2011 Kia Optima Turbo: Steering Ruins It
September 06, 2011
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