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2017 Kia Optima GT Road Test

Kia Optima GT Road Test, Review

The 2017 Kia Optima GT is probably the best-value car on the market. Why? Because it delivers a much better than expected drive, great cabin space, good features list, great warranty, and huge boot.

And you can get into it for less than a very reasonable $44,000.

One of the Kia Optima‘s medium-sized rivals is being pushed as an SUV alternative in the latest TV ads and that holds true with the South Korean product.

The Optima GT is a great option for a primary driver who wants something with a bit of spirit, yet a car that is still pleasant to drive and sensible enough for the family.

The grumble of the 180kW/350Nm 2.0 litre turbo-engine is very addictive.

It not only sounds good (quite old-school V8), it also really pushes you back in your seat, especially when you get the revs up above 2,000rpm.

There’s no CVT or complicated dual-clutch transmission, just a well-sorted six-speed auto.

Fuel economy? Not bad - I averaged just over 10L/100km in my week of city driving.

There’s three drive modes too, I must admit though that I spent most of my time in the ‘Sports’ mode…why not?!

As covered in my recent review of the non-turbocharged Optima Si, the current Kia Optima is getting to the end of its life-cycle and is starting to feel just a little dated.

It’s a credit though to the designers that a car that won our Car of the Year award back in 2011 still looks so good (and still turns heads).

A couple of complaints about the Optima GT - the infotainment system, while functional, is not cutting-edge and there’s no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, or digital radio.

There’s also a little idiosyncrasy that I hadn’t noticed before - at night, a percentage of the instrument panel reflects up onto the driver’s side window and a couple of times I confused the reflection for another cars headlights.

Everything else though is really functional and well-designed.

I particularly like the flat-bottom steering wheel in the Kia Optima GT and the performance gauges that appear on the driver info screen when you flick the car into ‘Sports’ mode.

I mentioned in the Optima Si review that you might not need the turbocharged engine, but if you can find the extra dollars then I reckon it’s the icing on the Kia cake.

As I said at the top, the Kia Optima GT is somewhat a ‘hidden gem’ and a great value car that delivers an awful lot, for not a lot of money.

NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Kia Optima GT

  • Engine: 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol producing 180kW/350Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: Seven years
  • Origin: South Korea
  • Price: from $43,900

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About Joel Helmes 3725 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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