Kia Optima: South Korea’s Best Family Car

Kia Optima

When it comes to cars there are three continents that make the best cars that is Europe, America and Asia. Apart from Japan and in some little way India and China, the other big Asian automaker has to be South Korea. South Korea are a small nation land-wise but have a burgeoning population of around 50 million people. Where there is a dense urban population there are going to be lots of families needing cars. Thus, the Kia Optima is a South Korean macrocosm that has gained worldwide repute and sales.

The History

As South Korea’s oldest automaker and second largest automaker in South Korea, Kia is partly owned by Hyundai. Hyundai is South Korea’s largest automaker. The Optima started out as a rebadged variant for the Hyundai Sonata in the period 2000 – 2005. Rebadging for those of you who haven’t done marketing is where you repackage the product, rather than redesign the model completely. Kia then took up the Optima badge in 2005 and continues to manufacture it to date. In its earlier models it’s been marketed as the Kia Magentis, Lotze and K5. However, all the names are expected to amalgamate into the Kia Optima.

The Current Model

The 2016 Kia Optima is the fourth generation installation of the car. The car shares a platform with the Hyundai Sonata, however many will agree that it’s the superior of the two. Something like sibling rivalry where they come from one house but all exhibit different gifts.

The Variants

If you go through a Kia dealer you’ll most likely have these options to choose from

  • LX
  • LX Turbo
  • EX
  • SX Turbo
  • SXL Turbo

Kia Optima

The Powertrain

All these variants use three inline four cylinders to power themselves. There are two engines that are turbocharged 1.6 L Gamma G4FJ and 2.0 L Theta II. Apart from the turbocharged engines, the last engine is naturally aspirated 2.4 L Theta GDi. These engines manage to churn out 178-245 hp. As for transmission you can use either a 6-speed auto or a 7-speed dual-clutch auto depending on your preference or model.

The Exterior

I really have been greatly enamored by this car’s front grille, in the way its seemingly accentuated by the headlights. Aggressive, contemporary and cool are just some of the words that come to my mind when I look at this car’s front fascia. We have Kia’s chief designer Peter Schreyer to thank for this marvelous car.

Our Verdict

Japan is evidently the powerhouse when it comes to automakers in Asia. However, with cars like this, South Korea isn’t a distant second as it has two of the best brands in Hyundai and Kia. The 2016 Kia Optima has been well received and has even got a Kelley Blue Book “Best Buy” award. The only downer is that it is a little bit slower and sluggish in transmission, as compared to its predecessor. As for this great family car you can expect performance and comfort, while your Samsung Galaxy is plugged in via Android Auto, pan intended.

Is this the best car from South Korea or is it eclipsed by the Sonata? Have your say, leave a comment.

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