New Kia Optima: prices, specs and release date

Latest Kia saloon goes on sale in January

The new Kia Optima saloon will be available to buy on January 5 2016.

It’s priced from £21,495 and first deliveries are expected in early 2016, with a sporty GT model, a plug-in hybrid and an estate version joining the saloon later in the year.

The new saloon showcases a refreshed design, a revised 1.7-litre diesel engine and more interior space. The fourth-generation Optima also sports a higher-quality interior, plus improved ride and seat comfort.

Kia says that the Optima is an important model for its European line-up, as the car “has offered buyers something fresh and different in the D-segment”.

Kia Optima design and interior

Described as evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the new Optima still features the ‘tiger nose’ grille seen on the rest of the Kia range, along with the familiar swept-back headlights. The lower portion of the front grille has been widened, there’s chrome trim and small side vents at both corners of the bumper and three-lens foglamps bookend the larger vent.

Not much has changed at the rear: the light clusters are now entirely made up of LED bulbs for a ‘halo-style’ effect.

The styling revisions are meant to make the Optima more aerodynamic, which helps with fuel efficiency, while the new car’s wheelbase (the space between the front and rear wheels) is 10mm longer. That provides more interior space and up to 25mm extra legroom in the rear.

Also, there are more soft-touch plastics on the dashboard, while gloss-black trim and touches of chrome have been fitted to the centre console. Soundproofing and a stiffer body help keep both road and tyre noise down to a minimum at speed on the motorway.

Kia has also listened to feedback about the current Optima's rather unsupportive seats. Comfort has been improved by reshaping the seats and fitting stiffer frames.

Engines and fuel economy

The new Optima will be available with just one engine in the UK – a revised version of the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel from the current model.

This 139bhp 1.7-litre engine is capable of returning up to 55.3mpg when fitted with a stop-start system. CO2 emissions of 110 grams per kilometre mean your annual road tax bill will be £20. This engine is available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

A 2.0-litre petrol engine will be available in some European markets, but Kia has no plans to bring it to the UK. However, the will launch a plug-in hybrid version of the Optima in 2016, while a high-performance model could be on the cards, too.

Optional electronic suspension will be available to UK buyers. This alters the firmness of the car’s ride in response to your steering and pedal inputs. If you want, you can also choose between 'normal' and 'sport' presets.

Kia Optima GT

Kia plans to launch its first performance saloon, the Kia Optima GT. Powered by a 241bhp turbocharged petrol engine, the GT will come with electronically controlled sports suspension to help it handle the extra power.

The Optima GT was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show alongside the standard version. The pictures show a more aggressive design, but Kia warns us that it’s a prototype version. When the production model goes on sale, the design “will feature a redesigned ‘tiger-nose’ grille, bold body styling and a new wheel design”. The Optima GT is set to go on sale in Europe in 2016, but it’s not certain whether it’ll come to the UK.

Technology and safety

Along with a stronger body shell and more airbags as standard, the latest Optima is available with a large amount of optional safety technology. Adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system, blind-spot monitoring and a system for detecting when cars are passing when reversing out of a parking space can all be fitted.

The car comes with either a seven or an eight-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard and this is used to operate the infotainment and sat-nav systems. Kia's Connected Service can be fitted to the new Optima, too. This feeds real-time information such as traffic updates and weather forecasts directly to the car.

Wireless mobile-phone charging capability is another option, in the form of a charging pad in the cubbyhole in front of the gearlever. The car will notify you if you leave a compatible device on the pad when you get out. Two USB ports can be equipped – one in the front and one in the back – and rear-seat passengers are treated to their own air vents.

A Harman Kardon stereo is an optional extra, as is a 360-degree camera that gives you a ‘birds-eye view’ of the car to help with manoeuvring or parking in tight spaces.

Wireless mobile-phone charging capability is another option, in the form of a charging pad in the cubbyhole in front of the gearlever. The car will notify you if you leave a compatible device on the pad when you get out. Two USB ports can be equipped – one in the front and one in the back – and rear-seat passengers are treated to their own air vents.

A Harman Kardon stereo is an optional extra, as is a 360-degree camera that gives you a ‘birds-eye view’ of the car to help with manoeuvring or parking in tight spaces.

Price and release date

The Kia Optima will be available to buy on 5 January 2016, with first deliveries expected in early spring. Prices for entry-level models start at £21,495. The sporty GT model will arrive later in 2016, as will a plug-in hybrid and an estate.

For more on the current-generation Optima and other Kia models, visit Carbuyer's Kia reviews page.

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