With an attractive design and plenty of perks, Kia’s Optima Platinum looks to be a great, stylish family sedan, with plenty of creature comforts inside. But with all the attention to the appearance, has the drive been compromised?
The Optima Platinum 2.4-litre petrol comes in at $38,790, with ABS, ESC, HAC, sat nav, seven-inch full touch colour LCD screen, 18-inch alloy wheels, full size alloy spare, rear view camera with mirror display and parking guidelines, smart key with push button start, leather trim seats, eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, paddle shifters, panoramic sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, 12-volt power outlets, cooling glove box, iPod compatibility, Bluetooth, external amp, centre speaker, sub-woofer, and dual-zone climate control.
The front-wheel drive, six-speed automatic Optima produces 148kW @6,300rpm and 250Nm@4,250rpm. The official fuel combined is 7.9L/100km, urban is 11.2L/100km. We found 6.9L/100km on the motorway, 10.6L/100km fuel combined, and a startling 14.9L/100km urban.
From the black chrome Schreyer radiator grille, to the sports bumpers, dual chrome tip rear muffler, and tinted glass, the Optima looks strong and sporty. Internally alloy pedals, alloy door scuff panels with illumination, paddle shifters, and leather-trimmed seats add to that feel. The dash is tilted toward the driver, and while that may make sense in the driver’s ability to access the sat nav, it does make the dash feel lopsided, forcing front passengers to reach around to access controls.
This mid-size sedan has comfortable seats all around, and the middle seat flips down to an armrest with cup holders. The boot provides a good 505 litres of storage. Folding the back seats down gives you more room, but the functionality is limited by the small opening in the back panel, making it hard to slide large objects in through the boot.
The Optima looks good, and along with the Platinum’s addition of a panoramic sunroof, ventilated driver’s seat, and front seat warmers, there are plenty of perks.
The Optima has an impressive five-star ANCAP safety rating, with ABS, ESC, HAC, driver and front passenger, front side, and curtain SRS airbags, side door impact beams, active front headrests, and impact sensing auto door unlocking.
The Optima has plenty going for it, it has a great external design, comfortable interior, and it’s about ready to check all the boxes, but somewhere along the way they compromised drivability for comfort. Bumps are smooth, cornering is stable with good grip, but our main gripe is how poorly the Optima handles in wet weather. Even with ESC engaged, we were struggling to gain traction during an afternoon summer storm.
For the look of the vehicle and the 148kW and 250Nm you’d expect a bit more oomph, but the Optima feels heavy. Paddle shifters give you that extra sports feel, and the quicker manual gear changes helps alleviate some of that sluggish feel.
Blind spots in the front, sides, and back are partially reduced by the parking sensors, but without them tight parking spots would be difficult. It was a shame the driving wasn’t sharper overall. Like we said, the Optima has a lot going for it, it’s a looker, but needs some fine tuning in the drivability. For a drive that matches the level of design, you may have to wait for the Optima Turbo to hit our shores.
A well-designed, comfortable sedan that unfortunately doesn’t drive quite as well as it looks.
Kia Optima Platinum
Price: from $38,790
Warranty: 5 years/unlimited km
Safety rating: n/a
Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cyl petrol; 148kW/250Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto; FWD
Thirst: 7.9L/100km, 189g /km CO2
Dimensions: 4845mm (L), 1830mm (W), 1455m (H)