|The Kia Optima K5 has changed the game for D-segment sedans since it first came up in 2011. Last weekend, Motorsportchannel.com had a chance to check out the Kia Optima K5, courtesy of Naza Kia Malaysia.|
New for the 2014 Kia Optima is a redesigned front bumper, rear bumper, front nose, cubed LED fog lights, DRLs and a new rear LED rear light. The tyres and wheels are 18 inchers wrapped with Nexens. Overall, the Kia Optima K5 is sharper and more formal than its predecessor; in our test driver’s opinion.
Kia Optima K5: Engine pairs up well to give adequate performance
As far as performance is concerned, Kia’s engineer has managed to pack 165 bhp @ 6,500 rpm and 196 Nm @ 4,800 rpm in the 2.0-liter NU 4-cylinder engine. This translates to smooth power delivery on the motorway. Our test impression of the Optima K5, however, felt a little twitchy when below 3,000 rpm, which invariably gave us an impression of a car that’s on the tip of the heavier side of the scale. With sports mode turned on, the car would improve rather dramatically during our test drive, thanks to a heighten transmission response and manual shifting capabilities. The Kia Optima K5 comes with paddle shifters on the steering and up to three drive modes.
Kia offers MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup for the rear for their flagship sedan, a common design in the segment. In our test, we found that the ride was mildly stiff which made it fun to toss it around bends. Overall comfort, however, was not overly compromised during our more adventurous runs. On the highway, the ride was compliant and felt like sitting in an airplane’s first class seats. The stiff suspension did come into play especially on bumpy city roads, but the ride was on the harsher side due to the 18-inch tyre specifications. Additionally, the Nexen N800 shods on the Optima K5 weren’t exactly a match made in heaven. We recommend that the Optima K5 should carry a better suited tyre to enable a more flawless ride.
Interior-wise, the noise level going above 120km/h was relatively quiet and flawless, which enabled a decent conversation in the cabin throughout our out-of-town escapade. Due to the power-band, the car cruised with ease on highway, and we reckoned that the Optima K5 would make a good cruiser on any expressways.
The dashboard, especially the driver’s portion, is angled towards the driver, hence it’s a driver-centric cockpit. Interior features from the books for the Optima K5 include D-shaped steering with switches, a/c and temperature buttons on the console, leather seats with auto adjustment, heated front seats, glove box cooler, push start and panoramic sun roof. During our test, we reckoned that the redesigned front and rear seats assisted tremendously during our 6-hour (to and fro) drive to Kluang, Johor. Other factors which contributed to a rather sublime drive were more than adequate support in the leg area, front and rear, and the included side bolsters.
For entertainment, an Infinity 8-speaker system keeps feets tapping all journey long. Then there’s a 4.3-inch touch screen with Bluetooth to go along with the 4.3-inch display in the lit-in-white instrument cluster.
Safety features for the Optima K5 consist of the Electronic Stability Control (ESP), Anti-Lock braking (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist system, Traction Control system, Hill-assist Control, to go along with 6 airbags and ISOFIX.
Kia Optima K5: Final Verdict
At RM 149,888, the Kia Optima K5 is a value buy compared to plenty of Japanese counterparts. The equipment lines and features that come as standard in Kia’s large sedan far exceed similar variants in the segment. That said, Kia could refine this car a little more, especially on the ride and handling side. Overall, the Optima is a winner. If you want a ton of features without the premium price tag of an Continental marque; it’s a solid choice.
Draft/Edited by: Shawn Sham/Motorsportchannel.com