Kia Optima (2012–2016)

Model History

April 2010

Magentis replacement named Optima made its debut at the New York Auto Show in April 2010. 4,845mm long x 1,830mm wide (excluding door mirrors) x 1,455mm high.

Following the theme of recent model revisions, new Magentis is longer, lower and wider than before, the Kia's coupe-like profile is enhanced by the sweeping chrome arc that flows from A to C pillar, a distinctive design motif that visually lowers the car further still and enhances its cab-backwards proportions.

October 2010

The Kia Optima will be available to European consumers from launch with a choice of two engines - a 2.0-litre 170 ps petrol engine and a 1.7-litre 136 ps diesel, which is expected to account for the majority of sales in Europe. Also offered at a later date will be a higher output (160 ps) twin turbo version of the 1.7-litre diesel.

Reacting to market demands for smaller, more fuel-efficient engines, the diesel powerplant offered is a new 1.7-litre version of Kia's popular ‘U2' engine. Fitted with a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) the new engine produces 136 ps and 330 Nm of torque for excellent driveability, and delivers best-in-class performance for an engine of its displacement (83 ps per litre).

A number of measures designed to enhance engine efficiency, including fitting an overrunning alternator decoupler and an innovative battery management system, also mean that Kia Optima will have the best emissions figures in class - producing just 122 g/km CO2.

Drivers keen to reduce the environmental impact of their car even further can select Kia's optional ISG Start/Stop system, which automatically switches off and restarts the engine in heavy traffic conditions. Fitted with ISG, Kia Optima is able to deliver a remarkable CO2output of just 113 g/km, placing it among the lowest vehicle tax bands in most European countries.

In all markets, the all-new Kia Optima will be offered with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Kia Optima will be fitted with generous levels of specification as standard, and buyers will also be offered a number of optional high-tech features typically found on vehicles from premium brands.

Fitted as standard for all trim levels is a powered lumbar supportfor drivers seat, and although the final standard specification may vary country-by-country, a typical lower trim vehicle will feature bright chrome A- to C-pillar trim moulding, manual air-conditioning, electric windows front and rear, CD/Stereo with 6 speakers, keyless-entry with alarm system, outside mirror LED turn signals, aero blade wipers, windshield de-icer and folding rear centre armrest with twin cup-holders.

January 2012

Kia announced that the Optima will go on sale in the UK in February 2012. The Kia Optima, the all-new flagship saloon that is the latest model to be launched in Kia’s design-led product offensive, goes on sale in the UK from 1 February bringing fantastic design, high levels of standard specification and low running costs to the D-segment, from just £19,595 on-the-road.

The Optima has been configured to appeal to the business community who make up the vast majority of D-segment customers in the UK. It will be sold only with a diesel engine – a new 134bhp version of Kia’s smooth and efficient 1.7-litre CRDi ‘U2’ power unit – while all four specification options contain every essential for the business user.

The Optima offers features never previously attainable on a Kia, including a high-end Infinity audio system. It delivers 550W of high-fidelity sound through 12 speakers in eight different locations throughout the car, including a boot-mounted subwoofer. Self-parking, heated and cool-ventilated seats, cornering lights, panoramic sunroof, reverse parking camera and an automatic cabin defogging system are also available, as is a six-speed automatic transmission that is among the most advanced currently produced by any car manufacturer.

The entry-level Optima has Kia’s familiar three-cylinder instrumentation, while all other versions have a premium Supervision cluster with a 3.5-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) full-colour information screen flanked by a tachometer on one side and a speedometer on the other. The information screen can be programmed with the driver’s preferred menus and images.

The boot capacity has been enlarged to 505 litres (VDA), and there is a lower lip to make the business of loading the car less strenuous. The 60:40 split folding rear seats allow longer loads to be transported.

And the team which designed the Optima’s interior did not focus solely on aesthetics: useful storage spaces, shaped to accommodate the things which real owners like to carry, abound. There is a cooled glovebox, a centre console box, cupholders front and rear, a sunglasses holder, space for bottles in the front and rear doors, pockets in the backs of the front seats and a centre fascia tray large enough for a mobile telephone, conveniently located adjacent to AUX and USB points.

In the UK, the Kia Optima has been configured to appeal to the business community who make up the vast majority of buyers of D-segment cars. It goes on sale with just one engine – a new 134bhp version of Kia’s acclaimed 1.7-litre U2 turbodiesel – and a choice on the mid and top spec models of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.

