it is much better on the motorway ...
The Optima is Kia’s answer to the Ford Mondeo and we are now on the third generation model which went on sale in February 2012 – it was originally called the Magentis, probably a name that is best forgotten. It is closely related to the Hyundai i40, which available in the UK as both an estate and a saloon – the Optima is only available here as a Saloon.
It has recently been given a few tweaks here and there to bring it up to date and early next year an all new model will be launched.
It has not been a particularly large seller in the UK to date selling in small numbers to companies and rental fleets but KIA are working to introduce it into the company car park. Visually it is a striking car, although the limitation of one engine and the fact that it is only available as a saloon might hamper its corporate progress.
What We Tested
We tested the Kia Optima '2' finished in Silver which at the time of testing cost £22,895.
Driving and Performance
You don’t get a choice of engines in the UK, there is only one - Kia’s 1.7-litre diesel engine which available with a six speed manual or six speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels.
The 1.7-litre diesel unit produces 134bhp and delivers 325Nm of torque between 2,000-2,500 rpm. Kia quotes a 0-60 mph time of 10.2 seconds for the Optima and a top speed of 125 mph, which is quite respectable for the 1.7-litre unit. Although to get the most out of the turbo diesel engine you must keep the revs up or you will be left floundering, although then it does become a little more vocal.
The official fuel consumption figures, are Urban 49.6 mpg, Extra Urban 64.2 mpg and on the combined cycle 57.6 mpg - with CO2 emissions of 128 g/km.
We were achieving around 42.3 mpg over a 242 mile mixed driving route and we just nudged 50 mpg out on open ‘A’ roads.
Out on the open road there is a little more road and wind noise than you would expect on this class of car. The dynamics are not particularly great, with too much body roll and poorly weighted steering – it simply does not behave as well as the likes of the Mazda6 or Mondeo. The ride was good, erring on the soft side of comfort with the standard 18” alloy wheels that are not too large to make the ride unsettled but they do allow some transmission back into the cabin on poorer road surfaces – it is much better on the motorway.