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Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review

The 2011 Kia Optima is a big knock-out punch to the face of competitors in the segment.

For those of us that still remember the old days of Kia, the last five years have come as a bit of a shock. The Korean brand’s insistence on breaking its negative brand-persona has led to one of the biggest turn-arounds of any automotive manufacturer to date. The new Kia Optima is the ultimate expression of the brand’s new heritage.

When Kia hired former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, we all knew things were about to change, but little did we know what that change would mean.

You may be wondering how a brand can change its design so quickly. The answer is not as complicated as you may think. For a start, Kia was better known for being a cheap and cheerful car company selling mostly to those that put price above everything else. Hence, changing the brand’s ‘history’ and core values was never exactly going to drive customers away, especially given that prices are still very competitive in the market. So when Schreyer took charge he essentially had a blank canvas to work from. He didn’t have to honour previous designs so he let his imagination run wild. From the outside the new Kia Optima is without fail the most modern-looking car out of Korea to date. The Cerato gave us an idea of what was to come and the Sportage showcased how good an SUV can really look but the Optima is ultimately what the new Kia identity is all about. Designing cars that have an emotional connection to their buyers. KIA Australia faces one of the biggest challenges in its recent history, as it now has on its hands the best looking medium-car on the market but only 1,000 units to sell for 2011. It gets even more specific as there is only the one variant, the Platinum, which literally comes with everything. The only option is metallic paint. Powered by a 2.4-litre petrol engine with 148 kW and 250 Nm of torque coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, at a cost of $36,990 the Optima is an absolute bargain. To celebrate the launch of the new Optima, Kia invited the Australian motoring press to Melbourne with a drive program consisting of Melbourne CBD and country Victoria. Unlike nearly all car launches that have certain roads picked just to highlight the car’s strong points, the good folks and Kia gave us the keys and a rough guide of where we should visit and then left us alone. This meant that not only was the Kia Optima tested in the CBD and twisty country roads, but I even had the opportunity to take it on gravel roads and some of the more rougher and neglected roads around Melbourne. Keen car fans would know already that the Kia Optima is based on the same platform as the Hyundai i45, in essence they are both the same car (even share the same engine and transmission) but with different exterior designs and specifications. Comparing the two from the outside is a rather difficult job. While the i45 does look good (and some would argue, more elegant), the Optima, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, looks better. Perhaps it’s the overly modern front-end with its European design cues or the Daytime Running Lights (DRL) that give the Optima the edge. Or maybe it’s the swooping lines that run from front to rear and its masculine yet modern stance on the road that draws the gaze of nearly all, that sets it apart. Either way, it’s one fine looking motor vehicle. If you’re wondering about the flush wheels I suspect they may go out of fashion in time, but are perfect for a car built to raise brand awareness. It’s hard to make a case for or against exterior designs as beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, but if you’re asking me, I believe Kia has nailed it. Once you’ve finished admiring the Optima’s exterior you might finally remember that you need to get inside to actually drive it. As I mentioned earlier, the Optima Platinum comes with pretty much everything. Leather-wrapped powered front seats with heat and air-ventilation (driver only), sunroof, an eight-speaker Infinity (a sub-brand of Harman) sound system with full bluetooth support (phone and audio streaming) and pretty much anything else you can think of, bar Sat Nav. Kia says we will see integrated Sat Nav systems in the Optima towards the end of the year but for now it will make do without. The most notable feature of the Optima’s interior is the centre stack instrument panel which is angled towards the driver. This allows for easier control access to the stereo, air-conditioning and other features. The passenger can still easily fiddle with the controls but the 9.6 degree tilt towards the driver means less glare during those really sunny days. The front seats are comfortable for long distance drives and come with features that I am still only seeing in top-of-the-range European cars. For example, apart from heating for both front seats, the driver’s seat is blessed with a built in ventilation system that Kia says can reduce humidity by 30 percent when operating for about 20 mins. The rear is spacious if you’re carrying two adults but it wouldn’t be suited for three adults over long journeys. There is ample head and leg room (unless you’re in the NBA) and thanks to the excellent sound proofing you can fall asleep in the back seats rather quickly. The Infinity Stereo system can connect to your iPod/iPhone with a cable without any issues. It natively supports Apple products so you can pick your music using the car’s stereo system. Best of all though, you can use your iPhone (or iPod Touch) to wirelessly stream music to the Optima’s stereo via Bluetooth. This means crisp and clear sound without any distortion of signal over wire. The test music collection of Mozart and Armin Van Buuren both highlighted the Infinity system’s sound quality. It works just as well for Bluetooth phone connection. Numerous calls were made as part of the test and the Optima’s microphone and speaker performed well, in fact, it allows for quick redials if you use the phone buttons on the steering wheel. The instrument cluster houses a 3.5-inch TFT LCD screen that displays instant fuel economy and is also capable of showing maintenance schedules and other useful information. It’s a bit of a gimmick really. But since it’s a standard feature, you can’t complain. Nonetheless, the ultimate question here still remains. How does the Kia Optima drive and handle? The Hyundai i45 was never praised for its ride and handling so one would naturally expect its non-identical twin brother to behave in the same way. But as we’ve come to know of non-identical twins, they can have very little in common at times. As with the Sportage last year, Kia paid extra attention to fine tuning Australian delivered Optimas for our roads. Kia Australia says it conducted months of suspension tuning (even getting an engineer from Sachs – the people who supply the suspension parts) before finalising the car’s settings. If that means bugger all to you, just be happy to know the Optima handles rather well. Around the twisty mountain roads of rural Victoria, one can begin to enjoy what the Optima has to offer. To put the Optima’s ride and handling into perspective, it’s no all-wheel-drive Suzuki Kizashi or Subaru Liberty, both of which are class-leaders when it comes to cornering. In saying that, it’s still a damn fun thing to punt around in. Kia Australia has upgraded the front and rear brakes and given the Optima as much chance as possible to appeal to a new target audience. Around Melbourne CBD the Optima’s 10.9 metre turning circle and easy steering makes it a simple drive and highway driving is no different. With 148 kW to boot, it accelerates a little faster than I expected (0-100km/h in 9 seconds) and that’s partially due to the Korean’s own six-speed automatic (apparently the most compact six-speed automatic in the world) synched perfectly to the engine. If you’re really keen, you can make use of the steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters but unless you’re in a performance car I tend to find them more of a gimmick than anything else. The gearbox shifts smoothly up and down and when it comes to overtaking it will quickly respond to make the most of the 2.4-litre engine. Around Kinglake I found a 3 km section of back to back corners that became my test road for a good hour. When pushed to its limits, Optima’s handling can be a little fidgety and it can feel a tad unsure of itself but when driven normally (e.g. 99.99 perent of the time) it behaves a lot better than you’d think. It certainly out performs the original Hyundai i45 launched in Australia. Back to back with a Subaru Liberty or a Suzuki Kizashi, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference around town or even around a few bends. But if the world was to end in 2012 and the only way you could stay alive was to drive up a twisty mountain road at maximum speed, you’d still rather be in an all-wheel drive Liberty/Kizashi. For every other situation, the Optima is a standout performer. Ride and handling are taken care of by MacPherson strut suspension for the front and multi-link, independent suspension at the back. The car’s electronic stability (ESC) and traction control (TC) work together to make sure the Optima goes where the wheels are pointing. When things get a little rough it cuts power and gets you back in line. It can be a little over-enthusiastic with applying the brakes but it’s better to catch an under or oversteer a tad too early than a little too late. It will be interesting to see how the ride and handling of the updated model year 2011 Hyundai i45 will compare (check back in a few weeks as we bring you a review). Another new feature for the Kia Optima is the “ECO” mode, which works by adjusting the transmission gear changes and momentarily cutting the air-conditioning compressor (only when cabin temperature is already adequate) to help reduce fuel usage by about 7.5 percent. There was not enough time to test this out but i’d recommend owners to just leave it on as it may save you a few bucks each week and it’s not going to affect how your car behaves around town. Official fuel economy figures are 7.9 litres per 100km for a combined city and highway cycle. The Optima’s safety systems make it a very difficult car to crash. Thanks to ESC, TCS, BAS (Brake Assist System), HAC (Hillstart Assist Control), ABS (anti-lock system) and EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), you’re much more likely to avoid an accident in the Optima than in a car lacking these features. If you do happen to be involved in an accident, dual front airbags, dual front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags will be there to take care of you. There are also reverse parking sensors and a 130-degree wide-angle reversing camera built into the interior rear-view mirror which will allow you to see what’s behind you. Overall, the Kia Optima is hard car to criticise. It’s not perfect, nothing is. It lacks Sat-nav, the styling may not appease all and the interior can be a little too dark for some. But at just $36,990 you’ll find it impossible to find another model with equivalent features. The fact that it also happens to look so damn good only makes the proposition stronger. In addition, Kia offers a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty which is one of the best in business. If you’re looking at buying medium sized car you must give the Kia Optima a go. Go take it for a drive and compare value for money, if you can convince yourself the Kia badge is no lesser than the rest, you will find yourself a very happy owner of a very good car. Kia Optima Features: Safety (Active)

Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD & BA
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with TCS
  • HAC (Hill-start Assist Control)
  • Seatbelt warning chime & light on all positions
  • Reverse parking sensors
  • Rear view camera with mirror display & parking guidelines
  • Electrochromic rear view mirror (auto dimming)
  • High-mounted rear stop light
  • LED daytime running light (DRL)
  • Dusk-sensing automatic headlamps
  • Static cornering lamps
  • Front & rear fog lamps
  • Speed sensing auto door lock
  • Child restraint anchorage points (3)
  • 3-point ELR seatbelts on all positions

Passive Safety

  • Driver & front passenger SRS airbags
  • Front side SRS airbags (pelvis & thorax protection)
  • Curtain SRS airbags (head & upper torso protection)
  • Front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters
  • Active front headrests
  • Side door impact beams (front & rear)
  • Child-proof rear door locks
  • Impact sensing auto door unlocking


  • Battery saver
  • Anti-theft immobiliser
  • Remote central locking with keyless entry & trunk release
  • Smart key with push button start
  • Headlamp escort function
  • Remote fuel lid release


  • Seat capacity
  • Leather trim
  • Wood-look interior trim
  • Driver’s seat lumbar support (powered)
  • 8-way power driver’s seat
  • IMS driver’s seat with 2 seating position memory & easy access function
  • 4-way power front passenger’s seat
  • Split fold flat rear seats (60:40)
  • Rear centre armrest
  • Height adjustable headrests (all seats)
  • Height adjustable front seatbelts

Exterior Features

Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
  • Black chrome two-tone ‘Schreyer’ radiator grille
  • Body coloured sport bumpers
  • Body coloured door handles with chrome accents
  • Body coloured outside door mirrors
  • Electric folding outside door mirrors (heated)
  • Outside mirror-mounted side indicators
  • Rear spoiler
  • HID type front headlamps with washer
  • LED rear combination lamps
  • Dual chrome tip rear muffler
  • Panoramic sunroof (powered)
  • Tinted glass
  • Windscreen with sunband
  • Front intermittent wiper & washer (variable /2-speed)
  • Aero-blade type front wipers

Interior Features

  • Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel & shift knob
  • Colour TFT Supervision instrument cluster
  • Dual trip meter
  • 7 function trip computer
  • User selectable options (Auto door lock/unlock, headlamp escort, easy access)
  • Steering wheel position indicator
  • Digital clock
  • Ambient temperature display
  • Front power windows auto up & down with safety function
  • Alloy door scuff panels with illumination
  • Alloy sports pedals
  • Driver’s foot rest
  • Metal look interior door handles
  • Interior lights (front & rear)
  • Interior light delay out
  • Mood lamps (door/centre fascia trim)
  • Rear window defroster with timer
  • 2 x 12 volt power outlets
  • Cigarette lighter and ashtray
  • Driver & passenger sunvisors with vanity mirrors
  • Sunvisor illuminations & extensions


Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
  • 4 x cup holders (front & rear)
  • 4 x bottle holders (front & rear doors)
  • Map pockets in front & rear doors
  • Sunglass holder
  • Glovebox with lock & illumination
  • Cooling glovebox
  • Centre console storage
  • Front seat back pockets


  • MP3 compatible CD player with AM/FM tuner
  • 6 CD changer
  • Premium sound system (Infinity® brand)
  • 7 speakers (front door, rear door, front tweeters & centre speaker)
  • External amp & sub-woofer
  • AUX/USB input with iPod® compatibility
  • Bluetooth functionality (phone/media stream)
  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls
  • SDVC (Speed Dependent Volume Control)
  • Glass antenna


  • Dual-zone climate control air-conditioning
  • Rear air vent
  • Ventilated driver’s seat
  • Front seat warmers


  • Snow White Pearl (SWP) #
  • Bright Silver (3D) #
  • Ebony Black (EB)
  • Platinum Graphite (ABT) #
  • Satin Metal (STM) #
  • Santorini Blue (HO) #
  • Spicy Red (IY) #

# Premium paint at additional cost KIA OPTIMA TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONSBody & Chassis

  • Four-door, five-seater mid-sized sedan, with all-steel unitary construction bodyshell. Transversely-mounted gasoline engine driving the front wheels (2WD) via a six-speed automatic transmission.

Engine – 2.4-litre GDI / 148 kW Gasoline

  • Name ‘Theta II’
  • Type DOHC, four-cylinder in line, with GDI and dual CVVT
  • Capacity 2.4-litres, 2359 cc
  • Max power 148kW @ 6300rpm
  • Max torque 250Nm @ 4250rpm
  • Bore x Stroke 88 x 97 mm
  • Compression ratio 11.3:1
  • Fuel system GDI (gasoline direct injection)
  • Construction Aluminium cylinder block and head
  • Emissions class Euro4


Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
  • Automatic 6-sp
  • Gear Ratios (Automatic)
  • 2.4 GDI
  • 1st 4.212
  • 2nd 2.637
  • 3rd 1.800
  • 4th 1.386
  • 5th 1.000
  • 6th 0.772
  • Reverse 3.385
  • Final Drive 2.885


  • 2WD Delivers 100% of torque to the front wheels. Safety aided by electronic Traction Control, ABS anti-lock braking and ESC with Hill-start Assist Control.

Suspension & Damping

  • Front Fully independent by subframe-mounted MacPherson Struts, with coil springs and twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers. 24 mm diameter anti-roll stabiliser bar.
  • Rear Fully independent by subframe-mounted multi-links, coil springs and twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers with high performance dampers. 18 mm diameter anti-roll stabiliser bar


  • Type Hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion
  • Overall ratio 15.3:1
  • Gearing 2.94 turns lock-to-lock
  • Turning circle 10.9 metres


  • Power Single 10.5-inch booster
  • Front 320 x 28 mm ventilated discs
  • Rear 284 x 10 mm solid discs
  • Parking brake Foot operated pedal
  • ABS 4-channel anti-lock system with EBD
  • BAS Boosts braking power during emergency stops

Wheels & Tyres

  • Standard Alloy 18 in x 7.5J 225/45 R18 tyres
  • Spare (Standard) Full size alloy wheel and tyre


  • Fuel tank 70 litres
  • Luggage (VDA) 505 litres
  • Kerb weight (min.) 1473kg
  • Gross weight 2030kg


  • Top speed / kph 210
  • 0-to-100 kph / sec 9.0
  • 100-to-0 kph / m 44.7

Fuel Economy (litres/100 km)

Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
Kia Optima Review
  • Combined cycle 7.9
  • CO2 g/km 189 (Combined)


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Kia Optima Review
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  • RickyC

    Sorry but I like my i45 better. The Kia design is overly fussy, the wheels are ugly, and LED DRLs are tacky. The C-pillar design is too complicated, and I don’t like the curved rear glass or the lip spoiler. I’m not biased either because I saw photos of the Optima before I bought the i45.

    • Who Knew

      You own an i45 and yet you say the Optima has overly fussy styling? Now I’ve heard everything. Though I do agree about the wheels and I reckon the 45 series profile tyres won’t do anything for the ride.

      • RickyC

        Look at the C-pillar of the Optima – the rear door line is exposed on the pillar. This is terrible. On the i45, the door line is completely hidden by a ‘third window’ that extends beyond the door. This gives the car a much more elegant look. Not only that, but on the Optima there’s an odd strip of chrome going all along the roofline down to the boot! What the…? Makes no sense to me at all.

        • Who Knew

          I’m not saying the Kia is a beautiful car, but have a look at the front end of the i45, it’s hideous! A great mishmash of lines, curves, swoops and oversized lights.

        • bob

          You obviously haven’t had too good a look at your Hyundai and seen the useless piece of chrome that extends from the A Pillar all the way down to headlights then?

          Now that makes no sense!

        • http://baji192.wordpress.com Baji

          anti-spam word: KIA!

          Just pointing it out for you RickyC – the i45 has an odd chrome strip extending out from the front doors to the headlights!!

    • smokin’r32

      Sounds like sour grapes… The Kia looks fantastic, a real game changer for the brand

    • Damian

      Way too much praise for the exterior design caradvice! Yes it is unique and eye-catching, but the amount of praise you have heaped on it is OTT. Many people would agree the design is a bit fussy and awkward, especially around the rear, with lines and features added merely for the sake of adding an extra line and feature. The wheels are also a shocker – looking something like an oversized Hotwheels design.

      • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

        Damian, that’s fair enough. As I said in the review, looks are totally subjective. I personally think it’s the best looking mid-size car on the market today, of course I don’t expect everyone to feel the same.

        • RickyC

          The front is nothing special. Take away those gimmicky LEDs, and you’re basically looking at what could be a next generation Camry. Open a photo of a current model Camry Sportivo and you’ll see that the two look *extremely* similar from the front.

          • Michael

            Don’t worry – there are people that agree with you.

          • Nick01

            Umm…I’m a Camry driver and I don’t see any similarity.

          • c3vzn

            Yes there is a resemblance, but this just executed so much better. The LEDs should be integrated into the the headlights but apart from that its a damn good looking car.

          • devon

            hmmm, yeah Camry sportivo has 4 tyres, 4 doors, and 2 wipers. Optima also has same numbers of those. The two look *extremely* similar… :)

        • Sumpguard

          I have had the luxury of studying every detail of the exterior of this car over the past 3 nights and it is stunning to look at at. I agree there is a potential blind sopt in the C pillar but wow this is one well styled car. I tried to pick holes in it but what I found is trivial at best.

          I’m a fan of the i45 but this is another level up and the people at car advice know only too well I am a hyundai fan as I own one. The interior is very well done too and if you were blindfolded and none the wiser and sat down in this car you would immediately say “European”. It really is that good. The photos above simply don’t do it justice. If the Sportage had this style of interior I’d buy one.

          I imagine that with the high boot line that the rearward vision will be limited but I guess a test drive is needed to rule that in or out. I have stared at this car every time I have walked past it (12 times in the past 3 nights) and am still stunned that it’s on a KIA stand. OTT enough Damian? Too bad because it is a dead honest appraisal. This car is quite simply a head turner.

          • simarik

            A mate just bought one the other day, and I have to say it’s a very beautiful looking car. It’s incredible to have a car looking this good (I don’t know how it drives, but I guess it mustn’t be bad) for only that price. Now, if it came in a manual…

    • Justin

      I like the i45 better in terms of design. It’s more elegant, and timeless. I think the design of the Optima, while it looks great, are one of those designs that wear and get old quickly.

      • simarik

        Sorry, but the i45 is as elegant and timeless as a frog.

    • V8

      Holy crap! it looks awesome! Can’t believe Kia is turning out cars like this! The past Optimas were awful. No wonder they are popular in the US and Korea.

      My only question is: Does it come in milky white??

      • Sumpguard

        Yes it does. The one up here is white.

      • Rodders

        I agree, looks awesome, in Silver or White, Modern & clean, great features for the price, will scare the other mid-sizers for sure! :)

        • Rodders

          PS – Great Vid too, had to laugh at the End where the Mirrors fold away, like a little Good bye wave ! :)

    • Nick01

      wow…some people are strange

    • Nick01

      I guess everything in life has its haters.

    • Who Knew

      Congratulations Rick, I think you may have broken the record for the highest number of negative comments. Well done!

    • Andrew

      Sheesh, 124 negatives just because someone expressed their opinion that i45 looks better? Are we starting to see that old passionate Holden vs Ford debate now replayed between Hyundai and Kia? Well, all I can say is kudos to both brands because they apparently managed to do something we never expected a Korean car maker to do: stir passions and create loyalties!

      • Martin

        Uh, he didn’t just express that he think the i45 looks better, he openly attacked the design of the Optima. The negative votes are justified.

    • troufes

      I have test driven both cars and gave a good look at all the pros and cons that I can now say say ” The optima beat the  i45  by light years.”

    • Ned41

      Well Ricky C One who is not Biased can see so much from a Photo  which you seen before buying the i45 . Have you every been in the Optima or looked at it in the flesh or may I suggest even Read a comparison of the two vehicles if you had you would have found that the Optima has more to it than the i45 also the Optima has won more awards and to finish the Optima is Approx $2000.00 Cheaper. That is my thoughts and from a slightly biased Optima owner. As I have also said to people before just in case they are not aware these two cars come out of nearly the same mold and the same Head Company

  • Porsche

    It\’s becoming almost impossible buy a \’bad\’ new car these days. There is value everywhere

    • Andrew

      it’s still possible to buy an ugly car though :)

    • Daniel

      I can name you 20 brands you’ll regret buying, so yes, you can still buy terrible cars. Korea and Japan build the most reliable ones, so they are not in the list.

  • m2m

    Oh god i want that blue one! Absolutely stunning piece of machinery.

    • MattW

      Looks pretty damn good eh. But if the turbo version is coming to Australia (Alborz?), I’d wait for that – in blue :)

      • m2m

        Just had a look on the Kia website – seem’s Blue isn’t an option for here. Little bit disappointing but it still looks great in every other colour. Equipment list is also very impressive for $37,000. You’d have to be nuts not to consider this!

        • BlueBerry

          I actually looked at the brochure on the Kia website for the Optima and it appears that blue is available in Australia. The Kia website needs to be updated.

          An amazing looking car.

          I drive an Aurion Presara and have always been a fan of Toyota (not because they are fun to drive but because I knew when driving one I would get from A to B without any issues) but the Kia Optima really looks like a step up from my car. Quality has improved massively over the years. Little nervous about resale but with the car being this good demand should lift the resale over time anyhow.

          Seriously considering upgrading.

  • David

    Love it love it love it!!!! now where are they in stock in Brisbane!

  • Richo

    Looks great, terrific showroom appeal, but have they go the dynamics right? The i45 is equally impressive, but the dynamics are still not up to european standards, I just wonder if this car is the same.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      significant improvement over the MY10 i45.

  • Shaun

    This car is an amazing looking piece of work, especially for the price. I hope this car blows the Camry and other competitors out of the water with their bland looking cars, well done KIA :) I think this car is not only a threat to the mid-size car market, but also the large car market, watch out Ford and Holden!

    Will their be lesser spec Optimas in the future?

    • Martin

      If these ones sell well, most likely.

  • Pauly

    Well done Kia. Here is hoping that Toyota and Honda pull their finger out to compete!!!

    Personally I think the Honda Euro and Kia Optima are the best looking cars in this segment now. Kisashi is not far behind.

    • Topcat

      I’m looking at buying now & have to have an auto (wife). Looking at a Kizashi AWD, Accord Euro, I45 or Kia Optima. Current ride is a MY00 WRX. Appreciate any useful feedback

  • Crossy

    Well done Kia/Hyundai.
    The Optima/i45 are two very good vehicles that capture two very different tastes in design.
    I’m a fan of the Kia design and the only real problem I can see with the Optima is the fact that they only have 1000 to sell in one year!

  • Lynchy

    This is a good looking vehicle, hopefully once they get supply sorted Australia will be offered the Turbo version which is available in the US. 0 – 100 in 9 seconds is still a bit flat for this day and age, that said I don’t think their allocation of 1000 is going to last long though.

    • robbo

      if you want faster go get a bommadore or falcon…and ill have a Optima

  • deco

    If I had to buy a midsize car, I always thought I’d buy the AWD Kizashi. But even though this is FWD, I believe it may have just blown it out of the water.

    Kia’s best car ever, and 1000 definitely will not be enough for this year.

    Bravo Kia, Bravo.

  • nickdl

    Looks fantastic and great level of standard equipment. If it really is that good to drive it the Optima should be close to the class leader. It should really change what people think of Kia.

    However I can’t help thinking that there will be a lot of frustrated customers waiting 6 months for their car to be delivered. Hopefully they can revise that number of 1000 and fit standard sat-nav by the end of the year. That and maybe a base model would add a lot of sales if they could price it around $30k.

  • PaulS

    Love the design to bits…. but when I watched the driving footage, i realised that the indicator lights are on the inside (close to the grilles) of the headlights as opposed on the outside (close to the wheels)

    that was instantly very disorienting…. but i guess it isnt the driver’s problem 😀

  • Alexander

    This car is honestly ridiculously good looking! although a single model range is odd, maybe Kia’s waiting for the Hybrid & Turbo variants?

  • Al Juraj

    Get the Turbo version here and fast!

  • huh

    Never a fan of Kia but I must say i can’t fault this car for the price, except for the Kia logo which I think needs to be redesigned.

    Extremely well executed. Well done Kia.

    • stifler

      i agree with you huh.
      kia’s design has improved alot and even looks better than some new elite brand cars…(su-cough-ba-cough-ru)
      its just the logo that needs a new look…i hope Kia and Hyundai are reading this.
      if they changed it into a new radical designed logo…i might consider getting one then.

    • simarik

      Yeah, this could possibly be Kia’s breakthrough. I agree though, it would help if they had a better logo.

  • Sam 300TD

    There is something about the front end styling of that car that oozes sophistication, confidence without being showy or bling. It gives the car a sort of sublime and ominous presence ; Like something awesome is about to happen as if it were a Transformer.

    Gees who would have thought, even three years ago, you could call a Kia “Sublime”.

    Job well done Kia…really…Bravo.

  • darkone

    Kia have the right styling,looks like a huge blindspot on the rear with thise thick pillars,price is good compared to quality products like honda,but 36k for what is still a korean car is a big ask.I think the i45 is a hideous car ,but this looks heaps nicer

  • filippo

    While I find this to be a very attractive car, I have a slight problem with Asian cars trying to look European. Driving through Tokyo or Seoul it becomes obvious that tastes there are very different from ours – some of the freak-show cars I’ve seen would make your eyes bleed. So while I applaud Kia for leap-frogging the other Korean brands, I wonder whether they will actually sell well in Asia.

    • MattW

      I think the fact that Australia is limited to 1000 Optimas this year due to supply constraints speaks for how well they are selling… I think headquarters will be happy with killing it in the rest of the world and doing OK in their home markets

  • Old Dog

    I sat in one of these today, and the only real complaint for me was the size of the seat squab. If youre larger than medium, forget it. Fit sat nav, and get rid off the foot brake and I’ll buy one. Turbo in red please :)

    • darkone

      its got a foot park brake you mean? I hate those things,the inlaws outlander has one and its just annoying to use.

  • BarryHamburger

    This is a great looking car and from most angles, the best looking in it’s segment and in any segement, IMO.

    However, these wheel are amongst the worst i’ve ever seen. They look like something from Bob Jane. Actually I havn’t seen anything that ugly at BJ.

    But its something that can easily be fixed.

  • Old Dog

    It would appear that I’m in the minority who actually like the wheels o.O

  • mvyrmnd

    Nice looking car, but for me it had the same problem as the i45. Saddling it with a tiny motor. When they put a V6 in it, I’ll buy one.

    • Hansome_AL

      Bogan Alert… Bogan Alert…

  • Jimmy James

    A question for car advice – which mid size car has the best steering feedback and handling?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      Kizashi AWD

      • Jimmy James

        Better than Mazda 6?

        • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

          Handling wise? Definitely.

          • Reality

            Where would the Optima sit, handling wise, when compared to the top spec 6, Accord Euro and (for the heck of it) Camry? (all front wheel drive to be fair)

          • http://Audi Robj

            Gen 4 Liberty

    • Robin

      The Mazda 6 by a long shot – having driven one now for 1 1/2 years and testing various other cars inc. Mazda and Subaru, I would not consider changing even now if I was buying a new car now.

      • MazMagic

        I agree with you Robin. However, it would be nice to see the next generation Mazda6 come out soon. If they use the new styling language, the 6 could take the fight right up to KIA . They just need to hurry up….

        However, what would be really nice would be to see Japanese/Korean car become the benchmark in medium cars in order to keep VW fans quiet for a change!

  • Goodfa

    If there was an award for most improved,Kia would win by a country mile.The improvements they have made in the last few years are amazing.
    If you look at this car to the 2006 Magentis which it replaces it is like night and day.In comparison if you look at a 2006 Commodore to a 2011 model they are almost identical with the 2011 model having minor engine upgrades and a touchscreen.
    I agree about those wheels on the Kia.(They have to go or offer some options)

  • RdS

    The blue one (BTU-49R) really looks fantastic.
    very nicely styled.. almost seems a cross between a new jag (XJ/XF) and a lexus (GS). nice.

  • Ben

    when you state the “official” fuel consumption, is that with air-con running?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      It’s the ADR (Aus Design Rules) test, so it’s done on the same cycle for each and every car in the same way. Air con not running AFAIK

  • Hiram

    I have to say this forum is very bigoted, everyone that doesn’t gush is given a negative rating and then their comment gets hidden (much like mine will).I opened the hidden comments and though some were strong in their comment didn’t really deserve to be censured. Eg. Barry Hamburger only said the whells were ugly after praising the rest of the car and he gets 4 negatives?

    I’m looking for a new car and was underwelmed by the i45 so was waiting for the Optima certainly looks interesting (despite the wheels) and I’ll repeat the question anyone know when one is likely to hit the floor in Brisbane?

    • Martin

      The same thing happens on Ford articles… Anyone says anything even remotely negative and they get a barrage of negative votes.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      Hiram, Motorama KIA on Ipswich road would have some. Talk to Tom.

    • Robin Graves

      Everyone is free to vote how they wish. I’m no stranger to getting negative votes myself on my Holden comments, I suspect I’d get a lot more negative votes if the majority of Holden (and Daewoo) drivers had a high enough IQ to read and operate a computer.

    • peter

      yep…and it gets real annoying having to click show comment because someones comment got ONLY FIVE negative votes. caradvice maybe you could increase the amount of negative votes it takes before a comment gets hidden.

    • Robin

      Hi Hiram

      I’ll give you a positive comment as I think the wheels are ugly too. The rest of the Kia looks alright.

      I would recommend you test drive a Mazda 6 as the overall package of the car is really good. The Honda Accord Euro handles well (at least in my short test drive).
      You could also consider a Skoda or VW?

      The good thing with this Kia release is that the “medium
      car” market is becoming better quality and more competitive. Hopefully Honda, Toyota and maybe even Mitsubishi come up with some good rivals.

  • PTP

    Not sure why exactly, but there seems to be a little of Saab in that styling, both inside and out.

    Saw it at the Sydney motor show and thought it looked good. I’m with you Old Dog – I like the wheels too :-)

    Here’s hoping a lower spec version with a six-speed manual is released some time …

  • Ima Hogg

    Awesome car. I would have it in blue. This car is way better looking than the 145 and kia are slowly loosing their old image in my mind.

    Great Job Kia

  • PROJET – L

    What’s with the image 5 down 3 across of the MFD saying Align steering????????????

  • Alexander

    Is there any word from KIA on if and when the Hybrid will be released in Australia? (and same with the i45, will it be released?)

  • Vins

    If this is some Euro brand, I guess there’ll be more praise than nay. Saw the real one in AIMS, one heck of a good looking car. The wheels don’t look too bad in real metal. I hope this car will be successful and serve a good lesson to the boring Japs (except Mazda).

  • ohyes

    love it in blue

    Better value than the nissan maxima or the camry

    • http://Audi Robj

      Really, Nissan V6 is way better and BOSE sound system is better. Nissan interior is pretty good also. No arguments against Toyota. Who still buys Camrys?

      • nickdl

        Nissan is very bland to look at and drive. Yes it is brilliant value but this is better. As for BOSE, it’s nothing special when it comes to sound. Sort of like VW for sound where people pay a premium for something not much more than ordinary.

        Since you haven’t heard the sound system in the Kia I find it hard to see how you can make a judgement. Infinity is a sub-brand of Harman Kardon (found in premium German cars) so I have little doubt that it will be as good, if not better than the BOSE systems you find in Nissans, Mazdas and Holdens.

        • Anthony

          nickdl you write like you’ve never driven or owned a VW.
          Its not hard to bash a manufacturer tho is it?

          • nickdl

            I’ve been a passenger in plenty and driven a few and I stand by my statement. I haven’t yet taken the risk of owning one. Australia is one of very few countries in the world where VW is considered premium. In the UK it is little more than Ford, Vauxhall or the Japanese brands.

            I’ll go out with this. Ford and the Japanese are like Sony when it comes to sound, good value for good quality. VW or BOSE costs slightly more and has a much better brand perception than Sony, despite the fact the sound it produces is slightly better. Then you have BMW, Merc and co. They’re more like Bang & Olufsen or Harmon Kardon in that they are expensive and much higher quality.

  • Christopher H

    I’m curious to find out what the “easy access function” for the drivers seat is all about?

    • HM

      As far as I know, the option allows you to get in the car with ease by pushing driver’s seat backward and the steering column forward.
      Once you sit in and push the start button on dash board (because you already have your smart key in your pocket), then the steering column and driver’s seat move back to the memorised position.

      • MattW

        Sounds like the “fat fella option” lol

  • delux

    Gorgeous car. It remonds me alot of the Datsun 180B

  • Martin

    Why, because it’s a Kia, and no matter how good the car may be, you still won’t accept it. No one says this sort of crap on a glowing Ford article.

