2016 Kia Optima: 5 Reasons To Buy an Optima
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 7, 2016
For people shopping for a new 2016 midsize sedan, I could imagine the experience isn't too far removed from heading down a grocery store's cereal aisle. You thought you were going to get Cheerios, but then you notice that Raisin Bran is on sale. And didn't your friend say that she really likes Chocolate Chex? Mmm ... chocolatey. Meanwhile, at your local dealership strip: Should I get an Accord? Camry? Fusion? Malibu? Altima? Mazda 6? Sonata? Optima? Argh, paralytic indecision!
Well, based on my experience with our long-term 2016 Kia Optima, I've got five reasons why I think a potential shopper will like the Optima best.
1: Availability of the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. I covered this topic in an earlier update, but it's worth mentioning again: I really like this engine and transmission combination. It's pleasingly quick when you need it to be and, assuming you drive it with some normalcy the rest of the time (i.e., don't do what my coworker suggests with the Sport button), returns high fuel economy. It's a differentiator in this class.
2: Value. Admittedly, this is a shifty topic based on what incentives or deals are happening at any particular time for midsize sedans. Also, my feeling is that Kias aren't the amazing deals they used to be years ago. But they're also better built and more refined cars than they used to be. You can start with a regular Optima LX or move up to the fully loaded SXL. In the middle is our well-equipped LX 1.6 Turbo test car. With an MSRP of $27,590, it is a lot of car for your money.
3: Easy-to-use control layout. We wrote a couple updates back in April about the ease of use for our Optima's touchscreen interface and climate controls. I agree with both Kelly and Travis. You can get into our Optima and immediately know how to get what you want.
4: Styling. I waffled about listing this as one of my top reasons. I still find myself seeing other Optimas on the road and thinking: "Is that the old Optima or the new one?" This redesigned 2016 model just doesn't look very different than the previous generation. It might have been nice if Kia did a bit more to make the new one stand out. That said, I always liked the look of the old Optima, and it's the same story with the new one. It's a sporty and handsome sedan without going overboard.
5: Quiet and comfortable to drive. I'm happy getting in our Optima and driving it every day for commuting duty. My kids easily fit in the back. I've also taken it on a road trip and was pleased with the result. While I suspect I could make this claim for most of the 2016 midsize sedans on sale, my experience with our long-term car does make this particular quality stand out enough to make it into my top five.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive @ 6,012 miles