THE third generation Kia Optima is a D-Segment sedan that has changed the perceptions of South Korea-made cars.
Cars made in South Korea are no longer the cheaply made versions of yesteryears, with poor build quality.
In fact, Kia has hired European rivals’ world-renowned designers and engineers to make impressive and reliable cars.
We tested the Optima GT, which is a testimony of the leaps and bounds that Kias has achieved in design and engineering.
Powering the Kia Optima GT is the Theta II 2.0 T-GDI turbocharged petrol engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The egnine produces 242hp at 6,000rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1,400rpm.
Kia claims that the Optima GT can dash from rest to 100kph in 7.4 seconds, and has a combined cycle fuel consumption of 8.5 litres per 100km.
Measuring at 4,855mm in length, 1,860mm in width, 1,465mm in height and weighing in at†1,650kg, the Optima GT has 510 litres of boot space and a 70-litre fuel tank capacity.
The locally-assembled Optima GT is equipped with adaptive LED headlights with daytime running lights, Qi wireless charger, keyless smart entry with push start button, LED taillights, rear diffuser, twin oval-shaped exhaust tips, 18-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjusted front seats with memory function for the driver and dual-zone climate control system with clean air ioniser.
Other equipment include leather upholstery, digital sound generator, multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters, rear air-conditioning vents, 4.3-inch multi-info instrument cluster, seven-inch touchscreen display, sunroof, sunshade for the rear windows and infotainment system with navigation function.
Safety wise, the Optima GT is fitted with six airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control, vehicle stability control, hill-start assist, emergency stop signal, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera and isofix child seat points.
The Optima GT is priced at RM179,888 inclusive of insurance, six per cent GST and a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
We find the Kia Optima GT to be† a comfortable, fast, sophisticated and spacious sedan.
It has a sporty and classy exterior design, coupled with elegant and well-built interior. The interior has overtones of Audi.
The Theta II 2.0 T-GDI turbocharged petrol engine is smooth and powerful, and gives a certain degree of refinement and effortlessness to its character. It is stronger in the low-to-middle revs, making it easier to overtake any slow moving traffic.
It is coupled to a nicely calibrated six-speed automatic transmission that switches gears smoothly and quickly.
There’s also a digital sound generator to amplify the engine noise and exhaust sound into the cabin. It gives a noticeable deep, rugged sound, almost similar to a boxer engine.
The medium hard suspension and absorber set-up easily overcomes bumps, damaged road tracks and rough road conditions, giving occupants good comfort.
It also grips on the road tightly during high-speed corners.
The cabin is equipped with plenty of useful gadgets like the wireless qi phone charging bay, heated and ventilated seats and touch screen with Apple Carplay functions. These technologies give the owner a peace of mind.
Space is not an issue with the Optima GT. Kia has been very generous with the space of the front wheel drive sedan. It has a huge boot to handle a few golf bags. As for the occupants, there is ample headroom, legroom, knee room, and shoulder room.
The South Korean carmaker has done a great job in keeping the engine noise (not from the digital sound generator), wind noise and tyre noise low in most driving conditions.
We drove the Optima GT for over 700km, with the odometer showing that we used 8.9 to 10.1 litres of petrol per 100km after a mixture of city and highway driving.
After cruising below the speed limit, the meter showed that it consumed 6.1 to 7.5 litres per 100km. With pedal-to-the-metal driving, it utilised about 12.1 to 15.3 litres per 100km.
The Optima GT has plenty of features. However, there is room for †improvement. It should come with a blind spot warning system to enhance safety.
Having features like adaptive cruise control, lane watch assist, and lane departure warning would certainly be useful for long distance driving.
It would help to give a luxury feel to the Optima GT if it came with ambient lighting. Lastly, it may be a good idea to come with a button to give the driver a choice to activate or to deactivate the digital sound generator.