Kia’s game-changing Optima, the car that set style benchmarks for all affordable mid-size cars to follow when it was launched in Australia three years ago, has been fluffed and buffed for another year in the trenches.
Kia turned the automotive world on its head when the Peter Schreyer-penned Optima mid-size sedan was unveiled for Australia during the 2011 Australia Open. The first iteration of the stylish coupe-like sedan garnered universal praise for its looks, value and determination to bring style to the mass market.
With the arrival of the new Platinum and SLi models to join the Si trim, the 2014 Optima range is complete with focused styling tweaks and new generation active safety technology to assist drivers avoid an accident before it happens.
“With the latest version of the Optima, Kia continues to advance value to new levels of sophistication without any compromise on safety or core values,” Kia Australia Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow said. “The Optima is the cornerstone of Kia’s design evolution and epitomizes the brand’s goal of building highly-captivating, value-positioned vehicles.
“Along with Kia Australia’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, five-year capped price servicing, roadside assist and Family Like Service commitment, the styling story on Optima paints a compelling picture.”
Improvement of an already iconic design
In a mid-size sedan segment long dominated by function over desirability, the 2014 Optima cements the model’s status as a trailblazer by continuing to combine style and substance in an affordably priced vehicle.
Refining the Optima’s sculpted, high-end appearance, Kia’s Frankfurt-based design team improved the vehicle’s front and rear fascia and the brand’s signature tabbed grille. The vehicle’s bold stance and aerodynamic shape are further accentuated by updated rear diffusers and a sweeping boot lid which integrates a precise and functional aerodynamic lip.
Lighting up the European-inspired design are a striking pod of four front LED fog lights, newly integrated LED daytime running lights and HID (Xenon) headlights with static corning light.
Completing the external changes are a new design 18-inch machine finish alloy wheel around which is wrapped 225/45 R18 rubber.
The improvements continue within the cabin of the 2014 Optima, as drivers are greeted with more upscale and high-tech amenities. New, more supportive seats with larger side bolsters and additional under-thigh support cossets the driver as they slip behind a newly-design steering wheel. Both driver and passenger will now enjoy the comfort of heated and ventilated seats.
The bright chrome interior trim highlights have been replaced by a sophisticated satin finish while the centre fascia is now finished in high-gloss black.
For 2014 the Optima Platinum has retained the high-end Infinity 8-speaker sound system, full-colour 7-inch display screen with satellite navigation and reversing camera while parking sensors front and rear are now standard across the range.
Improved NVH (3.3dB) comes from a combination of stiffer 18-inch alloy rim, the replacement of woven material with BCF (bulked continuous filament) for the rear-wheel guards, additional sealant on the dashboard and a rear cross member dynamic damper (reducing booming).
New safety technology
For the first time in a Kia the 2014 Optima will be equipped with a Blind Spot Detection system to assist drivers monitor traffic around the vehicle when changing lanes.
The switchable Kia system utilizes two 24GHz radar sensors positioned in the rear bumpers to monitor the side and rear of the car. The radars can detect a vehicle up to 70 metres behind the car, notifying both a blind spot risk and calculating the closing speed of vehicles outside the blind spot and offering a warning if changing lanes poses a risk.
In the first instance if any vehicle is detected in the danger zones a warning symbol is displayed in the appropriate external mirror. If the driver disregards this initial warning and turns on the indicator to signal a change of lane the symbol in the mirror will start to flash and an audible warning will sound. The system is operational from 15km/h to 250km/h and can detect both cars and motorbikes.
As an additional safety feature, the radars are also employed for the RCTA (Rear Cross Traffic Alert) which monitors traffic from both directions as a driver reverses out of a park or driveway. The system offers both visual and audible warnings and can detect cars, motorbikes and even a shopping trolley.
Of course the Optima continues with a full suite of safety features including six airbags, ABS, ESC, HAC, active head restraints and dusk-sensing headlights as befits a 5-star ANCAP rating.
Dynamic and efficient powertrain
The 2014 Optima continues to feature the efficient and dynamic 2.4-litre GDI (148kW, 250Nm) four-cylinder engine. Drive is through a six-speed automatic featuring paddle-shift Sportmatic clutchless operation.
Optima has an official fuel economy rating of 7.9L/100km (combined cycle) with 189 gms/km of Co2 emissions (combined cycle).
Unbraked the Optima is rated to tow 650kg, rising to 1200kg with the tow brake kit fitted.
With the addition of front parking sensors the Optima Si is now $30,990 (+$300) while the Optima SLi rises $1000 to $35,990 for the addition of front parking sensors and leather trim.
The range-topping Platinum is now $40,490 (+$1200) for the addition of front parking sensors, a high-end TFT information screen, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist as well as a ventilated seat for the front passenger.
MY2014 Optima Pricing:
Si Auto: $30,990
SLi with Navigation Auto: $35,990
Platinum with Navigation Auto: $40,490
Premium Paint: $595
Founded in 1944 as Kyungsung Precision Industry, Kia is currently Korea’s second largest car manufacturer and it’s oldest. From the company’s production of Korea’s first domestic bicycle, Kia moved on to producing Korea’s first motorcycle and the country’s first truck. Kia then became the first company in Korea to locally produce petrol car engines and the first domestic diesel engine. In 1979, Kia’s quality car production was recognised by the fact that two of the world’s leading European car makers chose the Korean car maker to build their ‘range topper’ models on their behalf – the Peugeot 604 and Fiat 132. But it was in the 1980s that Kia’s growth really took off. In 1986 Ford joined the list of car makers who looked to Kia to produce cars to be sold under their name, with the Festiva joining Ford’s line up first in the USA, then across the world, including in Australia for where Kia produced two generations of Ford’s entry-level car. Today, Kia produces a remarkably diverse range of vehicles sold in 190 countries around the world.
Alyson MacDonald, Press & Public Relations Executive, Kia Motors AustraliaP: 02-9701-1768