After putting the 2013 Kia Optima through its paces, covering everything from streets riddled with potholes, to fast-moving highways, to seemingly never-ending trips to the local Target, I've selected five things I feel make the Optima a good value, unique and an oh-so-worthy vehicle to showcase in your driveway:
1) Loved the Optima's sexiness. Typically, when a car is referred to as sexy it is usually connected to some astronomically high-priced exotic vehicle. How can a mere car made of glass and metal be sexy? Well, it all starts with body shape, lines, curves, touches here and there of details that make the car's metal and glass form a design that is striking, sleek and just riveting. The Optima's sexy and distinctive design, makes it unique among the family conventional sedans which all seem to be carbon copies of one another. Kia took the road less traveled with the Optima. The automaker gave the 5-passenger Optima a sleek, coupe-like silhouette that is sculpted and very aggressive. The car has a stance that just screams sporty. New signature grill, swept-back headlights and tail lights that make it stand out from its competitors. A raked rear roofline that connects with the car's shoulder line, along with sculpted flanks, extended wheelbase, boldly flared wheel arches, all give bystanders pause as they try to decipher what make of car it is--love it!
2) Loved the euro-looking interior of the Optima which is performance-oriented, sleek and thoroughly engaging. At first glance, you'll give a nod to the instrument panel which is canted slightly towards the driver and the ergonomics of the layout. Inside the Optima you'll find spaciousness front and back (6-footers in the rear will not groan), seats that comfort like a much-loved recliner (six-way adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support), soft touch plastics, easy-breezy to use electronics touch screen interface with the technology package of the navigation system (loved it--so sensible), real-time traffic and HD radio (every trim is eligible for the technology package). Kia's electronics interface system, Uvo, is now available on all but the base LX and those cars not equipped with the navigation system (but the company is working on incorporating everything).
I marveled at the wide-angled rear-camera display which remained remarkably crystal clear even through heavy rain. The Optima's cabin creature comforts are enhanced by a noteworthy list of standard technology features including AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM audio system, Bluetooth wireless connectivity (you can sync up to five different phones to the Bluetooth system and it works wonderfully for voice commands), and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The Optima's cabin is definitely a one-size fits all experience.
3) Loved the Optima's performance factor. The Optima sedan is available in four trim levels: LX, EX, SX and SX Limited. There is a single trim for the Optima Hybrid. The LX and EX come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The SX trims are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The overall driving experience of the Optima is a step above satisfying (my test vehicle was the SX Limited). The Optima's ride is sporty, firm, very nimble and quiet and is certainly an ideal, 'take the family on a road trip' vehicle. You get serious bite with the Optima's 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, one of the best pavement grabbers I've experienced. The 2013 Optima’s EPA-estimated fuel economy comes in at a not shabby at all 24 mpg city/35 mpg highway. You'll especially love the Active Eco-System indicator which keeps you in the green by letting you know, via an indicator light, when you're reaching optimum fuel economy (standard on all trims).
4) Loved those headlights. If you have a touch of night blindness which is poor or blurred vision in low lit areas or during and after evening time, affecting one in five motorists in this country, the Optima's auto-leveling xenon headlights will impress you with their magnificent sweep. You will literally marvel at the headlight's illumination of the road ahead, as well as on the sides, a feature you will come to appreciate, whether you have night blindness or not.
5) Loved the car's safe and solid feel. The Optima's front-wheel drive and standard safety features include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, side airbags, side curtain airbags and hill start assist. In government crash tests, the Optima earned a top five-star rating for overall safety performance, with five stars awarded for both overall frontal and side-impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Optima a top score of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
The 2013 Kia Optima is hands-down, a vehicle that commands respect, it is stylish, sophisticated and offers top-notch performance. All of its many pluses and value is sure to drive out the competition in no time!
Prices start at $21,350. Need more info? www.kia.com
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