Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2014 Kia Optima.
Kia has come a long way from the early models they offered a couple of decades ago and now has a range of vehicles that stand proudly against even those that originate in Europe.
The latest model of the Kia Optima is a good example of this progression in fit, finish and attention to detail. It offers a very responsive engine, excellent safety credentials, updated exterior and interior styling and a five year warranty.
The Optima is available in three variations Si, SLi and Platinum. All three share the same engine and six-speed automatic transmission.
The Optima is more athletic on a winding road than other midsize cars, plus has the bonus of being still comfortable enough for daily driving duties. In short it can be described as well-balanced.
Times have certainly changed. Just a few years ago, buying a midsize sedan required sacrificing style at the altar of practicality. However, one look at the Kia Optima’s striking body contours reveals that such a compromise is a thing of the past.
It offers a spacious boot and good leg and head room front and rear for five adults, with the slight negative that the sloping roofline can make taller back-seat riders a little uncomfortable.
Standard features on the entry-level Si Optima include 17” alloys, dual-zone climate control, tilt and reach steering adjustment, Bluetooth, reversing camera and even a cooling glove box!
The SLi adds features including satellite-navigation and 18” alloy wheels, while the Platinum boasts a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery and even a heated steering wheel!
The engine provides good acceleration and more than enough power once you let it loose, even with five adults and their luggage on board.
The suspension is good both for handling and comfort, but the steering, on occasions, does tend to be not quite as responsive as I would like. But that is only a minor distraction from the overall performance of the car.
The interior noise level is minimal, and road noise is not intrusive.
Considering the overall package the 2014 Optima provides a very pleasant car, with a realistic price tag in a very congested segment of the market.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.4 litre petrol producing 148kW and 250Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: 5yrs/Unlimited Kilometres
Origin: South Korea
Price: From $30,490