Kia Optima

2016 Kia Optima

The Kia Optima is all-new for the 2016 model year. Road and engine noise have been quelled and the 2016 Optima boasts one of the most refined interiors in the midsize sedan class.

Though improved by nearly any measure, the 2016 Kia Optima is not distinctive in appearance. Its styling has evolved only mildly from the previous generation, so its form seems stuck in the past. While fine-tuning every detail of the sedan, Kia evidently preferred not to risk deviating too much from a car that had achieved impressive success. Underneath, however, the 2016 Optima qualifies as all-new.

Buyers can expect a quiet, nicely composed ride and a compelling value argument.

The 2016 Kia Optima offers a choice of three engines: a new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder along with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder carried over from the previous model. All are front-wheel drive.

The 2.4-liter engine, available in Optima LX and Optima EX models, produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter turbo generates 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet. Both engines are slightly reduced in power, but retuned for better drivability for 2016. Each comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A powertrain switch has Eco, Normal, and Sport settings.

The 1.6-liter turbo, available for Optima LX, makes 178 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, and comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that works like an automatic. Kia claims greater fuel-efficiency and a sportier feel, but we recommend 2.4-liter models for most buyers. Of course, we prefer the most expensive engine, the 2.0-liter turbo, which we found especially strong and smooth.

Optima is among the first models to offer Apple CarPlau and Android Auto. The UVO system now includes Geo-fencing, Curfew Alert, Speed Alert,  and Driving Score.

Building upon its superior safety reputation, the Optima has a huskier structure and way more high-strength steel, and may be equipped with new active-safety features.


2014 Kia Optima

A standout in the crowded midsize sedan segment, the 2014 Kia Optima touts a surprisingly sophisticated design, a smooth, quiet ride and able driving dynamics. It's the best-selling Kia in the U.S.

For 2014, Optima gets a refresh, including redesigned front and rear ends and a new wheel design. Inside, the updated interior includes a redesigned instrument cluster with larger TFT display, a redesigned steering wheel, and additional standard and optional features.

Optima LX and Optima EX models use a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that makes 192 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. This engine is short on excitement but fine for most drivers. Quiet at highway cruising speeds, it delivers enough power to keep up with fast traffic on the freeways. The 2014 Kia Optima rates an EPA-estimated 23/34 mpg City/Highway. (Note that fuel economy has been adjusted from the 2013 EPA estimates of 25/35 mpg City/Highway.)

The upper-level Optima SX comes standard with the 2.4-liter inline-4, or an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, easily our favorite engine on the 2014 Kia Optima. With 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, it boasts first-rate performance, stability and agility. Silky smooth, the turbocharged engine propels the Optima SX from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds, on the quicker side of average for the class. Fuel economy suffers compared to the naturally aspirated version, with an EPA rating of 20/31 mpg City/Highway.

A top-of-the-line Optima Limited model includes the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, plus many more included standard features. The SX and Limited models also get a sport-tuned suspension.

Every Kia Optima is front-wheel drive and is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Interior appointments and materials in all Optima models are handsome, generous, and of high quality for the class. Beautiful leather adorns the dashboard and seating, comfortable with firm support, including the rear. The design and layout of the instrumentation reflect thought and employ the latest technology. The expected conveniences are all there, plus bonuses such as a cooled glove compartment for keeping beverages cool.

Optima uses front-wheel drive and a four-wheel independent suspension that is athletic and responsive. We found the ride quality compliant over rougher pavement, filtering out harshness, while the suspension accurately communicates smaller bumps and ripples. The chassis is good, and although Optima is no performance sedan, its handling has a sporty glimmer.

Competitors to the Kia Optima include well-known midsize sedans such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata (the Optima's sister vehicle) and the Toyota Camry. Overall, the gasoline-powered Optima, with its sleek design and plethora of features, makes it one of the stronger choices in its class.


2013 Kia Optima

The Kia Optima is a midsize sedan with a smooth, quiet ride and able driving dynamics. The 2013 Kia Optima competes with the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata.

For 2013, Optima carries over largely unchanged, but new features have been added and Kia has consolidated the model lineup.

All 2013 Optima models get a revised Kia badge on the hood, trunk and steering wheel, as well as a new sliding front headrest. Last redesigned for the 2011 model year, Optima still looks contemporary. Its sleek and muscular, without a jumble of distracting design elements.

Kia Optima LX and EX use a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. This engine is short on excitement, but it's fine for most drivers. Quiet at highway cruising speeds, it delivers enough power to keep up with fast traffic on the freeways, while delivering an EPA-estimated 24/35 mpg City/Highway. All 2013 Optima models come standard with a 6-speed automatic.

Kia Optima SX features a peppy 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The turbocharged inline-4 found on the Optima SX sweetly carries this sedan into another world. With 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the Optima SX boasts first-rate performance, stability and agility. Silky smooth, the turbocharged engine propels the Optima SX from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds, quick for this class. Fuel economy suffers a bit compared to the naturally aspirated version, with an EPA rating of 22/34 mpg City/Highway. and comes standard with leather upholstery and wood interior accents

Kia Optima Hybrid uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gas engine that produces 166 horsepower connected by a wet clutch to an Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) synchronous electric motor producing 40 horsepower. The battery that powers the electric motor is state of the art, a 270V lithium-polymer (Li-PB) battery. Compared to a nickel metal hydride system, this 95-pound Li-PB system is 20-30 percent lighter, 40 percent smaller, holds a charge 25 percent longer, is 10 percent more efficient, and offers twice the power density. The warranty is good for up to 10 years or 150,000 miles. It's a hybrid, so you don't need to plug it in. Just fill it with gas and go.

Efficiency-wise, the Hybrid drags Optima back into a third world. Its EPA estimated mileage is 35/40 miles per gallon. However, we only got 25.5 mpg during our lead-footed stint. The 6-speed automatic transmission was rough, which we blame on its electronic programming.

Interior appointments and materials in all Optima models are handsome, generous, and of high quality for the class. Beautiful leather adorns the dashboard and seating, comfortable with firm support, including the rear. The design and layout of the instrumentation reflect thought and employ the latest technology. The expected conveniences are all there, plus bonuses such as a cooled glove compartment for keeping beverages cool.

Optima uses front-wheel drive and a four-wheel independent suspension that is athletic and responsive. We found the ride quality compliant over rougher pavement, filtering out harshness, while the suspension accurately communicates smaller bumps and ripples. The chassis is good, and although Optima is no performance sedan, its handling has a sporty glimmer.


 

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