My New Must Have - 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo: My New Must Have

January 24, 2012


In 2007 my commuter car must have was an Aux jack. Quickly that was replaced by a dedicated iPod cable and then, rightly, to the USB input where it sits today. The must have feature is something-- in a daily driver -- that I wouldn't go without. It would be a deciding factor in initial car selection.

With the exception of something like our Mazda 3, USB ports are common and easy to get. It's still a must-have for me, but it's no longer something special. The new special is paddle shifters on normal cars. Yes yes I should want a manual damn the traffic but here's the reality of the situation: I drive, on average, 19 miles per day and average somewhere around 19 mph. The traffic isn't stop and go as much as it is 2-8-2-15-5-30-5-40-5 and doing any work at that time of the morning in that stupid traffic is maddening. But having paddle shifters that allow me to slow the car down with the engine make this process significantly more efficient. They even make driving a slushbox more fun if you happen to break free of traffic and hit one of those canyon roads.

Not only are the paddles are available as standard on the SX Turbo, they're standard on the 2012 Toyota Camry SE. That bodes well for me. If the Camry's got 'em, everyone will soon and I'll need to find a next Must Have. Proximity entry is pretty neat. Automatic headlights are already pretty much standard. Maybe power doors? Power hatch would be cool, but no...

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests