European-spec 2016 Kia Optima revealed

It’s unlikely that many examples of the all-new fourth-generation Kia Optima will find buyers in the UK. That has nothing to do with the car’s capabilities, quality or purchase price. Rather, such a prediction is merely a reflection of two interlinked factors.

Firstly, Kia’s D-segment contender can expect to have poorer residuals compared to those of the prestige brands. Consequently, running costs should be relatively higher, which of course is a major consideration (especially for fleet users).

Secondly, customers in this market are extremely badge conscious. That’s one reason why the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is currently the ninth most popular car in the UK, comfortably outselling the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508 and Vauxhall Insignia.

Kia Optima (2016) Front Side

So, what are people going to miss as they rush past Kia dealers to place their orders at more upmarket showrooms instead?

At 4,855 mm (15’ 11”) long, the four-door Optima is about the same size as a Škoda Superb and slightly larger than a Volkswagen Passat.

Detailed specifications for each European territory have yet to be announced. However, alloy wheels, LED taillight clusters, seven airbags and a separate heater for rear-seat passengers are all confirmed as standard.

Kia Optima (2016) Interior

Also available are smart cruise control, two-mode electronically-adjustable suspension, leather upholstery, a wireless charger for mobile devices, a 360° around-view monitor and a choice of two touchscreen-controlled infotainment and navigation systems.

On the options list is an extensive suite of safety gadgets. This includes a lane-keeping assistant, rear cross traffic alert, blind-spot warning and automated emergency braking that uses both short- and long-range radar.

Unsurprisingly, Kia reckons that most European Optima owners will opt for the 1.7 litre diesel engine. With a variable-geometry turbocharger, it produces an adequate 139 bhp (104 kW / 141 PS) and 340 Nm (250 lb/ft) of peak torque. That output is sent to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Kia Optima (2016) Rear Side

Alternatively there’s a 160 bhp (120 kW / 163 PS) 2.0 litre petrol unit which can be combined with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Whether or not this particular powertrain makes it to the UK remains to be seen, though.

Looking to the future, Kia is promising plug-in hybrid and high performance variants. Both could well stimulate some extra interest.

Sales of the 2016 Optima are due to begin across Europe during the fourth quarter of this year.

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