The first couple of generations of Kia’s big Optima saloon (badged Magentis in the UK) were, frankly, rubbish. They were good value, but simply not up the same standards as the European and Japanese competition.
That changed in 2011 when the third-generation car (now Optima in the UK, as well) was launched. It was just about up to snuff and still very good value. But the UK carried on ignoring it. The badge doesn’t have as much company car park cred as Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, etc etc, after all.
We might start paying more attention to the all-new, fourth-gen Optima. It gets off to a good start as it’s a good-looking thing. Kia admits the design is only evolutionary, but the present Optima started styling themes the company’s designers still follow, so their hands were tied on that one – Jaguar had the same problem with the new XF.
The interior, though, is completely different. A little plain, perhaps, but the dashboard is logically laid out and Kia claims material quality has moved on significantly. A seven- or eight-inch touchscreen controls the infotainment system, which features satnav, DAB radio and Kia Connected Services, providing traffic updates, speed camera alerts, local search and weather updates.
Other kit includes a Harman Kardon stereo, wireless phone charging, 360-degree around view monitor, park assist, Dynamic Bending Headlamps and a raft of other driver assistance and safety systems, both standard and optional.
The old Optima was a big car anyway, but the new version has grown fractionally in every direction. It now stands 4,855mm long, 1,860mm wide and 1,465mm tall. There’s an extra 10mm in the wheelbase as well, freeing up more interior and boot space. So the Optima will continue to be a popular choice in the minicab trade, as well as a decent family bus. Especially when the estate – previewed by the handsome Sportspace concept – follows the saloon some time next year.
Kia promises sharper, more agile handling thanks to a lighter, stiffer chassis with comprehensively reworked suspension and a new electric power steering system. Electronically controlled suspension with ‘normal’ and ‘sport’ modes will be available as an option.
Engines at launch include a 161bhp, 2.0-litre petrol unit that we probably won’t get in the UK, and a 1.7-litre turbo diesel. It produces a relatively modest 139bhp and 251lb/ft of torque and returns up 67mpg and 110g/km of Co2. A plug-in hybrid will follow in due course, but isn’t confirmed for the UK.
Full UK pricing and specs for the new Kia Optima will be announced before it goes on sale later this year. In the meantime, it will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
For more information click here
By Only Motors