    • Martin

      It would seem the comment I replied to was deleted as I posted that…

  • subeylover

    Here’s some praise I never though I would heap on a Kia – its IS250 all the way from the front to the rear doors with Jag XF tailights bolted on the back. Not bad indeed for a third of the money of either. But sheesh, THAT DASH???? What were they thinking? Too many curves and apparently lifted straight out of a 90s SAAB. Maybe there were a few thousand lying around after the company dissolved.

  • Robin Graves

    Looks great, interior looks a little weird in the pictures but may look OK in the flesh. I’m not a fan of the Kia red lighting on the LCDs. 1000 is not going to be enough by a long shot.

    • MattW

      Yeh thats my only gripe (and a minor one) – a bit too much red, like my brother’s Golf… but then, I can’t say I spend that much time watching the stereo, and the dash display looks fine.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au/83903/video-ariel-atom-500-v8-review/ Shane

    Just thought I’d say that the video you did on it driving around was really good! Well done to KIA too as it looks like a great car. Do you guys know whether they’ll bring a wagon out? Children take up sooooo much room. Well done on the test Car Advise.

  • Yonny

    Damn, that looks good!

  • okies

    Baby just give me one reason..give me one reason to buy lexus…

    • Bob


      • okies

        Come on Hyundai bring Genesis to Australia!

        • Joe

          Yeh.. I so agree to this..
          We need Genesis in Australia. The best ever Hyundai creation. So well received in USA and Korea.. One will only wonder why its not featuring in Australia.

  • Toyota Guru

    I can’t help but think BMW with the angled console and A/C controls. Oh and the instruments a little bit too.

    Still a Kia in my books. Bogans will love this car.


    personally i like the car,but with a few reservations.the dash could be better,the wheels are challenging(i’m sure i’ve seen much nicer rims on some overseas models),and the first bloke who mistakes his 38k spend as a sports car is still likely to be disappointed(both on the gas,and around the courners),its more a tourer…

  • http://Audi Robj

    ok, I am in the market for a new car so I’ll take this for a test drive. It needs to be good as I have a Gen 4 Liberty now. First thing besides no AWD is low engine spec. This needs a V6.

    • Phil

      Nah, it needs a turbo.. which is apparently coming soon.

  • Robin Graves

    Surely Hyundai are feeling a little ‘styling jealousy’ now? Why dont they employ Schreyer to pen some designs for them as well?

  • K20A

    Another great product from the Koreans.

    I’m not sure if Schreyer is involved in Interior design, but the HVAC controls and centre console is a nod to the recent Audi (A4/A5). I also like the way the dash curves into the driver a la BMW of the 90s.

    Anyone else noticed that

  • K20A

    … the instrument cluster fonts are exactly the same as in VWs? Maybe it\’s the same supplier (e.g. VDO / Bosch?).

    All in all, good car. Now bring on the Diesels!

    PS. Accord Euro, your venerable 2.4l has now been rivalled (read: matched in power and out-torqued) by a Korean engine. A GDI unit too!

    • JooberFPVGT

      Well how long has the 2.4 from accord been around compared to this GDI, im sure Honda will having something in response.

      But in the meantime, we’ll enjoy the GDI.

      And definately a diesel…

    • James Cortez

      Agree. In the past Honda lead the specific power output (look at the S2000 which even today still competes with the likes of Ferrari and Porsche)but now their mass volume models (Civic, Accord) have been rivalled and even eclipsed by the Koreans. Honda priced their cars above the rest of Japs but now they have real competitors and unless they adjust (lower)thier prices, their Aussie sale is bound to drop. Shame on you Honda

  • Daniel D

    I never thought I would say this about a Kia, but wow. Bring this in a wagon and I think I have just seen my next family car.

    Well done Kia.


  • Jacob Martyn

    Mahindra-Ssangyong should poach this designer.

    • http://camira Ryo

      Hahahahahaha couldnt agree more Jacob!!! Its amazing what a good designer can do to a car, 5 years ago there is no way Im going to drive a car called “KIA” but now Im seriously considering upgrading my VZ SV6 Commodore to this fine piece of machinery!!!! You get a lot for $37000!!! Hope this car sells, and wake up people, stop buying Camrys, Aurions, Accords and Subarus!!!!! They’re all boring and bland!!!

  • Russell

    I think Holden and Ford can count themselves lucky yhere is only 1000 of these cars available in 2011. This makes the interior of a Commodore of the same value pale in comparison.

  • Anthony

    Car Advice – where is the objectivity? I don’t trust a perfect assessment on any car!

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      It’s not perfect. Nothing is.
      It still doesn’t handle as well as it could, it has no sat nav and the brand prejudice is still an uphill battle for the brand. All of which is mentioned in the review.

      On the face of it, it’s the best value for money medium sized car on the market and it happens to look pretty damn good.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

    If you’re going to write a negative comment about this review, please use your real email so that any doubts about its validity can be answered outside of these comments. No written reviews on CarAdvice are paid for, never have, never will. In fact that would be illegal.

    The fact is, the Optima is a great package. It may be hard to believe because of certain people’s brand prejudice. Best to go and take it for a drive and see for yourself.

    • Sumpguard

      A rival Australian website gave this car 4.5 out of 5 and was less than impressed with the i45. So it appears other sites agree with you Alborz.

    • Baddass

      Alborz your comment got me thinking. You guys do a great job doing your reviews and news articles on CarAdvice, especially since there isn’t money in it.
      All the bloggers who disagree with the reviewer’s opinion without driving the car (myself included) seem like they have a lot to say.

      Would it be possible to have some sort of blogger review competition, where CA provides the pics and specs of a new car, and we write a short review of how the car looks, the model and brand history, how it goes up against its competitors etc. Because let’s face it, these sort of columns are pretty commonplace when a new car is revealed. The winner would be judged by you and maybe have their article put on the site? Just a thought, but it would be interesting to find out who really knows what they’re talking about.

  • anthony

    It might be good looking,with lots of equipment,but I would never buy one.
    In 2001,I bought a brand new Carnival,which was a lemon,and the worst car we have ever owned in the family.

    Medium sedan buyers,look at the SEGMENT leading Honda Accord Euro,or even wait for the all new Volkswagen Jetta.

    • http://Audi Robj

      Ha, you bought a Carnival and your trying to give advice. Nuff said..

    • Jake02

      New Jetta? Noooooooooo…. The Koreans comprehensively out-style VW in every segment now-a-days. But the interior fit-and-finish and drive/dynamics are a very different story there however.

      • bangel

        better looking than a skoda

    • Datsun P510

      A 2001 Carnival wasn’t great I agree but it did put the wind up Toyota to make the Tarago better. The LEMON part of the Carnival was the engine and did you know that it was sourced from Rover the same engine that was in the “freelander”. They blew a lot of head gaskets Toooo.

  • Jonno Smith

    Both the Hyundai i45 and KIA Optima are modeled after certain prestigious luxury cars – i45 (previous model Mercedes Benz CLS) and Optima (Lexus IS). The styling nuances cannot be mistaken. The C-pillar of the i45 is unmistakenly similar to the Mercedes CLS coupe-like silhouette. On the other hand, the Optima looks remarkably similar to the Lexus IS. The C-pillar look remarkably similar. The Optima with the Metallic Blue paintwork featured above looks similar to a Lexus IS-F.

  • Hu Fuk Lee

    remember the 90s where we would all flock to the sony’s and panasonic tv’s like blind sheep? we would even hesitate to consider an LG(goldstar?) or Samsung. Look at those brands now, Samsung have plasmas that are just as good if not better than Sony. Have you noticed that the price differential between a sony and a Samsung have fallen over the years?

    This is one heck of a car, and Kia and Hyundai have in my opinion caught up with the japanese brands, and are ahead of Toyota.

    Please please, we must as consumers boycott toyota and purchase more Kia’s and Hyundais. It is the only way that the bigT will learn that we are no longer blind sheep, they can not merely sell us whitegoods on wheels. We want passion and engagement Toyota! If Kia can produce this why cant you make the camry more inspiring?

    I will pay a premium for a camry if it is as inspiring as this kia.

    • JooberFPVGT

      Agree, but 90% of car buyers like to be uninspired, and just buy a car that comes into mind or reliable… Toyota somehow is losing on the second point. It’s a matter of time they’ll have to pick up their game.

    • RickyC

      That’s because in the 90s Sony made the best televisions (Trinitron) in the world. The technology was patented so no other company could make anything that even came close to rivalling it, and even today flat panel displays can’t match it’s image quality. Sony were justified in charging the premium price. These days, it’s a totally different story. Flat panels are made by a few companies only and they’re basically all much and the same.

  • Christopher H

    Despite it’s huge assortment of standard features, it appears to have overlooked auto rain sensing wipers. A bit odd.

