- Stylish midsize sedan
- Two four-cylinder engine options
- Very slight changes for 2015, including navigation and UVO infotainment system updates
The 2015 Kia Optima returns mostly unchanged for the new model year after getting significant updates in 2014.
Since the “new” Optima debuted in 2011 it’s been one of our favorites with its unique spaceship looks and abundance of features for its price. The new Optima is the latest evolution of that concept, keeping mostly the same profile and shape but sharpening some of the key styling bits. The optional LED fog lights are especially handsome, in a four-square configuration we haven’t seen before, while the rear LED taillights spill around the sides of the Optima creeping onto the rear fenders. 16-inch alloy wheels are standard, with 17- and 18-inch cogs available. Dual exhaust pipes and heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators are also standard on all models.
The Optima opts for a pair of four-cylinder engines, with a turbocharged four-cylinder sitting in the engine bay of the sporty models that offers superior fuel economy and similar performance to a traditional V-6. The base engine, found in LX, EX, and SX trim levels, is a 192-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 181 pounds-feet of torque. The optional engine comes in the SX Turbo and SXL Turbo, a 274-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 269 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and all models are front-wheel drive only. Fuel economy figures check in at 23/34 mpg city/highway for base engine equipped models, while turbo models get 20/31 mpg.
Last year, the Optima added new seats, larger screens for the instrument panel and optional navigation system, and a sportier, flat-bottomed steering wheel in turbo models. For 2015, changes are limited to a few ergonomic tweaks and an update to Kia’s UVO eServices technology. eServices integrates with your smartphone and offers services like Geo Fencing and Speed Alerts for parents with teen drivers, Parking Minder, and Vehicle Diagnostics. The standard features list for the interior is still extensive, with Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and satellite radio all standard. The optional navigation system with an 8-inch display accepts voice commands and comes with a rearview camera. Also optional are heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and HD radio.
The Optima performed well in crash testing, earning a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. All of the requisite safety features come standard, six airbags, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts and rear parking sensor are optional.