The midsize sedan phase is now not a category of boring home equipment designed merely to get you from level A to B. Section leaders just like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are literally enjoyable to drive in addition to aesthetically inventive. When these automobiles are specced to be the highest of their respective strains, they continue to be sturdy worth propositions that threaten the justification for spending hundreds extra on their Lexus or Acura counterparts.
The 2019 Kia Optima is one other compelling entry within the midsize sedan market, particularly in its top-spec SX Turbo guise. Even earlier than its 2019 facelift, the Optima was one of many better-looking sedans within the phase. On prime of that, it is obtained a load of normal tech and is surprisingly nimble as well. However is its refresh sufficient to maintain it a worthy consideration among the many phase’s prime gamers?
Midsize is the brand new ‘close to luxurious’
My Optima SX Turbo tester rings the money registers at $32,395 (not together with $920 for vacation spot) and has options like heated and ventilated leather-based seats, a panoramic sunroof and a Harman Kardon Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.operated via an easy-to-use Eight-inch touchscreen that helps
The Optima SX can be loaded with driver-assistance options similar to adaptive cruise management, forward-collision mitigation, lane-keep help, blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert. Different options embody embedded navigation, LED headlights with computerized excessive beams and LED fog lamps.
The one possibility my tester lacks is the $three,800 SX Restricted Package deal, which incorporates extra exterior chrome, satin-finish wheels, quilted Nappa leather-based, heated rear seats, rear-door sunshades, power-folding outdoors mirrors and a surround-view monitor. That package deal would max the Optima’s worth to $36,195, which sits slightly below the MSRP of a comparably loaded Toyota Camry at $37,585 and a decked-out Honda Accord at $37,796.
However in case you can stay with out the additional choices the SX Restricted Package deal provides, you are still getting an Optima that is comparable with near-luxury automobiles just like the Acura TLX and Buick Regal, which when comparably outfitted, price about $Eight,000 and $four,000 extra, respectively. As outfitted, the Kia Optima SX is a worth play, not solely in opposition to these near-luxury choices, however inside its personal midsize sedan class. Even in $22,900 base guise, the Optima comes customary with collision-mitigation braking, lane-keep help, a driver consideration monitor, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — not one thing I can say about different conventional midsizers.
The 2019 Optima will get a couple of delicate exterior tweaks that assist it higher resemble its sexier Stinger sibling. Essentially the most noticeable change is the extra aggressive entrance bumper design adopted by reworked headlights and taillights.
Behind the wheel, the Optima feels luxury-inspired, too. The low quantity of noise, vibration and harshness approaches a premium degree even when the trip high quality feels extra mainstream on the bumpiest roads. However on lengthy stretches of interstate, the Optima eats up miles whereas offering all of the consolation you can ask for. The seats are well-designed, like the remainder of the cabin, and supportive sufficient that lengthy distances will not depart you sore. The inside supplies are commensurate with a automobile within the $30,000 vary, however taken as an entire, my tester’s red-and-black leather-based inside is a pleasant place to be.
In relation to hauling your stuff, the Optima beats competitors just like the Camry and Malibu with its 15.9 cubic ft of trunk area. Inside room is fairly good, too, besting the Camry and Accord’s entrance head room by greater than 2 inches, and beating their entrance leg room by greater than three inches. My 6-foot-5-inch photographer, who additionally occurs to be my human measuring stick for inside room, cherished how the Optima allowed him to stretch out in consolation.
Surprisingly succesful, however expectedly unsporting
What’s more likely to delight anybody who slides behind the Optima’s wheel is its energy. It is not a sports activities automobile, however it does provide 245 horsepower and all of its 260 pound-feet of torque is delivered from 1,350 to four,000 rpm. With such a flat powerband, the Optima’s six-speed computerized transmission works simply advantageous. In an age when different midsize sedans boast eight- and 10-speed transmissions, the Optima’s older gearbox nonetheless feels aggressive. It shifts easily, and in addition to, the shortage of gears does not harm gasoline financial system an excessive amount of. The two.Zero-liter turbo-equipped Honda Accord will get 22 mpg metropolis and 32 mpg freeway, whereas the Optima will get 21/30 mpg. Throughout my time with the Kia, I averaged 26.1 mpg.
The computer systems have your again
The Optima’s UVO hyperlink infotainment is close to the highest of the category relating to ease of use. It takes little mind energy to navigate via the Optima’s Eight-inch touchscreen, however my favourite half is that Kia permits you to set shortcuts to your most used features. I am somebody who likes to regulate audio settings usually, so shortcutting these otherwise-buried settings into my presets allowed me to spend extra time driving as an alternative of fiddling.
The infotainment system’s total look could possibly be extra impressed, to my eyes, whereas the Roadshow crew typically thinks UVO is likely one of the less complicated programs in the marketplace at present. Fortunately for my design-sensitive eye, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is there to cover what appears like a dated, borrowed-looking interface.
Can it save the sedan phase?
The midsize sedan phase is dwindling as increasingly individuals transfer to crossovers and SUVs. There’s good cause, too — for a couple of thousand extra, a crossover might be about 90 p.c as environment friendly and nimble as a sedan, however on the identical time provides more room for individuals and cargo.
Nonetheless, in a time when crossovers are king, Kia’s value-packed Optima provides a very compelling sedan package deal. It does every thing a midsize sedan ought to do nicely: it is comfy, roomy, tech- and feature-laden and eats up miles nearly as effortlessly as luxurious sedans costing hundreds extra.
The Optima might not be all-new this yr, however it actually nonetheless feels contemporary.