Sleeker, plusher, loaded with class-leading technologies, more refined yet more engaging to drive and up to 25 per cent more fuel-efficient…the list of superlatives for the all-new Kia Optima is almost never-ending. The all-new Optima, Kia’s contender in the all-important UK fleet and business saloon market, goes on sale today priced from £21,495.
Four versions are available, all powered by an upgraded EU6 version of Kia’s efficient 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine, now paired with either a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed (7DCT) dual-clutch auto transmission.
Fully connected to enhance comfort, convenience and safety
The all-new Optima is the first car in its class with a wireless charger for mobile devices, located in the base of the centre console.
The Optima is also available with a 360-degree Around View Monitor which, through four strategically mounted cameras, gives the driver a bird’s-eye view when manoeuvring, while a Smart Park Assist System automatically steers the car in and out of parallel or perpendicular parking slots.
There is the option of Autonomous Emergency Braking and Bi-Xenon Dynamic Bending Headlights, which sweep the road in line with steering wheel movements, plus High Beam Assist to switch the lamps between full and dipped beam automatically.
Lane Keep Assist, Speed Limit Information Function, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers about to pull out of a perpendicular parking space into the path of a vehicle approaching from the side, are also available.
Up to 25 per cent lower CO2 emissions with improved economy
The Optima’s 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine now develops an improved 139bhp and increased torque of 340Nm, starting at a lower 1,750rpm. This represents increases of 5bhp and 15Nm over the previous version. The engine meets EU6 emissions regulations and delivers outstanding performance for its capacity with effortless driveability. It was engineered at Kia’s European research and development centre in Germany.
With the Idle Stop & Go (ISG) engine stop/start system as standard, CO2 emissions of manual models are 14 per cent lower at 110g/km, while fuel economy improves to a highly impressive 67.3mpg. An even bigger improvement is apparent with the new 7DCT dual-clutch auto gearbox, which replaces the previous six-speed torque converter unit. Emissions tumble by 25 per cent, to 116g/km, while fuel economy is now 64.2mpg.
As a result, benefit-in-kind taxation in manuals falls by three tax bands, while for the 7DCT the reduction is an even more dramatic 42g/km and eight tax bands. Meanwhile, with fuel consumption improved by almost 10mpg for manual models and more than 17mpg for the 7DCT automatics, fleet running costs will be dramatically lower – an attractive proposition for fleet customers.
For private owners there are significant benefits, too. The standard rate of Vehicle Excise Duty, or road tax, falls by £90 per year with manual versions and by £150 with the 7DCT after the initial registration payment.
The seven-speed (7DCT) dual-clutch auto transmission was developed in-house at Kia’s research and development centre in Korea with the aim of delivering the comfort and smoothness of a torque converter transmission in automatic mode with the sportiness of a manual when the driver chooses to take control of gearchanging via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Optima, offering a commuter-friendly all-electric drive range with even lower emissions and greater taxation advantages, will be added later in 2016.
And it will not stop there. Kia has already announced that it plans to offer sporty GT-Line and GT versions later in 2016, while the SPORTSPACE concept from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show hints at an estate version to come – another first for the company.
Sharper appearance and greater cabin quality
Kia has taken an evolutionary approach to the all-new Optima’s exterior design, maintaining the identity of a car which still looks as smart today as it did when launched, while introducing greater modernity and boldness.
The all-new Optima has an even greater road presence thanks to a 10mm increase in wheelbase and overall length, a similar increase in height and a 25mm wider body. At the same time, sharper body lines and greater surface detailing make the all-new Optima stand out from the crowd even more.
The increase in overall length to 4,855mm creates space for an even more swept-back and dynamic side profile. A shoulder line extending all the way from the front light units creates a clean, straight link from front and rear. The door panels are deeply sculpted and curve into slightly extended side sills.
The car’s athletic appearance is reinforced at the rear, where a rising boot lid and an expansive rear bumper flow into a diffuser section which houses the chrome-tipped oval exhaust tailpipe.
The new body is more aerodynamically efficient as well as more stylish, reducing the drag co-efficient (Cd) from 0.3 to 0.29. Each tiny improvement in Cd has a significant impact on fuel economy, particularly at higher speeds.
The all-new Optima has a more modern interior layout with a horizontal dash structure and far higher-quality materials. The dash is now angled at 8.5 degrees towards the driver. The standard central 7.0- or 8.0-inch navigation touch-screen is set at exactly the same height as the instruments.
The fascia is divided into an upper display zone and a lower control zone, while the number of buttons and switches has been reduced because more functions are now accessed via the touch-screen, giving the cabin a less cluttered look.
The impressive quality is apparent in the soft-touch materials, interior lighting – LED at the top of the range – and, on the road, greater refinement as a result of increased sound-proofing.
All of this is supported by increased passenger and luggage space and improved practicality thanks to the car’s enlarged dimensions, while the boot capacity has risen from 505 to 510 litres, and there is a wider opening.
Four versions, with more to come
There are initially three trim levels – badged 2, 3 and 4 – with GT-Line and GT versions to be added later in 2016. All versions are extensively equipped. ISG, Kia’s fuel-saving, emissions-reducing engine stop/start system, is standard.
The entry-level grade 2 version is manual only, grade 3 offers both transmissions while grade 4 is DCT only.
