02 Mar 2014 Christopher In Car Review Tags:

I am not a Kia sales representative nor having any relationship with Kia. This write up is purely my personal thoughts after driving and owning a Kia Optima K5 for 3 years and drove approx 65000 KM.
My previous review was when I owned the same K5 for 3 months. This is an update on how I have enjoyed my K5.

It’s been 3 years since I became a proud owner of the Kia Optima K5.
I recall vividly in 2012, when I wanted to learn more about K5, I could not find any review at all. No one or auto mobile site mentioned about K5. Even the famous auto mobile critique, Paul Tan did not mentioned much except the price was RM 143,888. Nevertheless, I still land my decision and got the K5 due to the gadgets and features I am getting for what I paid for.

Hence I decided to write a review after driving my own K5 for 3 months. Not too bad as I managed to help a few buyers to land their decision on the K5.

After 3 years driving my K5, here is my subsequent review on life after 3 years with my baby K5.
As a start, I still make “heads-turn” when I drive around town. Meaning this K5 design still attracts on lookers after 3 years since launched in Malaysia.
In fact, K5 has been a benchmark for other D-segment cars such as Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and even Peugeot 508. Yet, till to date, the features offered for the price ratio still wins.
I shall leave the review of the new Facelift version 2014 later. Let me get into how my K5’s condition after 3 years.

First, the car is still in mint condition and my mileage just clocked 65000. However, boys being boys, let’s not stop at stock design. It’s party time with my baby K5!

Tinting and Laser shades (Tinting: RM 800++, Laser Shades: RM 600) 
First thing I did was to tint my glass. Although K5 by default came with solar glass, our Malaysia heat outperform the glass and hence I needed a tint. I did not go for those over dark horses and just settle for a legal cut off tint for the windscreen and all around the side. Inclusive of the moon and sun roof.
Later, the heat continue to penetrate and we had a “group buy” for shades which is custom made for K5. Luckily, I joined a great K5 community ( where we organize group buys to get further discount as we bought in bulk. Laser shades are magnetic held around your window frames and perfectly fit onto your windows. As a result, you get a fantastic shaded cabin and privacy as well. This is great when you are travelling with infant and breast feeding is part of the menu.
Best part is, during police road blocks, you are off the hook as it’s a shade. So it’s not illegal.

Air filter (RM 250)
We had a group buy for K&N air filter which is a performance air filter. This filter is a lifetime filter which can last up to 50K and just need to wash and re-oil to use it again. It’s a worth investment as we do not need to change filter each time we send our K5 for service.
However, K&N only make the size for the 1st batch of K5 which uses Theta II engine. The latter batch which uses NU spec engine uses a different shape of air filter is not supported by K&N.

Strut bar Ultra Racing (RM 190)
When I overtake at legal speed on Malaysian highway, I can feel a swaying feel as I move from one lane to another. After checking and reviewing with the members, we found a solution which is Ultra Racing Strut bar. After installing this on our K5, the swaying feel was minimized and we enjoy a better handling as well.

Potent Booster (RM 750 – K5 member price)
This is a plug-n-play device which we installed to our accelerator pedal. It’s a throttle control which sends signals to our engine faster eliminating delay in response when we step on the accelerator. At the end, we do not need a heavy foot to move the car. All we need is just a light press on the accelerator and K5 respond more sensitive. Creating a better driving experience and pick up. Essential for over taking at high way as well. To read more about this, please go to
**Please drive safe and do not speed**

Front camera (RM 450++)
As the K5 frontal is quite long, I have difficulty in adjusting and estimating my front space. Installing a front camera does help me during front parking and obstacle avoidance. Some of other K5 members installed front sensors as well. By default, K5 comes with rear camera and rear sensors only.

Air condition cabin filter (RM 100 for 2)
Once again, we managed to find internal cabin charcoal air condition filter for K5. Group buy was the solution again and we managed to import from Korea in bulk.
The benefit of this filter are charcoal managed to kill germs and bacteria. It also eliminate the odour of “sock’s smell” when you start the car in the morning. Never complain of any odour after using this filter.

Rear lights – full stripe (RM 850)
K5 rear lights – Malaysia version is not a full stripe. So we decided to hunt down for this item and managed to group buy from Korea to Malaysia. Installing the rear light is just a plug-n-play. However to make it work the way we wanted, we need to add a cable and a diode. The installation was DIY and the diode and cable is just RM 20.
At the end, the rear light works as a tail light, brake and rear fog light.

