Steering Ruins It - 2011 Kia Optima Turbo Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima Turbo: Steering Ruins It

September 06, 2011

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It looks great. The interior is nice enough for the money. Its engine is powerful and has the potential to be frugal if you drive frugally (we don't). It has a whole heap of equipment.

Those are all things I value in a car, but there's something missing in the Kia Optima: good steering. Oh, Kia has attempted to make it sporty by dialing in a bunch of weighting that results in something more responsive than the nebulous helm of a Hyundai Sonata. But it just feels like the electric version of a V6 Chevy Malibu, which equate to the wheel being hooked to a pair of SoloFlex elastic bands. Except the Kia has less communication.

Be it changes to hardware, software, tuning or brand philosophy, the Optima's steering needs to get better before I would consider it. Given the types of giant leaps Hyundai/Kia makes from one generation to the next (and sometimes mid-generation), I would hope that steering and suspension are the next areas they tackle head-on. Because even if the rest of the Optima is oh-so-tantalizing, the steering ruins it.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,635 miles


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