Design & Technology / Product
In the high performing sporty sedan, Kia Optima July 15th, 2010
By Pamela A. Munoz
Overseas Communication Team
Kia Motors Corporation
I clicked on the smart key to find my all-new Optima among the sea of Kia vehicles in the company parking lot and the side mirrors unfolded as I approached the vehicle. When I sat in the car to discover for myself what this car has to offer, I was cheerily greeted with a ‘Welcome’ display on the Supervision Cluster, a 3.5 inch colour LCD screen. (I later learned this cluster uses cutting-edge optic technology for its super-clear visibility in the light or dark.) By now, I had read a few reviews from motor journalists about this vehicle already, and I could clearly see that their first impressions weren’t wrong.
When I pushed the button start, my seat moved forward due to the Integrated Memory Seat (IMS) function that retains the settings of the drivers’ preferred driving position. (When exiting the vehicle, the seats automatically move back to allow for easy exit – very handy for the ladies carrying large handbags or wearing a skirt!) I eased my way out of the parking lot and headed towards the busy streets of Seoul, taking the freeway headed into downtown.
The Optima (K5) comes with the option of three engines, the Theta II 2.0 MPI, Theta II 2.4 MPI and the Theta II 2.4 GDI, in both automatic and six-speed manual transmission. I was driving the optional 2.4 GDI automatic which has a lot more power and leverages the Optima’s upscale style and advanced features. The ride was extremely smooth, with no hesitation – and had unbelievable pick-up to overtake slower drivers. It was extremely responsive and not at all stiff along some of Seoul’s uneven roads. Heading down some of the curvier roads in the hilly terrain, handling was spot-on and secure.
Once downtown, it was a great car to be in as the turning radius was small and U-turns were a cinch. Maneuvering around the busy traffic and stand-still jams, it was nice to have the ECO button which adjusts the drive train operation for best fuel economy – resulting in fuel savings of approximately 9%. And, when I eventually did get stuck in traffic, my passenger and I were thankful for the front air ventilated seats!
By far, the best feature of the Optima was the panoramic sunroof which opened up some headspace and we could feel the wind in our hair. For city drivers, that’s not always possible. The drive around Seoul in Kia’s all-new sporty K5, known as Optima in other markets, was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures and a short video of the rearview camera for you to enjoy…