2016 Kia Optima: Great Transmission for Multiple Reasons
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on March 15, 2016
Our 2016 Kia Optima gets many of the basics right. One example is the transmission. It not only moves through the gears smartly, the shifter itself feels good to the touch.
How a transmission shifter feels might sound inconsequential, yet it goes a long way toward reinforcing a feeling of quality. Like the door handles and the steering wheel, you touch the shifter every time you get in the car, so the way it feels matters.
This shifter not only has a nicely designed handle that fits well in your hand, it moves solidly from one notch to the next. There's no play in the handle from side to side and it's easy to find each gear. I can't tell how many transmission shifters I've used that felt like you could rip them out of the console with one good yank. This one feels like you could break a two-by-four over it.
It also deserves credit for crisp shifts and quick responses. I usually drive it around in "Sport" mode as Riswick suggested and rarely does it disappoint. In fact, it's one of the best dual-clutch transmissions I've driven. Most drivers probably won't even notice that it's not a standard automatic. Hopefully it stays that way as the miles pile up.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 2,652 miles