2016 Kia Optima
The new Optima at first glance may not trigger much a reaction as this car looks very similar to the last generation. With this purposeful choice from Kia they took what worked and kept it. But the things that were not all that great were changed. The interior space and quality is a big step up and most importantly the overall driving dynamics are not near top of class.
The biggest change in mechanical performance was the change to a smaller turbo and tuning that makes more sense on the street. Power and TQ at the lower RPM range which most drivers will notice immediately. The SX models get a power steering motor mounted on the rack instead of the column. What that means is better steering feel, or rather more substantial weight. The turn to turn ratio is lower here at 2.6 turns lock to lock. The damping choices they made with this car are excellent, driving at 80-90% on the street feels good. Very quick response, good grip and over all smooth ride in all conditions. The car equals many entry level luxury cars if not exceeds them.
The big failure here is just FWD and that the car cannot put down the power well. TQ steer is controlled in a straight line but when that boost comes on in a turn the car wants to pull off the road. For the sport models it would be nice to see a LSD option, better tires and of course a manual transmission. The automatic is good here in terms of programming in sport mode. It's immediate and so is power, but they need work on the quickness and smoothness of shifts. No rev matching and slowness in downshifting really hurts the experience.
Overall this is close to the best in class.
MPG Observed - 24-27
0-60 - 6.2 Seconds
Price as Tested: 33k