2016 Kia Optima: Better Material Than Pricier Model
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on May 2, 2016
We had an Optima SX Turbo in the fleet a few years ago. It was pretty well-liked. At the time I took issue with some of its interior materials, specifically the black leather upholstery and steering wheel wrap. Kia called it leather anyway. I'm pretty sure it didn't originate in the animal kingdom, but rather in some polyvinyl lab experiment.
It held up fine during the year we drove the Optima, but it felt cheap for a $30,000 car and I questioned how long it would hold up over the lifespan of the car.
The upholstery in our more budget-minded 2016 Kia Optima LX 1.6T doesn't make any pretensions to be leather, fake leather or even premium cloth. I actually kind of like it more because of it.
Our current Optima's seat material is some kind of cloth/mesh hybrid that feels more like a good office chair. Not Aeron premium, certainly not luxurious, but as a synthetic material, it's comfortable and better quality than you'd find in an economy compact or work truck. It's not Mercedes-Benz MBTex good, but a good standard for a car at this price. I'd take this material over the robo-reptilian stuff in our old SX, and that car cost $3,000 more than this Optima.
Now how well the off-white color holds up over the year, or how easily the material repels stains and how it wears remains to be seen.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 4,422 miles