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Journeys : MNJ Aug Sep 2011
We’ve got great car loans for RACT members. Call 13 27 22 www.ract.com.au 6565 Darren Moody He says Life on the move Kia continues to impress with their new models as they hit the streets. For mer Audi designer Peter Schreyer has created the Kia face and subtle design cues, giving them an identity ver y different from their Hyundai cousin. I could go on all day about standard equipment, but plenty has already been said about that so I’ll go with the mechanicals. Technically the Optima is right up there. The 2.4L four-cylinder engine produces good power at 148kW. It is a direct fuel injection design generally seen in more expensive European vehicles, and although it lacks a little low down torque, the in-house six-speed auto transmission generally works well with it to provide a relatively effortless driving exper ience. I was a little disappointed with the around tow n economy retur ning just over 12l/100km, but a highway stint restored my faith in the driveline, returning figures in the low sevens. Around tow n, cabin insulation from engine noise could have been a little better but once at highway speeds this isn’t an issue nor is road/ tyre noise. Kia has also chosen to employ local engineers to sor t their steering and suspension and it shows. R ide is quite firm aided by low-profile tyres sitting on 18” alloys. Steering is direct but can produce feedback through the steering rack from rough or potholed surfaces. While Optima still isn’t class-leading in this area, it definitely shades plenty of others in the category and quite frankly it is only when pressing on through tw isty bits that any deficiency is noticed. Run-of-the-mill city and highway driving is faultless. ANCAP currently hasn’t provided a rating for the Optima, but I think it fair to say with the comprehensive list of standard safety features and a 5-star rating for the closely related Hyundai i45, a high rating is assured. At present only the top spec Platinum model is available in Australia, but expect to see entry and mid-level models later in the year. There are also several different power-plants for this car around the world, including a diesel and turbo petrol, but we will have to wait and see if any end up making their way into local models. Optima is a classy package that shades most others in this price range and almost gives you that premium Euro feel. Pound for pound in the mid-size class nothing comes close to the Optima for value for money with added bonus of good looks, plenty of room inside for the family and a modern mechanical underpinning. If I were in the market for a larger mid-sized car, Optima would be close to the top of my shortlist. ANCAP Rating To be tested Green R ating ★★★★1⁄2 August / September 2011 37
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