The new 2016 Kia Optima features a fuel efficient new engine and transmission. New improved interior and a mild update on the styling that helped change the people’s impression of Kia from a cheap Korean brand to a purveyor of elegance and desire.
The new 2016 Kia Optima are rolling into your local dealerships. We have just received our first shipment this morning! Prices start at $21,840 MSRP. This price tag makes it one of the least expensive midsize sedans on the market. A fully loaded Optima will run you about $35,490 MSRP.
The Optima is already one of the roomiest midsize sedans and the new rendition doesn’t disappoint. Passenger space increases to 104.8 cubit feet, while the trunk grows slightly to 15.9 cubic feet. The new Optima is 0.4 inches longer and 1.2 inches wider than the 2015 model. Its wheelbase also grew 0.4 inches. The result is plenty of head, leg and shoulder room in the front and rear seats.
The big news under the hood is a new 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The dual clutch shifts itelsef, and I found it to be smooth and effective during a short test drive down the street.
The 1.6L engine appeared to have plenty of power for most drivers in a brief test. It generates 178 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That torque is available from just 1,500 engine r.p.m., which should equate to peppy performance.
The Optima also offers a pair of carryover engines: a 185-hp 2.4L and 245-hp 2.0L turbo. Kia will add a hybrid-electric version of the Optima later.
The EPA rates a front-drive Tucson with the 1.6L engine at 28 m.p.g. in the city, 39 on the highway and 32 combined. The 32 m.p.g. combined rating could tie it with the 1.6L Hyundai Sonata as it the most fuel efficient non-hybrid midsize sedan.
A top of the line Optima with the 245-hp 2.0L engine and panoramic sun roof with m.p.g. rating of 22/32/25.
Kia uses much more high-strength steel and structural adhesive making the new Optima. That should lead to a stiffer body and quieter ride.
In addition to driver-assistance features like adaptive cruise control, blind spot, cross traffic and lane departure alerts, the new Optima adds automatic braking that detects imminent collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and can bring the car to a full stop.
For smart phone users, Android Auto will be available from launch. Apple CarPlay will be available later.
The interior looks good, with a large touch screen and traditional dials and buttons for the functions that demand them: volume, tuning, temperature and fan speed. My test cars had attractive light-colored optional Nappa leather seats. The dash and door tops were covered in soft materials that weren’t particularly appealing.
The adaptive cruise control maintains speed and distance from other vehicles by smoothly applying the accelerator and brakes. The steering feels fine and the car remained composed in fast highway driving and on twisting mountain roads.
The interior was quiet at highway speeds
The 2016 Optima is a solid competitor for the leading midsize sedans. Whether it’s a leader will depend largely on the details of its pricing and fuel economy.
The Kia Guys
5655 S US HWY 1
Fort Pierce, FL 34982
(561) 570-6479 – Ask for “The Kia Guys”