Sporty Kia GT handles the rugged outdoors as well as intown

Conventional wisdom says when vacationing in the mountains, a mighty four-wheel drive is the ideal vehicle for climbing hills, driving through unpaved back roads and going around curvy roads. Yes, that would be the smart course of action. Or, you could could just bring a sporty car — but it has to be the right one.
   Luckily, we did. The Kia K5 GT performed magnificently. We even had a wayward GPS direct us deep into the North Georgia Mountains on rough terrain and it was great. It rode over the rocks and handled the potholes easily and gave us the confidence to know that we would eventually get back to civilization. We were worried but the car pulled through and saved the day.
   If the Kia K5 GT performed so admirably under the worst conditions, it is simply superb on real roads. The 1.6-L turbo 4-cylinder engine with 8-speed transmission provides ample power for the highway and city street — 290 horsepower, in fact. Going up Amicalola Mountain in north Georgia was a breeze; the engine didn’t falter and was steadfast in its duty. We saw a few other cars struggling —not us!
   This family sedan is hipper, sportier and, dare we say, sexier, than most of its competition. The sedan, formerly known as the Optima, has lots of safety features and infotainment tech, complete with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, (standard is 8-inch) to please everyone. Unlike most sporty sedans, these seats are set higher and quite a few times my head brushed the ceiling. There is 38.4 inches of headroom in the front (which may be a bit of a challenge for someone over six feet) and 37.4 in the rear. Still, the ride is comfortable with red leather sport seats, with both heated and vented front seats. The panoramic  sunroof with LED interior lighting brought the outside in and added to our mountain experience.
    The 360-degree camera system, power-folding exterior mirrors and front parking sensors were put to good use on our trip, especially the rear cameras with dynamic guidelines, which were clear and showed us exactly how far we had before we fell off the mountain when turning around.
   The car has plenty of room, both for people and gear. The 10.6 cubic inches in the trunk was enough for luggage and supplies.
   The sedan gets 27 miles per gallon combined and starts at $30.490. Ours had a few extras and came in at $35,705. A great deal for a sporty sedan that will please every member of the family — and keep you safe on mountainous country roads as well as on city roads and the highways.

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