Why the new Kia Optima is the smart Opt-ion
Kia Optima - 1.7 CRDi Platinum
Like a Willie Mullins' horse in Cheltenham, the Skoda Superb has always been a firm favourite with punters looking for a sure thing.
But, over in the Kia stable, there’s a young colt in the form of the Optima that just might have what it takes to give not just the Superb, but the Mondeo, Peugeot 508 and even Volkswagen’s Passat a run for their money.
The new Kia Optima – it would be rich to describe it as an all-new model – has come on in leaps and bounds from its predecessor.
The untrained eye would need to go to Specsavers to really notice the exterior changes, but it is fair to say, that the designers have
done a really good job in maintaining the key features albeit with much sharper body lines, new lights and grille.
It’s on the inside where the Kia designers have worked their magic. The new Optima has a much more premium feel to it, and the materials and technology is up there with the dark horses from the German stables.
There is a very slick and easy-to-use touch screen that is compatible with all the latest smart phones, and the dash layout is clean.
The car is much bigger too, with the overall length increased by 10mm, 25mm wider and 10mm taller making it much more spacious for driver and front- and rear-seat passengers.
The leg and head room in the rear is definitely as good as what’s on offer in the Superb, and the enormous boot is big enough to eat up any amount of luggage.
I was very impressed with the spec in my mid-range model, with heated front and rear seats on offer, and a heated steering wheel for those cold mornings.
On the engine front, the 1.7-litre diesel engine from the previous model has been retained again, albeit with significant improvements.
Power increases from 136bhp to 141bhp and CO2 on the manual model comes down from 133g to 120g with a new annual road tax of just €190.
The CO2 improvement on the new seven-speed DCT automatic is even more significant down 42grams from 158 to 116 and road tax is now just €10 more than the manual version.
Once again, I am a little disappointed that Kia doesn’t have a wider engine range available like its German competitors do – so you are stuck with the 1.7-litre diesel.
Kia Motors Ireland is offering Optima in three trim levels EX, Platinum and GSE all powered with the 1.7D power unit .The entry-level but generously-specced EX model start comes in at €27,950 and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, climate control, lane-departure assist and speed-limit information as standard .
The volume model is expected to be the Platinum Model, which is priced at €31,450. This model features a host of additional features including 18-inch alloys, full-leather seats (heated front and rear), 12-way memory seat for the driver, heated steering wheel and Xenon lights.
The Platinum automatic, with its seven-speed dual clutch gearbox also comes with the convenience of wireless phone charging.
Topping the range is the GSE (€34,450) with a distinctive beige leather interior, panoramic sunroof, smart-key entry, eight-inch navigation screen and 10-speaker 590- watt Harman Kardon premium sound system.
I was really impressed with the new Kia Optima. It should not be overlooked in any way if you are in the market for a large family/fleet saloon.
It’s is every bit as good as its German rivals and, the fact that it comes with Kia’s seven-year warranty is a major plus factor.#
Model: Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi Platinum
Price: From €27,950 (€31,450 test model)
Road Tax: Band A3 (€190 per year)
Fuel Consumption: 4.2l/100km (claimed)
0-100kph: 10.0 seconds
Top Speed: 203kph
Boot Space: 510 litres