With the new Ford Mondeo on its way in 2013, it may find a new challenger in the large family car market – and it comes from an unlikely source.
We’re talking, of course, about the Kia Optima, an upmarket, stylish saloon set to propel Kia into a more premium segment of the market than it has usually gone for.
As both of the models fall into the spirited D-segment part of the market – style, luxury and practicality are essential to success.
Kia hopes that the new Optima will sell 1,500 units in 2012 and 2,000 in 2013, but with the release of the new Mondeo, these figures could be challenged.
But how will the Kia Optima compete?
The new Kia optima offers quite a sporty appeal and echoes the new muscular design language that is appearing across the Korean manufactures range on models like the Picanto, Rio and cee’d.
The Optima features a ‘tiger-nose’ front grill, a slicked back aerodynamic shape, a coupe roofline and contours on its bonnet and flanks.
Its interior also offers a sporty appeal as it features a cockpit like cabin. When specified on the ‘2’ trim level, the Optima adds black brake callipers to its front wheels.
There are three trim levels available: 1,2 and 3.
Standard features of the ‘1’ trim include alloy wheels, air conditioning, a leather steering wheel and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
The mid range ‘2’ trim level offers an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, dual zone climate control and a rear parking camera.
The ‘2’ trim also comes with its own trim level specifications: Lux and Tech, each of them offering a versatile approach to customer specification preferences.
The top of the range ‘3’ trim adds leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof and rear heated seats.
The Optima is available with a 1.7-litre turbodiesel that produces 134bhp and 324Nm of torque.
With this diesel powertrain the Optima can reach a top speed of 125mph and sprint from 0-60mph in 10.2 seconds. This engine can be matched with either a manual or automatic transmission. CO2 emissions are as low as 128g/km and it returns a combined 57.6mpg.
Although its sporty exterior may make the Optima look a little compact, it still offers boot space of up to 505 litres, which can be extended with its 60:40 fold down seats. It also offers plenty of storage compartments in the front and rear.
Prices for the Kia Optima start from just £19,995 whereas the new Ford Mondeo is expected to start from around £19,000 to £20,000, so it’s going to be tough.