Kia Optima Road Test

Kia Optima Interior (2012)

Kia Optima Review

Kia Optima ReviewKia Optima Review | Part Two

Kia has come a long way in the past few years. Its car range is steadily transforming into a higher-calibre offering, without abandoning its value-for-money appeal.

Comfort and Refinement

The Optima's external dimensions translate into a roomy, well-packaged interior. Seat comfort is reasonable, with supportive shaping and firm-ish cushioning. There is very adequate headroom and knee-room in all the seats. There is nothing much to complain about regarding the car's general refinement. Once warmed up and on the move, it is pleasantly quiet with minimal intrusion from engine or wind noise, and reasonably subdued road rumble. Its Achilles' heel is on start-up from cold, when the engine at first has quite a noticeable diesel rattle until it settles down.

Safety and Security

The Optima has not been tested for Euro NCAP, so its crash test performance cannot easily be judged against its peers. It is, however, very well equipped with safety kit. It has anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. In an emergency stop, the warning lights activate automatically. Electronic stability control, vehicle stability management and hill start assist also feature on the car's specification list. It is well-equipped with crash provision, with front, side and curtain airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters, active front headrests and ISOFIX tethers.


The Optima's audio kit is an Infinity Premium Sound System with twelve Speakers, including a four-inch central speaker, 550w external amp and an eight-inch subwoofer. It has RDS radio and CD player with MP3, USB and AUX compatability. Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming is also included. There is a standard seven-inch touch-screen satellite navigation pre-installed with European mapping. The screen is also used for the reverse parking camera. A parallel park assist system comes as part of the extra specification on this range-topping '3' version of the Optima.

  • Skoda Superb
  • Toyota Avensis
  • Hyundai i40
  • Volkswagen Passat
What We Liked
  • Lots of standard kit included in the price
  • Good refinement once engine is warm
  • Tidy handling
  • Roomy interior
  • Good cabin quality
  • Big, well-shaped boot
  • Long warranty, one of the best in the business
What We Disliked
  • Ride quality variable
  • Clattery engine sound on start-up
  • No petrol version available
What We Would Like To See
  • More colour choice, very limited range available

Kia has come a long way in the past few years. Its car range is steadily transforming into a higher-calibre offering, without abandoning its value-for-money appeal. The Optima demonstrates that Kia is just as capable of producing a good-looking, well-engineered large car as it is in dishing up its well-regarded smaller models. With this car Kia does not beat its rivals on driving calibre, but it is not far behind, and it certainly tops them for value, as well as giving a much more generous warranty.

13 February 2012 Sue Baker
Kia Optima ReviewKia Optima Review | Part Two
Kia Optima Road Test Data
Model ReviewedKia Optima 3 1.7 CRDi
Body TypeSaloon
ColourSantorini Blue
Performance (manufacturers data) 
0 - 62 mph8.2 seconds
Top Speed 126 mph
Transmission6-Speed Manual
Fuel TypeDiesel
CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures) g/km
Economy (NEDC Figures) 
Urban49.6 mpg
Extra Urban64.2 mpg
Combined57.6 mpg
Insurance Group17
Euro NCAP Rating
Warranty7 years / 100,000 miles
Price (when tested on the 13/02/12)£24,495

The information contained within this Kia Optima review may have changed since publication on the 13 February 2012. The actual model road tested may feature options and functionality specific to that model, which may not be available as on option or be fitted to other models in the range. Options may not be available on UK specification cars. You may wish to check with your local Kia dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce this car review in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018