Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi

Unveiled back in 2010 at the New York Auto Show,  the Optima became Korea’s top-selling car within a month of going on sale

Unveiled back in 2010 at the New York Auto Show, the Optima became Korea’s top-selling car within a month of going on sale

Kia’s new Optima may look like a Jaguar but can it really live up to those good looks? We find out

What is it? The Optima is Kia’s stunningly styled family saloon that is crammed with luxury equipment and features.

Who is it aimed at? While large saloons face stiff competition from a plethora of crossovers and compact SUVs as the choice for family transport  there is much on offer in the Optima to make those in need of family space succumb to its charms.

Styling? Kia’s new Optima is beautifully styled with echoes of the Jaguar XF and will have envious bystanders craning their necks. With a sporty and sweeping silhouette it is one of the most distinctive cars around. Don’t be surprised, the designer responsible is Peter Schreyer, whose work also includes the original Audi TT.

Under the Bonnet?  There is just one engine option, the 1.7-litre 134bhp turbodiesel  available with either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

The boot capacity is  505 litres

The boot capacity is 505 litres

What’s it like inside? Once inside the Optima is akin to a cruise liner and is genuinely enormous. Everything is very classy from the dash to the door handles and it impresses throughout with an almost Audi-esque simple design and attention to detail. But it is the space that truly amazes. Front passengers are luxuriously catered for with head and leg room while in the rear space is equally good. The boot is a cavernous 505 litres and will swallow up prams, shopping and just about anything effortlessly.

On the Road? On the road the Optima is comfortable and the ride and handling is refined. While the suspension may be turned more toward comfort than sport it copes well with back roads, uneven surfaces and ramps. It may be no sporty saloon but it is smooth, easy and pleasant to drive.

And Safety?  The Optima has a full array of safety features, including ABS with EBD and brake assist, electronic stability control and vehicle stability management, twin front, side and curtain airbags as standard.

Options? The may be only one engine option but there are three trim grades

How about Fuel Economy? Fuel economy is very good and on a combined cycle the 1.7 diesel returns  47.1 mpg on a combined cycle while CO2 emissions are 133 g/km.

Okay so the verdict? The Optima is a stunningly styled family saloon that offers a lot for the money.  In a segment of the market where the Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis and Volkswagen Passat dominate the Kia scores high for space and style and comes with an unbeatable seven year warranty.

Hyundai i40 £17,395

Skoda Superb £17,675

Why you’ll buy one? Beautiful styling; Carnivorous space

Why you won’t? Driving Dynamics

Engine: 1,685cc four-cylinder 16-valve diesel putting out 134bhp @ 4,000rpm and 325Nm of torque from 2,000rpm
Max speed: 122 mph
0-62 mph: 10.2 secs
Emissions (motor tax):  133g/km
Model price range: £19,595 – £24,495
No of Doors:
Euro NCAP: Not tested
Insurance group 1-50: 17
Fuel type:  Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 47.1
Boot Capacity Seats up :   505 litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear and easy to use
Length: 4,845mm
Width: 1,830mm
Height: 1,455mm
Wheelbase: 2,795mm
Service interval (miles) 10000
Warranty (years) 7
Warranty (miles) 100000

For more information check out Kia or the Kia  Motors UK Facebook page.

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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