Despite initially very-familiar looks for this wider and longer-wheelbased model, the design is new. Organic flow to the body surfacing and even the trademark roof accents is now more flowing and less choppy. The angular look with sharp edges has been smoothed out nicely. Example? Check out the clean doors and sills. Just pure and impressive lines.
The proportions are enhanced via a new-look rear quarter window and dark roof on the loaded SX and SXL models. The overall effect helps the Optima look rear-drive from some angles. The loaded SXL, though, wears a 1998-level of chrome outside. Really tacky stuff — questionable taste decisions on Kia’s part.
But the nose and tail are impressively clean, modern and upscale. The tail is arguably more successful, with its new wide LED lamps full of glitzy optics, at least on the SXL shown here.
The engines in base 2.4-liter and options 2.0-liter turbo continue for 2016 — but add an all-star rung in between. The LX 1.6T is near the bottom of the range, but this is arguably the one to go for. The 1.4-liter turbo feels strong and the DCT is excellent, as sampled on the Hyundai Sonata ECO for 2015.
2016 Kia Optima
2016 OPTIMA OVERVIEW
Kia’s Best-Selling Nameplate is Passionately Designed and Obsessively Crafted with European Styling, a Refined Premium Interior and Significant Ride and Handling Improvements
- Optima matures into an expertly crafted sedan with two turbo engine choices and five trims, including the U.S.-exclusive SXL
- Built at Kia’s U.S. plant*, Optima features reduced NVH and a more responsive, confident ride
LAS VEGAS, Sept. 9, 2015 – The all-new 2016 Optima challenges the midsize sedan segment through significant improvements in refinement and obsessive attention to detail. An instant hit with consumers looking for a fresh alternative to an otherwise staid segment, the Optima has been Kia Motors America’s (KMA) top-selling vehicle for three consecutive years, and the all-new model is poised to continue that success.
Conceived under the watchful eye of Kia’s president and chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, with modern and instantly recognizable design cues, the Optima maintains its athletic identity but rides on a chassis that is longer, wider and stiffer for improved ride and handling and a more spacious cabin. Available with three engine choices, including a new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s mated to a seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), the Optima is more confident than ever on the road. The all-new Optima’s roomier, more luxurious cabin features an impressive level of craftsmanship that will come standard across five trim levels – LX, LX 1.6T, EX, SX and SXL. Like the outgoing model, the all-new Optima will be built at Kia’s plant* in West Point, Georgia. Pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch date.
“The Optima changed the way people felt about the Kia brand, and KMA owes much of its growth and success to its head-turning design and sporty performance. The all-new Optima encompasses everything the outgoing model did so well but does it better. It has matured in all the right ways; from the European sport-sedan design to the premium materials to its improved ride and handling,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning KMA. “The all-new Optima retains the signature personality of its predecessor, but we’ve literally improved everything; providing more space, better ergonomics, more technology and greater refinement.”
Instantly Recognizable European Design
Because the previous generation Optima was such a success story for the brand, Kia’s designers had to strike a delicate balance, retaining the identity of the vehicle while, at the same time, making a confident move forward to keep the car modern and fresh. Sweeping contemporary surfaces and modern architecture inspired the design of the all-new Optima, revealing a sophisticated and dynamic sedan that is instantly recognizable yet has more road presence than ever.
The all-new Optima is boldly designed to be functional and sporty with exterior dimensions that are marginally longer, taller and wider. The wheelbase has been extended to 110.4 inches (increased 0.4 inches), and the vehicle has been widened to 73.2 inches (increased 1.0 inch). Both changes enable a roomier and more comfortable cabin with more head room, shoulder room and rear seat leg room. The increased dimensions also allow for more cargo capacity in the trunk.
The aggressive front clip pulls the sheet metal taut over the wheel arches, and the swept-back headlights reach deeply into the fenders. On the SX and SXL trims, Kia’s signature tiger-nose grille is hot stamped and composed into a sophisticated pinpoint design that bears a strong resemblance to Kia’s luxury sedan, the K9001. The all-new Optima introduces Kia’s first application of Bi-Xenon HID headlights – with available Dynamic Bending Lamps and High Beam Assist – that illuminate the tarmac around corners.