By on April 1, 2015

2016 Kia Optima SX

Coming on the heels of the Sportspace Concept, the 2016 Kia Optima made its global debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Two engines carried over from the outgoing model will join a third engine for the 2016 model year. The carry-overs are a 2.4-liter direct-injection naturally aspirated four and a 2-liter direct-injection turbo-four, delivering 185 horses and 247 horses through a six-speed automatic to the front. The third engine is a 1.6-liter turbo-four paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox found in the Hyundai Sonata Eco.

Inside, soft-touch materials, metallic accents, real stitching in the dash and door panels, and cloth or leather seating await occupants. Meanwhile, Kia’s UVO connected-vehicle system comes with four new features not previously found in the Optima, including curfew alert and geo-fencing. The Optima itself is the pilot vehicle for the brand’s introduction of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay systems, allowing iPhone and Android users to use their smartphones in conjunction with UVO.

Pricing wasn’t announced at this time, but Kia said to expect the 2016 Optima to hit showrooms in Q4 2015.

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32 Comments on “New York 2015: 2016 Kia Optima Arrives...”


  • avatar
    arun

    They should rename it to Kia Hydro Schick

  • avatar
    dwford

    It’s bad enough that now when you select the base trim you get a tiny radio stuck in the hole made for the nav screen, but now even with the large touch screen you STILL get a huge black plastic surround around the screen. Is Kia planning on a 10-12″ screen a couple years from now?! My GMC Sierra has the exact same problem – 8″ screen in a 12″ hole.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    They took what I considered to be a fairly nice interior and made it an also-ran. Meh.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Dang that’s a lot of buttons.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hmm. I really like the exterior, but I agree with Timothy that the interior isn’t as nice as the current model.

    Kia’s press release says it will be available in Q4 2015, not 2016.

    No word on the hybrid version yet.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I think it’s the color. Gray on gray on gray never looks good.

      I’ve spent a fair bit of time in the ’12 that a friend had, his was light tan with wood. I think in the same color scheme the new interior would look pretty much the same, and in all gray his would look just as bad.

      The new KIA grill is kinda creepy – is that just a top-trim thing or do they all have them. My friend with the Optima just traded it for an absolutely hard-loaded every box ticked $48K+ Sorrento SX-L and it has the same funky grill. It’s weirder in person than in pictures, not sure how to even describe it. I think on the Sorrento it might even be metal! Didn’t really feel like plastic when I fondled it.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Nice Mazda6 dashboard. It continues the theme of this being a sporty looking sedan that doesn’t deliver as such from behind the wheel.

    I wonder if they improved the front seats. To me it was the fatal flaw in an otherwise competitive and appealing midsizer.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      I agree. And feel bad since it is such a nice looking car. In fact, it kills its Sonata at Hyundai.

      My perfect car would be a Mazda6 S again with a 6…in its Wagon form.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Hyundai, Malibu and now Kia. All reducing power and torque in their engines? Troops retreating in a battlefield? Do they expect me to support that? Not gonna happen.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I doubt they really did reduce the power. The old Optima certainly never felt remotely like it had the alleged 274hp. 247 is probably a whole lot more realistic. My suspicion is they retuned to move the torque peak down and wider, which made the power band lower but broader and reduced the peak hp, and probably eliminated any need for premium gas which reduced it a little more. That 274hp was probably on 93 octane on a cold winter day only.

      Certainly my “230hp” BMW feels MUCH faster than a “274hp” Optima when you get on it, and all the magazine testing bears that out. Not that much difference in weight between them.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Well, guess the Optima has been nerfed. Shame.

  • avatar

    Up to now, I haven’t really been indulging people who’ve said that Kia is a knock-off brand. But that interior is so obviously cribbed from BMW, it’s not even funny. They even managed to clone the silver rim around the infotainment screen and the motif surrounding the center stack buttons.

    I am not pleased. This is a giant step back from the outgoing Optima, particularly in that it looks insecure and relatively mediocre.

  • avatar
    th009

    It’s just a mid-cycle facelift. And based on comments here and elsewhere, not even a very successful one.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I came really close to getting a 2014 Optima; ended up with a 15 Sonata. The dealbreaker for the Optima (aside from it being more expensive, though much better equipped) was that despite looking nice and feeling nice, there was something just a bit… *loose* about it. It felt a bit like I was on a movie set, with everything looking great but ragged when you reach around back, like it was all just printed onto the surface. And it drove the same way; it just wasn’t quite there: On the surface it was fine, but compared to the Sonata it was just a little bit wobbly, a little bit unsettled, a little bit…. *not quite*.

    I agree that the new interior (the dash at least) doesn’t quite measure up to the old one, but if they’ve fixed the car’s general not-quite-ness (and if I’m not cross-shopping S60s and Genesises… Geneses?) then I’ll probably take a look when my Optima’s lease is up.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Ultimately, you get what you pay for. If you want a pile of toys for not a pile of cash and don’t care so much about the little details, then a KIA is kind of awesome value. As an example, to option a 328i to the same level as a $37K Optima limited is *$57K*, and you still won’t have vented seats, since they can’t be had on a 328i. My buddy Greg LOVED both his loaded Optima and now his all bells and whistles Sorrento SX-L. Me, I much prefer my pauper spec BMW wagon that cost the same as the uber-loaded KIA CUV. I like feel, he likes toys. Different strokes for different folks.

      I am ashamed to admit that I was much the cause of that 4yo but <10K mile Optima getting traded in. One evening during our hellish February I picked him up to go out to dinner in my old Range Rover on a nasty night. We had gotten 8"+ of snow and he had not cleared his driveway. The way the Rover dismissed the unplowed snow and the 2' plow berm at the end of the driveway was the beginning of the end of the Optima. I have told him he needs snow tires to do anything like that though. And of course he always complained about how the all-season shod Optima did in the snow…

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        You can say the same thing for a Camry, Malibu, etc. vs a 3 Series, and sometimes you don’t get what you pay for – like the original X3 which truly had a horrendously chinzy interior (for what you paid for) and then to top it off, the ride was brittle as well.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Err, I meant when my *Sonata’s* lease is up.

      The gap between the Sonata and the Genesis is similar; the Genesis is basically a Sonata except with everything done better that should have been done better. The Sonata is solid and everything is done really well, but it’s nowhere near my Saab 9-5 in terms of the little stuff (and some of the big stuff). The Genesis is mostly a cut above the 9-5 (haven’t driven one yet).

      It’s kind of interesting how it all works out.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Most auto reviewers thought the Optima (in SX trim) drove better than the Sonata (SE trim) and in terms of fit and finish and interior materials, the Optima was better than the Sonata.

      Furthermore, Kia offered the SXL trim which had Nappa leather (including on the door panels) which was a good bit more luxurious than what Hyundai offered on its top level Sonata.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    Hello 2011 Stretched Kia Forte… oh wait!

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Well, it was nice while it lasted. The previous K5, I mean. That was a handsome car, the one that made me aware of Kia as a brand. This… studied hard at the Sonata school of disappointing sequels.

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