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.
Kelly Hellwig, Managing Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
November started quietly enough. Our 2016 Kia Optima passed from editor to editor, connecting the dots in a series of around-town errands, until BAM! In the middle of the month, Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr and the Optima were en route to Edmunds HQ when the Kia was rear-ended.
More on that below.
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.
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 Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on June 15, 2016
Is a nitpick a thing? If not, I'm making it one, and I've got two of them to put on our 2016 Kia Optima's record.
One has to do with the engine, the other with the transmission. Add them up and you might have enough nitpicks to make a shopper think twice.
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 June 1, 2016
Our particular 2016 Kia Optima, with its turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, leads the rest of the Optima lineup with an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined. We're getting almost 29 mpg, so we're close. I imagine if we committed to driving the Optima in either Normal or Eco modes, we'd reach that 32 mpg in short order.
Then again, if we committed to driving the Optima in Normal or Eco, we probably wouldn't drive it much. In Normal mode, you're in fourth gear before you've reached 40 mph and mashing the accelerator from a standstill is received more as a suggestion than an urgent command.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on May 30, 2016
This past week I took our long-term 2016 Kia Optima home for the first time since driving for its initial photo shoot. There were other cars available, but I was set to leave work right as traffic was hitting its fever pitch and I wanted something quiet, comfortable and easy to drive. If I'd remembered how touchy the brakes were I might have gone with another car.
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on April 14, 2016
After climbing out of our long-term Toyota Tacoma, I hopped in to our long-term 2016 Kia Optima, hoping for a respite of comfort and relief. I complained a bit about the Tacoma's brakes and I thought a comfy family sedan would give me the calm, isolated commute I was looking for. While it didn't disappoint in terms of comfort, the Kia did have some drivability issues I wasn't expecting.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on March 24, 2016
As you can see, the four-cylinder engine is our 2016 Kia Optima is on the small side. There's nearly a foot of empty space around it, which is unusual on a modern car.
It's visually deceptive, however, as it produces more than enough power to get this sizable sedan up to speed.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 21, 2016
For the Edmunds.com long-term fleet, we usually end up testing fully-loaded vehicles so we can report how well, or poorly, most of the available features perform. The downside to this approach, however, is that we drive vehicles in trim levels that are on the narrow end of a sales bell curve.
Well, welcome to the thick part of the bell curve. Our 2016 Kia Optima is an LX Turbo. The LX is the Optima's entry-level trim, and getting the optional turbo 1.6-liter engine represents a half-step up from there. Our car also has just one option package, the Technology package. Final MSRP on our car is a budget-friendly $27,545.
Here are three reasons why the LX Turbo is a great way to go if you're shopping for an Optima.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on March 15, 2016
Our 2016 Kia Optima gets many of the basics right. One example is the transmission. It not only moves through the gears smartly, the shifter itself feels good to the touch.
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on February 18, 2016
Starting the 2016 Kia Optima is effectively a two-step process.
Step 1: Press Start button. Step 2: Press Drive Mode button until the word "Sport" glows yellow in the gauges.
Doing so will result in the car, and specifically the throttle and transmission, behaving like a car should. When you press the throttle, the engine responds and moves the car forward with an immediacy determined by your right foot. The transmission stays in an appropriate gear for the speed in which you're travelling.
As a bonus, the steering firms up to the point where moving it actually provides some semblance of feel for what the wheels are doing. Some semblance. Not a lot.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on February 17, 2016
Now that our long-term 2016 Kia Optima is broken in, it was time to take it to the track. We specifically ordered this model with the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder and new seven-speed dual clutch and were eager to see how the combo performed.
Despite this being an eco-minded model, we hoped that this setup would prove both exciting and economical. Read on to see how it fared at its limits.
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.