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Kia Optima

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The new Kia Optima , capable of 57.6 mpg and 128 g/km CO
2
, goes on sale in the UK from 1 February in a diesel-only company car targeted range.

The Optima has been configured to appeal to the business community who make up the vast majority of D-segment customers in the UK. It will be sold only with a diesel engine – a new 134 bhp version of Kia’s 1.7-litre CRDi power unit, with four specification options.

All manual versions feature Kia’s EcoDynamics fuel-saving, CO 2 -reducing measures, including Intelligent Stop & Go and aerodynamic drag-reducing measures, while automatics have an Active ECO button which alters the operation of the engine’s electronic control unit and the compressor on the climate control system, bringing potential fuel savings of around 9%.

Acceleration from 0-60 mph takes 10.2 seconds in manual versions and 11.5 seconds with automatic transmission, while the respective top speeds are 125 mph and 122 mph.

The manual can achieve 57.6 miles per gallon, with CO 2 emissions of 128 g/km, while the figures for the automatic are 47.1 mpg and 158 g/km.

The automatic transmission features Neutral Control, which shifts the transmission from ‘D’ to ‘N’ when the car has been stopped for a few seconds, reducing the load on the engine and, therefore, fuel consumption.

A gate-type shift pattern offers the driver a choice of two operating modes – fully automatic for town use, or drive for a more involving driving style.  In drive, the driver can perform clutch-less sequential manual changes – up or down – via steering column-mounted paddles.

Kia’s motor-driven power steering (MDPS) delivers assistance only when needed to reduce the load on the engine and save fuel.

The low co-efficient of drag – down to 0.29 from the 0.32 of Kia’s previous D-segment saloon – not helps fuel economy.

Along with the Picanto and Rio, Kia now has three all-new models introduced within the last eight months.

Kia’s corporate sales were up by 145% between 2010 and 2011, for a market share which improved from 1.58% to 2.42% – although this started from a small base.

The Optima offers new features including a high-end Infinity audio system, along with self-parking, heated and cool-ventilated seats, cornering lights, panoramic sunroof, reverse parking camera and an automatic cabin defogging system are also available, as is a six-speed automatic transmission.

Sold in the UK with Kia’s 1, 2 and 3 trim grades, the mid-range 2 versions also offer buyers the options of ‘Luxe’ or ‘Tech’ variants. Standard features include alloy wheels, air conditioning, LED daytime running lamps, leather steering wheel, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, all-round electric windows and electric folding mirrors as well as cruise control and a speed limiter.

The mid-grade 2 specifications include solar glass with auto defogging, automatically activated wipers, an eight-way adjustable powered driver’s seat with memory setting, heated front seats, dual zone auto air conditioning, reverse parking camera, iPod connectivity and a premium Supervision instrument cluster and paddle shifts on automatic models.

The Optima ‘2 Luxe’ version has grey leather seats with a grey cloth trim, panoramic sunroof with electric blinds, 18-inch alloy wheels, black front calipers, black and chrome radiator grille surround, sculptured side sill mouldings and front and rear valances and a reversing camera in the rear-view mirror.

The Optima ‘2 Tech’ is equipped with black leather and cloth upholstery, a 12-speaker premium Infinity audio system – including a centre speaker, an external 11-channel amplifier and an eight inch subwoofer – 17-inch alloy wheels and a 7-inch touch-screen satellite navigation system with European mapping and an integrated reversing camera.

Optima 3 is a combination of the mid-grade 2 models with additional features. It includes a panoramic sunroof, auto light control, Infinity audio system and touch-screen satellite navigation with integrated reversing camera, Xenon headlamps with automatic levelling, full black leather upholstery, a cool-ventilated driver’s front seat, heated rear seats and an automatic parallel parking assist system, smart key with start/stop ignition button, stainless steel door scuff plates with front illumination, mood lighting and alloy pedals.

As with all Kias, the Optima comes with Kia’s unique seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, subject to conditions covering wear and tear items. The warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owners.

See our Kia Picanto road test