Saloon in style Refreshed and ready to do battle in the tough mid-size saloon market, Kia’s Optima is a high-spec, value for money alternative to the mainstream opposition. reports
Kia’s Optima has been around for a few years, and this mild refresh ensures that the Korean firm’s mid-size saloon stays competitive in a crowded marketplace populated by more expensive and established rival metal. There’s much to like about the Optima; it’s a stylish car and its bold corporate look is striking without detracting from the rest of the its clean lines. Subtle tweaks to the car’s nose and tail hide a more comprehensive update inside and under the skin. Improvements to overall refinement have resulted in a quieter cabin, while there’s more standard and optional kit available. Looks and image The sharp-suited Optima has nothing to fear in the company car park. 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 sevenyear warranty. Space and practicality 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. The car’s generous-sized boot is also a big plus and the cabin isn’t short of useful oddment storage options. Behind the wheel Kia has worked to ensure the Optima delivers a refined driving experience in a bid to rival the products of the established European players. It’s largely paid off, with the Optima easily capable of munching the motorway miles and distancing the driver from poorly surfaced roads. 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 is to major on refinement and comfort. Value for money 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. 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.