Toyota Camry accounts for most sales in the medium sedan segment but there are some cracking good offerings from other makers including Kia’s recently revised Optima.
It comes in two grades, Si and GT with lower spec Si offering impressive value for money at $33,390.
The Kia Optima has been around for a long time now and has never really hit a chord with buyers because it just isn’t on the shopping list. I reckon nobody knows about it, but they should.
The latest version looks and feels like something out of Europe and has undergone a mild equipment adjustment and a price cut of $1100 for the Si, more for the GT.
They did a minor facelift on Optima mid-year with a new grille and bumpers and changes to the headlights on the Si but apart from that, it’s the same coupe-style, smart looking sedan that’s been around for a few years.
The vertical tooth grille looks a lot like something from Skoda and the sleek roofline has a coupe appearance culminating in a high boot line and lower down, twin exhaust outlets. It’s an attractive looking car by any measure and has some presence on the road possibly because you don’t see many of them.
It’s standard issue Kia inside which is no criticism at all.
The layout is practical and the design is appealing in a European vein with a dominating central touchscreen in the sweeping dash and an instrument pod in front of the driver.
The wheel looks good, feels good too offering multiple functions on an array of buttons each side.
The tones are dark grey but bright alloy trim lifts the appearance.
Large comfy seats too and a surprising amount of rear seat legroom along with a large boot. No complaints at all here.
Kia dropped hard wired satnav from the Optima Si this time around due to the adoption of Smartphone streaming.
I prefer hard wired sat-nav.
There’s a new infotainment system too along with driver assist upgrades.
You won’t feel deprived in the Optima Si as it has plenty of standard kit like:
- Alloy wheels
- Full size alloy spare
- Smart cruise control
- Rain sensing wipers
- Paddle shift
- Power box
- 7″ touchscreen
- Dual zone climate control
Power comes from a 2.4-litre, petrol four cylinder good for 138kW and 241Nm while consuming regular unleaded at 8.3-litres/100km.
Drive is to the front wheels via a six speed auto with paddle shift.
It’s a weighty beast at 1540kg but gets going strongly when commanded.
Local calibration of the Optima’s dynamics yields a car with good handling and ride qualities combined with a high comfort level.
The most recent upgrade saw changes to the steering and other minor tweaks.
It is no sporty sedan but is competent and comfortable with some sporty elements like the paddle shift.
Cruising is achieved in near silence and the engine is only barely audible under full acceleration.
Gets a five star ANCAP rating but the Optima Si has a reasonable amount of advanced driver assist technology including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), attention alert and lane keeping assist.
The more expensive GT model scores all the d/a kit.
I’d be happy with the Si as it also has a reverse camera, smart cruise control and front and rear parking sensors.
Optima Si’s tidy dynamics aid in avoiding a collision in the first place.
- Strong engine performance
- Large car for the segment
- Impressive rear seat legroom and boot
- Decent amount of advanced driver assist technology
- Attractive to look at inside and out
- Comfortable and quiet
- Well sorted dynamics
- Unbeatable warranty
Not So Good Bits
- Loses hardwired sat-nav
- Not sold on toothy grille
- Loses HID headlights
This was quite a surprising car and that’s in a good way.
I had almost forgotten about the Optima and so has most of Australia but they should reassess and take a look at this handsome, well equipped and affordable Korean mid-sizer.
SUVs aren’t the be all and end all.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Kia Optima Si
- Engine: 2.4L four-cylinder petrol producing 138kW/241Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 7 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $33,390