2016 Kia Optima: Happiness is a Hands-Free Trunk
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on May 16, 2016
It's not a new party trick, but our 2016 Kia Optima has the same nifty hands-free trunk as our former Hyundai Sonata. I forgot all about that feature from the Sonata, let alone that it existed on the Optima, until talking to a neighbor while standing around near the back of the car.
I walked out to my driveway, key in pocket, as my neighbor passed by. He said he liked the Optima's styling, which I've found is one of the first things most people say about this car. It's fun to watch their reactions when you tell them the Optima was styled by a guy who was Audi and Volkswagen's former design boss (Peter Schreyer). There's always an "a-ha" moment, as if now it all makes sense.
As I leaned back on the trunk lid, the Optima beeped three times, and I heard the trunk latch release. It took me a second to figure out what happened. I thought I'd pressed the trunk release on the keyfob in my pocket, but no.
Instead the Optima senses when the key is in range, near the trunk lid, as its owner approaches with the proverbial armful of grocery bags. It sounds the alert beeps, then unlatches the lid. The lid opens with a decent amount of force as well, opening to about a third of its maximum travel.
The Optima's other convenience is unfolding the power mirrors and illuminating the door handles when you approach the driver or passenger doors. This reveals another minor gripe: You still need to unlock the doors yourself by pressing the button in the door handle.
Such a tease, this Optima.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 5,145 miles