- Stylish looks
- Generous equipment
- Drab interior design
- Light steering
- Noisy diesel engine
Kia’s best ever family saloon.
Forget the Kias of old, the new Kia Optima, introduced in 2010, and updated in 2016, is a genuine contender in the family saloon market. With so much competition from mainstays such as the Volkswagen Passat, and the Ford Mondeo, it takes a lot to stand out in this market. And when it comes to the Optima’s design, it certainly manages to do that. Unfortunately, it is flawed in a few areas. Though you do get plenty of kit as standard, the interior feels a little drab. It’s not the most eco-friendly car in its class either. But what it does offer is value for money, especially if you go for a used example.
Solid build quality, and impressive practicality.
The inside of the Optima is one that favours practicality and solid build quality above all else. It doesn’t have the most inspired design, but it certainly feels built to last. And no matter which model you go for, you’re going to get a hell of a lot of kit included.
Compared to a lot of its rivals, the interior of the Optima just feels a little bit dull. It’s simple, ergonomic, and well-constructed, but there’s an awful lot of black plastic. This might not be an issue for some, but if you’re spending a lot of time in the car up and down the motorway, it might just send you to sleep. Despite this, soft-touch materials are found throughout the cabin. Whilst controls are well thought out, and easy to use. It’s not a bad interior, but there are better on offer in this class.
Practicality is of prime importance in the family saloon market. And thankfully the Optima doesn’t disappoint. There’s more than enough head, and legroom in the back seats. Five adults can travel comfortably, even on longer journeys. The boot is also well-shaped, and without a load lip, making getting heavy items in and out a doddle. It is a lot smaller than the similarly priced Skoda Superb however. The Optima offering 510 litres, as opposed to the Superb’s 652 litres.
If there’s one thing you can guarantee when you buy a Kia, it’s a generous equipment list. No matter which Optima you go for, you’re going to get a lot of bang for your buck. The entry-level 2 trim comes with sat-nav, a 7” touchscreen, climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth, and automatic headlights. 3 trim adds a bigger screen, an upgraded sound system, and leather seats. Whilst range-topping 4 adds even more luxuries, though it is significantly more expensive than the already generously equipped entry-level model.
All in all the inside of the Optima is a bit of a mixed bag. The sheer amount of equipment you get as standard will certainly attract a lot of buyers. And it’s practical enough, though the Skoda Superb offers more storage space. Ultimately though, the drab interior design is the main negative here.
Decent, but not spectacular.
Out on the open road the Optima handles itself pretty well. There’s plenty of grip from the tyres, and body roll is well contained. This should make cornering a fun experience, but the Optima is let down by the steering, especially at speed. It’s just too light for a car of this size, offering little feedback. It certainly doesn’t inspire confidence on a tight twisty B-road. Despite this, because the steering is so light, it’s easy to drive around town. Parking and weaving through traffic are a piece of cake when you’re behind the wheel of an Optima.
Suspension and Chassis
Comfort and refinement are important to drivers of family saloons. So it’s important that Kia got this spot on in the Optima. But unfortunately it just feels a little bit too stiff. Though this is only the case around town. Once you get the Optima up to speed it deals with potholes and loose surfaces pretty well. And refinement is decent as well, with very little road and wind noise at speed. There’s a bit of a grumble from the diesel engine however. But all in all the Optima is a pretty good long-distance motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the Optima come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six speed manual transmission. It’s pretty light and precise, though it does feature a rather long throw. An optional seven speed automatic is also available with the Optima. But it’s really one to avoid. Not only does it increase costs, it also reduces fuel consumption. It’s not the most advanced auto box on the market either.
A solid diesel, and an interesting hybrid.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Optima, you’ve got two choices. Most buyers will go for the standard diesel, which whilst decent on paper, is a little gruff. The petrol-hybrid is definitely worth a look if you’re eco-conscious.
If it’s power that you want from your Optima, you’re probably not going to be too impressed with the engine lineup. The most powerful in the range is the 2.0 GDi PHEV petrol-hybrid. With 202 bhp under the bonnet, you’ll be accelerating from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds. It’s significantly more expensive than the diesel however. Go for the diesel powered 1.7 CRDi unit, and you’ll get 139bhp, getting you from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds from a standing start. Neither are particularly rapid, but they are powerful enough to be flexible in almost all situations.
Eco-conscious buyers will be delighted with petrol-hybrid on offer in the Optima range, though they might be put off by the price. If this isn’t an issue, the exceptionally low 37g/km CO2 emissions are amongst the best in the class. Whilst you also get free road tax, and free congestion zone charging. Fuel economy of 176.6mpg is almost unbelievable as well. The 1.7 CRDi diesel isn’t too bad either, producing just 110g/km. This will cost £30 in tax each year, whilst it can also return an impressive 67.3mpg.
Both of the engines in the Optima range impress in their own rights. The petrol-hybrid might be expensive to buy, but you could save a lot of money in tax, fuel, and congestion charges over time. Whilst the diesel offers pretty good figures, but it just sounds a little too rough for our liking.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, with impressive safety kit.
Like nearly every car in its class, the Kia Optima easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 89% in adult safety, 86% in child safety, 67% in pedestrian safety, and 71% in safety assist, it compares well with its rivals. Especially when you consider that in 2015 when the Optima was tested, tests got an awful lot tougher. The Optima also comes with an impressive array of standard safety features. All models come with the a host of airbags, electronic stability control, and tyre-pressure monitoring.
Great value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The Kia Optima is one of the best value cars in its class, especially when you consider the lengthy equipment list it comes with. Running costs are pretty impressive as well. No model on offer produces less than 64.2mpg, whilst CO2 emissions are decent for a large family saloon. It does depend on which model you go for, but if you can stretch your budget to a PHEV hybrid, you’ll save a lot of money on fuel, tax, and congestion charges each year.
Insurance groups for the Optima again depend on which model you go for. But no matter which model you choose, you shouldn’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent rival. The range starts in group 19 for the entry-level 1.7 CRDi ISG 2, and climbs up towards group 25 for the range topping 2.0 GDi Plug-in Hybrid.
Depreciation is a factor with the Optima, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
Kia have finally made a large family saloon that’s worth buying with the Optima. It’s not the class-leader, but it does have a lot to offer. It’s let down by a drab interior, a noisy diesel engine, and not the most comfortable ride. But with its stylish aesthetics, low running costs, and generous kit list, it should have enough to attract a lot of buyers. And with such heavy first year depreciation, it’s certainly a great car to buy used.
Buying a used Kia Optima online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Kia Optima for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Optima. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kia Optima online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Kia? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Kia Optima, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Optima, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Kia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.