    • BlueBerry

      Thats what I thought too… Can anyone confirm whether the Optima has auto wipers or not

    • Ken

      Why does everything have to be auto sensing these days? Use your hand and flick the stalk when it rains nd leave it alone when it doesn’t. Pretty simple I think. Don’t forget the car is only $37,000 with everything else besides Sat Nav.

      • Todd

        Ken, I think it’s a fair question to ask. Technology makes it way down to the ‘cheaper’ cars over time. Your response shows ignorance otherwise most of the tech in this car should not be there because it was standard in more expensive cars years back!

  • http://caradvice maersk

    Oh my,just so damn sweet to oogle….make mine a diesel and KEEP em comming KIA!!!!!!!

  • Kerv

    Design of this car is really punchy… shame on some of the more established Japanese car manufacturers who should take a lesson or two from Kia (or maybe hire a better Head of Design…)

  • Justin Scott

    OK so let me get this straight…

    Alborz, in your Kia Cerato Hatch review, you wrote

    “The Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza hatch both provide good competition even if the Cerato is cheaper (and arguably the better looker).”

    Now re the Optima you write

    “…I personally think it’s the best looking mid-size car on the market today…”

    Is there a bit of Kia-love happening here?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      Yep. I won’t deny that I like the new Kia design philosophy, it’s about time a manufacturer designed some genuinely good looking cars.

  • http://Audi Robj

    Kia (& Hyundai) lack any motorsport heritage. Until they build that they will lack cred with serious prestige makes. Anyone can build a better Camry (yawn) but without brand cred your just another boring Toyota making A to B cars..

    • Bob

      Sorry, but this philosophy is d-e-a-d. Most people (even my mother) know that the handmade motorsport machinery these days has absolutely NO relationship to road cars.

      Fewer and fewer manufacturers even seem to provide support to motorsport teams anymore. Even Subaru has stopped.

    • MattW

      And you probably think that links between V8 Supercars and road going Commodores and Falcons are more than just badges and “similar” body panels.

      For what its worth: http://www.caradvice.com.au/100630/kia-cerarto-aka-forte-on-the-track/

  • Young

    My brother already bought this car in Korea (it’s called K5 in Korea)last year, it is extremely popular in the domestic market as well. my brother had to wait 2 month to get his car. so I guess that introducing only one model is due to insufficient supply and kia Australia may want to see how the market respond with the new optima.

  • James Cortez

    I, personally, think it looks ugly especially the rear side / small window. They could have enlarge the window and this gives a better visibility and a more proportional glass to metal mix.

  • Golfschwein

    It’s a great looking car with original styling flourishes. I love the chrome strip, the Hot Wheels alloys and the C-pillar treatment that shows Lexus how it should be done.

    In fact, I’d have one before a Lexus, because if I got a Lexus, it’d be because I wanted a BMW or a Mercedes.

  • maximark

    While the car is a nice looking car with lot of cool tech stuffs and safety features but its weight is just too much for the 2.4l engine, even though the 6 speeds gear box may help little bit.
    Hopefully they will use the 2.0R diesel engine later on.

    • Bill Court

      What are you basing your statement on? Have you driven one? How fast do you want to go? Maybe you should go look up the “boy racer” forum if this is too slow for you.

    • idlebrain

      hmmm, after I saw your comment, I compared with other competitors.

      On the article, it said Optima’s Kerb weight is 1473kg and you have to understand this is fully loaded one.


      Camry Grande: 1530 kg (Kerb weight)
      Honda Accord VTi Luxury : 1565 kg
      Honda Accord Euro Luxury(auto): 1605 kg
      Nissan Maxia 250 ST-L : 1522 Kg
      Mazda6 Luxury auto : 1474 kg

      So what car did have in mind when you said it’s too heavy for 2.4ltr?

      • RickyC

        It’s not 1473kg. The i45 is 1528kg, and there’s no way a near identical twin is going to be 55kg lighter. The reported kerb weight on the Kia website is 1551, which includes a 75kg driver.

    • Eric Giddio

      Let me assure you that there is ample power to move the Optima along. Infact, the car would be dangerous if it were joined with a motor any larger!!

  • Nowhere

    I think I got converted…

  • rentakeyboard

    To mu eyes,Hyundais get uglier with each generation and kias get better with each generation. This looks sweet.
    Having said that the shape to the dash around the console
    says Vr Cdore to me

  • Wazza

    Wow, I’m simply blown away with these new Kias. Sportage is nice too. Me wants…..

  • mark

    This explains why there where 40 nsw plated KIA’s in the car park last week.(kia had booked out the car wash as well!)

    Have to say they looked awesome. One massive improvement that i have noticed from the cheaper brands is the quality of the paint finish. Not so long ago there was a massive difference between the germans and everyone else. Thats no longer true

  • Ray

    I am Merc driver and loved the look and the features in this car.

    Looks like the wife is getting this one in silver! Well Done Kia!

    • filippo

      You drive a Merc and you’re about to buy your wife a Kia?

      Looks like Ray is getting divorced this year!

  • Will

    A medium size machine with not diesel option. I have also noted the press up-selling these second class citizens to the automotive world other than a radically rationalised General Motors re-badge them as either a, ‘Holden’, or ‘Chevrolet’. Sad.

  • Sumodog

    It is Camry competitor . It looks good. It is a Kia. It only comes with auto . What is a big deal , this car is not better then Accord euro or Mazda 6 let alone Maxima.
    Ultimately it will sell because people are obsessed with looks but lack of brand image will limit sales significantly.

  • John West

    Nice, but I’d still prefer a Maxima

  • Peter

    For a KIA they have come a long way! This car looks nice, and quality has really improved. Hopefully I will see one on the road soon to see up close. It does look better than the i45 I think.

  • David

    Still none at 3 KIA dealers in Brisbane!!!

  • Dave

    Looks like Kia pulled another win over Hyundai. Just like the sportage going better than ix35, this will do better than the i45

  • Kerv

    Looks good on paper.. but “KIA”? if only they changed that name…

    • Datsun P510

      grow a brain “kerv” R U related to “Cath and Kim”…. look at me, look at me. What about Lexus…: “Pls explain???”

  • Doctor

    Looks good (I think) and well worth considering I suspect.
    Hyundai & Kia have come a long way in the last few years.
    Regarding comments being hidden after 5 negatives, John West got -3 for stating merely a preference for a Maxima… I think all comments should remain visible unless offensive.

  • carl

    This car should be priced against Camry, around $32k driveaway, not Honda or Mazda. This car with turbo and leather is sold at around $25k. With $AUD as high as $USD, 36k is overpriced.

    • Martin

      $36k is for the top of the range model. Hardly overpriced.

      • Christopher H

        Compare it to the Camry by all means. Only compare to the Grande, which is the highest spec Camry. You’ll find the Optima is better equipped, bigger, more powerful and more economical. For all that, you pay $3,000 less. It would actually be more than $3,000 by the time you factor in onroad costs.

    • Datsun P510

      OMG carl… check ya facts honey

  • Rocketship

    Ride quality was not covered in the review – suspicious of those huge 18 inch wheels with liquorice strip tyres over bumps – also bursting tyres too easily! Also front wheel drive is never as nice/accurate/turn-in as rwd. Pleased to see a full size aloy spare is provided. I went from a lovely Honda Accord to a Bimmer 123D – very happy with that for sure. The Optima looks great, specs excellent too, well done KIA.

    • greenmatt

      You have a 1 series and you are concerned about ride quality? While they are very well damped, they have very little travel on our poor roads, the back seats are even more punishing.

  • http://www.youngkia.com/ Mark David

    This Kia styling is looking excellent. Not fussy and this all makes someone like me, driving a european car, actually rate them.

  • shibu jacob

    Is this a sedan or a liftback like the skoda octavia?Cant make out from the pics or videos! Ta

    • Andrew

      Must be sedan~

  • http://CarAdvice The Salesman

    Just got my first one for stock. I haven’t been this excited about driving a Kia before. As i sat in the drivers seat it sang me a little tune (like when you turn a mobile on) on the way to the servo (they don’t turn up with fuel in them) i have to circle a round about. Traffic nearly stopped as passing motorists stretched their necks to see what it is. Putting in the fuel i was startled by the servo attendant, the man we call iron side (because he never seems to move) felt compelled to lift his heavy frame and waddle out to inspect the Optima for himself.

    • Cranky Franky

      You dont get out much, its only a KIA. Last week it was recycled can of baked beans.

    • bananabender

      Sorry I clicked the wrong button. I meant to give a +ve.

      You should sell a squillion. I’ve had a look at one at my local dealer. Very nice.

  • Dean

    Gimme a break. Awesome?? This is a 4 cyl limp wristed soft suspensioned piece of mundane and forgettable machinery that will depreciate quicker than an overripe watermellon. Still they will appeal to a section of society I guess.

