- Redesigned for 2016 with big changes inside, but not out
- Two turbocharged engine options
- Adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality
The 2016 Kia Optima sits as an alternative midsize sedan to the mainstream, offering funkier styling, but the same practicality and fuel economy that consumers are looking for. And for the new model year, it’s gotten spruced up some more even if you can’t really tell from the outside.
Exterior styling is updated, but most will be hard pressed to tell the 2016 Optima apart from last year’s model. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; the Optima was already pretty unique looks-wise if you stack it up against the Camrys and Accords of the world. But a bit more dynamism or drama would have been welcomed to our eyes. The grille has been pinched in slightly, and there are new LED taillights outback along with a raised decklid. 16-inch wheels are standard, with 17- and 18-inch cogs optional.
Under the hood there are now three engine options. LX and EX models use the same base engine from last year, a 185-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while the sporty SXL and SX Turbo trims feature a 247-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission option for these two engines. New for 2016 on the LX trim is a 178-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that gets Kia’s new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. This new engine gets the best estimated mpg: 28/39 mpg city/highway.
The redesign also added a little size to the Optima, which pays off inside for passengers, which get a slightly roomier cabin as well as more trunk room for carrying of things. The Optima’s updated interior borrows heavily from the look and feel of the upscale Cadenza and K900 sedans; the lessons that Kia learned pushing into near luxury territory are starting to pay off in its more mainstream cars as well. Standard features include satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, USB port, air conditioning, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Also available are UVO infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring (both new for 2016), navigation, heated/ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and two additional USB charging ports in the rear.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, rearview camera, seven airbags, and electronic stability control. An around view monitor is available, which displays a top-down view of the Optima using four cameras mounted around the vehicle. Also optional are rear parking sensors, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, and forward collision warnings with automatic braking.