All manual versions feature Kia’s EcoDynamics fuel-saving, CO2-reducing measures, including Intelligent Stop & Go and aerodynamic drag-reducing measures, while automatics have an Active ECO button which alters the operation of the engine’s electronic control unit and the compressor on the climate control system, bringing potential fuel savings of around 9%.

The U2 diesel, engineered at Kia’s European research and development centre in Germany, was first introduced on the Kia Sportage, but has been uprated for use in the Optima. It features high-pressure common-rail fuel injection for maximum efficiency and a variable geometry turbocharger to enhance low-speed driveability while ensuring strong top-end power for the high motorway speeds common in Europe. It develops its maximum power at 4,000rpm, but of greater significance is the peak torque of 325Nm (239lb ft) from 2,000-2,500rpm.

The U2 engine in the Optima develops similar power and torque to the 2.0-litre units in European and Japanese rivals, but from a smaller capacity. Acceleration from 0-60mph takes 10.2 seconds in manual versions and 11.5 seconds with automatic transmission, while the respective top speeds are 125mph and 122mph.

The manual can achieve 57.6 miles per gallon, with emissions of 128g/km, while the figures for the automatic are 47.1mpg and 158g/km. Both attract vastly lower company car taxation rates than any previous Kia D-segment model. In fact, the new car with automatic transmission matches the emissions of the previous manual version.

With automatic transmission, Kia joins an elite group of just three automotive manufacturers to have designed, developed and built its own six-speed automatic gearbox. It features innovative Neutral Control, which shifts the transmission from ‘D’ to ‘N’ when the car has been stopped for a few seconds, reducing the load on the engine and, therefore, fuel consumption.

As with all Kias, the Optima comes with Kia’s unique seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, subject to conditions covering wear and tear items. The warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owners.

Care-3, Kia’s servicing package for retail customers, is available for Optima and offers a fixed cost and inflation proof servicing for three or five years. All work will be carried out by trained product technicians, using genuine Kia replacement parts and specified oils.

The Care-3 package is just £299 including VAT, which covers the first three services - either 36 months or 30,000 miles, or the Care-3 Plus package is £549 including VAT which covers the first five services - either 60 months or 50,000 miles.

Version Power (bhp) Torque (Nm) 0-60
Optima ‘1’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ auto 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 11.5 122 47.1
Optima ‘2 Tech’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘2 Tech’ auto 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 11.5 122 47.1
Optima ‘3’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘3’ auto 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 11.5 122 47.1

Version CO 2
Optima ‘1’ 128 18% 16 £19,595
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ 128 18% 17 £21,695
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ auto 158 24% 17 £23,195
Optima ‘2 Tech’ 128 18% 17 £21,695
Optima ‘2 Tech’ auto 158 24% 17 £23,195
Optima ‘3’ 128 18% 17 £24,495
Optima ‘3’ auto 158 24% 17 £25,995

March 2013

Improvements announced. The 2014 Optima arrives with updated front and rear ends. Available, in the U.S. market, in LX, EX, SX and SX-Limited trims from autumn 2013. In Europe towards the start of 2014.

Refining the Optima's sculpted, high-end appearance, Kia's Frankfurt-based design team improved the vehicle's front and rear ends and the brand's signature ‘tiger nose' grille. The vehicle's bold stance and aerodynamic shape are further accentuated by updated rear diffusers and a sweeping boot lid. Lighting up the European-inspired design are striking front LED daytime running lights and fog lights, along with clear, newly designed LED rear lamps.

The improvements continue within the cabin, as drivers are now greeted with more upscale and high-tech amenities. Activating the Optima's push button ignition brings two new displays to life: a 4.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster and optional high-resolution 8-inch navigation and telematics screen, featuring UVO eServices, an 8-speaker Infinity sound system, HD Radio and Satellite Radio.

All-new seat designs ensure a comfortable drive in the powerful and spirited sedan, while an optional new Blind Spot Detection (BSD) system, which includes rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors, improves convenience and peace of mind.

The LX trim offers dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, exterior mirror turn signal indicators, front fog lights, exterior heated mirrors, chrome accented exterior door handles and new 16-inch alloy wheels fitted with 205/65R16 tyres and a six-speed automatic transmission.