  • Jae Kook

    The fact is… Kia Optima is the best sedan cars made by Korean car companies. More importantly the price for the standard equipments is far better than any other rivals. Not sure about driving ability but it sounds like it is way better than Camry at least. Well, Camry is a well built car.

    So I am seriously considering buying one.

  • http://KIA collin giddings

    Does anyone have a bad experience with kia? After 6 years of kia ownership beginning with previous optima and magentis (do not mention carnival), the 5 year warranty was definitly required. Despite protests from the manafacturer and the dealership, the inconvienience of no transport, operating with malfunctions due to no parts or backup, there is room for improvement! Cosmetics aside we crave reliability and less downtime! They began with a reduced price, but have missed it now! too many other reliable options out there!

    • http://CarAdvice The Salesman

      Talk to enough people and you would never buy anything. Everyone has had a bad experiance at some point.

  • bananabender

    This is an extremely good looking car in the flesh – except for the hideous wheels. The first priority of any buyer should be a trip to Bob Jane’s for some new alloys.

  • James

    It quite a nice family car, but the cheapest cars brands in Austrailia are Kia,Nissan and Ford and Kia is 1st. There not that good.

  • Sumpguard

    Your video review is excellent and shows the interior much better than photos. I thought the white one looked good until I saw the one red/burgandy one in the video. Also I agree with banana bender (post above). The wheels are the one thing that let the car down.

    Nice work.

  • Datsun P510

    Hey car advice you’ve done it again… I thought the FVP GTp video rocked but you have managed to take in comparison a fairly average car and make a very cool video. Well done!!!

  • Todd

    Not sure about the interior. Look’s like an 80’s Saab. And what’s with those buttons on the radio? They look like something from when my parents had a 70’s corona.
    The exterior is amazing but if I have to look at the interior then I’ll pass thanks…

  • Octavian

    This car is unusual for a KIA – it’s got some style. I saw one in Brisbane City last week and I was wow, that’s a KIA?

  • XR

    Im suprised Holden didnt get their hands on this car and rebadge it as a Holden. They have a habit for doing that to Korean cars these days – Spark, Captiva and Cruze.

    • Cavin

      You didn’t understand the relation of Holden with GM and Daewoo.. Daewoo is belong to GM, and Holden and GM is incorporation, so Holden bring Daewoo car and re-badged to Holden car. Likewise, Holden statesman is selling in Korea under Daewoo too.. There’s nothing Holden gonna do with Kia.

  • Jackaroo3.1D

    The newspaper scene was too much for me. I wonder if the driver was actually able to breath ?.

  • atk82

    once had kia mentor ..it was a pain in d ass.. got so sick of it that i took a swear of not buying a kia ever in my life again even if all the other car companies get wiped off the world. though this car looks promising but im sticking to my swear n i dint find its looks good either, d front grill looks like a grin on old woman’s face

  • Daniel

    Took one for a drive today and I was quite impressed with the apppointment and ride etc. I was under the impression that all KIAs were like the old Rio, which my cousin owned, faal appart as soon as you left the yard. Like they state it is not a sports car, could do with a turbo to give it the go to match the look. All in all I would buy one.

  • Kingordon

    Have not seen a new car that I would seriously consider buying for the past 16 years. Saw it first time yesterday, WOW, thought it may be European at first and wondered what brand.
    Then my shock, its a Kia …WELL HELLO KIA =))
    The closer I looked the more pleasantly surprised I was with the offerings. Superbly Balanced Blend, in Black.

  • David

    Have noticed some optimas have the front heating/cooling seats, and some do not! whats the go? also any news on sat-nav?

    • Tutsmahbarreh

      Due to the shortage of supply, Kia Australia was dumped with a quantity of `D Spec’ Optima’s that lacked the heated & ventilated seats. These apparently were originally destined for the Asian market. Be careful because when I ordered an Optima I only found out by quizzing the dealer that mine was the Platinum spec which has the h & v seats. Some would say big deal but if youre paying the same coin you may as well get the full spec vehicle!! I changed my order and am now currently a month away from taking delivery of my Optima. Can’t wait…

  • David

    what a car!!! gr8 presence on the road

  • Davo

    So sick of salesmen fudging the truth. Several different salesmen, several differnet answers.

    Can anyone tell me if Kia Australia are still releasing the Optima with Sat Nav and electric hand brake in October.

    • nickdl

      It’s unlikely IMO. Apparently Australia has only been given an allocation of 1000 vehicles for all of 2011 because Kia can’t build enough of them. Sat-Nav was supposed to be in the MY12 model but then Hyundai said the same about the MY11 i45 and it never happened.

  • http://www.americade.com Exwracer

    After 6 months ownership of a black turbo Optima (“SX” model in USA) I still love its combo of fuel efficiency and turbo power, tons of features for the price, not to mention style which grabs my heart.

    To confound my brand-snob friends, I’ve joined the list of owners who have re-badged the Kia logo with a non-denominational K logo. (looks a little Lexus-ish) Then they are really confused..

    Negatives? Well, the suspension of the SX in the USA is fairly stiff and I’m seeking rear shocks which have less compression damping or maybe a less severe sway bar in the rear. Clever dual sunroof lets in too much sun, so I added a dark tint to all windows.

    Sound system is great, as are the air-cooled seats. The car just makes me smile. Japan, be scared, be very scared….

    • Tuts Mah Barreh

      Nice one. I too am enjoying my Santorini Blue Optima. Unfortunately were not getting the Turbo here in Australia which is a bit of a pity given the unbelieveable looks of the car. If we had performance to match what a car you would have. Anyway despite this, I’m loving the heated & cooled leather seats, pumping sound system & sunroof. When looking at cars here around the same price point, Camry’s & Mazda’s look cheap & nastdy by comparison imho.

  • JHP

    is it just me?
    i think the rear bits looks a lot like its from ford mondeo
    but better

  • Marc

    I love the looks of this car and the options available (to a point) I recently sent off an email to Kia HQ Sydney regarding the availability or not of the KIA Optima EX model which is the 2.0Litre Turbocharged model in the hope of putting down a deposit for one of the first off eht boat. I only received a thunderous clap of indifferance in reply – email ignored.

    Also, if we already have the top of the line model where did the Sat/Nav go since release in OZ. OK, now for the biggie, jump on to the US KIA website and build your own Optima with all the bells and whistles, you guessed it OVER $8,000 cheaper in the land of the free. In reply to this the CEO of KIA Australia allegedly replied, “It is a complex thing to explain” OK, I have the time and I hope the intelligence, “Explain”!!!

    • Tuts Mah Barreh

      You’d have better luck chatting with your local dealer. They’ll tell you that a turbo is definitely a no go for the Oz market. As for the price differential. Yea, look I hear you. I guess the only civil explanation would be simply to do with volume. Apparently the Optimas due for delivery towards the later half of this year will come equipped with Sat Nav. I got mine in August but I was warned off the factory fitted satnav due to issues with equivalent units fitted in i45’s (sister car). A top of the line Navman fixed this issue anyway. Other than that, absolutely tickle pink with my Optima. Shes a great car.

  • http://smallbusinessmarketingtv.com Eran

    I just took an Optima for a test drive (thinking of buying one) and think its a fabulous car. Looks sexy as, and has a fabulous interior. If I had to make 1 complaint about it though, it is that the motor aint no sports performer.

    Yes, I KNOW it’s not meant to be, but dang, when a car looks that sporty, it SHOULD have a better motor. :-)

    It can break speed limits, no doubt about it, & the brakes are mighty fine, but it will never excite you like a hot-to-trot racer will… :-(

    Now, if Kia just put a better engine in it (turbo? 3L?) and tuned it up a little, this car would be an absolute KILLER piece of machinery.

    C’mon Kia, give us a hotted up Optima and it will be a joy to own & drive.

    Am I going to buy on? Maybe… 50:50 at the moment, mostly dependent on price.

    • Eric Giddio

      There is a turbo but Australia aint seeing it. Shame really. I agree that a bigger donk would make the car perfect. Having said that, I’m more than satisfied with my Optima. Seriously, if youre not hung up on the fact that its a Kia, you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle like the Optima anywhere.

  • http://Caradvice Jordan

    Any word on the sat nav?

    • http://CarAdvice The Salesman

      Why. Dont you know were you are going? 99% of the time you drive to destinations known. Sat Nav is a gimmic and a was of time. Unless you are a delivery driver.

      • http://Caradvice Jordan

        No, it’s for work.

        • http://Caradvice Jason

          For work!! why can’t you use the portable sat navs?

          • http://www.tuning-links.com Tuning Directory

            Because that one time when you need it you’ll forget it. And it is handy for more than address looking.

  • http://Caradvice Kelly

    sat nav is handy in cars.

  • cruzin

    I went to a dealer recently to take this car for a spin. Turns out that the car I was driving didn’t have the heated seats and driver’s cooling ventilation, the salesman told me that this particular spec I had driven was supposed to be shipped to Southeast Asia, which also meant the car didn’t have the suspension set-up for Australian roads. Still, the car handled itself pretty well out on the road, I also went into the websites of other Kia dealers and was surprised to see that the Optima’s they were selling also didn’t have the heating/cooling ventilation function for the front seats when looking at the images… does this mean that these vehicles were supposed to be headed to Southeast Asia as well but somehow ended up here in Oz over some bungled-up deal? Whats the deal here, does anybody have any inside info why we’re getting the models that are meant for other countries?

    • Ned41

      Ever think that you may have driven the next in the series, just a maybe

    • Eagiddio

      In case you are still wondering, Kia Australia imported what are known as `D Spec’ vehicles which, as you correctly point out were originally destined for SE Asia. When I put my order in back in May the dealer was trying very hard to get me to buy one of these. I declined and patiently waited for my ‘Platinum Spec’ which was ordered directly with the factory. This spec has the heated/ventilated seats as well as the Australian tuning. I guess if you are in a hurry to get into an Optima then these D Spec cars are ok. If you can wait however and for the same investment you can get the Platinum. So glad I did!

  • col

    My new Kia optima is Brilliant (black). Value for money I coudn’t be happier. I travel around 60,000 k’s per year so I needed a car that was comfortable, with good performance and handling. I also play golf and the size of the boot on this thing is amazing.
    I looked at a lot of other cars for around the $40k mark and nothing else came close to the features inluded as standard, and it it simply stunning to look at.

  • http://14mpdigitalcamera.org/tag/inch/ 14 Megapixel Digital Camera

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  • Ned41

    Eric is correct in what he has said. I have been looking for a car for more than 5 months, staying away from any KIA vehicle. Why Ex Miltary man Vietnam Vet and each time I would see the KIA badge it would make me shudder si it may do to a lot of Service personell who has been in a conflict area. As KIA  means KILL IN ACTION. Now I find myself considering to buy a Optima Platinum.  5 moths of searching seems to have paid off as the more I see and read about the Optimat the more I like it, Wheels has just given a 2011 award and they recommend it, The interior of the optima from what I have read has just about everything one could ask for except the Sat Nav which was suppuse to be in by Oct 2011

  • Ned41

    It is now Dec 2011 and from what I can find still no Sat Nav. As yet I have to have the pleasure of sitting in the vehicle and one will not be available untill I get back from a holiday, then I will sit in one take it for a drive, TEST DRIVE not really my experience in that field is limited to taking it around and off raods to get a feel of how it handles in the hands of an average driver. There will still be that nagging feeling. I wll try and complete how I feel after my Drive

  • Ned41

    Just in case the first of my writings have not been read, I
    explained that a KIA Car has never been a car that has been on the shopping
    list, this was due to ARMY Service in Vietnam where K. I. A stood for Killed In Action. By standing and looking around this vehicle I
    have had to dismiss my feeling about KIA.

    It has been over a month since I start to write about the
    Optima. In this time KIA have released the Optima Si, though it will not get
    into the Dealership until February 2012 and I have it on good advise that both
    Si and Platinum on the their way together and the SatNav has not been installed
    and will not see it until late first quarter.

    Looking at the Optima that arrived 2 days ago at the Dealer,
    plus it had not been detailed, so all I could do is look and sit in it with the
    engine running. Firstly it took me some time to look around the car itself,
    trying to not notice the condition it was in. I still couldn’t believe what a
    graceful and lovely looking car I was looking at. In all of the 53 year of
    owning cars I can honestly say my heart has never raced so much as it did when
    looking around the outside of this car.

    On opening the door the heat hit me in the face, thinking damn
    hot, sliding down into the drivers seat, noticing how comfortable it was in the
    leather seat also it did not feel hot. The distance my feet had to travel before
    I could reach the peddles, was something else, as the seat automatically moves
    back giving room to get out of the car. Being instructed on how to move the seat
    forward was a breeze the electrics responded at the first touch positioning me
    as I wanted it and it would put me in that same position every time I get in the

    Hit the start button the engine kicked into life and the
    dealer showed how to set the air-conditioning, cool air starts streaming into
    the cabin. With this I could start to look around the cockpit is the best way it
    could be explained, in seventh heaven.

    Having a good look around the inside the finish is the best
    that I have seen in the cars I have owned over the years which cover Vauxhall,
    Ford, Holden, Hyundai and Nissan, left out the VW beetle which was not a new car
    when I bought as a run around. The movement in the sunroof was excellent really
    it could be heard other than a light electric noise, moving from the front to
    the back seat at first I was a little bit annoyed with the space in the leg room
    until I realised that both front seats were fully extended back and even then I
    could move comfortably from side to side. Closing the doors there were that
    comfortable thud sound when walking away from the vehicle I heard the Doors
    lock, as I did not have the Keys I was unsure if the locking system done it or
    the dealer had and I forgot to ask as my brain was still trying to take in all
    that had been seen.

    It is going to be 2 more days before my first drive which I am
    looking forward to, as I said the engine kicked into life while sitting in it

    it sounded good if it runs as well as it sound I will be 100
    percent happy.

  • Admin

    Being a valet & having the opportunity to jump in & out of MANYcars, Ive reached the stage that I don’t even pay any attention to the vehicle I transit. But this particular day I drove a car & had to double check I was driving a Kia, I honestly thought i was in a more expensive car.
    So, we just bought one today!!! For us Kia won hands down in regards to value for money, great inclusions & smick appearance it’s in par with most luxury/European cars which you pay top dollar just because of its badge & brand. Remove the Kia badge add the Audi, Mercedes or the like & see the price sky rocket! But hey that’s just my opinion!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ray-Liu/658403465 Ray Liu

    jeez, I got impressed when seeing one of these on roads, what a beautiful car! it is just the red illumination on the dashboard that really disappoints me. and the reliability of this car (coming from a Korean brand) needs to be tested. will keep an eye on this, too beautiful to ignore in the mid-size segment!

    • Ned41

      Ray Liu I have been driving the Optima for 6 months now and without one hiccup the ECO driving switched on my kilometers to 100 Km is better than or on what the manufactures have stated the ride is spot on and handling is the best in all the cars I have driven in the past 50 plus years and with the 5 year warranty I would say the way it is going there will be no big problem happening in that time . The German Manufactures seem to very impressed with this care so I have been lead to believe . I am sure if the only complaint you have , which stops you from buying the Optima , is the Red illumination . I am sure that will slide into the background by having all the other delights that are on offer . 
      If you wait all you will be doing is missing out on a most enjoyable Drive/Ride for the time you wait

  • Lachlan

    Liu, one thing I know with absolute certainty, Korean made cars (Hyundai, Kia) are much more trustworthy (reliable) than Chinese manufactured cars (Great Wall). 



  • Waza57

    What a great looking car inside and out.Thought thats it i want one of these.Took it for a test drive disappointed the “ride was rough felt every bump”.Still some people wont mind that kind of ride.But i do love the look of this car.

    • Ned41

      Don’t know what Optima you were driving mine 2012 Runs as smooth as you know what on all surfaces except through large pot holes and yes can feel them

  • Alcan316

    Hi, I’ve had my optima (platinum) for almost 2 months now and i’ve noticed a couple of minor problems which i believe is common among Optimas (i’ve gone tru forums and found owners with similar problems).
    1. Wind noise heard from the drivers window when traveled above 80 kph. Apparently, it is caused by the side mirror not the window seal. (got this info from some Kia Forums).
    2. Rubber seal at the lining of the sunroof gets twisted (sometimes) when sunroof is used.
    3. Creaking rear suspension noise.
    At first i thought i could live with it but the wind noise has really push my buttons and i’m taking back to the dealer next week.
    My advise, pay attention to these things i’ve mentioned when u take the car for a test drive.
    If any of you (Optima owners) has similar problems and if you have rectified it, please let me know how did you go about it.

Kia Optima Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$16,830 - $19,130
Dealer Retail
$18,130 - $21,560
Dealer Trade
$13,200 - $15,300
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
250Nm @  4250rpm
Max. Power
148kW @  6300rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  Unbrake:650
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
225/45 R18
Rear Tyres
225/45 R18
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Control & Handling
Traction Control System
Reversing Camera, Trip Computer
Radio CD with 7 Speakers
Rear Spoiler, Xenon Headlights
Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Under Driver Seat On Floor
Country of Origin