by Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant on August 4, 2016
When fleetmaster Mike Schmidt handed me the key to the 2016 Kia Optima, I didn't expect much. As the new Vehicle Testing Assistant, I was excited to drive my first car, but I've personally never been a fan of the brand based on friends who experienced multiple mechanical problems with their Kias years ago. But a night in the Optima made it clear that my head had been stuck in the sand.
Let me explain.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on July 19, 2016
Our 2016 Kia Optima may just be the ultimate family sedan. It has a roomy cabin, a sizable trunk and plenty of storage space for small items. Further adding to the passenger-friendly atmosphere is the abundance of power ports smattered throughout the cabin. You'll never again have friends fighting over whose phone to charge first.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 7, 2016
For people shopping for a new 2016 midsize sedan, I could imagine the experience isn't too far removed from heading down a grocery store's cereal aisle. You thought you were going to get Cheerios, but then you notice that Raisin Bran is on sale. And didn't your friend say that she really likes Chocolate Chex? Mmm ... chocolatey. Meanwhile, at your local dealership strip: Should I get an Accord? Camry? Fusion? Malibu? Altima? Mazda 6? Sonata? Optima? Argh, paralytic indecision!
Well, based on my experience with our long-term 2016 Kia Optima, I've got five reasons why I think a potential shopper will like the Optima best.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on May 2, 2016
We had an Optima SX Turbo in the fleet a few years ago. It was pretty well-liked. At the time I took issue with some of its interior materials, specifically the black leather upholstery and steering wheel wrap. Kia called it leather anyway. I'm pretty sure it didn't originate in the animal kingdom, but rather in some polyvinyl lab experiment.
It held up fine during the year we drove the Optima, but it felt cheap for a $30,000 car and I questioned how long it would hold up over the lifespan of the car.
The upholstery in our more budget-minded 2016 Kia Optima LX 1.6T doesn't make any pretensions to be leather, fake leather or even premium cloth. I actually kind of like it more because of it.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 30, 2016
I like the available interior storage in our 2016 Kia Optima. There are a couple cupholders and a few bins to work with. The setup isn't flashy, but I've found it to be pretty handy for my personal effects.
Click through to see some in-use action photos from around the interior.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 25, 2016
A couple of weeks ago, I was sifting through our list of long-term cars, hoping to schedule one of them for an upcoming 600-mile road trip with my family. The Honda Pilot and Kia Sedona were obvious choices, but were already booked. So was our new Honda Civic. The Chevrolet Volt was available but I was worried about it not having enough trunk space. Hmm. T
Then I noticed our 2016 Kia Optima was free and clear. Family sedan for a family road trip? Sold.
And as it turned out, I should have just considered our Optima to begin with. This sedan is well-suited for long hauls.
by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on March 8, 2016
Our long-term 2016 Kia Optima has a good-sized 15.8-cu-ft trunk that further benefits from a low and wide opening. Those rear seatback releases in the trunk are an added bonus, which means if you need to transport longer items, you won't need to climb into the rear seats to unlatch them.
A lot of manufacturers are doing this now and it's a good thing. But...
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on February 24, 2016
I spent a lot of time in the driver seat of our former long-term 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Its roomy back seat, agreeable ride and quality interior made it an easy car to keep for the weekend. Another of its highlights was the design of its clean center stack, which I always found extremely easy to use.
I'm happy to see that the multi-tiered center stack has been incorporated into the 2016 Kia Optima as well.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on February 22, 2016
It may not be covered in leather and wood, but the interior of our long-term 2016 Kia Optima feels almost as nice as our recently-departed long-term Kia K900 and that's saying a lot. Here's a picture of the K900's interior for comparison.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on February 16, 2016
When new long-term vehicles arrive in our fleet, I have a little routine that I go through with them. I pop the hood, check out all the storage and cubby holes, and if there's a back seat, I sit in it. I'm only 5-foot-9, so I adjust to my comfortable seating position from the driver's seat, then add a few inches to simulate someone at least six-feet tall driving the car.
Then like my father taught me in all the test-drives he did during my childhood, I sit in the back seat, ostensibly behind myself. He's six feet tall, so he called it the "six and six? test to illustrate how comfortably two six-foot tall passengers could fit in the car. I recently performed the "six and six" in our new long-term 2016 Kia Optima and although I didn't have two test subjects on hand, there was a lot of room to spare.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on February 10, 2016
When the Kia Optima was redesigned in 2011 it was groundbreaking. It had a design so striking that it reinvented the brand overnight. Sedan shoppers who never thought twice about Kia suddenly considered the idea of putting an Optima in their driveway.
We drove one for a year and liked much of what it offered. It wasn't perfect, though, so it didn't knock the class leaders off their perch.
For 2016, the Kia Optima has been redesigned again. This time around, Kia knows it has a good-looking car on its hands, so it didn't change much on the outside. It even made a Super Bowl commercial mocking the blandness of its competitors.
Most of the changes were made to the underlying chassis, suspension tuning and interior. Kia also added an interesting new turbocharged engine option that delivers strong performance and even more miles per gallon than the base engine. It's once again an intriguing option that we wanted to know more about, so we decided to give it another try and add one to the fleet.