2023 Kia K5 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Faulty tires and loss of drive power issues are the main cause of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Launched in the U.S. in 2021, the Kia K5 is essentially a renamed Optima with new features. Urging consumers to “stop and stare,” the South Korean manufacturer promises “turbocharged confidence” and “capable performance features” from the 2023 model. But owners with faulty tires that blow out or powertrains that don’t enable them to accelerate are neither confident nor impressed with the vehicle’s performance features. 

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022

Most Common Problems with the 2023 Kia K5

Consumers complaining to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 Kia K5 blame faults emanating from various different components and systems. But most of the complaints relate to loss of drive power or faulty tires.

Powertrain problems are listed under Powertrain and Vehicle Speed Control. Tire problems are listed under Tires, Wheels, and Service Brakes. There is also an unrelated complaint the owner relates to an engine problem.

Additionally, there are already two recalls for this model K5. The most recent, dated March 7, 2023, warns that as many as 188,912 2021-2023 Kia K5s may have airbags that could malfunction. NHTSA Campaign Number 23V149000 warns that the side curtain airbags may not have been correctly installed. The bottom line is that this could result in them not deploying as intended in the event of a crash. This, in turn, increases the risk of injury.

As many as 69,038 20221-2023 Kia K5s as well as 2021-2022 Kia Sorentos are at risk of losing drive power. NHTSA Campaign Number 22V760000 states that the vehicle’s “fail-safe” limited-mobility drive mode may be impaired, when prompted by a transmission oil pump malfunction. This can, says Kia, “result in a complete loss of drive power,” which, of course, increases the risk of a crash.

According to the recall, which was issued in October 2022, the remedies are for dealers to replace the transmission “as necessary,” and update the transmission control software.

2023 Kia K5 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Air Bags
Service Brakes
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Fuel System, Gasoline

Powertrain Loss of Power Problems

In January 2023, the wife of an owner from Texas experienced a serious loss of power issue. She had been driving down a highway with the cruise control set at 75. When she noticed she was only traveling at 71, she tried pushing the gas pedal manually. “The rpm’s increased to between 4000-5000 but there was no acceleration with the car. The car then dropped to 68 mph and would not accelerate at all. After pulling over and turning the car off and then restarting it started working ok.”

The owner’s primary concern is that while the problem appears to match the symptoms described in the recall, this car isn’t included in the recall. He suggests that “the “recall should be investigated and possibly expanded.”

Another owner states in an NHTSA complaint that between August and October 2022, his Kia K5 traveled 800 miles. Four times during this period there were power failure issues. Each time it happened, the car was either stopped or coming to a stop when the acceleration excessively increased to 4 or more RPMs. He describes how he held the brake “hard,” putting the car into Neutral to increase the RPMs so he could change to Park.

“If this were to occur while I am driving at a high speed, I am afraid it will cause me to have a severe accident.” He urges the NHTSA to, “Please investigate if this has been reported in the past and act fast before there is a fatal result.” Ironically, he lodged the complaint on October 11, 2022, the very day that Kia issued the loss of drive power recall!

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Tire Failure

Complaints about faulty tires vary in severity. For example, an owner from Ohio describes a “catastrophic sidewall failure without contact with any foreign object .” Both the car and factory-installed tire were new, and had done only 151 miles.

An owner from Texas states that the “wheel resonance ducting separated from (the) wheel inside of the tire.”  Broken pieces of material disrupted the balance of the wheel/tire “resulting in very excessive vehicle vibration.”

Another owner had the right rear tire of the K5 blowout while driving on Florida’s 6-lane Interstate 195 at about 50 mph. In the complaint, listed as a brake problem, he states, “I could tell by the feel of the car that I had a flat before the systems warned me.” While moving to the right shoulder of the road to stop, “all of the warning lights came on and the brakes stopped working.” He states that it wasn’t brake failure or the anti-lock brake system. Rather, “the brake pedal itself locked and would not let me apply the brakes.”

The safety systems weren’t working and he couldn’t apply the brakes to slow down the car. Eventually the “brakes came back on line” and he was able to stop. “If the traffic (had) suddenly slowed down, as is common in South Florida, I would have had no way to avoid a collision. I do not know if this is a programmed response to a tire blow out or a major flaw in your safety systems.” But ultimately, he says, “I cannot believe how dangerous a car you let me drive.”

What to do if your 2023 Kia K5 is a Lemon?

Do you have problems with your 2023 Kia K5? If they recur and affect your use of the car, you may have bought a lemon. While the percentage of lemons is low in terms of total numbers, every year manufacturers like Kia replace, buy back, or pay cash settlements to thousands of vehicle owners who find they have indeed bought lemons. And the law says that they must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases.

If you would like Lemberg Law to assess your 2023 Kia K5 problems free of charge to see if your case qualifies, call our Helpline or fill out a contact form.

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
  • Dylan S

    Bought a new kia k5 and I have had to replace 3 tires so far no pot holes just bubbles formed in the tire wall pirelli tires all season less than a year old…

  • Naseem S

    Bought a K5 GT-line in early July 2023. It is August 29, 2023. Put 4000 miles on the new car. This Sunday engine light came on and stays on. Taking to the dealer tomorrow am.

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