Kia Optima: Making Sedans Exciting Again

If you’re old enough to remember hearing a dial tone when trying to connect to the internet or when MTV actually played music video’s, then you also probably remember the embarrassing family sedan your parents drove when they dropped you off at school dances and picked you and your friends up from the mall. It was a good couple of decades that family sedans were boring, conservative and oh-so devastating to your middle school ego.

Kia Optima in Miami remembers this. They, too remember the over dramatized torture of being stuck in the backseat next to your kid brother who always crossed the imaginary "line of death" your dad drew down the middle of the seats to avoid arguments during long road trips. Walkmans, discmans, books, coloring; nothing could distract you from the backseat blues of cramped leg space and painfully uncomfortable seats. And forget about ever cooling down on hot summer days. The air conditioning your parents swore was on, it was never going to get to you all the way in the backseat!


Backseat Blues

Yes, those days were drama-filled and looking back, they were precisely what led all of us who grew up in the back seat to swear we’d never ever put our children through that kind of torture! We all know that as we’ve grown and started families of our own, we’ve gone back on a lot of promises we once made and have come to realize our parents weren’t that bad after all. Luckily for us, there’s one promise we never have to renege and that’s buying a conservatively safe, embarrassingly unstylish family sedan.

My guess is the lead designer for the Kia Optima was raised in that same family sedan because they couldn’t have designed the Optima to be any different. The 2016 Kia Optima is stylish, it’s sleek, it’s comfort and spaciousness and it’s impressive fuel economy and powertrain let you know that there is nothing conservative about it. This is for the mom who still wears heels. The dad who listens to the Black Keys with you. This is for your kid brother who begrudgingly traded in his tiny sports cars for, what he lovingly referred to as the “family truckster”.

Even though we don’t feign to accept that our parents had some things right, like price matters and fuel efficiency is really important, they are correct about both those things. And while it once upon a time meant compromising power for efficiency, it no longer does.

Most of can remember when gas was less than a dollar and have paid dearly for it when it felt like it was never going to come back down from skyrocketing. We’ve learned to appreciate how gas mileage affects us but we are also unwilling to compromise power. The 2016 Kia Optima doesn’t make us do either. Finally, we can have our cake, and eat it, too!


Powertrain and Trims

Offering five trims and two engine choices, there is no shortage of power or control of your pick. A new 1.6L Turbocharged engine comes mated to a 7 Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) was powerful enough to get its own LX 1.6 trim level. This turbocharged isn’t the most powerful on the list, but still delivers 178 horsepower. After that, a 2.4L DOHC I-4 puts out 185 horsepower comes mated to the LX and EX trims. Another turbocharged engine will be delivering power to the SX and SX Limited trim: 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve I-4. As the most powerful turbo offered, it is sure to knock the socks of any “family truckster” when putting out 245 horsepower. All trims come equipped with CVVT, or Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing as well as Gasoline Direct Injection. Anyone looking to put an end to the family sedan powertrains will find an easy win in power that the Optima offers.


Breaking Stereotypes One Drive at a Time

It goes without saying that the Optima is ready to break stereotypes and knock down glass-ceilings. One drive in the Optima and you’ll see it, too. When even the base trim, LX comes with rear-camera display and keyless entry, you know you’re getting into something good. If fuel economy is the best way you’re going to feel spoiled, then the LX 1.6T will suit your needs by providing the best mileage. With the 1.6L Turbocharged engine, this trim offers 28 city mpg and 39 highway mpg. Aside from hybrids, there are few other sedans that offer this kind of mileage with this much power.

This trim also comes with a fun extra like the Smart Trunk which provides hands-free access into your truck. For times when your golf clubs and children take up all your hands and arm space, the Smart Trunk opens automatically when it detects the key fob. No fumbling children or losing valuables. ...I suppose children count for this too. 

The SX Limited, top trim is fully loaded with all those goodies you wished you had as a child but can’t wait to indulge your own children in. Understanding that quiet children make for happy parents, the Optima looks to spoil all passengers, even the little guys in the back. When the sun gets too hot in the summer afternoons, rear door window sunshades provide the appropriate protection to keep them cool. Never wanting to miss the sunshine, especially when winters are so long, the panoramic sunroof also comes with power sunshades so that you can look up at the sky without toasting your body. For those chilly winter morning school drop-offs, the rear seats in the SX Limited also come heated so that no bum goes cold. Another bonus for you, Mom and Dad, there’s a heated steering wheel. Winter feels a bit more comfortable when Kia’s looking out for you.

Offering the top in safety features, a Surround View Monitor system or SVM, comes standard on the SX Limited trim. Perfect for busy parking lots or crowded city parking, this system utilizes four external camera views to portray the image onto your touchscreen giving you total views of every outside angle. Feel confident pulling out of the school grounds or to not hit the car who wanted to park outstandingly close to you.

For all those times you feel like you’re still too young to be driving a conservatively styled “grocery-getting, mom-car”, the Kia Optima has you covered in sleek style and high-tech innovation. Like your parents warned you, your teens will find some reason to be embarrassed by you, like maybe when you sing along to Taylor Swift, but it won’t be your Optima.