OPTIMA GT KEEPS UP THE KIA PACE

2016 Kia Optima GT Turbo

A fresh face and a new set of ‘shoes’ are Kia’s attempt to keep its Optima mid-size sedan appealing in an ever-changing Australian car market. Pricing has come in for a haircut too.

The MY2019 entry-level Si and premium GT pair gain a new grille and front fascia, upper and lower rear panels and re-styled wheels. Inside, the Optima gains the new OEM infotainment head unit (7-inch for the Si and 8-inch for the GT) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto tie-up.

Kia’s Australian engineering team once again has rolled up its sleeves to improve Optima’s ride and handling characteristics. Improvements have been made in ride refinement and steering feel.

The safety pack for both models gains driver attention alert and the lane departure warning is upgraded to the more advanced lane keeping assist version.

Importantly, the prices have come down, with the Si at $33,390, plus on-road costs. The inclusion of smart phone compatibility in the Si negates the need for embedded satellite navigation, while HID headlamps are replaced by dual projection lights.

The Optima GT still has sat nav through a new head unit with 10-year MapCare and SUNA traffic information.

2016 Kia Optima GT Turbo

However, Optima’s $1200 price cut to $43,290, means the front passenger power seat is off loaded for a manual adjusted one. The front seats are no longer ventilated, but remain heated, the panoramic sunroof is left out, as are high beam assist and tyre pressure monitoring.

Optima still benefits from Australia’s leading seven-year warranty, seven-year capped price servicing, totalling $3347 and seven-year roadside assist programs.
STYLING
Minor changes to the radiator grille and front fascia and upper and lower rear panels, do not detract from the Kia character of the four-door sedan, maintaining the look worthy of the GT badge.

New stylish wheels also help the Optima keep pace with premium sports sedans.

INFOTAINMENT
Both models take the latest OEM infotainment head unit (7-inch for the Si and 8-inch for the GT) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto tie-up. However, the GT still has the advantage of sat nav through a new head unit with 10-year MapCare and SUNA traffic information.

2016 Kia Optima GT Turbo

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Putting out an impressive 180kW and 350Nm, the 2.0-litre engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger, high pressure fuel pump, dual continuously variable valve timing technology and laser-drilled injectors.

It drives the front wheels through Kia’s own six-speed automatic transmission.

SAFETY
Six airbags – driver, passenger, two front side and two curtain airbags – are standard.

Also fitted across the range is Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management, ensuring stability under braking and cornering by controlling the car’s Electronic Stability Control and electric power steering if it detects a loss of traction.

The safety pack for both models gains driver attention alert and the lane departure warning is upgraded to the more advanced lane keeping assist version.
DRIVING
With 180 kW on tap the Optima GT enters its stride without complaint thanks to the maximum torque of 350 Nm torque coming into play low down the rev range.

The GT showed itself to be thirsty on the day-to-day city commute, clocking around 12 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel use; half that at highway speeds.

Kia’s Australian engineering team once again has made improvements to Optima’s ride and handling. Ride is more refined and steering feel of a more positive nature.

New lane keeping assist, which gives the steering wheel a gentle nudge, reminding the driver they may be about to wander into the adjoining lane.

A stiff body and wheels isolate vibrations and road noise while adding to the car’s dynamic abilities.

Luggage space is an impressive 510 litres, with a wide boot opening adding greater loading convenience.

The front passenger power seat is no great loss to a manual one; neither is front-seat ventilation. I would be comfortable with the resulting price drop. Also missing are panoramic sunroof high beam assist and tyre pressure monitoring. None was missed by us, but potential buyers may think otherwise.

SUMMARY
Minor changes to the popular Optima sedan help Kia keep pace with the rapid changes in customer appeal. The price cuts and generous seven-year warranty also don’t do the Optima sales prospects any harm.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
Optima 2.4 Si automatic $33,390
Optima 2.0 GT automatic $43,290
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Optima 2.0-litre T-GDI turbocharged direct injection petrol four-door sedan)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.998 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 180 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 1400-4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Regular unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.5 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 199 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed Sports-matic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4855 mm
Wheelbase: 2805 mm
Width: 1860 mm
Height: 1465 mm
Turning Circle: 10.9 metres
Kerb Mass: 1650 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Seven years / unlimited kilometres

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