2016 Kia Optima LX: Monthly Update for December 2016
by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Kia Optima spent a solid chunk of December at the body shop getting repaired from last month's double rear-ender. Thankfully, when we got it back, it was as good as new and put right back into service. Senior Consumer Advice Editor Matt Jones and I were the main Optima drivers for December. Matt drove the Kia on a road trip to visit family in the San Francisco area, while I battled Los Angeles traffic commuting and visiting friends and family over the New Year's holiday. Together, we were able to test the range of the car as well as some of the safety assistance systems.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Although our Optima was sidelined for most of the month, we were still able to get a good sample size. We noticed wide swings of fuel use per tank (lowest reading at 23.9 mpg; highest reading at 33.3 mpg), even though we continue to achieve almost 30 mpg overall. We attribute that to driving on opposite ends of the spectrum — long miles on the highway and stop-and-go holiday traffic. All told, the Optima accrued an additional 1,309 miles on the odometer and used 44.2 gallons of fuel in the process, for a calculated average efficiency of 29.6 miles per gallon.
Average lifetime mpg: 30.0 mpg
EPA mpg rating: 31 mpg combined (28 city/37 highway)
Best fill mpg: 39.9 mpg
Best range: 574.7 miles
Current odometer: 18,147 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
Aside from the aforementioned body repair, which totaled a rather stout $6,349.77, there were no other dealer visits in December. We did accomplish a little DIY upkeep, though, in the form of a software update for the infotainment system of our 2016 Kia Optima. As delivered, our Optima was not compatible with Apple CarPlay or the latest version of Android Auto. With this software update, we gained those smartphone integration systems plus a map data update thrown in for good measure.
If you have a Uvo account, updating is easy and straightforward. Instead of going through the Uvo app on my smartphone (Kia has apps compatible with both iPhone and Android devices), I elected to download the update directly onto my laptop and run the update program, making sure the Optima's navigation SD card was inserted into my laptop during the process. Then, I took the SD card to the Optima, slid it back into its slot (to the right of the navigation screen), and ran the Optima's update routine. From that point, all you do is sit back in the comfortable cloth-upholstered seats, and let the software update routine handle the rest.
The only updating step that may cause minor confusion is that there are five separate modules that need to be updated, and there's at least one system reset where you could be mistaken into thinking everything is finished. But it's not, and you shouldn't touch the car until it's totally done. As the instructions state, you will have to keep the engine running for the duration of the update, so make sure it's someplace where idling for at least 30 minutes won't be frowned upon. Just give it time, let it go through all of its modules, and you'll have no problems.
"On my overnight trip to the Bay Area, I squeezed 546 miles out of a single tank of fuel. According to the onboard trip computer, I averaged 35.0 miles per gallon. Why is this noteworthy? Because in the 20 years I've been making this drive, I've never gotten this type of range, in any vehicle. I filled up in Gilroy and had stops in San Francisco, Vallejo and Berkeley before finally making it down south to Long Beach. And I arrived home with 8 miles of range left to spare." — Matt Jones, Senior Consumer Advice Editor
"Fresh from the body shop, the Optima has no creaks or rattles and still feels tight. Yes, the drive-off hesitation that's been mentioned numerous times is still there, but as other editors have also noted, you do get used to it. On the plus side, the dual-clutch automatic gearbox makes up for the off-the-line sluggishness with crisp up- and downshifts in all other areas of the powerband, and the fuel economy you get from the little 1.6-liter engine is remarkable for a midsize sedan." — Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor