2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo Keeps Its Cool in the Heat

2011 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo Keeps Its Cool in the Heat

July 06, 2011


This weekend the 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo was my holiday/birthday conveyance to San Luis Obispo. One of my favorite long-termers to take on a road trip for being fun, roomy and comfortable. Plus satellite radio and seat heaters/coolers are always nice.

But as we were heading up Saturday afternoon, a quick look at Google Maps showed the highway to SLO was red, all the way from the 405 to Santa Barbara! 80 miles of stop and slowwww-going traffic. No thanks! So instead we opted to take the much clearer I-5 up to the fun roads and cut across to Santa Maria via 166 West. More on that later.

However on the way up the Grapevine we encountered an abnormally high number of cars -- old and new ones (even saw a Mini, sad) -- on the shoulder with their hoods open. Turns out a lot of cars don't like that combination of 100-plus-degree temps, A/C and climbing a long and serious grade. But in our Kia the air blew cold as ever while charging up the Grapevine at, um, slightly over the speed limit with nary a flick of the coolant temperature gauge. Er, pixels. That, and it felt as powerful as ever despite the heat and the altitude.

Felt bad for those poor folks stranded in the heat but took great comfort that our Kia was able to keep its cool for the four-hour trek to the Central Coast.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 8,283 miles

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