2016 Kia Optima
The Kia Optima is mainstream mid-size family sedan that’s seen a rapid uptick in premium status features and appeal. Each Optima we’ve tested managed to improve upon and greatly outshine the previous one. And 2016 continues that trend.
Perhaps not as radically restyled as some might hope, the redesigned Optima looks like more of a better realized version of the same exterior design language, rather than a totally new vehicle.
Inside sees more dramatic changes, now larger, thanks to an increase in width and wheelbase, just like its Hyundai Sonata chassis mate. Material quality is a step above Sonata as new seats give all-day comfort and support. Dash and center console designs also add room to breathe, as things are less cluttered. Better rear seat legroom makes it a legitimate road trip car for a family of five.
Returning are the 2.4 liter I4, rating 185 horsepower and, in top SX and SXL trims, the 2.0 liter turbo I4, rating 245 horsepower. That number is down, 29, though low end torque has improved, and you get a great flat-bottom, sport steering wheel, with it.
New is the 178 horsepower 1.6 liter turbo I4, and its 7 speed dual clutch companion. It’s a fuel economy-minded pair, so don’t expect too much oomph.
PATRICK LUCAS: “So where the previous generation left off, this all new Optima is picking up right there and just running away with it…It’s really comfortable. It’s really quiet as you can tell. There’s not a lot of wind or road noise. Suspension soaks up bumps nicely…but it does retain that hint of sportiness that you’d want.”
JOHN DAVIS: On sale now, the 2016 Kia Optima starts around $23,000.
Engine: 1.6 liter turbo I4
Price: Starts around $23,000