Price-cut keeps up Op­tima ap­peal

Geraldton Guardian - - MOTORING - Derek Og­den

A fresh face and a new set of “shoes” are Kia’s at­tempt to keep its Op­tima mid-size sedan ap­peal­ing in an ever-chang­ing Aus­tralian car mar­ket. Pric­ing has come in for a hair­cut too.

The MY2019 en­try-level Si and pre­mium GT pair gain a new grille and front fas­cia, up­per and lower rear pan­els and re-styled wheels.

In­side, the Op­tima gains the new OEM in­fo­tain­ment head unit (7inch for the Si and 8-inch for the GT) with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto tie-up.

Kia’s Aus­tralian engi­neer­ing team has once again rolled up its sleeves to im­prove the Op­tima’s ride and han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Im­prove­ments have been made in ride re­fine­ment and steer­ing feel.

The safety pack for both mod­els gains driver at­ten­tion alert and the lane de­par­ture warn­ing is up­graded to the more ad­vanced lane keep­ing as­sist ver­sion.

Im­por­tantly, the prices have come down, with the Si at $33,390, plus on-road costs.

The in­clu­sion of smart phone com­pat­i­bil­ity in the Si negates the need for em­bed­ded satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion,

while HID head­lamps are re­placed by dual pro­jec­tion lights.

The Op­tima GT still has sat nav through a new head unit with 10year MapCare and SUNA traf­fic in­for­ma­tion.

How­ever, the Op­tima’s $1200 price cut to $43,290 means the front pas­sen­ger power seat is off­loaded for a man­u­ally ad­justed one.

The front seats are no longer ven­ti­lated but re­main heated, and

the panoramic sun­roof is left out, as are high beam as­sist and tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing.

The Op­tima still ben­e­fits from Aus­tralia’s lead­ing seven-year war­ranty, seven-year capped price ser­vic­ing, to­talling $3347, and seven-year road­side as­sist pro­grams.

Mi­nor changes to the ra­di­a­tor grille and front fas­cia and up­per and lower rear pan­els, do not de­tract from the Kia char­ac­ter of the four-door sedan, main­tain­ing the look wor­thy of the GT badge.

New stylish wheels also help the Op­tima keep pace with pre­mium sports sedans.

Both mod­els take the lat­est OEM in­fo­tain­ment head unit.

Putting out an im­pres­sive 180kW and 350Nm, the 2.0-litre en­gine fea­tures a twin-scroll tur­bocharger, high pres­sure fuel pump, dual con­tin­u­ously vari­able valve tim­ing tech­nol­ogy and laser-drilled in­jec­tors.

It drives the front wheels through Kia’s own six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Six airbags — driver, pas­sen­ger, two front side and two cur­tain airbags — are stan­dard.

Also fit­ted across the range is

Kia’s Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Man­age­ment, en­sur­ing sta­bil­ity un­der brak­ing and cor­ner­ing by con­trol­ling the car’s elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and elec­tric power steer­ing if it de­tects a loss of trac­tion.

The safety pack for both mod­els gains driver at­ten­tion alert and the lane de­par­ture warn­ing is up­graded to the more ad­vanced lane keep­ing as­sist ver­sion.

With 180kW on tap, the Op­tima GT en­ters its stride with­out com­plaint thanks to the max­i­mum torque of 350Nm torque com­ing into play low down the rev range.

The GT showed it­self to be thirsty on the day-to-day city com­mute, clock­ing around 12 litres per 100km of fuel use, and half that at high­way speeds.

Kia’s Aus­tralian engi­neer­ing team once again has made im­prove­ments to Op­tima’s ride and han­dling.

Ride is more re­fined and steer­ing feel of a more pos­i­tive na­ture.

New lane-keep­ing as­sist gives the steer­ing wheel a gen­tle nudge, re­mind­ing the driver they may be about to wan­der into the ad­join­ing lane.

A stiff body and wheels iso­late vi­bra­tions and road noise while

adding to the car’s dy­namic abil­i­ties.

Lug­gage space is an im­pres­sive 510 litres, with a wide boot open­ing adding greater load­ing con­ve­nience.

The front pas­sen­ger power seat is no great loss to a man­ual one; neither is front-seat ven­ti­la­tion.

I would be com­fort­able with the re­sult­ing price drop.

Mi­nor changes to the pop­u­lar Op­tima sedan help Kia keep pace with the rapid changes in cus­tomer ap­peal.

The price cuts and gen­er­ous seven-year war­ranty also don’t do the Op­tima sales prospects any harm.

Sub­tle changes to looks are to the fore in the re­freshed Kia Op­tima sedan.

The 2016 Kia Op­tima GT Turbo has had a few tweaks and a price cut. Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The Op­tima’s GT Turbo black leather in­te­rior im­presses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.