Head lamps ring lights and demon eye (RM 800)
After searching around Penang, we managed to source for a local accessories shop that have the oven large enough to bake our large headlamps in order to open it without breaking the glass. Once we got it opened, it’s time to add in a ring light and demon light effect. At the end, K5 looks like those 5 series headlamps.  

Logos and emblems (RM 150)
As I like to make my K5 a bit more unique, I went on to purchase emblems and labels for my baby. Installing a TGDI, LANSI emblem. Along with the official myK5club sticker. Proud to be part of the K5 community club –

Dashboard and side doors (RM 100++)
The dashboard and side doors look like a cock pit as I mentioned in my first review. Later part, I decided to spice it a bit with dual tone dash board and side doors. Adding in a stripe of decal and dual tone my center console by Tom’s sticker. Creating a more premium look and feel.

Theatrical dimmed cabin lights (RM 100++)
Driving in the dark especially with my 2 year old baby is certainly not something fun. Hence I decided to create a theatrical dim cabin lighting in my K5. Since the theme of the console was red, I decided to light up my leg room with red LED and also my side door speaker console.
To my surprise, I encounter a nice honey combed design at the speaker grill which I really love it very much.
Now, my driving in the dark is more cozy and accompanied by a nice honey combed reflection.

Internal cabin light bulb to LED lights (RM 190)
I managed to buy Bandi LED lights from Korea which is manufactured by Samsung. It’s a real good deal which I change all my internal cabin lights to LED. It’s recommended as light bulbs takes up more power and generate heat which LED is vice versa.

Rubber stripes for sound and noise reduction (RM 300++)
One of the K5 members managed to bring in a bulk of rubbers stripes to help reduce noise. For a price of less than RM 200, it’s a worth spend compare to other noise reduction foams, which can cost up to few thousand. I just added the rubber stripes along the doors frame, boot and engine bonnet as my DIY project. At the end, I managed to reduce tremendously the noise and it’s worth the investment.

Tires and rims (RM 3800++)
My most recent modification was the tire and rims. I have been using the stock rims and Nexen tires for almost 55000 KM and they have served me well. After much research and juggling between my budget and performance, I have decided on the Lenso Conquisto 5 rims and made in Japan tires Toyo C1S.
First thing I realized was the Toyo C1S tires is very quiet compare to the almost worn off Nexen. I am very happy with my new tires so far.

Well these are all the modifications that I have done thus far in my 3 years journey. Boys being boys, it’s a never ending journey. I already have in line my next modification. There is the “ipad mini project”, under carriage LED project, LED frontal headlamps, body kits, side mirrors welcome lights, door handle lights, stickers and many more. Only obstacle I have now is budget, so to speak. Haha.

Anyway, in everything we do there is always a pro and cons. So far, what am I not happy with my K5 you may ask. Here is my list.

Steering wheel system
I have a first batch K5 the steering wheel is very heavy to handle especially when I am looking for a car park. While the NU spec K5, the steering wheel is lighter and it’s really a breeze when you drive around the car park.
Unfortunately, I cannot transfer the new steering wheel system to my K5. Anyway, on the bright side, I can build up some biceps.

K5 later specs (Theta II vs NU)
Being an early owner of K5, there is some give away that I could not own compare to the later owners of K5. Apart from the steering wheel, the later K5 have additional head rest, seat belt warning tone, air bag turn off switch, NU engine and defaulted Iridium spark plugs.
However, these are just something “good to have” but not a necessity to me per se. I already have them all installed on my 3 years journey. Can still live without it.

Kia service centers
Kia had recently in 2014, shut down all of their Kia authorized SC which channel all Kia owners to go to their official Kia SC. This has cause some problem to me as I could no longer service my K5 at my favorite SC which is just 5 minutes drive from my house. Furthermore, it have also created a longer queue and longer waiting time at the limited Kia SC.
I believe Kia is building more SC in Malaysia to cater for the growing Kia owners, else it will be a major issue.

Alright, so far, these are my feedback and my K5 is still serving me very well.
No complains and no major issue. Have a great journey and may this review continue to help you make a greater decision.

Drive the new Kia Optima K5 and make more heads turn to your car. – Cheers- Chris.

Comments: 3

  1. melvin 12 Aug 2014

    Hey, nice article! Love your ride. I’m planning to buy one soon and hope to have your guide on all the mods!

  2. Christopher 12 Aug 2014

    Thanks for the feedback. For more information, you can find us at for more information.

  3. Ryan 11 Dec 2014

    the LED cabin lights, does it dim before off – after u close the door?

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