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  • James Flammang
    Contributing Editor - January 12, 2017

    2017 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 satisfying value and features. Redesigned for 2016, the fourth-generation Optima didn’t change dramatically in appearance, though it grew slightly and adopted some European design touches. With the Optima, Kia competes against sedans like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Ford Fusion. Like many rivals, the Optima's available equipment and trimmings push toward near-luxury territory.

    What's New for 2017

    After redesigning its most popular model last year, Kia is bringing the Optima into 2017 as a carryover with no significant changes. The redesign included the addition of a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and dual-clutch transmission for the LX trim level. New for 2017 is a completely redone Hybrid model and a brand-new Plug-in Hybrid model (both listed separately).

    Kia Optima

    Choosing Your Kia Optima

    Kia’s base engine, installed in LX and EX trim levels, 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. Kia paired both engines with a six-speed automatic transmission.

    A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, rated at 178 horsepower, goes into the LX 1.6T, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Owners can add bi-xenon headlights that bend around corners on upper trim levels.

    The LX 1.6T gets a fuel-economy estimate of 28 miles per gallon in city driving and 37 mpg on the highway, versus 24 city and 34 highway mpg for 2.4-liter models and 22 city and 31 highway mpg for the 2-liter turbo.

    Kia offers the Optima in five trim levels:

    LX 2.4

    Starting at $23,050 (destination charge included), the base Optima relies on a 2.4-liter engine and comes with a rearview camera, manual air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats, six-speaker stereo with satellite radio and a 5-inch touchscreen, three-position Driver Mode Select, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Cloth seats are standard, while the power mirrors include turn-signal indicators. An optional Convenience Package adds a power driver’s seat, power-folding heated mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and laminated front-door glass to reduce noise. Kia also includes blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors in this optional package.

    LX 1.6T

    Replaces the 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 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 infotainment with voice-command navigation and rear-camera display, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking assist, 12-way power driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Sticker price is $24,990.

    EX 2.4

    Powered by the 2.4-liter base engine, the $26,290 mid-range 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, and a memory function for the driver’s seat and mirrors. The UVO infotainment system gets a 7-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. The optional Premium Package brings a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, power front passenger seat, UVO with navigation, a rearview camera, solar control glass, and a suite of active-safety features, including auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

    SX 2.0T

    In addition to the 2-liter turbocharged four and six-speed automatic transmission, the SX includes a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, alloy metal pedals, sport leather seating, LED headlights with dynamic bending, a navigation system with eight-inch screen, and 18-inch machined alloy wheels. The Premium Technology package adds a long list of features, including forward collision warning, surround-view monitor, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and a 630-watt Harman Kardon stereo. Sticker price is $30,790.

    SXL 2.0T

    Priced at $36,940, the range-topping SXL bundles just about every feature you can get on lesser models (including the 2-liter turbo engine), and adds chromed 18-inch wheels, quilted Nappa leather upholstery – which is really lovely – and an electronic parking brake. Adaptive cruise control, a surround-view monitor, the Harman Kardon stereo, 10-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot detection are also standard.

    CarsDirect Tip

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

    Get your price on a Kia Optima »

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