2016 Kia Optima: Monthly Update for October 2016
by Dan Frio, Vehicle Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
In October, we mostly drove our 2016 Kia Optima around town and on our daily commutes, with one significant exception — a round trip from California to Colorado that added more than 2,500 miles to the odometer. On that trip, Vehicle Testing Assistant Mike Massey got a good sense of what the Optima's all about. It's a car with great long-haul manners that, distilled into our typical short hauls, make the Optima a strong value and a smart daily driver.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We drove the Optima 4,378 miles in October, averaging 31.0 mpg. Twice we covered 500 or more miles on a single tank, including an impressive 529.2-mile run, our second-best so far.
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: 15,547 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
With 15,000 miles on the Optima's odometer, it was time for a routine oil change and tire rotation. It took less than an hour and cost less than 50 bucks, burnishing the Optima's credentials as a great value and an easy car to own.
"I know many of my co-workers dislike our Kia Optima's slow responses when you first let off the brake from a stop. The Optima doesn't immediately start to creep forward like a car with a regular automatic transmission. The culprit seems to be 1.6T's dual-clutch automatic. It takes a couple beats to get going. While this trait can be annoying in certain situations, I've gotten used to it. It wouldn't stop me from buying an Optima." — Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
"The Optima's respectably quiet and has plenty of range. I can easily roll off hours of driving in it." — Brent Romans
"On my trek out to Colorado, I drove straight through the night — 1,100-plus miles and 16-ish hours, only stopping for gas and other obvious needs. Once my seat was adjusted properly, I found that I just wasn't getting fatigued. My legs never grew sore or went to sleep. My lower back had enough lumbar support." — Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant
"The good aspects of our Optima's trunk: 1) There's plenty of room for your grocery bags, luggage or whatever. 2) The trunk has a hands-free operation mode; stand near the trunk with the key fob on your person and the car will beep three times and then automatically unlock the trunk.
The less-good aspects: 1) There's very little damping/hold effect for the trunklid. On more than one occasion, I've opened the trunk and stuck my head in to get something only to have the lid fall back down (or bounce back from full-open) and hit me in the back of the head. 2) I'm not sold on the hands-free feature. It'd be great if it actually opened the trunklid all the way, but instead it just pops it open. You still need a free hand to open it. You might as well just grab the manual release and lift the trunklid yourself, which is quicker than waiting for the automatic function." — Brent Romans
"Our Optima had about 15,000 miles on its odometer and that meant it was due for a scheduled service. I booked an appointment my local Kia dealership (Future Kia). I was in and out in less than hour, which is impressively quick for an oil change and tire rotation. The total bill was quite agreeable, too: $45.49." — Brent Romans