Thursday 8 December 2016

KIA go for Optima results with new family saloon

Published 04/11/2015 | 13:43

Kia Optima
Kia Optima
Kia Optima
Kia Optima

KIA have just announced prices and spec for their new family/fleet car, the Optima.

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 Due in Ireland in plenty of time for the January sales, prices will start at €27,950 for the entry level EX, with the mid-spec Platinum from €31,450 and GSE trim starting at €34,450.

The 1.7-litre diesel engine (+ 5PS to 141PS) is carried over but much improved (and far quieter) - with emissions down 40g/km (14pc) to 110 g/km.

That is with the 6spd manual transmission which lowers road tax by €90 from €280 to €190.

There is an interesting additional transmission now that they have an automatic 7spd dual-clutch version which slashes road tax by €370 – to €200 from €570 on its immediate predecessor. It was smooth and slick on a quick drive this morning. Well worth a try, I think.

There was no doubting the new car, which faces a tough job in unseating buyers from established names such as the Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Avensis, Ford Mondeo, Hyundai i40 etc has a lot more space.

Kia Optima
Kia Optima
Kia Optima
Kia Optima

And while I thought the steering was quite light, it handled better due to a stiffer body and newly-tuned independent suspension all round.

Against that I think it is quite conservatively styled compared with the likes of the Hyundai i40 for example. As well as that KIA has no major tradition or pedigree in this segment. The previous Optima underachieved largely as a result of that - and the fact we were in recession. So there is a fair old challenge awaiting the new model.

But there is no doubt this is a big improvement. There are much better quality materials around the cabin, with a simple dashboard comprising two zones; the top section nearer to eye level for display and the bottom for control. Centrally slotted is a new touchscreen infotainment system.

The new car is a smidgen longer, slightly taller and 25mm wider. Wheelbase is up 10mm to 2,805mm which, along with reshaped seats (each 2.6kg lighter) means rear passengers get 25mm more legroom. Indeed, rear passengers are well catered for – there is a heating system for them too. The boot, however, just nudges from 505 to 510 litres.

The 1.7-litre diesel is the key engine, of course, but more powertrains are being developed, with a plug-in petrol hybrid expected in the second half of next year. Also expected in 2016 are an estate and GT and GT Line versions.

There are seven airbags as standard: driver, driver knee, passenger, two front side and two curtain airbags. Also standard on EX versions are dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, cruise control, auto lights/wipers, 17ins alloys, 7ins navigation/camera screen, lane assist, semi-leather seats and 4.3ins TFT.

Platinum trim adds 18ins alloys, full leather, 12- way electric driver seat, heated from and rear seats, rear LED, xenon lights, LED fog lamp, wireless phone charger (auto versions only).

And GSE gets a panorama sunroof, 8ins navigation/camera display, 10 speakers, beige two-tone leather, automatic bootlid opening etc.

Kia Optima
Kia Optima
Kia Optima
Kia Optima

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