|Reviewed By||Jim Pickering|
|Price as Tested||$35,470. 2.0-liter 274-horsepower turbocharged direct-injected inline 4, 6-speed Sportmatic transmission, electric power steering, leather, SX Premium Touring Package, EX/SX Technology Package, SX Limited Package|
Good power from the turbo four – enough to make you wonder if you’re actually driving a six. Competent transmission keeps the turbo in its power band most of the time. Road noise is minimal, even on the highway. Plenty of legroom in front and rear, and visibility from the driver’s seat is good. Interior fittings are very high quality, and the tech features (at least in our tester) are numerous. They included satellite radio, heated and cooled seats, iPod integration, hands-free calling, dual sunroof, Bluetooth, HID headlights and LED taillights, Infinity audio, and more. Navigation and stereo controls are completely intuitive – they’re way easier to use than comparable units from Acura.
Electronic steering system doesn’t feel right at slow speeds – a gripe that’s hard to quantify, other than to say that the feeling of resistance changes differently at slow speeds than many traditional hydraulic units. And $35,000 is a lot of money for a Kia — even one this nice.
Kia has made good progress taking on the Japanese heavy-hitters in the midsize category, and this car is a great example of that. Their brand is actively shedding the image of cheap transportation in favor of quality, and in this case, there’s no denying that the Optima’s solid construction, performance, and refinement are worth every bit of the MSRP. In fact, I’d even call this car a deal considering what you get for the money. The trouble is you’ll still have to explain to your friends why you spent $35k on a Kia. But once you take them for a drive, they’ll get it.
|Fun to Drive|
|Fun to Look at|