Heavy Lifting - 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo: Heavy Lifting

August 25, 2011

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Well, it can be satisfying to really take a hold of a car. That's why some guys like a steering wheel with a thick rim that fills the palms.

But I am not among them. And there's too much about the Kia Optima's approach to sporting driving that amounts to no more than a kind of oversize statement.

That's the style of performance these days. More steering effort. More suspension damping (especially more damping). More aggressive throttle action. More transmission shifting. More brake bite.

All these things can be fine in themselves, but unless it all comes together in a cohesive package of dynamic capability, what you get is a car that's more like a piece of heavy machinery than an instrument for fast travel. You get stunts, not speed.

It's not that the setup for the Kia Optima is bad, but it does remind me that driving fast has to do with fingertips, not biceps. That's why every racer you'll ever meet will describe the way a car steers by holding an imaginary wheel in front of him with this fingers, and there will none of that elbows-out wrestling stuff.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com


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