The 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo is the kind of car smart people buy. It’s not sexy but it is quite attractive. The Optima been an IIHS Top Safety Pick since 2011 and a Top Safety Pick Plus a good number of those years, including 2016, therefore Optima owners can enjoy lower insurance premiums. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Kia’s technology and accident avoidance. It’s also no secret that I dislike most turbos because of turbo lag.
The first days in the Optima were a little frustrating. The only thing I noticed was the time between pressing the gas pedal and waiting for the car to accelerate. By day three I’d completely adjusted and didn’t notice the lag at all. I mention this because there have been other turbos that I’ve not been able to enjoy even at the end of a week long drive. For many people this won’t be an issue at all. When you’re buying a car you’ll be lucky to get a three mile test drive so if you think you might be able to overcome the turbo lag I’m here to tell you that you can
With a curb weight of 3,594 lbs. and a panoramic sunroof or 3,494 lbs. without the Optima SX is a sturdy midsize vehicle equipped with a 245 horsepower engine. There’s plenty of pep to get you on the freeway quickly and the handling is delightfully responsive.
The Kia Optima is isn’t a soundless experience but the cabin does have a luxurious feel to it and road noise is minimal. There’s luxury and attention to detail with the Optima that defies it’s sticker price. At the risk of being redundant the back up camera alone in the 2016 Kia lineup is cause for swooning.
The sedan I drove stickered at $34,490 as it included a $4,800 premium technology package that is worth every penny. If you’re considering the Optima as a family vehicle and can swing the extra money this is unquestionably the way to go. Driving with your family in the car is distracting. We all want to pretend it isn’t but the reality is that a car full of people takes your attention from the road.
Within the Premium Technology Package are some of my favorite features. In the luxe category we have the HID headlights, panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon premium sound, a power passenger seat and heated front and rear seats as well as cooled front seats. In the safety category we have the real value. Adding a front collision warning system, blind spot detection system, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, advanced smart cruise control and (my favorite) surround view monitor turns this midrange sedan into an intelligent accident avoiding alternative to the entry level luxury vehicle.
The New York Times has a series of articles about the import of accident avoidance technology, particularly for teens, and many of us will be buying the car today that our children will learn to drive on tomorrow.
Standard features on the Optima SX are not to be dismissed. There are luxurious details like red contrast stitching on the steering wheel that make the driving experience more joyful as well as more practical comfort items like dual-zone air, bluetooth technology that anyone can make work and hill start assist so you don’t roll back onto someone like that jerk did to us at Dodger stadium last season…
The Optima handles above it’s class. I took it through the canyons of Los Angeles and didn’t expect much but my experience was a driver’s delight. It hugged corners, accelerated reliably, stayed quiet and comfortable.
I’m a Kia owner, so I’m partial to the brand, but this sedan at this price-point is dazzling – after the lag.