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James Flammang
Contributing Editor - December 8, 2015

2016 Kia Optima OVERVIEW

Kia's entrant in the hotly-contested midsize sedan segment, the Optima has been known for adventurous Euro-styling as well as value and features. Though redesigned for 2016, the fourth-generation Optima hasn’t changed dramatically in appearance. Like many rivals, the Optima can be equipped to push toward near-luxury territory.

What's New for 2016

Kia has redesigned its most popular model for 2016, adding a new LX 1.6T trim level with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and dual-clutch transmission. Ride and handling have improved, helped by increased torsional rigidity, and the 2016 Optima is slightly longer, taller, and wider. New bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights can be fitted with dynamic bending lamps, to illuminate the view around corners.

Kia Optima

Choosing Your Kia Optima

The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 185 horsepower. SX and SXL versions get a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder that achieves 245 horsepower. Both of those engines use a six-speed automatic transmission.

A new 1.6-liter turbo, rated at 178 horsepower, goes into the LX 1.6T, mating with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The LX 1.6T gets a fuel-economy estimate of 28/39 mpg (city/highway), versus 24/35 mpg for 2.4-liter models and 22/32 mpg for the 2-liter turbo.

The Optima now is available in five trim levels:

LX 2.4

Carries the 2.4-liter engine, manual air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth phone/audio, tilt/telescopic steering column, 60/40-split folding rear seats, six-speaker audio with satellite radio, three-position Driver Mode Select, YES Essential cloth seating, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Power mirrors include turn-signal indicators. The optional Convenience Package adds a power driver’s seat, power-folding heated mirrors, auto-dimming inside mirror, and laminated front-door glass to reduce noise. Also included are blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking assist.

LX 1.6T

Comes with the new 1.6-liter turbo engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, plus power-folding heated mirrors, pushbutton start and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. An optional Technology package includes UVO eServices infotainment with voice-command navigation and rear-camera display, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking assist, 1w-way power driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

EX 2.4

Powered by the 2.4-liter base engine, the midlevel model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED taillamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, 12-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, laminated front-window glass, and driver’s seat/mirror memory. The Premium Package brings a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, power front passenger seat, UVO eServices infotainment with navigation and rearview-camera display, and active-safety features.

SX 2.0T

In addition to the 2-liter turbo four and six-speed automatic transmission, the SX includes a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, metal pedals, bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, a navigation system with 8-inch screen, metal hairline console trim, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Premium Technology package adds a long list of features, including forward collision warning, surround-view monitor, lane-departure warning, “smart” cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and Harman Kardon surround-sound.

SXL 2.0T

Bundles just about everything you can get on lesser models (including the turbo engine), adding specific wheels and Nappa leather upholstery, and an electronic parking brake. Also included are.“smart” cruise control, a Harman Kardon 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, 10-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear-seat cushions, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, and blind-spot detection.

CarsDirect Tip

Only option groups and port-installed accessories are available; there are no individual factory options. Selecting one of the five trim levels dictates everything from engine to minor conveniences, so choose carefully. Remember, too, that those option groups aren’t cheap.

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Kia Optima

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