The midsize sedan phase is now not a category of boring home equipment designed merely to get you from level A to B. Segment leaders just like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are literally enjoyable to drive in addition to aesthetically inventive. When these vehicles are specced to be the highest of their respective traces, 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’s obtained a load of normal tech and is surprisingly nimble as well. But 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 by an easy-to-use Eight-inch touchscreen that helps
The Optima SX can also be loaded with driver-assistance options reminiscent of adaptive cruise management, forward-collision mitigation, lane-keep help, blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert. Other options embody embedded navigation, LED headlights with automated excessive beams and LED fog lamps.
The solely choice my tester lacks is the $three,800 SX Limited Package, 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 bundle would max the Optima’s worth to $36,195, which sits just under the MSRP of a comparably loaded Toyota Camry at $37,585 and a decked-out Honda Accord at $37,796.
But for those who can stay with out the additional choices the SX Limited Package affords, you are still getting an Optima that is comparable with near-luxury vehicles 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. 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 experience high quality feels extra mainstream on the bumpiest roads. But on lengthy stretches of interstate, the Optima eats up miles whereas offering all of the consolation you would 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 a complete, my tester’s red-and-black leather-based inside is a pleasant place to be.
When it involves hauling your stuff, the Optima beats competitors just like the Camry and Malibu with its 15.9 cubic ft of trunk house. Interior 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, beloved 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’s not a sports activities automobile, however it does supply 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 automated transmission works simply superb. 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 moreover, the shortage of gears does not damage gasoline financial system an excessive amount of. The 2.Zero-liter turbo-equipped Honda Accord will get 22 mpg metropolis and 32 mpg freeway, whereas the Optima will get 21/30 mpg. During 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 when it involves ease of use. It takes little mind energy to navigate by the Optima’s Eight-inch touchscreen, however my favourite half is that Kia means that you can set shortcuts on 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 general look might be extra impressed, to my eyes, whereas the Roadshow crew usually thinks UVO is among the less complicated methods available on the market right this moment. Thankfully for my design-sensitive eye, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is there to cover what seems to be 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 will be about 90 p.c as environment friendly and nimble as a sedan, however on the identical time affords more room for individuals and cargo.
Still, in a time when crossovers are king, Kia’s value-packed Optima affords a very compelling sedan bundle. It does the whole lot a midsize sedan ought to do effectively: it’s snug, roomy, tech- and feature-laden and eats up miles nearly as effortlessly as luxurious sedans costing hundreds extra.
The Optima is probably not all-new this yr, however it actually nonetheless feels fresh.
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