Kia unveiled the redesigned 2016 Optima Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show. According to Kia executive Michael Sprague, “The all-new Optima retains the signature personality of its predecessor, but we’ve literally improved everything, providing more space, better ride and handling, more technology and greater refinement.”
The most significant change under the hood is a new available turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 178 horsepower and is paired with a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine has 185 horsepower (seven less than the 2015 2.4-liter engine), and the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine’s output drops from 274 horsepower to 247. These engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and Kia says both have been retuned to improve fuel economy and performance in low-RPM settings. The new Optima’s chassis is lighter and stiffer than before, which will result in improved steering response and sharper handling, according to Kia.
The 2016 Kia Optima is wider and longer than the 2015 model, and these larger dimensions allow for a bit more legroom in the back seat. Additionally, Kia says it has improved the Optima's sound deadening to cut down on road and wind noise entering the cabin. Up front, the center console and control layout are redesigned to reduce the number of buttons. Automobile Magazine says the new setup is “simplified for easier use and a cleaner look,” and adds that Kia’s increased use of soft-touch materials gives the 2016 Optima a “premium vibe.”
Several new convenience and driver-assistance technologies are available with the 2016 Kia Optima, including a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. Through Kia’s UVO eServices, parents can set up driving limitations for teen drivers. These new features can alert parents if their teenage driver is exceeding a certain speed, driving after curfew or outside the boundaries of a preset geographic area.
The 2016 Optima is the first Kia vehicle to be available with Android and Apple CarPlay. With these systems, you can operate certain smartphone functions, such as messages, navigation and music, through the touch-screen display on the center stack.
The 2016 Kia Optima goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Official pricing has not yet been announced, but the 2015 model starts at $21,690.