Even the entry-level 2 grade comes as standard with a 7.0-inch satellite navigation system with European mapping and a reversing camera, steering wheel-mounted controls, dual automatic air conditioning, cruise control with a speed limiter, electrically heated folding mirrors, a six-speaker DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth. It has 17-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, dual projection headlights with static cornering lights and LED daytime running lights, powered two-way driver’s seat lumbar adjustment and remote central locking with a fold-away key, while the comprehensive safety provisions include Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring and an electronic parking brake.
Grade 3 upgrades the navigation screen to 8.0 inches, has an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with four-way electronic lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and xenon dual projection headlights. The exterior is distinguished by 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome and body colour exterior door handles, LED front foglights and rear combination lamps and chrome-coloured side sill mouldings. The black cloth seats have faux leather sections, there are satin chrome highlights on the touch-screen bezel, the rear electric windows have an auto up and down function with an anti-trap safety feature, a premium vision instrument cluster, satin chrome interior door handles and gloss black window switch panels. An harman kardon™ Premium Sound System is also standard, while the 7DCT version has paddle shifters for manual control and a Drive Mode Select function.
Grade 4 further supplements this with a wireless mobile phone charger, 360-degree Around View Monitor, Smart Park Assist System, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Keep Assist, High Beam Assist, Speed Limit Information and Autonomous Emergency Braking. It has a tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlights with automatic levelling and washers, Dynamic Bending Lights, black high-gloss door frames, black leather upholstery with ventilated front seats and heated outer rear seats, alloy pedals, stainless steel door scuff plates, rear window blinds, Adaptive Smart Cruise Control, a smart key with illuminated start/stop button, LED front map lights and rear reading lights and ambient interior lighting.
Previously the Optima trim levels started at the 1 spec, topping out at 3 for the top of range vehicle. With the all-new Optima the trim levels start at 2, due to the significant level of standard equipment which now comes with the vehicle, equivalent to competitor mid-grades. In addition, having a 4 grade in the Optima line-up aligns it with Kia’s other premium models, such as the Sorento and Sportage, it also means Kia can look to introducing a 1 grade in the future should demand rise.
Greater agility with premium-class refinement
A far stiffer body structure plus major revisions to the suspension and steering combine to give the all-new Optima sharper, sportier driving characteristics with even greater comfort and refinement, aided by extensive new measures to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
The body shell of the all-new Optima is 50 per cent stiffer than that of the previous model yet also 8.6kg lighter. This is largely down to a 150 per cent increase in the use of Advanced High-Strength Steel and a 450 per cent increase in the amount of structural adhesive to bond body panels together.
The stiffer body shell provides an ideal platform for the uprated suspension and steering to work without having to compensate for torsional flex. The all-new Optima is therefore better able to isolate vibrations and bumps on poor road surfaces and deliver improved ride comfort with greater agility.
The all-new Optima also features Kia’s latest rack-mounted motor-driven power assisted steering system (R-MDPS). By mounting the power steering system directly on the rack rather than the column, the engineers have been able to provide quicker and more linear responses to driver inputs with greater feel. The all-new Optima is now one of the most agile cars in its class. As an added benefit, R-MDPS gives approximately three per cent fuel savings because it draws on engine power only when the car is turning.
Comprehensive new measures to counter NVH ensure that the all-new Optima has the refinement to match its more upmarket appearance, quality and technology features.
Innovations to help towards this include a larger under-floor cover and more effective windscreen seals. Increased dashboard insulation lowers the amount of engine noise, and the acoustic refinement of the 1.7-litre CRDi engine has been improved. Larger cross-member bushings front and rear eliminate a greater proportion of road noise while reducing vibrations transmitted through the floor and steering wheel.
The all-new Optima is available with a number of advanced active safety features, some of which are firsts for Kia including one that is unique in the car’s market segment. These augment the comprehensive active and passive safety technologies which are standard.
The all-new Optima’s safety begins with its far stiffer body shell with programmed front, side and rear crumple zones. For further crash protection, all versions have twin front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, and two full-length side curtain airbags.
Kia’s policy has always been that the best way to survive an accident is not to have one, and with that in mind the all-new Optima is available with advanced active collision-avoidance systems.
The top-of-the-range grade 4 version is fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking which, uniquely in class, employs both short- and long-range radar systems so that it can detect vehicles and pedestrians at greater distances and higher speeds. The short-range radar operates at typical city speeds of up to 31mph. Between 19mph and 50mph the longer-range radar also comes into play. The pedestrian detection function operates at up to 37mph.
The Optima 4 also has Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keep Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. It has High Beam Assist and a Speed Limit Information function within the instrument cluster. A reversing camera integrated with the 7.0- or 8.0-inch navigation touch-screen and reversing sensors are standard, helping to minimise the chance of annoying parking dents, and Optima 4 has the Smart Park Assist System and 360-degree around-view monitor linked to four cameras.
Warranty and servicing
The all-new Optima comes with Kia’s industry-leading seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, subject to conditions covering wear and tear items. The warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owners as long as the age or mileage limits have not been exceeded.
It is also available with Kia’s Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages, offering fleet and retail customers fixed-cost, inflation-proof servicing for the first three or five years. All packages cover the car, not the owner.