The executive lifestyle calls for an executive ride. Kia knows this end has created a sedan for executives that shop for all the sportiveness and elegance of a high-performance car with the advantages of a safe and spacious family vehicle for weekend getaways with the kids. Last week, Mexico Automotive Review took the 2019 Kia Optima EX-Pack for a spin down Mexico City’s busy streets to find out more about the brand’s proposal for the midsize sedan segment.
At first sight, Optima stands out for an aggressive and elegant exterior design. Its 17in rims in the entry and medium versions and 18in in the top version and red brake calipers result in an eye-catching car that screams elegance. But there is more to Optima than what immediately meets the eye.
Buyers looking for a sedan with enough space to carry a young family, groceries and even a stroller need not search further with Optima’s 5,000L trunk, enough room for child seats in the back and advanced security features that do not jeoparde sportiveness or elegance. Optima is a great go-to option for young entrepreneurs and mid-career professionals that look toward a promising personal and professional future.
A relatively new contender in Mexico’s midsize sedan segment, Optima stands against vehicles with a long tradition in the country including Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Volkswagen Passat and Nissan Altima, depending on the version. Since its launch in 2016, Optima has quickly escalated positions to become the third best-selling luxury car of 2017 after Prius and Passat with a total of 2,347 units, despite the sales downturn storming Mexico’s vehicle market.
Kia offers two motorization alternatives for Optima, both four-in-line and with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) technology. On the one hand, an atmospheric, 2.4L engine powers the entry and medium versions EX and EX-Pack, delivering solid torque of 241.3Nm at 4,000rpm and power of 185hp. In the sedan subsegment, Optima stands out thanks to its swift throttle response, modern and aggressive exterior design and a more than decent performance against vehicles with a similar motorization range such as Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima, according to Kia’s Product Management Department.
The top Optima SXL Turbo version equips a turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine that is in the same family as that in the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. This engine offers greater torque of 352.5Nm that helps it throttle faster and ensures enhanced power of 245hp, which lets this version compete against models like Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat.
In terms of security, all versions of Optima are more than well-equipped. The car offers basic features such as ABS brakes, seven airbags, electronic stability control (ESC) and vehicle stability management (VSM) systems. All Optimas include a rearview camera for a safer reverse parking and a hill start assist (has) system that prevents rollbacks when starting to move on inclined roads. The EX-Pack and SXL versions also come with rear parking sensors, a blind spot warning system and rear-end collision alert. Another feature that adds to Optima’s sportiness and safety is the combination of a McPherson front suspension with an independent multi-link rear suspension. This mix enables Optima drivers to enjoy great handling in curves at relatively high speeds, which is an advantage over most SUVs and midsize sedan competitors.
Connectivity-wise, all versions of Optima come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities as well as Bluetooth, audio and cruise speed controls in the steering wheel. In terms of comfort, Optima equips luxury features without losing its price-competitiveness. For instance, the Harman Kardon premium audio system available in the EX-Pack and SXL versions are a game-changer in terms of standard equipment for mid-market, midsize sedans. These upper-trim levels also come with leather seats, LED fog lights, a panoramic roof and a navigation system that uses Optima’s 8in touch screen to guide the driver.
The top version of Optima even comes with a wireless charger, Nappa leather interiors and aluminum pedals. The sport package of this trim level includes a spoiler as well as a set of bumpers, suspension and rear lights that make it stand out from its Optima sisters.
Kia Optima comes with more premium features than are usually expected from vehicles in its segment, without compromising its price. The entry EX version comes at a price of MX$439,900 (US$21,700), but paying an extra MX$33,000 (US$1,600) to get the medium-trim EX-Pack level is totally worth it. Optima Ex-Pack’s panoramic roof, navigation system and specially the premium audio system are a great upgrade for a relatively low price difference. Similarly, executives looking for a sportier version will find Optima SXL to be a great go-to option for a competitive price of MX$521,900 (US$25,750). This version’s turbocharged engine, upgraded suspension, sports package, Nappa leather seats and larger rims make it the most aggressive Optima, without losing its family-vehicle nature.