This review is one of the hardest I’ve ever had write as I don’t want this whole review to sound like ad made by Kia for their Optima GT.
To say I enjoyed my week with the Optima GT is a little bit of an understatement, but it wasn’t until the day after I’d handed the GT back and was driving a prestige midsize car that it really hit me just how good a package the Optima GT is overall not that I am going to make this a comparison between the two.
From the Outside the GT is an impressive looking car, the muscular front end, stylish alloys, swooping profile, combine with the nice rear treatment featuring LED tail lights and twin exhaust to give the Optima GT a road presence that’s not common in the mid car class.
Step inside and theme is continued the leather clad seats are offset nicely with the red stitching, The seats are not only comfortable but supportive as well.
The leather bound seating wheel was nopt only comfortable to hold but was the perfect thickness for me.
The instrument panel is well set out and easy to read in any light, follow the lines of the dash covered in soft touch material and your eyes are drawn to the centre stack.
Which is rather nicely set out with everything easy to reach from the drivers seat, I specially like the way the air con controls are set out.
The centre stack is home to the touch screen for the multimedia system for which to me was the biggest let down about the whole car.
While the audio sound was great thanks to the 10 speakers and the blue tooth was extremely easy to set up even on my old Galaxy S3.
I found the system lacking in functionality and features compared to some other systems on the market. I also found the system to be a bit slow at times and the touch screen wasn’t exceptionally sensitive meaning sometimes I had to press it more than once sometimes when selecting things.
The sat nav worked great except for the afore mentioned problem of being a touch slow and less sensitive which made entering some addresses a touch tedious. Once input though I found the sat nav was extremely good and easy to use the suna love traffic up dates were great and the ability to able to find away around traffic snarls made some of my journeys less painful.
The rear seat offers plenty of leg and head room, I tend to have my seat backwards a bit when driving and daughter who is nearly tall as me had no issues with legroom while sitting behind the drivers seat. Things might be touch squishy with 3 adults on board but certainly not as bad as soon other cars I’ve tested. Really only a large car like a Commodore has offered more back seat space.
The boot space is is rather good at 495L which does expand thanks to the 60/40 split fold rear seat.
There were other touches inside inside that stood out to me as well, the blind for the sunroof is made from a thick enough material so no light gets through it ( something I can’t say about other cars I’ve driven even some worth twice as much).
The sunroof glass is extremely dark and from outside makes the roof look black which contrasts really good with the looks of the car.
Under the bonnet the Optima GT is pwoered by a 2L turbo petrol engine developing 180Kw and 350nM of torque making it one of the most powerful midsize cars on the market under $50,000.
The turbo is very tractable and will easily keep up with traffic, the torque comes on quite low in the rev range so the GT can take off rather rapidly when needed, but will also cruise quite effortlessly on the freeway.
Fuel economy was a mixed when driven hard i saw my economy climb into the high 11L/100km but just cruise around on my normal commute saw it hover around the high nines. While I didn’t take it on an extended freeway run the time i did spend on the freeway saw the economy dip into the 6’s. But really with such a nice engine under the bonnet it was really hard not to want to explore it a little bit.
The GT also comes with 3 drive modes Economy, Normal and Sport these settings adjust the weigh of the steering and how the transmission shifts as you would expect Economy produced the best fuel figures and Sport returned the worst but part of that was down to the fact when i was in Sport I wasn’t driving like Miss Daisy was in the back seat. Normal was a happy medium between the 2 and really was mode I used most of the time during the week and really would be the mode I used more often if I owned the car.
Backing the 2.0L turbo was a very nice 6 speed auto and I found during the week most of the time the shifts were smooth and seemless, I did however find them a bit sharp when in Sport mode but part of that could be that in Sport it holds onto the each gear longer so it changes at higher revs then the other 2 modes.
The optima GT has benefited greatly from Kia’s program to tune the suspension to local conditions
The steering was well weighed but that did change depending on what drive mode I was in, although the car was easy to wheel around car parks in any mode Economy is the lightest setting and made it just a fraction easier.
While the GT doesn’t have the sharpest steering I’ve ever sampled it is pretty damn good and the communication through the wheel was great and you always knew which way the wheels were pointed and the car sat nice and flat through the corner without any lean.
The ride was a touch on the firm side but once again it benefited from local tuning and never once did it feel harsh or was up set by any mid corner bumps.
The GT rode rather smoothly even some of the crappy Sydney B roads.
The were great offering a decent amount of pedal feel even when pushing it a touch hard.
Safety wise the is loaded to the gunwales with safety features including ABS with EBD & BA, ESC with TCS, VSM (Vehicle Stability Management), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), ESS (Emergency Stop Signal), Electrochromic rear view mirror (auto dimming), BSD (Blind Spot Detection) & LCA (Lane Change Assist). LDWS (Lane Departure Warning System), RCTA (Rear Cross Traffic Alert), AEB* (Autonomous Emergency Braking), LED daytime running light (DRL), AFLS (Adaptive Front Lighting System), HBA (High Beam Assist), Dusk-sensing automatic headlamps, Child restraint anchorage points (3 x anchors / 2 x ISOFIX positions), 3-point ELR seatbelts on all positions, Driver and front passenger SRS airbags, Curtain SRS airbags (1st & 2nd row), Curtain SRS airbags.
The GT also received full marks from me for having Front & rear parking sensors and received bonus points for coming standard with a Rear view camera.
So as you can tell from my opening remarks I was more then impressed with the Optima GT after week with it so much so I was genuinely sad when I had to ahnd it back to Kia the Optima GT is one car that i could easily park in my garage.
To me the Optima GT is complete package, it has plenty of room for the family drives, rides and steers exceptionally well, comes with a massive list of safety features and comes with a rather long list of standard features some of which would cost you several thousand dollars on some cars that cost twice as much.
If you are looking for a midsize car do yourself a favour and take an Optima GT for a test drive. Apart from a house a new car is the biggest expense for a person so instead of thinking grey and boring like maybe a camry put some colour in your life instead and think Optima GT.
Kia Optima GT
Price: From $43,990
Engine: 2.0L T-GDI Petrol 4 cyl 180kW 350Nm.
Transmission: 6 speed auto with shift paddles
Leather seats, 8-way power driver’s seat with 4-way lumbar support, 8-way power front passenger’s seat with 2-way lumbar support, Sports package
(front & rear bumper, red brake calipers, black gloss side sill), Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with washer & auto levelling, LED rear combination lights, Panoramic sunroof (powered), Solar glass, ASCC (Advanced Smart Cruise Control) with steering wheel mounted controls, Premium steering wheel & shift knob, Flat-bottom perforated leather, sports steering wheel with GT logo, Heated steering wheel, Paddle shifters, Colour TFT Supervision instrument cluster.
10 speaker premium sound system – harman/kardon® brand (6 speakers, 2 tweeters, centre speaker & subwoofer all powered by an external amplifier), Satellite navigation multimedia system with traffic information (SUNA™), 8″ colour LCD touch screen.
Dual-zone climate control air-conditioning with Clean Air module, Auto defog system, Rear air vents, Ventilated & heated front seats.