2016 Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi Review

Driven: Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi Review

After a week-long test drive of the Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi here is what I thought about this highly spec’d large saloon car.

What is the Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi all About?

Here we have on test the all-new Kia Optima. This has to be the most well-equipped and cost-effective car available to purchase on the roads today, will this Kia live up to the hype?

The Optima we are testing is the ‘4’ trim which, in comparison to the lower spec models, comes with additional features such as 18 inch alloy wheels, an 8 inch touchscreen sat nav, panoramic sunroof and a Smart Key. However, the standard equipment that comes in the lower level spec still has some incredible features, such as a Harman Kardon 10 speaker sound system, Smart Park Assist, DAB radio, Blindspot Detection, Bi-Xenon headlights and even a wireless phone charger. The list just goes on.

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The external aesthetic improvements to the car look fantastic, the sheer length of the car gives it a great presence, the new silver-tipped grille give the face of the car some class and the 18 inch alloy wheels fill the wheel arches very nicely.

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The Kia Optima is powered by a 1.7 litre diesel engine that creates 139 bhp and 340 Nm of torque. There is a 7-speed automatic dual clutch transmission (DCT) putting that power to the front wheels. This means that the car will get from 0 to 60 mph in 10.6 seconds and will do a top speed of 126 mph; but most importantly it is able to return a combined economy rating of 64 mpg.

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How Does it Drive?

I mentioned the car comes with a Smart Key, which allows you to enter the car with the key safely in your pocket. It’s a great bit of technology which is becoming very common on most premium cars and it is great to see included on the Optima.

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When driving the Kia Optima for the first time you do notice the controls are all fairly lightweight to use, which makes the car quite refreshing and a lot easier to drive. The 7-speed automatic DCT gearbox is matched well to the diesel engine; the car seems to have loads of usable power from even low down the rev range. The shifts from the gearbox are well timed and happen quickly and smoothly.

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The Optima only comes in the 1.7 litre diesel engine. The diesel gives you plenty of power, which you need to carry four people and a boot full of luggage around, but also returns consistently high mpg. The Optima has start/stop technology to save fuel when you are not using the engine, a godsend when driving through the city. And when you’re on the motorway you can easily cruise at 70 mph and return over 60 mpg. This car really has some great engineering behind it.

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What is it Like Inside?

When I first got into the Kia Optima it did take me some time to get an understanding of where everything was and how it all worked. But after a while I soon learnt what all the buttons and screens were for. After a week with the car I was happy with how to use everything and was quite comfortable with the layout. The build quality of the interior was pretty good and it’s certainly a nice place to be. The best part about the interior is just how exceptionally practical it is.

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Of the many things that I was impressed with about the Optima, the one that stood out more than most was the incredible amount of rear legroom available in the back this car. I’m shocked while saying it but it is almost Mercedes S class level of room in the back of his car, or least it feels that way, which is a huge compliment.

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Other things that impressed me on the interior were the 8 inch touchscreen which was just fantastic, and I couldn’t believe the car had an integrated wireless phone charger, this is the first car I’ve experienced this in and I can’t wait for that to become the standard in all cars. Other features included in the Smart Park Assist System which was incredible to watch in action, and lastly the Harmon Kardon premium sound system that has 10 speakers creating 590w of power. This system sounds better than some I’ve heard that have cost thousands to tick on the options lists.

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The Experience

The Kia Optima provides an exceptionally strong everyday driver experience. The car has huge amounts of passenger space, lots of boot space and effortless economy. Owning the Kia Optima is simply just a good decision. During my time with the car I took it on a 6-hour drive, and even after this huge journey I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute and still felt relaxed. There aren’t many cars that will give you this kind of experience, let alone any as practical, efficient and as well priced as this one.

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During our review the Kia Optima has proven to be super practical, super efficient, and a super user-friendly car. The level of equipment on this car is incredibly high and just as good as some of the more premium manufacturers, meaning the £28,895 that you would have to spend on this is an absolute bargain. You can’t afford not to buy this car, it is that good.

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 Video Highlights


2016 Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi 
  • Price: £28,895
  • Engine: 1.7-Litre Diesel
  • Power: 139bhp
  • Torque: 340Nm
  • Transmission: 7 Speed Auto DCT
  • 0-62mph: 10.6 Seconds
  • Top speed: 126 mph
  • Weight: 1,720kg
  • Economy combined: 64 mpg
  • CO2: 116 g/km


Author: Paul Hadley