Thursday, March 13, 2014


The 2014 Kia Optima is among the latest to buck the trend of cars that confuse the word “family” with “boring.”

Competing with cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry means that the Optima not only has to equal these more established models, but exceed them. And based on the view from the outside it’s off to a good start. We have long been big fans of the latest version of the Optima, and for 2014 Kia has given it a few enhancements. Both front and rear fascias are new which subtly change the shape, but the big story is the changes to the head/taillights. 

Up front, new LED daytime running lights and the first set of square, multi-element fog lights we have seen. Out back, the LED taillights now spill around the sides up to the rear fenders, with three individual bars giving the Optima a unique visual signature both from the side and the rear. 16-inch alloy wheels have been redesigned as well and come standard.

Under the hood, both engine options carry over. The base engine is a 200-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while SX and Limited trims can be outfitted with a 274-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that replaces the traditional V-6 option in this segment. 

A six-speed automatic is the only transmission option, and the SX adds a new Drive Mode Select feature which allows the driver to adjust the drivetrain and steering characteristics to their liking. Models with the base engine achieve 23/34 mpg city/highway, while turbo models get 20/31 mpg. 

Moving inside, the 2014 Optima adds new seats and a new flat-bottomed steering wheel. The Optima was already a class leader when it comes to standard options and that continues into 2014, with Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and satellite radio all standard. 

The navigation system gets a new, larger 8-inch display, and accepts voice commands. Also new is a larger, 4.2-inch customizable display in the instrument panel which provides important information to the driver in an easy to see area, improving safety.

Six airbags, antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, and traction control are standard safety features. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is optional, as are rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

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