The new Kia Optima. Picture by Robin Crossley.
ROADTEST FACT FILE
Model...Optima Luxe 2
Mpg (comb cycle)...57.6mpg
Loaned by Northwood Kia
THE latest Kia model has finally landed on the Island — and it’s attracting a lot of attention.
I’d heard good things about the new Kia Optima and, it’s safe to say, I was more than impressed.
When you get in or out of the Optima, you receive a welcome greeting or goodbye on a small colour screen on the dash — a nice touch by Kia.
The electronically controlled seat slides back to allow more room to get out of the car and slides back into position when you sit down.
And when you slip the gear into reverse, a camera appears on the rear-view mirror to show what’s behind. It’s impressive stuff.
It has an abundance of features and extras, including heated leather seats, air conditioning, iPod connector and rain-detecting windscreen wipers. The panoramic sunroof lets in daylight in the front and back and adds to the light and airy feel of the cabin. There are four models to choose from, each with its own added features.
The car has striking daytime running LED lights, just below the headlights — something more commonly seen on new Mercedes and Audi vehicles. Combined with the stand-out white colour of the car, it caused many heads to turn. It seemed as if people couldn’t work out what car it was and they needed another look.
Kia’s chief designer, Peter Schreyer — renowned for the Audi TT and Volkswagen Beetle — must take a huge amount of credit for the Optima's coupe style.
The car handled well and the 18ins alloy wheels made it feel firm over bumps and even on roads undergoing surface dressing across the Island.
The Optima is a large car but is easy to drive, with light and responsive steering. It’s also fairly quick off the mark for such a large vehicle — 0-60mph in just over eight seconds, with a strong performance from its diesel engine.
It’s no surprise Kia has been inundated with buyers in the USA and Korea since its launch and I expect demand in the UK will follow suit.