2016 Kia Optima GT Turbo road test and review.
The all-new Kia Optima is Kia’s contribution to the mid-size sedan segment, and it competes with the likes of the Toyota Camry and Aurion, Mazda6 and even the new Hyundai Sonata in which the Optima shares a number of components.
Kia promises that the new Optima brings new levels of style, comfort and value to the segment.
The 2016 Kia Optima GT Turbo is powered by - as the name suggests - a 2.0 litre turbo charged petrol engine that develops 180kW and 350Nm. The engine has a fabulously broad powerband and gathers pace without a hint of turbo lag and very minimal if no delay, resulting in brisk acceleration.
The exhaust note for some part is a little disappointing, being a little too quiet a lower revs, especially for a sports model. A soft burble from idle would further enhance the car’s appeal.
Two variants of the Kia Optima are currently offered: the entry-level Kia Optima Si with a 2.4 litre naturally aspirated engine priced from $34,490 and the range-topping Kia Optima GT Turbo as tested, priced from a very reasonable $43,990.
The six-speed automatic encourages driver engagement by holding shifts when the driver chooses to swap cogs via the paddles mounted on that flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Average combined fuel consumption is quoted at 8.5L/100km, but I found 10.5 litres more realistic.
The Kia Optima GT Turbo proved itself to be a very fun car to drive. The turbo four and the six-speed automatic provide energetic motivation and the 18 inch wheels, direct steering and well-judged suspension settings make for a comfortable and composed ride, but smile inducing handling.
Corners are devoured with ease, and that sports steering wheel feeding the driver information to their fingertips and it feels poised and balanced. Hit the highway and the adaptive (and intuitive) cruise control takes the sting out of lengthy motorway driving.
The Kia Optima GT’s interior is a true reflection of Kia’s strategy to poach a number of design staff from Audi. The Optima GT’s interior feels European with all materials being of a high calibre, all controls laid out with ergonomic precision. Those familiar with the previous generation Audi A4 will feel a sense of déjà vu here.
The angled centre stack is driver friendly, and the switchgear is classy but simple. The fitment of a Harmon/Kardon stereo will not only satisfy audiophiles with its rich, crisp sound but is also a first for Kia and is indicative of the brand’s future upmarket aspirations.
Music can be played on CD, streamed via Bluetooth or devices can be connected by USB. Phones can also be charged via Kia’s wireless charging system.
The red leather shrouds five very comfortable seats and affirms the GT’s sporty intentions. Legroom, like the Optima’s Hyundai Sonata sibling is excellent too, however, a steeply raked roofline and panoramic headroom chews into headroom, especially in the back.
The Optima is covered by Kia’s market leading seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Summing up, the 2016 Kia Optima GT Turbo is a quick, fun to drive, well-appointed and cheap and is, in my opinion, the best car to come out of Korea. Ever.