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Kia Optima

The independent definitive Kia Optima video review
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    EVER THE OPTIMIST (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    This much improved version of mid-sized Kia's Optima model may look familiar, but the developments are in the details. Jonathan Crouch takes a closer look.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 65

    Kia's Mondeo-sized medium range Optima model now at last gets a class-competitive diesel engine. Whether you choose the saloon or the Sportswagon estate, there's a smarter look and some extra safety technology too. There's even Plug-in hybrid power if you want it. Overall, with this much improved model, Kia aims to challenge the market leaders and even worry a few of the more premium players.

    Backgroundword count: 205

    This Kia Optima is somewhat confusingly billed as a 'fourth-generation' model. Actually, only two generations of this car have ever been sold in the UK. Earlier mid-sized Kia models were badged as the 'Magentis' in Britain and shared much of their underpinnings with Hyundai's Sonata. The Magentis was well built, cheap and well equipped but there wasn't anything very aspirational about it. In contrast, the MK1 Optima saloon we first saw in this country in late 2011 was very different, with styling from Kia's Chief Designer Peter Schreyer that signalled a move upmarket. This was an unashamed attempt to win over customers from the segment heavyweights such as the Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen's Passat and it was nearly good enough. These days though, Kia isn't satisfied with 'nearly good enough' and in creating the thoroughly redesigned MK2 Optima launched in late 2015, the Korean brand's designers and engineers focused their attention on ride and handling, refinement, interior style and practicality. The result was a car that needed only a wider range of engines, lower running costs and some extra safety tech to be truly class-competitive. Kia says that all those boxes have now been ticked with the improved version we're going to look at here.

    Driving Experienceword count: 222

    The key change is the addition of a new 136PS 1.6-litre CRDi engine, replacing the previous, rather thirsty, 1.7-litre CRDi unit. As before, there's a choice of manual or DCT auto transmission. Kia has also developed a petrol/electric hybrid model with a 2.0-litre GDI petrol engine mated to a 50 kW electric motor. Total power output for the package is 202bhp. With all Optimas, by stretching out the wheelbase, stiffening the body with 'Advanced High-Strength Steel' and upgrading the suspension, Kia has sought to improve handling dynamics. Plus Kia engineers have been focussing on Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) innovations to reduce road, wind and engine noise, stiffening the body to avoid vibration and rattles, and improving the seals and insulation around the car. A Drive Mode Selector lets Optima drivers switch between Eco, Comfort, Sport and Smart modes. Each mode enables the driver to customise the powertrain's responses, prioritising fuel economy or more immediate acceleration. It also lets drivers adapt the weight of the rack-mounted power steering system, for more relaxed or more immediate, engaging steering responses. 'Smart Mode' is designed to anticipate the driver's needs, switching automatically between Eco, Comfort and Sport modes depending on conditions. This enables the Optima to adapt to the driver's behaviour and the road conditions, pre-empting the driver's preference for different speeds and driving environments.

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    Pictures (high res disabled)

    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    0-60 mph (s):

    10.2

    11.5

    Combined mpg:

    47.1

    57.6

    CO2 (g/km):

    128

    Extra urban mpg:

    57.6

    64.2

    Height (mm):

    1455

    Insurance group:

    17

    20

    ... and 8 other stats available

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Spacious Family Cars

    Performance
    60%
    Handling
    60%
    Comfort
    80%
    Space
    70%
    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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