There's plenty to like about the refreshed Kia Optima, including its stylish appearance and the plentiful space inside the vehicle.
For a mid-sized saloon, the car didn't feel to dent the wallet too badly in terms of fuel consumption, with its 1.7 diesel engine providing enough power to move along at a decent speed without being too fuel-thirsty.
In a crowded marketplace, the Optima is a high-spec, value for money alternative to the mainstream opposition. The latest mild refresh of a car that has been around for a few years ensures it has remained competitive in a market populated by more expensive and long established rivals.
The Optima is easy on the eye, boasting striking looks and clean lines.
There have been some subtle tweaks to the car’s nose and tail, with a more comprehensive update inside and under the skin.
There’s also more standard and optional kit available. Kia’s following the trend for the inclusion of smarter safety technology, such as blind spot and lane departure warning kit.
The Optima is easily capable of munching the motorway miles and distancing the driver from poorly surfaced roads.
During a trip to East Yorkshire to visit my cousin John, I was impressed by the smoothness of the vehicle on the motorway, while the quietness of the cabin made for a refined driving experience.
John, a businessman who regularly travels up and down the motorway to appointments, was impressed by the refinement of the vehicle and noted that the1.7 engine seemed the cope adequately under acceleration with the weight of the lengthy vehicle.
And it's also true to say that the sharp-suited Optima has nothing to fear in the company car park, with the car’s decidedly European styling cues sitting comfortably with the less adventurous looks of many of its rivals. Crucially, the big Kia shares many of its exterior details with smaller cars in the family, and it’s this familiarity that should help tempt buyers to trade up with confidence.
And confidence also plays a big part in the ownership experience, which is why Kia has scored highly in recent years with its generous seven-year warranty. It’s an unusual yet welcome sales tactic, and has done wonders for the brand’s image at a time when it was keen to build confidence among buyers at the start of its big European sales push many years ago.
A large saloon like the Optima is designed from the outset to be accommodating, and the four-door Kia doesn't disappoint. Although the main focus is on front seat occupants, there’s also ample room in the back for business associates or the family. The car’s generous size boot is also a big plus and the cabin isn’t short of useful oddment storage options - making it an ideal environment for road warriors and their clutter.
The sole 1.7-litre diesel engine option delivers a strong performance, and remains reasonably quiet when pushed hard. Don’t expect the Optima to rival the German sports saloons for outright performance though, as Kia’s aim to major on refinement and comfort has largely succeeded.
In its refreshed state boasting more kit and visibly higher quality levels, the Optima offers budget-savvy buyers a credible alternative to the wares of the more established brands. With its sensible economy and emissions ratings, plus that all-important seven-year warranty, the Optima makes a lot of sense for both private buyers and company car users.
If you’re downsizing from a larger luxury car yet keen to retain your much loved creature comforts, Kia’s Optima is worth a serious look. That’s also true if you want to move up in the world but don’t fancy paying big bucks of the privilege. Either way, the Optima comes with plenty of kit, is refined and capable enough to worry the opposition. And if you’re a professional driver seeking reliable transport that will also impress customers, the Optima’s polished appearance and spacious cabin are a major plus points.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi, £24,495
Engine: 1.7-litre diesel unit producing 134bhp and 239lb/ft of torque
Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels
Performance: Top speed 125mph, 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds
Economy: 57.6mpg combined
Emissions: 128g/km of CO2