Review: Kia Optima 1.7CRDi – from invisible to seductive –


Kia OptimaKia Optima 1.7CRDi

Despite being on sale in the UK because 2012 it’s one of those invisible cars that few could mentally picture if asked – or even choose out in a automobile park. That’s a discomfort due to the fact that the Optima has actually constantly had considerably to offer but, as a four-door saloon in a market that generally prefers hatchbacks, its appeal was constantly going to be limited.

Then there’s additionally the small matter of the Sportage alongside it in the showroom. For any sort of family buyers wandering on to the Kia forecourt, the sight of the brand-new Sportage crossover is probably enough to divert their attentions away from just what is a standard saloon.

At least Kia is making some efforts to adjustment that though. This brand-new Optima will certainly be available as a Sportswagon estate for the initial time from this summer (which is expected to be the eventual ideal seller) too as there being a plug-in hybrid version.

Does it enhance on the road? Yes and no

If the Optima’s presence was anonymous before, that surely won’t be the case in the future. It won’t be the case along with the Optima’s styling either. While we quite enjoy the look of the forthcoming brand-new Sportswagon, this brand-new saloon is looking sleeker and much better compared to ever.

We already enjoy the look of the brand-new Sportage that arrived in to showrooms in February this year and it underlines that Kia is making a few of the smartest mainstream model ranges on offer at the moment.


The Kia Optima is additionally available as a Sportswagon

It’s not by fluke that the two the Optima and Sportage have actually the two won Red Dot design awards recently for the second time. Under the bonnet of the Optima is simply the single choice of Kia’s proven 1.7-litre turbodiesel which has actually been tweaked to now make 139bhp along with either a six-speed manual (as in our test car) or brand-new seven-speed twin-clutch semi-automatic. 

That’s enough to grab the Optima from 0 to 60mph in 9.7 seconds and on to a 121mph top speed along with a 67.3mpg standard fuel economy and 110g/km emissions.

Those are respectable quite compared to amazing figures in what’s a highly competitive market (especially at a fleet level) and while the addition of standard engine stop-begin technology and the twin-clutch auto are a step forward, it’s nothing that rivals haven’t had already.

Does it enhance on the road? Yes and no. On a purely clinical level, the Optima drives well and is pretty comfortable, especially as quickly as cruising on faster motorways and dual carriageways and the ride quality is excellent.


The Kia Optima can easily grab from 0-60 in 9.7 seconds

For any sort of company automobile reps pounding the length and breadth of the country that may be enough, however again numerous others are simply as comfortable and quiet.

The Kia’s only complications but are as quickly as you turn off that motorway on to much more delightful A and B-roads that must be placing a smile on your face.

Instead, along with no steering feel and a lifeless gear-change, the Optima merely doesn’t engage along with the driver on an emotional degree – something that much more and much more drivers look for these days.

Combined along with that are a variety of seemingly silly oversights: the infotainment screen is clear and basic to usage however reflects badly in the windscreen at night, we additionally didn’t feel that the headlights were powerful enough – a rare criticism along with modern cars.

The exact same goes for various other elements of the Kia’s interior. There’s a creditable quantity of space in the two the front and rear, however the driver’s seat lacks support and it’s frustrating as quickly as it’s such a great cruising companion that the centre armrest doesn’t improve or slide forward as expected.

While most of the plastics have actually vastly improved, as along with most of Kia’s range of late, there are still a few places that could do along with some improvement.


The USB and Aux sockets are in plane view

We’d prefer the USB and Aux sockets to be from view too.

Having said that, the heated steering wheel remains rare enough at this degree to be a pleasant surprise to discover alongside the much more traditional heated seats.

Until the Sportswagon estate and hybrid versions arrive, it would certainly be basic enough to dismiss the Optima as merely making up the numbers in just what is a pretty crowded and pretty competitive marketplace.

However, while not perfect, the Kia isn’t devoid of its highlights and there’s considerably here to recommend it for – even if it doesn’t worry the class best.

In time, too, we believe much more and much more customers may be stepping in to the Korean firm’s showrooms and being seduced simply as considerably by the Optima as the big-selling Sportage. Watch this space, the Optima won’t be anonymous for considerably longer.

Price: from £21,495

Engine: Turbo-diesel – 1.7-litre

Power: 0 to 60mph in 9.7 seconds, 121mph top speed 

Fuel economy: 67.3mpg CO2 emissions: 110g/km 

Rivals: DS5, Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, Toyota Avensis, Vauxhall Insignia 

Rating: 7/10