Kia’s new Optima may look like a Jaguar but can it really live up to those good looks? We find out
What is it? The Optima is Kia’s stunningly styled family saloon that is crammed with luxury equipment and features.
Who is it aimed at? While large saloons face stiff competition from a plethora of crossovers and compact SUVs as the choice for family transport there is much on offer in the Optima to make those in need of family space succumb to its charms.
Styling? Kia’s new Optima is beautifully styled with echoes of the Jaguar XF and will have envious bystanders craning their necks. With a sporty and sweeping silhouette it is one of the most distinctive cars around. Don’t be surprised, the designer responsible is Peter Schreyer, whose work also includes the original Audi TT.
Under the Bonnet? There is just one engine option, the 1.7-litre 134bhp turbodiesel available with either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
What’s it like inside? Once inside the Optima is akin to a cruise liner and is genuinely enormous. Everything is very classy from the dash to the door handles and it impresses throughout with an almost Audi-esque simple design and attention to detail. But it is the space that truly amazes. Front passengers are luxuriously catered for with head and leg room while in the rear space is equally good. The boot is a cavernous 505 litres and will swallow up prams, shopping and just about anything effortlessly.
On the Road? On the road the Optima is comfortable and the ride and handling is refined. While the suspension may be turned more toward comfort than sport it copes well with back roads, uneven surfaces and ramps. It may be no sporty saloon but it is smooth, easy and pleasant to drive.
And Safety? The Optima has a full array of safety features, including ABS with EBD and brake assist, electronic stability control and vehicle stability management, twin front, side and curtain airbags as standard.
Options? The entry level EX comes with a generous level of specification that includes 16” Alloy wheels, cruise control, voice activated Bluetooth, power lumbar support on the driver’s seat ,steering wheel audio controls and full size spare wheel. Upgrading to the Platinum model adds 17” alloys, panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery with heated front seats, reversing camera, driver memory seat, UV reducing glass, rains sensing front wipers and more.
How about Fuel Economy? Fuel economy is very good and on a combined cycle the 1.7 diesel returns 5.1 litres per 100 km while CO2 emissions are 133 g/km so it qualifies for Band B annual motor tax (€225).
Okay so the verdict? The Optima is a stunningly styled family saloon that offers a lot for the money. In a segment of the market where the Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis and Volkswagen Passat dominate the Kia scores high for space and style and comes with an unbeatable seven year warranty.
Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI 140bhp Comfortline €30,130
Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTi 130bhp S €28,280
Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi 140bhp Style 5dr €30,495
Why you’ll buy one? Beautiful styling; Carnivorous space
Why you won’t? Driving Dynamics
Engine: 1,685cc four-cylinder 16-valve diesel putting out 134bhp @ 4,000rpm and 325Nm of torque from 2,000rpm
Max speed: 202 kph
0-100km/h: 10.2 secs
Emissions (motor tax): 133g/km (€225)
Starting price: €26,995
Model price range: €26,995 – €33,195
No of Doors: 4
Euro NCAP: Not tested
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 5.1 litre/ 100 km
Boot Capacity Seats up : 505 litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear and easy to use
28th November, 2012