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Korean carmaker Kia showcased a fleet of vehicles at the 2018 Auto Expo. The fleet included cars ranging from hatchbacks, SUVs, MPVs and sedans. The manufacturer has been testing the vehicles for a while now but hasn’t launched a single vehicle in India. The company is currently marketing and building the brand. It is also conducting test drives of various vehicles including the Kia Optima. The Kia Optima, when launched, will rival the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb. So, let us find out how it fares.
Exteriors – The design of the Kia Optima is very elegant, clean and carries an executive aura. The signature Tiger Nose grille very steadily merges with the sweptback headlights. The headlight houses dual barrel projectors along with LED DRLs. The car sits on dual-tone 18-inch alloy wheels. There are chrome stripes running across the side skirts of the car. The rear bumper is treated with dual tone and this indeed reduces the visual bulk of the car.
Interiors – The dashboard is all-black in colour and so is the leather of the seats. The cabin is all-black but gets silver accents at few places. The dashboard consists of a twin-pod instrument cluster along with a rectangular MID. There is a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It also comes with a start/stop button, wireless charging, cruise control, two-zone automatic climate control and a panoramic sunroof.
The front seats are very plush and comfortable, they come with heating and cooling function. There is ample space in the rear seat of the car. Passengers will not complain about the legroom, shoulder room and headroom. The rear gets manual sun-blinds, AC vents and charging sockets. The boot of the sedan can easily store the weekend luggage of a family.
Performance – The Kia Optima is available with various engine options around the globe. Our test vehicle was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine which makes 163 BHP and 196 Nm of torque. The engine lags in the initial rev range and it pulls decently in the mid-range. The performance is good at the top end of the rev band and the growl of the engine is a music to the ears. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and it doesn’t shift the gears quickly. Changing gears manually using steering mounted paddle shifters is also not engaging.
Driving Dynamics – The steering of the Optima is light, moreover, it doesn’t weigh properly at high speeds, it lacks feel and feedback. Even with the 18-inch wheels, the ride quality of the vehicle is good, but the manufacturer is expected to fit 16 or 17-inch wheels on the India-spec car. The brakes on the sedan are great and provide good anchorage.
Safety and After Sales Service – Kia Optima gets 7-airbags, VSC, Hill Start Assist Control, ESC, electronic parking brake and tyre pressure monitoring system. The car will be made at the Anantapur facility and it is expected to launch in 2019. However, the dealership network of the company is still under covers.
Verdict – The Kia Optima is a very stylish and elegant looking car. It is packed with features and it offers great comfort and space. However, driving the Optima was not engaging when compared with other D-segment vehicles like the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat, but the Optima can be a good alternative to the Toyota Camry.
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