Wednesday 28 September 2016

Optima is car for heart, head and Kia's name

Published 14/02/2016 | 02:30

Kia Optima: Good motoring for families and executives
Kia Optima: Good motoring for families and executives

I'm always pretty suspicious of surveys. By asking the right questions you can get the answer you want and if you ask the wrong people you can also get the answer that gives you a story but is pretty invalid.

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A survey by one of Ireland's leading car insurers covered a range of issues including favourite and least favourite car brands, satisfaction levels for reliability and views on style, performance and resale value.

While Audi came out as the most desired and stylish marque, Renault was by far the worst with 25pc of respondents stating that they would not consider buying the French car brand. It had massive figures for bad reliability and resale value. No other car came close to Renault in the unpopularity stakes; Kia was the second least popular with 11pc stating that they would not consider a Kia; 31pc saying it wasn't stylish and 37pc saying it had bad resale value. The 123.ie Great Irish Car Review was carried out online in December 2015 among 6,255 car owners in Ireland, which means that keen drivers are far more likely to take part.

I think Kia was badly served here. It really is a good value brand for people who want good unpretentious cars which do exactly what they say. I have recommended Kia to many friends and colleagues and have had absolutely no complaints so far. There is also that very important seven-year warranty. Kia is joined at the hip with Hyundai, just as Audi is with Volkswagen, and shares the same commitment, design and desire for world domination which has made the Korean marque such a massive success over here.

Recently I was driving the new Kia Optima, a family-sized, executive four-door saloon. The new Optima has inherited so much of the good things that went into the massively successful Hyundai i40 - one of the building blocks of that company's recent good fortune.

I had just come out of nearly a month of driving BMWs at sometimes double the price of the Kia. They were very stylish and desirable, yet the Optima pleased me more. There was a quality feel but it was so packed with extras that you felt you were also getting real value. It looks as good as the i40; low, stylish but with massive amounts of room to satisfy business-people and families.

The I.7 diesel engine has just enough power (0-100kmh is 10 seconds) and while the ride and handling don't match the Mondeo, the major touches of luxury and very high spec in the €31,450 Platinum model make it a good buy for heart and head that you will be proud of.

It is a step-up over the previous model and could be game-changer for Kia. I'd happily have one in my garage, whatever a survey says and save a lot of money against a premium marque.

Sunday Independent

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