2016 Kia Optima: Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Is a Worthwhile Feature To Get
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 3, 2016
Back in March, Ed Hellwig wrote an update noting how the beeping of the blind-spot monitoring system in our 2016 Kia Optima could be viewed as annoying. It's a legitimate gripe, even though Ed also said he'd ultimately choose leaving the system on just for the enhanced safety. Less controversial in my mind is our car's rear cross-traffic alert system. For helping you out in crowded parking lots, it's great.
Like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert came bundled with our Optima LX Turbo model's optional Technology package. It uses the same blind spot sensors for vehicle detection but activates instead when the Optima is put in reverse. Its purpose is to detect vehicles that might be crossing your rearward path, such as when you're backing out of a parking space and can't see around that big SUV parked in the next space.
When an oncoming vehicle is detected, the system beeps at you. I also like how our Optima's system displays a yellow indicator icon in conjunction with the rearview camera. Those yellow arrows in the photo above show which direction the detected vehicle is coming from. Not all systems do this, and it can help you judge which direction to pay attention to.
There have been a few times when I've been backing out of a parking space only to have the cross-traffic alert system notify me of an oncoming car. Normal over-the-shoulder rear visibility in our Optima isn't very good because of the sloping rear roofline and thick rear roof pillars, so cross-traffic alert can be a welcome layer of safety that nicely complements the rearview camera.
If you like the idea of having rear cross-traffic alert on your Optima, you'll typically have to make sure it gets added as an option. It only comes standard on the top SXL trim level. Otherwise, look for it with the LX's Convenience or Technology packages, or the EX or SX's Premium or Premium Technology packages.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,965 miles