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2012 Kia Optima Si Short Review Photo:
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2012_kia_optima_si_road_test_review_australia_15 Photo: tmr
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2012 Kia Optima Si - Australia Photo:
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2012_kia_optima_si_road_test_review_australia_03 Photo: tmr
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2012_kia_optima_si_road_test_review_australia_08b Photo: tmr
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2012 Kia Optima Si - Review Photo:
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2012_kia_optima_si_road_test_review_australia_04 Photo: tmr
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Mike Stevens | Jun, 27 2012 | 8 Comments

Overview

Type:
Medium Sedan
Price:
Engine:
2.4 litre petrol 4cyl / 6sp auto
Power:
148kW / 250Nm
Fuel consumption claimed:
7.9 l/100km
Tested:
8.8 l/100km
ANCAP rating:

The entry-level Kia Optima Si medium sedan is nearly $7000 less than its up-specced stablemate, the Optima Platinum.

It retains the 2.4 litre engine and six-speed automatic transmission - there's no manual option - but loses (among other things) the Platimum’s sunroof, sports bumpers, 18-inch wheels, LED lights, and HID headlights.

On the larger side of medium, the Optima’s cabin is spacious and well put-together.

Also, the Australian-tuned suspension provides a smoother ride than the Platinum thanks to the Si’s smaller wheels.

It might give away a lot of ‘bling’ features compared to the Platinum, but at $30,490 (plus on-roads) for the Si, we can live without them.


The steering is a little woolly and lacking in feel at the straight ahead and the engine lacks guts below 3000rpm.

Interior

Steering is tilt/reach-adjustable and, thanks to its long 2795mm wheelbase, there’s plenty of legroom.

Interior materials, fit and finish are a match for rivals at this price point. The Platinum’s leather seats have been dropped, but the new fabric trim feels durable and hard-wearing.


Front seats could do with better support in the squabs, and the iPod connectivity is limited: you can control tracks through the audio system, but playlists and albums are not displayed or ordered as well as in competitor systems.

On The Road

Mated to a six-speed ‘sports automatic’ transmission, the Optima’s smooth 148kW engine can muster up a good turn of speed when worked (you've got to give it some revs).

Wind and road noise in the cabin are low. Riding on smaller 17-inch wheels and 215/55 tyres (18-inch and 225/45 on the Platinum), the Si has a slightly more-compliant ride.

The Optima Si gets smaller brakes, but performance here remains solid with a smooth pedal feel.


Power and torque is lacking until around 3000rpm (although swapping the auto into manually-controlled sports assists when overtaking). Engine noise is a little harsh above 5000rpm.

Rear visibility and head checks are restricted by the Optima’s coupe-like C-pillar, although large side mirrors and a reversing camera help.

Safety

Carrying a 5-Star ANCAP safety rating, the Optima Si's standard features include Six airbags, active front headrests, ESC, Hill-Start Assist, ABS braking, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist System, five-seat seatbelt reminder, reversing camera and side sensors.

Verdict

On its arresting swoopy lines alone you’d consider Kia’s Optima - it is certainly a style leader in the segment.

But it’s more than just a pretty face; it drives well, though the petrol engine can be 'thrashy' when worked, offers good space inside, is well-trimmed and reasonably well-featured.

At $30,490 Kia’s Si Optima is solid buying and worth a close look.

 
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