The volume-leading EX trim offers larger 17-inch alloy wheels fitted with 215/55R17 tyres, leather seats, 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, and an illuminated front cup holders. Moving to the SX trim, consumers will find stylish new 18-inch polished alloy wheels with 225/45R18 tyres, unique front and rear lower bumpers and side sills, aero wiper blades.

The SX-T includes Xenon headlights with auto levelling. Elevating to the top-of-the-line Limited trim brings Optima to another level of sporty refinement, adding unique 18-inch chrome wheels, new LED fog lights, red brake callipers, an electronic parking brake, chrome accented side sills, and premium Nappa leather seats.

The 2014 US market Optima is available with two powerful Theta II powerplants featuring Gasoline Direct injection (GDi) technology: a 2.4-litre GDi four-cylinder or a 2.0-litre GDi turbo engine. A 2.4-litre hybrid powertrain is also available. The 2.4-litre GDi engine is available on LX, EX and SX models while the more robust 2.0-litre turbo GDi engine is offered exclusively to the SX. This turbo-charged unit delivers V6-type power with a four-cylinder's efficiency. (No word on these engines coming to Europe.)

Each engine choice is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission featuring Sportmatic clutch-free shifting. New for the 2014 Optima, and exclusive to the sporty SX variant, is Drive Mode Select (DMS), which adjusts transmission shift points and steering weight, offering owners a customisable driving experience.

September 2013

The upgraded Optima features new headlights, fog lamps, rear lights, bumpers and wheels. At the front, the LED daytime running lights are moved from the bumper into the headlight - consistent with other Kia models - and the fog lamps are set into a body-colour panel rather than the transverse black panel of the original design.

New four-point LED fog lamps generate a more distinctive appearance and echo the dramatic appearance of the lamps fitted to the new Kia pro_cee'd GT.

The upgraded Optima range receives new 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheel designs and a new sharper-edged boot lid. At the rear, the new larger rear light clusters are available with surface-emitting LEDs and the twin red reflectors are now raised and set on a horizontal plane.

‘Sport Pack' available on certain trim levels and comes with a black-mesh front grille, chrome trim around the lower air-intake, unique 18-inch, five double-spoke alloy wheels and a matt-black diffuser beneath the rear bumper. Choice of up to 10 colours, including seven metallic and two pearl finishes.

Detailed changes to the instrument cluster, steering wheel, centre console, gear selector, door armrests and seats - refreshing the cabin's appearance and adding an extra touch of luxury. The new instrument cluster features a larger TFT LCD screen (4.3-inch, up from 3.5-inch), delivering more information with improved graphics. The new steering wheel, which has a flattened lower rim on auto models, has the remote controls located on the horizontal spokes.

The new centre console houses a 7-inch information screen and is finished in black high-gloss, while the switch panels in the armrests come with satin metal or black high-gloss accents, depending on model. Interior door handles are now finished in satin metal, rather than chrome.

Front seats feature cushions with raised side bolsters and a higher leading edge, increasing lateral and under-thigh support for enhanced comfort. Ventilated front seats and heated rear seats - with both low and high temperature settings - are available.

Measures adopted to reduce road noise in the new model include fitting a dynamic damper to the rear suspension cross member, changing the rear wheelarch covers to a BCF (bulked continuous filament) material for improved sound-proofing and fitting stronger alloy wheels. Combined, these measures have reduced road noise by 3.3 decibels. Further noise reducing modifications include the use of additional sealants in the dashboard bulkhead and thicker carpets in the cabin of diesel models.

Drivers of automatic models can use Drive-Mode-Select to choose between three driving modes: the default Normal mode; Active ECO mode, which enhances fuel economy; and Sport mode, which delivers more immediate engine response and increases the weight of the steering.

Both the audio and navigation systems for the Optima have been improved. The new audio systems now allow customers to connect an iPod to the car via Apple's regular USB cable whilst the new navigation system features a 7-inch screen and 7 the facility to find a 7 digit UK postcode.

Upgraded Optima is available to European consumers with a choice of two engines carried over from the previous model - a 2.0-litre 165PS petrol engine (not UK) and a 1.7-litre 136PS diesel. Fitted with a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) the 1.7-litre version of Kia's popular ‘U2' diesel engine produces 136 ps and 325 Nm of torque (from 2,000 rpm) for excellent driveability, and delivers best-in-class performance for an engine of its displacement (80 ps per litre).

What does a Kia Optima (2012 – 2016) cost?

Contract hire from £196.49 per month