I'm always interested to see how people react to things. Some people drive this car and see it for what it is: a great value and a really good car. And then there are those to say that it's not a good car because they have driven, owned, or dreampt of better. You'll see plenty of those reviews here and other places. The reality is that this car is great for the money, offers a huge range of features, has a warranty that should allay any fears about the uknown, and, finally, it looks hot. It's not a perfect car, true. The wide c-pillar creates a blind spot, the engine isn't V6 smooth, and it's true that the seats aren't the best. But nits aside, this is a seriously good car.
I have been test driving the 2011 Sonata and Optima. Optima looks like an Infiniti or Audi and offers features the Sonata doesn't like hill start assist and dual exhaust on all trims. I am leaning towards the Optima and I really want to buy a manual trans, but Kia decided, in a truly bizarre move, to not allow you to get cruise control with the manual trans. Otherwise the car is excellent. Very good acceleration and you can't hear the valve train noise like you can on the Sonata which is nice. Also seems like the suspension is more upscale than the Sonata. No options allowed or a turbo with a manual trans?? Change the packaging and they would steal sales from BMW/Audi and others...
I love this car. Handles great and has excellent power whether using ECO mode or regular mode. I am getting 30mpg overall combined city and hwy with about 50/50 of each. This car has the interior room of a much bigger car. I have extra long legs and I still fit in this car great, and there is room for someone to sit behind me with my seat all the way back the way I need it. This isn't true for many cars. The truck is also bigger than other large cars I have driven/owned. I love that people can't figure out what kind of car this is at first glance. That will probably change as more show up on the road, but for now I feel I am driving an exclusive luxury automobile, that runs on regular!
Just finished a Highway trip of 350 miles each way thru hilly country. Average MPG of 37.8!!! Seats remained comfortable, ride was quiet. I have owned a new car every other year for at least 20 years and have NEVER gotten as many compliments for any other car. The other day a gas station attendent ran out to ask questions. Not a single rattle or any maintenance to-date. You really should look at this car as it cannot be touched at this price!
I went to look at the Sorrento SUV and saw this unique looking beauty sitting next to it on the showroom floor with a $10K less price tag. I walked around the car and sat in every seat multiple times ... I couldn't talk myself out of liking this car! I get asked by neighbors, people at the gas station and people in parking lots, "What is that? "It looks like a BMW, Audi, etc... no way it's a KIA" "It's a KIA?" "Looks nice!" Needless to say I enjoy my 30min each way commute a lot better now. Sometimes I can't even tell I am driving a 4-cyl! Oh and let's just say my business partner asked for us to take it to our lunch meeting (he drives a 7-series BMW)...
Spicy Red Paint; EX Premium Package PB ($2,250 -- includes panoramic sunroof with high-gloss B-pillar, front passenger's four-way power seat, two-position driver seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, wood trim door inserts and center console, metal PRND bezel); EX Technology Package With EX Premium Package EST ($2,000 -- includes DVD navigation system with back-up camera, Infinity premium audio system and eight speakers); Carpeted Floor Mats ($95); iPod Cable ($35 est.).
With traction control off, there doesn't appear to be enough torque (or there's too much grip) to get much wheelspin. The Optima is a little pokey from a stop, but once under way, it starts to feel revvy, but not as free-revving as the Sonata. Does this Kia Optima weigh that much more than the Hyundai Sonata? Feels like it. Auto upshifts in Manual mode make manual shifting a moot point here.
Good pedal push-back, so-so initial bite, but obviously better/grippier tires on the Optima over the Sonata. Similarly good fade resistance and fast cycling ABS make for undramatic and repeatable stops.
Skid pad: With stability control off, there's a remarkable balance with only a hint of understeer; steering mostly with the throttle. With stability control on, there's a similar balance, though at a much lower speed, as the throttle closes well before the understeer begins. Steering weight is appropriate for this speed, and there's a sense of building/waning grip levels through the steering wheel. Slalom: With stability control off, by the fourth cone this car begins to rotate and oversteer progressively. I had to abort several passes. I tried the "slow-in, fast-out" technique, but it was just slower. Best run came when I successfully timed the rear slide at the exit cone, but it wasn't entirely repeatable. With stability control on, the system was fighting against the propensity to rotate that the best I could manage was nearly 4 mph slower.