2016 Kia Optima SX LTD Review

Thursday December 29th, 2016 at 11:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Kia Optima SX LTD

By David Colman

Hypes: Strong Motor, Solid Handling, Unexpected Luxury Cabin
Gripes: Navigation System Anomalies

For a base price of $35,790, this Kia is a bargain.. When you climb into the spacious cabin, the first thing you notice is the diamond boxed seating surfaces, trimmed in soft mocha-hued Nappa Leather. You could be excused for thinking you had mistakenly opened the door to a Maserati or a Bentley rather than a Kia. But make no mistake, the top level Optima SX LTD, completely redone for 2016, is good enough to pass itself off as an expensive European luxury ride.

2016 Kia Optima SX LTD

The goodness extends beyond the obvious wow factor of the triangulated seat stitchery. If you opt for an SX LTD Optima, you’ll enjoy a very lively turbo inline 4, which utilizes direct fuel injection to slap out 245hp, and 260lb.-ft. of torque. Since this is a front wheel drive car, there’s enough power to provoke torque-steer, especially on wet pavement, All that zoom feeds through a sweet 6-speed automatic gearbox equipped with paddle shifts. The SX rides on standard 18 inch alloy rims shod with aggressively all season Michelin MXM4 rubber (235/45R18). Sport oriented suspension tuning helps provide taut responsiveness to steering input.

2016 Kia Optima SX LTD

Thanks to its willing yet efficient turbo engine (25MPG overall) this Optima is a lot of fun to drive. On the freeway, the SX is quiet and well snubbed, but still compliant enough to remain comfortable over distressed pavement. Both front seats are heated and offer full electric positioning control. The driver’s seat even includes a pair of memory buttons which retain pre-arranged mirror and seat positions. There are few interior clues to the bargain nature of the Optima. The only obvious one is the clumsy manual adjustment collar for steering wheel reach and tilt.

2016 Kia Optima SX LTD

The standard included Navigation System displays its maps on a sizeable 8 inch screen. But the mechanics of destination programming caused concern. When we attempted to enter the destination “Ferry Point” in Alameda, CA, the system repeatedly failed to recognize the address. It wasn’t until we abbreviated “Point” as “Pt.” that the Kia divulged the needed information. One wonders whether it would be able to understand the word “Street,” or require use of the abbreviation “St.” to find a street address.

2016 Kia Optima SX LTD

Programming glitches aside, the Optima offers an otherwise commendable slate of electronic entertainment and safety wonders. The audio system by Harman Kardon produces “QLS Premium Surround Sound” with enough vibrato to awake the dead. You even get to play with 200 plus channels of SIRIUSXM for your first 3 months of ownership for free. Also standard is the complete nanny package, which includes Front Collision Warning System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Detection, and Lane Departure Warning System. With all of these obnoxious warning systems chiming in on a regular basis, you’ll be free to pay more attention to your text messaging and incoming phone calls. Just don’t make the mistake of believing that this car will take care of driving itself. An unpleasant bout with Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC) convinced us that this particular system isn’t quite ready for prime time use. On a heavy traffic run up 101 from San Rafael to Petaluma, the Optima’s ASCC had us continuously slowing and thrusting with speed pre-set to 65mph. After 15 minutes of this behavior, we switched off ASCC, choosing instead to do things the old fashioned way – with foot and throttle pedal. In spite of its armament of nannies, the Optima SX remains a primo ride, since almost every nanny voice can be manually defeated before you start a trip. The only one that proved useful in all events was Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which also projects a rearward view on the 8 inch screen when Reverse gear is engaged.

2016 Kia Optima SX LTD

Despite front wheel drive, this turbo Optima is almost as much fun to drive as a small BMW. It’s got the grunt and the handling to satisfy your urge for sport without forcing you to pay the stiff entry price demanded by its German equivalent.

2016 Kia Optima SX LTD

  • Engine: 2.0 liter turbocharged inline 4 with direct injection
  • Horsepower: 245hp
  • Torque: 260lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 22MPG City/32 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $36,615
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Review – Arriving fashionably late to the hybrid party

Tuesday September 27th, 2011 at 7:99 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
By David Colman


  • High Level of equipment
  • Refined interior
  • Stunning looks


  • Balky drivetrain
  • Annoying “Easy Access” seat slide on entry

The 2011 Kia Optima sedan is a spectacularly successful styling effort. Its proportions, stance and attention to detail make it look twice as expensive as its $32,000 price tag. It is more handsome and better proportioned than any of the current gape-mouthed Audis or flame surfaced BMWs. But where those storied German makes succeed is performance. In that regard, the Kia falls short of the lofty mark promised by its stellar styling.

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid First Impressions Review

Thursday June 23rd, 2011 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
By Alex Kramer


  • Eye-catching exterior design
  • Roomy, well-apportioned interior
  • Smooth, quiet hybrid drivetrain
  • Solid handling and ride quality


  • A bit slow for a car with over 200 hp
  • Brake pedal feels squishy
  • Untested fuel efficiency

The folks at Kia Motors are very optimistic. Having launched seven brand new models in under 2 years and with record sales growth over the past year, Kia is transforming itself into a major player in the car market.

Part of this success is surely due to an emphasis on value, which has resonated with buyers in these tough economic times. At the same time, a shift away from forgettable econoboxes and towards quality design and engineering has made for an almost unbeatable combination of high quality at a low price.

To keep the momentum rolling, Kia is now offering a hybrid gas-electric vehicle in the form of its Optima mid-size sedan. With gas prices looking to stay close to $4 a gallon, this could be the perfect time to make a case for fuel efficient motoring and take a bite out of the growing hybrid sedan segment.

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Video Review: 2011 Kia Optima by Driving Sports TV

Friday June 10th, 2011 at 12:66 PM
Posted by: Derek

2011 Kia Optima

Hyundai and Kia are getting better and better with each new model release and the latest from Kia is a prime example why they are gaining market share at a fantastic rate. The 2011 Kia Optima jumps into the one most heavily contested categories and does well competing against the heavy hitters such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.

Designed at Kia’s studios in Frankfurt, Germany and Irvine, California, the all-new Kia Optima is longer, wider and lower than the out-going model it replaces and is based on an all-new midsize platform that allows for distinctive dimensions and proportions, while also providing a unique canvas for Kia’s global design team to pen a vehicle that stands apart from everything else in its segment.

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2011 Kia Optima Review – Not Your Average Mid-Size Sedan

Friday April 8th, 2011 at 7:44 AM
Posted by: mtan

2011 Kia Optima
By Ming Tan


  • Feature and amenity laden
  • Smooth design aesthetics
  • Peppy 2.4L 4 cylinder motor
  • Sporty handling suspension


  • A few oddly placed function buttons
  • Narrow trunk pass through
  • Awkward blind spots
  • Light steering feel

Just what is an “average” sedan? This is an interesting question in a world dominated by Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevrolet. Is average boring? Is it plainly functional? Or should even an average car stimulate your senses and make you want to take a detour just to spend a little more time in it?

The marketing hype surrounding Kia’s new Optima, which culminated in an eye-popping Super Bowl commercial involving alien abduction and Mayan sacrifice, has absolutely peaked my interest. Having owned both Hondas and Toyotas in the past, I know what an average sedan feels like. I want to feel something different. Not often do thoughts of mid-sized sedans evoke passion and verve, but why shouldn’t they?

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