The Low Down
With a completely redesigned look for 2016, this Kia has got quite an optimistic future for a midsize sedan. Not known for being a serious competitor until recently (due to the new facelift and much needed elevations), the Optima has been in a battle against the Camry, Fusion, and the Accord – and was just a bargain hunters car before the new generation. Finally, the brand is getting some positive recognition with the Optima leading the way, and we’re here to show you why.
While the exterior styling hasn’t changed much other than being a little bit longer, wider and taller than the 2015 model, it’s only subtle differences at first glance – albeit they make it look a bit more luxury than it has. Beneath the exterior is an all new Kia: better structural design, some new leather, and a panoramic sunroof, to name a few. Filled with lots of soft touch plastics, the seats are pretty comfortable, while lacking some support, with the exception of the squishy SXL upholstery. The base model has a great array of options and items, while the higher level models have great features that usually aren’t available for their levels – like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and a 360 degree parking camera.
The 2016 Kia Optima is a five seater midsize sedan that comes in, essentially, 5 models, with lots and lots of options and tack on packages:
LX (slightly different between engine choices): the base model comes with 16” alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, AC, six way power driver seat, 60/40 split rear seats, rearview camera, 5” central display, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, 6 speaker sound system, CD player, satellite radio, USB/AUX.
*Optional Convenience Package for the LX includes: 8 way power driver seat, laminated front door windows (making them quieter), power folding heated mirrors, auto dimming rearview mirror, driver memory settings, and some safety features like blind-spot monitor, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert.
*LX 1.6T gets a turbocharged 1.6 liter engine, laminated front door windows, heated and power folding mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel and keyless entry and ignition.
*LX 1.6 Technology Package includes that of the Convenience package, and adds LED taillights, two charge USB ports, dual zone climate control, rear AC vents, 8” touchscreen with HD radio, navigation system, and Kia’s Uvo infotainment system.
EX: included on the EX is what you get from the LX 1.6T but with the base engine of the LX, plus 17” alloy wheels, LED running lights, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, and everything in the Technology package (except the auto-dimming rearview, 8” touchscreen, and blind-spot monitoring/cross traffic alert / sensors).
*EX Premium Package gets all of the features we just excluded above, and adds on a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, 8 way power passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats.
*You can also add on the Premium Audio Package, which includes heated rear seats, rear side window sunshades, and 10 speaker Harman Kardon surround sound audio system.
SX: the SX is much sportier and comes with a 2.0 liter turbo engine, 18” alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips, sports tuned suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, LED taillights, rear spoiler, unique exterior styling details, upgraded gauges, auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient lighting, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, 8” touchscreen bundle, and rear side window sunshades.
*The Premium Technology Package includes everything in the EX’s Premium/Premium Audio packages, but also adds automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, 360 degree parking camera system, and electronic parking brake. You also get more safety features like a lane departure warning system and frontal collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
SXL: This is the top of the range model that features a premium quilted leather, which comes with all of the features listed above. Yep. All of them. PLUS – exterior chrome accents, unique interior trim, and obviously the quilted leather. Do we need to mention that again? Because we will. Quilted. Leather.
Every 2016 Optima is front wheel drive. This year’s models incorporate a higher strength steel which has been used to add structural rigidity, handling, and stability in high speed driving. The turbocharged 1.6 liter is definitely our favorite and most fun to drive – it packs more of a punch and is less noisy than the 2.4 liter, and it’s more fuel efficient. That being said, we also really loved the 2.0 liter which comes with the SX models – which also happen to be our top pick! The optional lamination for the front windows are really amazing for keeping the noise levels low, so we 100% recommend that you opt for them for a much nicer driving experience to keep you nice and happy.
The LX and EX come standard with the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine with a standard 6 speed automatic transmission with EPA fuel economy of 28 MPG.
It also has an available turbo 1.6 liter engine paired with a 7 speed automated clutch transmission for better fuel economy (32 MPG) and performance while driving.
A turbocharged 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine is standard on the SX and SXL with 6 speed automatic transmission with EPA fuel economy of 25 MPG.
All models come equipped with Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, 6 speaker sound system, CD player, satellite radio, USB/AUX.
Optional on the LX Technology package are: 8” touchscreen with HD radio, navigation system, and Kia’s Uvo infotainment system.
The Premium Audio package adds on a 10 speaker Harman Kardon surround sound audio system.
Standard on all models include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, driver knee airbag, and side curtain airbag. Also standard is a rearview camera – with optional features including a 360 degree surround view camera, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring system, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning/intervention system with emergency auto braking.
The Uvo telematics system also comes standard on most of the trims, including roadside assistance, collision notification and driver restrictions / tracking for secondary drivers.
Included in the Convenience Package for the LX model are blind-spot monitor, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Premium Technology package for the SX includes a lane departure warning system and frontal collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
Starting at $21,990
Why this Car?
While the competition remains tough, the Optima is quite an intriguing model to watch out for. This year’s Optima is pretty stunning which is kind of a shock for Kia’s reputation. Did we mention the quilted leather? It just keeps getting better and better each year – so if you’re not in a rush for a new car, maybe hold off until next year if you dig this model but are excited to see what’s coming… word on the street is they’re unveiling some new technology features to make both Apple and Android users happy! In the meantime, shoot over for a test drive, because you may be pleasantly surprised!