Over the years of testing vehicles there have been some I’ve hated and some I’ve loved. It’s not just down to features the car offers, since those can be added on to different packages that you select. But for me it’s always about the ride. I know it’s early in the year, but I have to say that the 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo has been one of the most fun cars to drive.
When Kia Motors has the 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo dropped off for me, it was a usual review – I get the vehicle for a week and they will be here to pick it up. Normally the weeks seem to go relatively fast, but it feels like I’ve had the car much longer than week overall. What has surprised me about the Optima, is that while it has 4 cylinder engine the amount of power inside the Turbo makes it feel like you’re driving a car with a much larger engine. In the past I’ve tested vehicles that felt under powered – and the Optima seems to have extra power hidden somewhere inside the engine.
The Optima SX Turbo offers three different driving modes, regular, Eco and Sport. Even driving the Optima without switching modes you feel the pick up of the engine. The ride was smooth and I would find myself quickly nearing 80 mph on the highway if I wasn’t careful. The ECO mode is of course for conserving gas and you will find a bit less of the pick up while driving. But for a real boost, that is almost too good to be true, put the Optima in Sport mode – and hang on for a fun ride! Immediately the Optima changed gears and as ready to hit the road. Let’s just say the Sport mode puts you into a more zippy driving feeling – and it’s a lot of fun!
Inside the Optima, you will find all of the creature comforts we’re becoming more accustomed to in newer vehicles. You will not only have the option for hands free calling, steering wheel controls, navigation, satellite radio, heating and air conditioned seats, USB ports for connecting media devices or phones, a back-up camera and a heated steering wheels. Yes, a lot are in the more platinum packages but these features are all available inside the Optima SX Turbo.
Comfort is not compromised inside the Optima. You can easily fit five in the car, with 3 in the back. The driver’s seat has programmable settings for 2 different drivers, and can be adjusted with power controls. For me, the only thing for me that was a bit hard to get use to with the Optima was how low it sits to the ground. It was a bit of an adjustment, but after a day or two with the Optima it was easy to slide into the car and hit the road. My only other complaint about the Optima was the blind spot detection that started beeping the moment you turn on your turn signal to change lanes – while I understand why it’s beeping and someone was next to me, an early signal doesn’t mean I’m going to hop lanes that quick. The blind spot detection can be turned off – so while this feature annoyed me – I knew it was something I could turn off.
Beyond comfort and features, the Optima SX Turbo is also loaded with safety options including: Anti-Lock braking system, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, hill start assist control, tire-Pressure monitoring system, lower anchors and tethers for car seats, rear child-safety door locks, internal emergency trunk release,dual front advanced airbags, dual front seat mounted side airbags, full length side curtain airbags, driver’s side knee airbag, and front seat-belt pre-tensioners.
During my week with the 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo, the weather has gone from mid-40’s, to a beautiful weekend in the 60’s and even to a winter storm advisory with snow, sleet and ice. No matter what the outside temperature or weather the Optima was up for the challenge, and provided a great ride for our adventures. The year is still young, so I can’t claim this is my favorite car of the year yet – but it definitely ranks higher than most of the past vehicle’s we’ve tested out.
The Kia Optima SX Turbo starts at $29,790 and boasts 25 mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway.