At the start of 2016 Kia released an all-new Optima to their fleet in Ireland. This is the fourth generation of Optima. The first generation was released in the year 2000 when it was effectively a rebranded Hyundai Sonata. The second generation Optima had a different name, the Kia Magentis. This still shared a lot of parts with the Sonata but there were more individual characteristics on this one. The third generation was released in 2010 and it was a much more stylish package than ever before. A lot of the underpinnings of this vehicle came from the Hyundai i40. The third generation saw the Optima name reinstated. The fourth generation shares the same platform as the most recent Sonata.
Just one engine is available to the Irish market. This is a 1.7 litre diesel engine. This has been here before but we’re told that it has been improved. Power has increased from 136 PS to 141 PS. This choice has also reduced the number of CO2 emissions which are burned per km. It will be available with a new 7 speed DCT automatic transmission or a six speed manual gearbox. On-paper the new Optima is said to offer maximum torque of 340Nm at between 1,750 and 2,500rpm. The manual transmission should bring you from 0-100 km/h in 10 seconds while the automatic transmission covers the same area in 11 seconds.
The new Optima offers a better ride that the outgoing model. The car has become 10 mm longer, 25 mm wider and 10 mm taller. The chassis is lighter and stiffer than before and the fully-independent suspension deals with bumps and road imperfections better.
A lot of focus was placed on the sound insulation of the vehicle. Kia has reduced noise, vibrations and harshness by adding larger underfloor covering, better windshield seals and more insulation in the dashboard.
Kia does interiors nicely and while many of them are simplistic, none of them feel cheap. Kia Ireland suspects that their big seller will be the “Platinum” trim. This comes with 18” alloys, leather seats and a 12 way memory chair for the driver. We’re told that it will also be available with Xenon lights and a heated steering wheel. Entry level EX models are to come with 17 inch alloy, SATNAV and a lane departure assistant system.
Seven airbags are dotted throughout the interior of the new Optima. These include two front side airbags, two curtain airbags, a driver’s knee airbag and airbags for both the driver and front passenger. The car also has systems like vehicle stability control as standard. This system controls the Electronic Stability Control and the power steering if it senses that the vehicle has lost traction.
The new Optima is bigger than ever before and therefore it offers more space than the outgoing model. The vehicle is longer, wider and higher and this translates to more head room by 5mm to the front and 15mm to the rear, more shoulder room by 20mm to the front and 17mm to the rear and leg room by 25mm to the rear. The boot space has increased from 505 litres to 510 litres.