2017 Kia Optima Si Review

Kia Optima Road Test, Review

If you want to buck the trend and not be an ‘SUV family’, then why not give the Kia Optima a go?

Sure, it doesn’t have seven-seats, but then most people who reckon they need all those seats, probably don’t.

And if you opt for a car, well you get a better driving experience don’t you?

The 2017 Kia Optima is not, probably even by Kia‘s own admission, the freshest thing on the shelf.

We gave the Kia Optima our Car of the Year Award back in 2011, and while it’s been refreshed a couple of times, it’s still essentially the same car.

That means the drive is experience, while still good, isn’t as brilliant as it was when this generation Optima first wowed us back earlier in the decade.

But if a car that does everything well is what you’re after, then there’s no real reason not to give it a go.

Some of the ongoing strengths of the Kia Optima include the good looks, the good road manners, good visibility and the very generous internal proportions.

Every time I drive the Optima I’m surprised by the rear legroom and boot space.

The base-model Si is powered by the 2.4 litre petrol engine and is more than adequate for the size of the car.

Delivering 138kW/240Nm, the engine is happy to move the big sedan along at a respectable rate, even at speed on the highway.

Do you need the 2.0 turbocharged version? Probably not. You can check out a review of that offering here.

One thing though with the Si is that it misses out on Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and when you get used to having it (I have an Apple iPhone), going back to a car without it feels inadequate.

There’s also no digital radio in this version of the Optima.

Interestingly, looking at the Optima cabin compared to the more recently released Kia offerings - think Rio and Sportage, it probably isn’t as nicely finished off.

For example, the door storage pockets had that little plastic ‘burr’ along the edge and that is something you wouldn’t find in the newer products.

Summing it up though, if a decent-sized passenger car is on your shopping list you’d be mad not to check out the Kia, especially when you take into account the very reasonable pricing of the Si grade.

That this vehicle has held up so well, and still looks as stylish today, proves the point categorically that we made the right choice with our Car of the Year award back in 2011.

NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Kia Optima Si

  • Engine: 2.4 litre petrol producing 138kW/240Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed auto
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: Seven years
  • Origin: South Korea
  • Price: from $34,490

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