New Kia Optima Review

RRP from
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This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Good looks
  • Spacious interior
  • Good value for money
  • Not very rewarding to drive
  • Only one engine
  • Could do with a bigger boot
62.8 - 64.2
CO2 emissions
117 - 118 g/km
First year road tax
Safety rating

The Kia Optima is a mid-size saloon car that is a stylish alternative to the more mainstream Ford Mondeo, VW Passat and Mazda 6. It offers great value for money thanks to its seven-year warranty. In 2016 the car was given a facelift that brought with it minor styling changes and improved running costs.

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A new dashboard design is the most notable change and the Optima’s interior now reflects what you’ll find in the Sportage and Sorento SUVs. Interior quality is improved over the previous generation and a larger touchscreen for the infotainment results in fewer buttons dotted about the dashboard. The new Optima is also longer and more spacious as a result of the extra length.

Testers say the Optima is now better to drive thanks to decent body control and better steering. Nevertheless it’s still not up there with the best from Ford and Mazda. It is, however, quiet and comfortable on the motorway.

The US market Optima gets a range of engines, but for the UK market it has only one – a 1.7-litre diesel. It’s arguably the company’s best engine – decently powerful and fuel efficient, but some buyers might want more choice. A great addition is the new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that is smooth and fast-changing.

Kia wants to steal customers from its well-established rivals so it offers more equipment as standard. That includes a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment and a rear-view camera on every model.

The Optima is a decent car surrounded by excellent rivals

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Underneath, the new Optima is a better car than the old one in almost any way – it’s more spacious, has improved interior quality, the engine is now up to rivals’ performance and the ride quality is decent. It combines all that is good about it’s rivals in a package that is smart-looking, but lacking in character. Think of it as a greatest hits album played by a talented tribute band and you’ll not be far off the mark.

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