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

Iain Doo­ley

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

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.

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