Kia Australia has been kind enough to lend us a new 2016 Kia Optima GT to road test and review over a full month.
Longer than the usual one-week loan arrangement, getting the Kia to check out over a longer period has so far proven quite interesting.
It’s interesting as well because we know the Kia Optima so well, yet this new GT variant really changes the playing field.
Our 2011 Car of the Year, the Kia Optima continues to be one of the most handsome mid-size sedans on the market.
Priced from $34,490 for the Si, the turbocharged Optima GT starts from $43,990.
The third and fourth-generation Kia Optima has never wanted for styling, cabin space, boot space or features, but plenty of people who have taken one for a test drive have commented that the standard 2.4 litre engine was the weak point.
That issue has now been sorted with the new 180kW/350Nm 2.0 litre turbo-petrol engine fitted to the GT.
Offering much better off the line acceleration and more confident overtaking there isn’t much not to like about the GT.
Fuel economy though is only average; I’ve averaged just over eleven litres per 100 kilometres in my first week of city/suburban driving. There are three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport, the majority of my driving has been in Eco mode.
The 2016 Kia Optima is a pleasure to drive with a really well-sorted ride, nimble-enough handling, quiet cabin and surprisingly good turning circle.
The GT also comes standard with an excellent cruise control system. Featuring incremental speed adjustment (a must have) and distance control as well, it really is a case of set and forget on the motorway.
Perhaps the only thing that has stood out to me as being slightly annoying (aside from the intrusive “You are over the speed limit” warnings) is the very loud volume of the ‘beeps’ emitted by the parking sensors.
I have tried to go into the infotainment system settings to turn these down a bit but I can’t seem to find a way to do it, I will keep investigating.
Speaking of the infotainment system, one thing I do like on the Kia is that there are shortcut buttons below the screen and these allow you to make changes such as radio band or to access the sat-nav without having to touch the screen.
Highlights so far include the excellent cabin space and the general comfort for driver and passengers. While the lack of digital radio is definitely a negative.
I will bring you more on the Kia Optima GT long term test next week.