Kia Refines Optima Interior, Improves Ride and Handling
“The Optima changed the way people felt about the Kia brand, and KMA owes much of its growth and success to its head-turning design and sporty performance. It was – and still is to this day – a fresh alternative in the midsize sedan segment, and it amplified a five-year design-led transformation that propelled Kia to record-setting sales year-on-year,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, sales and marketing, KMA. “The all-new Optima retains the signature personality of its predecessor, but we’ve literally improved everything, providing more space, better ride and handling, more technology and greater refinement.”
Under the hood, the 2016 Optima will offer consumers three engine choices- the 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder (estimated 185 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 178 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm), the 2.0-liter GDI turbo engine (estimated 247 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,350 rpm), and the 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine (178 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500 rpm).
Externally, the Optima has gotten longer, taller, and wider. The wheelbase has been extended to 110.4 inches (increased 0.4 inches) and the width has expanded one inch allowing for a larger cabin and cargo capacity. The front facia has been designed to fall in like with Kia’s K900. The all-new Optima introduces Kia’s first application of bi-functional HID headlights – with available Dynamic Bending Lamps and High Beam Assist – that illuminate the tarmac around corners.
The 2016 Optima rides on alloy wheels ranging from 16 to 18 inches, with three new unique 18-inch wheel designs, depending on trim level. Three new exteriors colors compliment the latest Optima’s sophisticated styling: a vibrant blue inspired by a sparkling ocean underneath a sunny sky; a dynamic grey with olive undertones, and a deep red that gains depth from the use of aluminum pigments.
Optima’s interior draws inspiration from Kia’s premium and luxury sedans utilizing soft-touch materials throughout the passenger area, stitching along the dash and doors, and metallic accents. The driver-oriented cabin has been simplified and the center console has been widened.
Designers have stiffened the seat frame which in turn reduces vibration and re-enginred the headrest constructing it out of soft foam. Deeper bolsters, upper back and thigh-support areas make for a more supportive and sportier feeling seat. For extra convenience, heated and ventilated front seats are available with power adjustable driver and front passenger seats.
Kia’s connectivity system, UVO2, comes standard with four additional eServices not previously available on Optima: Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score3. Additionally, Optima is Kia’s pilot vehicle for the introduction of AndroidTM4 Auto and Apple®5 CarPlay, which allow drivers to access a suite of core functions from their smartphones. The vehicle has a front and rear fast-charging USB ports and an 8-inch touchscreen screen.
The standard six-speaker audio system is able to be upgraded to the Infinity® Premium Audio System6, which includes 14 speakers, Clari-Fi™7 technology and an upgraded 630-watt digital amplifier. The Infinity system also comes equipped with next-generation QuantumLogic™7 Surround technology, which extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into an authentic, multidimensional soundstage for playback that is clear, refined and detailed.
All trim levels of Optima come equipped with a standard rear-camera display while SX and SXL trims offer an available 360-degree Around View Monitor. Available driver-aid technology, including Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking, bi-function HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Lamps, and intuitive High Beam Assist.
The 2016 Optima features stiffer chassis due to the increased use of Advanced High Strength Steel. According to Kia,”This body structure helps provide crash protection, better driving dynamics, and is the foundation for a quieter ride.”
In order to make a ride in the 2016 Optima quieter for passengers, Kia has changed the materials of its sunroof support structure to carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic which makes the vehicle more aerodynamic, and a larger full floor under cover which helps reduce wind noise and aid fuel efficiency. Unseen changes include increased dash insulation, added windshield side molding, and the increased use of structural adhesive ensure a quiet ride with reduced road and wind noise. Engine mounts, body panels and wheels all are stiffer on the all-new Optima, reducing vibrations, engine noise and road noise. Larger cross-member bushings are utilized to help isolate road and engine noise, as well as reducing engine vibration through the floor and steering wheel.
Kia promises improved steering response, high-speed stability and handling. Available Rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering improves steering response with a higher gear ratio with the stiffened chassis providing sportier response for the driver.
The 2016 Optima will be constructed in the United States from globally sourced parts. Pricing will be announced closer to the product’s debit in showrooms.