Kia has been excellent at building cars that seem more expensive than they are. The Optima has become a surprisingly stylish and appealing entry in the competitive mid-size segment and the 2016 model has been completely redesigned and an improvement on an already very strong offering.
Three engine options are offered for 2016: A 178-horsepower turbocharged 1.6L, a 185-horsepower 2.4L 4-cylinder and a 245-horsepower turbocharged 2.0L. The 1.6L engine is mated to a new 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Other engines are paired with a conventional 6-speed automatic.
The Optima Hybrid will also return for 2016. It will utilize the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and pair with it with a lithium polymer battery and electric motor. It will come in base and EX trims and be equipped similarly to the gasoline-powered Optima.
The 2016 Optima ranges from base LX, LX Turbo, EX, SX Turbo and SXL Turbo trims. The LX and EX come with the 2.4L engine. The LX Turbo comes with the 1.6L engine, and the SX and SXL come with the 2.0L turbo engine.
Base LX models come surprisingly well equipped, including 16" alloy wheels, chrome door handles, fog lamps and remote keyless entry. Of course, all the power accessories buyers expect today are included, as are a complete suite of airbags as well as a 6-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and satellite radio.
The LX Turbo trim gets the 1.6L engine as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a proximity key system. EX models upgrade to leather seat trim, 17" alloys, heated and power-adjustable driver seats, a heated steering wheel and dual-zone climate control.
SX Turbo Optimas get a sport-tuned suspension, 18" machined alloy wheels, HID headlamps, integrated navigation and a smartphone connected infotainment system. The top-of-the-line SXL Turbo model upgrades to premium Napa leather seats, 18" chrome alloys, a 10-speaker Harmon/Kardon audio system with surround sound and Bluetooth. Both seats are power-adjustable with memory, ventilation and adjustable lumbar.
Notable options include blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a parking assist system. Heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, lane-departure warning, advanced "Smart" cruise control are also available.
LX Optima models start at only $22,000 while top-of-the-line Optimas are priced at just over $36,000. The Optima Hybrid starts at around $26,000.
The Optima was redesigned for 2016, and Kia has made many changes aimed at improving handling and comfort while reducing noise, which means the Optima is more pleasant to drive than ever. A new 1.6L turbo is the new entry-level powerplant and comes connected to a new-for-2016 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Kia's UVO infotainment system has been revamped and includes several new features aimed at parents of teen drivers.