Kia Optima (2016 – 2019) Review

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Kia Optima (2016 – 2019) At A Glance


+Well-equipped as standard. Spacious cabin. Low emissions. Excellent motorway cruiser. PHEV from September 2016. New 1.6 CRDi and 1.6 T GDI from 2018.

-Engine choice initially limited to 1.7 diesel. Expanded to include 2.0 GDI, 2.0 T-GDI and 1.6 T-GDI in 2018.

New prices start from £21,660
Insurance Groups are between 17–21
On average it achieves 65% of the official MPG figure

The Kia Optima is one of the best saloons you've probably never heard of. But that doesn't mean you should overlook it. After all, this is an incredibly smooth and spacious saloon that's well-equipped and well-finished. While crossovers may rule the roost, there's still lots to like about the Optima.

Until September 2016, Kia sold the Optima with just one engine – a 1.7-litre CRDi diesel that is surprisingly punchy and smooth. It could be quieter - but with 141PS and peak torque output of 340Nm, it picks up speed effortlessly, particularly when paired with the seven-speed DCT automatic gearbox.

As a car for covering distance on the motorway the Optima is very good. The seats are comfortable, cruise control is standard and the ride quality is mightily impressive, making long journeys relaxing. Long drives are even easier in top trim Optima models which have lane keep assistance and adaptive cruise control, taking the hard work out of busy motorways.

On A- or B-roads, the Optima is not quite as satisfying, with comfort clearly prioritised over agility. The steering is light and body roll is noticeable at higher speeds. On this front the Optima lags behind competition such as the Skoda Octavia. It's economical though with an official average of more than 60mpg.

Passengers should find it easy to get comfortable even in the back, where there is ample leg room for adults and a reasonable amount of headroom. The boot has a decent capacity of 505 litres and the Sportwagon estate a class leading 552 litres, or 1,686 litres with the rear seatbacks folded.

Standard equipment levels are generous though and include dual-zone climate control, cruise control, touchscreen with navigation, DAB radio and a reversing camera. Upper trims gain luxuries like leather upholstery, a larger touchscreen, wireless phone charging and an autonomous parking system that works on parallel and bay spaces.

Kia Optima 2016 Road Test

Kia Optima PHEV 2016 Road Test

Kia Optima Sportwagon 2016 Road Test

Looking for a Kia Optima (2016 - 2019)?
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Real MPG average for a Kia Optima (2016 – 2019)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

36–92 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Need a spacious family car - Skoda Superb or Kia Optima?
"I've currently got a 2014 Citroen C4 Picasso which I love for the spacious interior but it has proven unreliable, with five major mechanical issues in the past two years. I've been looking at the Kia Optima for a long warranty, and a Skoda Superb because everyone tells me Skodas are reliable. Which is better and are there any other options I should be considering? It will be the main family car and used for occasional trips to France, so luggage space is a top priority, alongside reliability and a spacious cabin. Budget is up to £15k and it must have an automatic gearbox."
The Skoda Superb and the Kia Optima are both very good large family cars. However, as a second-hand £15k purchase, I'd probably go with the Kia. The Optima is comfortable, easy to drive and very well-equipped as standard. It's also backed by a huge seven-year-warranty, which provides added peace of mind when it comes to reliability. Your budget should get you a Kia Optima that's two or three years old:
Answered by Dan Powell
What's the best secondhand car for lots of motorway commuting?
"I'm opting out of the company car scheme so need to buy my own, secondhand preferably. I'm going to do lots of miles - over 25,000 a year - so need something big, like an SUV or Estate. My budget is up to £15,000. I'd keep for five years. What are the best options?"
Buy a Kia Optima diesel. It's easy to drive and smooth on the motorway. The 1.6 T-GDI will return 50+mpg. It also comes with a huge seven-year/100,000 mile warranty and mid-spec models are generously equipped as standard: A budget of £15,000 will get you a 2019 model with 10/15,000 miles on the clock:
Answered by Dan Powell
What used car do you recommend for a 150 mile daily commute?
"I travel 150 miles a day, up to four days a week and need a comfortable, highly economical car at an affordable price. My thinking is to get something about three years old, with about 30,000 miles on the clock, at about £15,000, and then I won’t really have the mileage anxiety of a PCP based upon a fixed rate of miles of a new car. What car will suit me?"
We'd be looking for a Kia Optima. The 1.7-litre diesel engine is very frugal and you'll get a year-old example for £15k. It will have the remainder of its seven-year warranty left and it's a very comfortable, well-equipped car for covering high miles. A Skoda Superb would be another good choice or if you'd prefer something a bit smaller, a Honda Civic. You'll get the latest shape example of the latter with the excellent 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I do 20,000 motorway miles a year - should I stick with diesel or switch to hybrid?
"I do 22,000 miles per year, mostly motorway. I’m a 40 per cent tax payer, who’s current lease of a 2016 Skoda superb 1.6 TDI is coming to an end. A hybrid Kia Niro has been suggested by my leasing company as a cost/tax efficient alternative. I’m not sure whether I should stick with another diesel. Any suggestions for fuel type as well a car make?"
Hybrids make sense from a tax point of view but won't be as economical as a diesel for motorway driving. If you pay for your own fuel, I'd be tempted to stick with a diesel. I really like the Superb but would expect it to be cheaper to lease than more premium rivals. Have you considered a Kia Optima? It's underrated, in our opinion, and is available with a very good 1.6-litre diesel engine. There's a plug-in hybrid version, too, if you do decide to go down that route.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Kia Optima (2016 – 2019) cost?