Review: 2014 Kia Optima

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews

It’s arguably the best looking medium sized cars on the market, with European styling from that of former design chief of Audi/VW, there’s a solid presence that suggests it’s a lot more expensive that what the sticker price asks. 

Positioned to feel like a premium medium sized sedan, the flagship Kia model, the Kia Optima, aims to bring high-end technology to the masses.

When shopping for a Kia Optima, you’ll have three grades to choose from:

  • Si ($30,990 drive away)
  • SLi ($39,713 drive away)
  • Platinum ($44,348 drive away)

The model we tested was the Kia Optima Platinum that includes a lengthy standard options list with quad LED fog lamps, xenon headlights, GPS navigation, blind spot monitoring systems, lane-change assistance, rear cross-traffic alert, front parking sensors, and heated and cooled front seats.  Then there is a five-star ANCAP safety rating to add to the already impressive list of features.

Powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 148W of power, and 250Nm of torque, there’s a respectable amount of power for the 6 speed automatic transmission to use and rev out. 

With all of those features, and its designer styling, could it even challenge some European vehicles in grabbing the attention of the young professional wanting a four-door sedan?

Let’s take a look.

Initial Impression

Just like previous Kia models we have reviewed including the Cerato Koup, and the pro_cee’d GT, the Optima can be appreciated from a great number of angles. It’s one good-looking piece of metal.

Everything feels well finished, and the level of attention to detail on the exterior adds to the overall premium European experience. This is then continued on the inside, where it feels and looks well finished.

For the driver, the steering wheel is the best design Kia have implemented and feels perfect for long drives with quick access to the cruise control, electronic dash menus and media functions.

When it comes to comfort, the seats in both the front and rear feel comfortable, but not after you’ve spent a little bit of time fine tuning all of the power front seats. 

Drivability

Despite the lack of a turbocharged option here in Australia, the naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine performs well enough for getting from A to B in a respectable fashion. 

Kia spent a considerable amount of time working on making the car quieter, and that silence is quite noticeable at speed on the highway. This allows you to listen to that favorite mix in peace and enjoy the scenery along the way. 

Fuel economy is rated at 7.9 litres per 100km on a combined cycle, but if you’re primarily travelling on the highway, you can expect figures in the 6 litres per 100km range. 

If you like a more spirited drive, the inclusion of paddle shifters on the steering wheel allow you to take control of the transmission and get the most out of the engine.

The electronic instrument cluster makes seeing what you need to see super simple, and customisable. Thanks to handy controls on the steering wheel, you can access various amounts of information and stats quickly and easily.

Practicality

With plenty of legroom and 60/40 split rear folding seats there is going to be a large number of possible scenarios you’ll be able to take on in the Kia Optima. 

Thanks to its array of sensors and systems you’re going to save yourself a lot of grief. In particular, the rear cross-traffic alert is very useful when reversing into very busy traffic areas as it warns you about passing trolleys, bicycles, cars and people. 

Even with a relatively tall passenger up front, passengers can still enjoy a comfortable ride and also experience the panoramic sunroof included in the Platinum grade.

You might have to watch out with taller passengers in the rear seat however, as the sloping roof line may restrict headroom. It’s not dramatic, but noticeable to those it matters to.

Boot space is reasonable and would suit anyone who doesn’t want to mess with finding his or her car key. Thanks to keyless entry and push button start, unlocking and getting going is a breeze.

Cost

A lot of the features including xenon headlamps, and rear cross-traffic alert aren’t usually found in medium sized sedans, and their inclusion in the Kia Optima start to make a compelling case.

With a drive away price of $44,348, the Kia Optima Platinum gives you all the features you would absolutely want and need for a car like this.

Also included is a 5-year, unlimited km factory warranty, and capped price servicing is available with an average annual fee of $377.

Conclusion

If you love good styling that looks much more expensive than its rivals, plus includes a swag of standard equipment, the Kia Optima Platinum is worth including on your shopping list.

The Kia Optima is an excellent package and whilst it might not be at the top of your shopping list, it certainly needs to be. It’s a definite must test drive car.

If you want to experience the Kia Optima for yourself, be sure to arrange a test drive or to check out our stock online.