/stuck at about 20-30 mph.” Then it begins to accelerate faster. But, the owner, from Illinois, states that it isn’t accelerating “properly.” Oil changes are up-to-date and the only clue is that the engine light came on as this scenario started.

Another one states that the Integrated Thermal Management System (ITMS) failed or malfunctioned. “My car completely lost power on the interstate and it was (a) 70 mph speed limit, I had a semi behind me.” The driver states that the temperature gauge was “moving up when I accelerated. (The) problem happened when it was cold outside, popped the hood and (the) engine wasn’t overheated at all, ITMS failed.”

Within 2 months of ownership, another 2022 Kia K5 “stalled in traffic twice with engine revving.” The dealership couldn’t find an issue or code the first time. When it happened again, the “car would not accelerate and started rolling and revving with high RPMs. I immediately put my hazards on in the middle of a 5-lane road in heavy traffic and was able to let the car roll into a parking lot.” The owner turned the car off and waited for 30 minutes before restarting. Even though there was someone who would “follow me back home,” it was a “scary trip.” The complaint states that the car shook violently. Even when the driver’s “foot was to the floor on the gas pedal,” the car “would not accelerate unless on a slope. A five-minute drive turned into a 25 minute trip while backing up traffic.”

The dealership’s mechanic couldn’t find codes, lights, or a solution. They say that “it’s driving perfectly now.”

Shuts Down

An owner from Michigan states that the car engine revs are randomly “really low.” They “go up down up down over and over and over and then shut off, sometimes while in motion. Other times, when you’re finished driving and you shift into Park the engine will shut off the moment you hit Park. My safety is at risk.” But, the dealer is unable to recreate the issue.

Problems with the Electrical System

Most, but not all, of the complaints to the NHTSA about the 2022 Kia K5 relate to the fact that the engine doesn’t start.

An owner from Kentucky tells how, when the car wouldn’t start, he continued to try starting it. But eventually the Check ESC (electronic stability control) warning came on. “I had to get it jump started from KIA Roadside assistance and drove (the) vehicle to (the) local KIA Dealership where they tested the battery and said it was a bad battery.” At the time, the K5 wasn’t even one-year-old. So, the dealer replaced the “bad” battery. But this issue recurred 27 days later. This time, after the Check ESC warning came on, “the entire car’s electrical system went out and I couldn’t even get jumper cables out of (the) trunk of (the) car.” After a diagnostic check, “everything came back fine. But here is my issue. I knew it would because once you jump the car there are no codes or issues after that.”

The check ESC issues was also an issue for an owner from South Carolina. When pressing the ESC button on the dashboard didn’t work the owner had a relative jump the car, bypassing the warning. It worked for a few more days until the warning recurred. This resulted in a tow. “It’s still there and I have not heard if this has been resolved. At one point the car also said no key (was) detected, although the key was in my hand. Remote start would not work as well.”

Problems with Airbags

Airbags are an essential piece of equipment included with every car to prevent injuries during accidents. When they malfunction, the results can be fatal. Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case with 2022 Kia K5 cars, but complaints to the NHTSA reveal several incidents that resulted in injuries.

An owner from California tells how an airbag failure resulted in 2 injuries. After rear-ending a vehicle, the airbags didn’t deploy. The result was that two passengers were injured – the owner’s daughter and husband. Both “sustained, a fractured nose, and arm injuries.” They were both taken to a local hospital. The K5 was towed to an impound lot because it wasn’t driveable.

When another driver didn’t stop at a stop sign and pulled into his lane, an owner from Texas took a hit. He was driving at 40 mph and was struck on the front driver’s side of the K5. The airbags didn’t deploy and he reports injuries to his head, neck, back, shoulders, and abdomen, as well as a fractured spine.

Another owner “had a single vehicle collision and ran into a ditch. None of my airbags deployed and I had a sternal fracture from hitting my chest so hard on the steering wheel. My vehicle was totaled as well.”

Airbag Recall

A recent recall dated 7 March 2023 warns 188,912 owners of 2021-2023 K5 vehicles about faulty airbags. It states that the side curtain airbags may have been installed incorrectly. This results in them not deploying as intended and increases the risk of injury in a crash.

Brake Related Problems

Complaints to the NHTSA about the Kia K5 brakes are varied.

An owner from Tennessee states that the vehicle brakes suddenly with no warning while using the adaptive cruise control (ACC) option. The system recognizes a vehicle in front of the car when there isn’t one. This usually happens when another vehicle exits or when somebody passes and does not leave enough room between vehicles. “The car will slow considerably (from 75 to 50) when this occurs and trailing vehicles will have to suddenly brake as well to avoid an accident.” The dealership has been unable to help. While the car  manual illustrates how to disable the ACC, “nothing works.”

The advanced driver-assistance (ADA) system in the 2022 Kia K5 is supposed to stop the car if it detects a possible crash. But an owner from Puerto Rico found that this wasn’t the case. The issue was analyzed, and technicians discovered that “the ADA system released the brakes, causing an incident.” Additionally, the complaint states that there is a problem because the airbag is “placed above the pedals. It’s too big and when (it) gets deployed, can cause a fracture, mainly on the right leg of the driver.”

There are also complaints about the rotors, which are a key part of the car’s brake system.

Problems with the Rotors

An owner from Missouri tells how the back rotors were causing the 2022 K5 to shake rapidly at high speeds and when slowing down. The back rotors needed to be replaced because they had warped. But the dealership was “unable to fulfill that request.” The owner’s concern was that “If my rear brakes failed at any point in time then that is putting myself, any passengers in my car, and others around me in danger. Stopping is a huge safety component of any vehicle.” While the dealership confirmed the problem, the complaint states that they tried to blame the owner of the car. It was eventually repaired.

Another owner reports in a complaint that his Kia K5 had its front rotors replaced twice because the brakes were shaking. “Once at 20k and again at 30k.” Additionally, the tires, which had plenty of tread, “started to separate in the center of the tire at 20k.” The dealer didn’t inspect the tires but advised neither them nor the rotors were covered under warranty.

What To Do If You Think Your 2022 K5 is a Lemon

If you think that your 2022 Kia K5 might be a lemon, it’s a good idea to take action. You have lemon law rights and can get an attorney to help you free of charge.

Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of vehicle owners like you. And because the law says that Kia must pay lemon law legal costs, it’s not going to cost you a cent.

All you need to do is contact our Helpline or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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