The 2016 Kia Optima has made its world premiere at the 2015 New York International Auto Show. The all-new midsize sedan is larger with an increased width of 73.2 inches (+1.0 inch). The wheelbase has been extended to 110.4 inches (+0.4 inches). Both increments together make the car roomier and more comfortable with more head room, shoulder room and rear seat leg room, and even increase the cargo capacity.
The front-end now looks more premium with redesigned headlamps with bi-functional HID headlights/Dynamic Bending Lamps (DBL) and High Beam Assist (HBA), restyled tiger nose grille, new vertical air inlets and refreshed air dam grille. The upper grille, air dam grille and the air inlets are different from that of the K5 (South Korea-spec Optima), and unlike the K5, the Optima does not get circular fog lamps with three pentagon-shaped lights on the air dam grille.
On the sides, there are new alloy wheels which can be had in sizes ranging from 16- to 18-inches. There are three new unique 18-inch alloy wheel designs, varying on the basis of trim level. The side profile overall is nearly identical to that of the outgoing model. There are some notable changes like the rear window panel which is now sleeker and elevated upwards.
The quarter glass been made smaller. It has been moved behind the door and has a black plastic cladding on the interior side. The rear door gets a new gloss plastic cladding towards the end. The wrap-around tail lamps now extend more on the bootlid and can be had with “halo-style” LED lights. The car features a panoramic sunroof, of which, the support structure is made with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for weight savings and lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity.
In the U.S., three engine options are available, varying based on the trim level. The 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder petrol engine which produces 185 bhp and 241 Nm of torque, is available on LX and EX trims. The 2.0-liter GDI turbocharged petrol engine which delivers 247 hp and 352 Nm of torque, is available on the SXL and SX Turbo trims.
Both engines are matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic shifting. Paddle shifters are offered on the SXL and SX Turbo trims. The 2016 model also offers a new 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which produces en estimated 178 hp and 264 Nm of torque, on the LX trim. This engine is paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The plush, modern interior offers even more comfort and convenience to the passengers now. More soft-touch materials are used throughout the cabin. The number of functional keys and buttons have been reduced now to improve to ergonomics. The seat frames are now stiffer, which means less vibration on-the-go. The UVO infotainment system comes standard with Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score eServices.
The 2016 Optima marks introduction of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (available later) on Kia vehicles. Six-speaker audio system is standard, while Infinity Premium Audio System with 14 speakers, Clari-Fi technology and an upgraded 630-watt digital amplifier can also be equipped for premium.
Kia has done a lot of work on making the sedan safe and easy to drive like never before. The more than 50% of the body of 2016 Optima is made from Advanced High Strength Steel. Reversing camera is standard across the range, while SX and SXL trims offer optional 360-degree Around View Monitor too. Other safety and assistance features offered include, Advanced Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
The 2016 Kia Optima will go on sale in the U.S. in Q4 2015, with all five trim levels – LX, LX Turbo, EX, SX Turbo and SXL – offered right from the beginning. The 2016 model will be built at the company’s plant in West Point, Georgia.