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2013 Kia Optima Platinum 2.4-litre petrol review

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    The Optima has a lot going for it, it’s a looker, but needs some fine tuning in the drivability.

Allison Garoza road tests and reviews the 2013, Kia Optima Platinum 2.4-litre petrol.

Kia Optima Platinum 3

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? 

VALUE

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.

TECHNOLOGY

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.

DESIGN

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.

SAFETY

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.

DRIVING

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.

VERDICT

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)
Weight: 1551kg

RIVALS

Honda Accord Euro Luxury
Price: from $40,140
Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cyl petrol, 148kW/230Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 8.9L/100km

 

 

Honda Accord - seeother Honda Accord verdicts

 

 

 

Hyundai i45 Elite
Price: from $34,590
Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cyl, 148kW/250Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 7.9L/100km

 

 

Hyundai i45 - see other Hyundai i45 verdicts

 

 

 

Mazda6 Sport
Price: from $36,460
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cyl, 138kW/250
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 6.6L/100km 153g/km CO2

 

 

Mazda6 - see other Mazda6 verdicts

 

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 11 comments

  • Had an optima recently as a rental. Brand new. It had the worst steering I have ever encountered on any car I have ever driven. Fancy paying 35 grand for such a heap of rubbish! Drove it 600 km on country roads and could hardly keep the thing on the road.
    Good on fuel, though. Any bump set the steering offline.
    Soft springs, rubbish Nexen tyres. Buyer beware!

     

    Davo of Toowoomba Posted on 14 December 2013 10:34pm
  • I have to say our experience is good from a mechanical standpoint
    but the Sat Nav Screen does not come on alt all some days all you see is “KIA MOTORS” i am advised this will be fixed on the 15000k service with a software upgrade.
    Sadly 2 mths agpo i got a rear puncture on the OEM NEXEN TYRE but i have been advised that there is NO STOCK in Australia apparently there is a mountain of the wrong V rating (91) and the 95v is not available , this is a real catch 22 situation
    i have a the spare on now with a cheap Chinese tyre in the boot. but many phone calls and emails over the past 9 weeks have resolved nothing they claim they are “talking” to Nexen in korea and there is no ETA , beware this might be a problem for other Kia drivers

    ANTHONY CONROY of Melbourne Posted on 28 August 2013 7:30pm
  • My Optima platinum 2012 model now with 36k averages 10.5 - 9.8 ish around town and down to 6.4 on a resent 1800 km round trip Sydney to Jindabyne (plus other drives) sitting on 100 - 108km/h with ...do not drive very often for economy (but do have the eco function on most times so maybe that helps) as never got anywhere near 14L/100k… will replace tyres with something better as can easily lose grip on take off but the suckers still look like may do another 10 - 20k as wearing well… think the grip could be due to suspension give and take ... drive rental cars quite often and always get upgraded but while not as refined as some always enjoy getting back in

    Palah of Sydney Posted on 17 August 2013 10:05pm
  • Hi Matt
    Cant say I have had any issues with handling in the wet.  The Tyres it comes with are cheaper Nexens so thats where the blame would be if the tester had issues.  Im sure if you gunned it at the lights in the wet you would get the frontwheel drive wheelspin.
    But as said - no issues here.

    Matt of Adelaide Posted on 27 June 2013 12:12pm
  • You have to wonder what they do with these vehicles on test that’s for sure. Over at Car Advice their consumption figures for the Hyundai SantaFe diesel are very high compared to what others are getting too. I joked about the hand brake being left on over there too. I sometimes wonder if the journos print things to deliberately make a certain brand look bad?

      TI have driven two vehicles with flex steer (Santafe and i30) and neither were as bad as described. I spent a week in the santafe and to suggest the steering was a gimmick indicated they haven’t really used it at all. On the highway the sport setting keeps the line ver ystraight and on comfort it makes parking and in town maneuvering much easier as it lightens the wheel.

    Sumpguard of Cairns Posted on 24 June 2013 12:32pm
  • Has anyone got any comments about the reviewers remark about handling in wet weather?

    matt iuliano of Melbourne Posted on 04 June 2013 2:39pm
  • I just bought a white Optima Platinum after about six months of research and it was delivered yesterday. This is my sixth new car and so far has impressed my greatly. So many features and as it was a demo with 5,000km I got it with $8,000 off the price and that has made it the best featured car I have ever bought. I just love it and still can’t believe how much car I got for the money every time I slip that panoramic roof back to release the doof doof beats pumping out of the rear subwoofer hoo haa! Oh and by the way, I am a 50 year old man!

    Stephen Walter of Sunshine Coast Posted on 31 May 2013 3:21pm
  • I have to agree with R Marsh I have owned an Optima since Oct 2012 I cannot fault its finish features and performance.  I am over 6ft and my daughter who is tall also has plently of leg room sitting in the back seat with the drivers seat set for my height. Boot space is huge and overall has more internal space than a Ford Falcon. You get all the features the European cars offer and more than half the price. It is also cheaper than the Mazda 6 or Honda Euro. The only extras we required was tinted windows.

    C Warby of Melbourne Posted on 21 March 2013 4:35pm
  • I have owned my Optima Platinum for 6mths it has 13,300km’s on the clock,i love the Vehicle!, imho it handles well is very comfortable has a great audio system has no rattles or squeaks & fuel economy on a recent trip to QLD averaged 6.8ltr’s/100km,s mostly on cruise control, not bad for a quite large motor car,around town haven’t recorded any worse then 10.6ltr’s/100km’s,I think some people forget that the fuel consumption resets at refills & if driving around town it will take a while to come down to a steady figure,never thought i would own a Kia, after many Holdens(including V8’s), a Ford, Honda’s i am very impressed with the overall quality & drivability of the Optima.

    John Humphreys of Maitland NSW Posted on 21 March 2013 12:31pm
  • I forgot to address the 14.9 l/100kms obtained by Allison in the road test.I have owned by Optima Platinum for 10 months & have never got anywhere near as bad as that figure . Might I suggest (tongue in cheek) that the foot operated handbrake wasn’t too obviously visible and may have been left on during the road test - either that or that extremely heavy boots were worn at the time.

    R. Marsh of Sydney Posted on 09 March 2013 11:12pm
  • The Optima Platinum is one of the best cars I have ever owned - including some of the European marques. It is a largish car with a four cylinder engine - not a V8. You don’t have mountains of torque off the line.Notwithstanding this, the suspension is Australian tuned - so it handles very well.It is also very responsive - if driven correctly.I have startled quite a few “big sixes”&  yes - even V8s at the lights - ie beat them off the line . My last car had 300kws plus - so I’m familiar with performance vehicles.The Optima Platinum is an excellent all round vehicle , arguably the best looking medium sized sedan available with extensive standard equipment at a sensational price - backed with an unbeatable warranty - you can’t get better than that !!

    R. Marsh of Sydney Posted on 09 March 2013 11:00pm
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