Experience the drive with the Kia Optima

Sponsored postBy Tyler, editor and reviewer

Any sedan fans out there? I love a good sedan for cruising around town, parking in the city, and for their amazing gas mileage that can’t be beat. And, one of my favorite sedans has to be the new 2016 Kia Optima. I absolutely loved the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid we reviewed years ago, and my love only grew with the newest Optima.

This time, we didn’t go for a Hybrid, but we traded that for some crazy good cornering and a whole lotta power in the new Optima SX Turbo. Surprisingly, even with 245 horsepower on tap it wasn’t a huge bill at the pump and it was a car I could see myself and my family in.

Every time I get in a newer Kia I’m blown away by how impressive their interior quality is and how much technology they pack in as well. In the Optima I felt like I was in a car that should cost much more than it does, and that is definitely something to look for in a new car. Kia Optima front endHere’s what we loved about our week in a race car:

Daddy-O Likes
•    Affordable luxury  –  I really like the direction Kia has gone with the styling of their cars in the past few years, and I especially like the Optima out of their lineup. It may come in at a great price point but yet it feels like a practical, luxury car that is ideal for both parents and non-parents alike.Kia Optima on road trip
•    Sporty –  The Optima SX Turbo feels sporty, both in acceleration and handling, which makes it incredibly fun to drive both in town and on long road trips. Whether accelerating to merge onto the freeway, powering up hills, or maneuvering around my favorite back roads, the Optima was always willing and able, with power to spare.
•    Heated steering wheel  –  I realize that this is a luxury that I could really do without, but last week I was really happy to have it. With freezing temperatures and lots of late night, icy rides, having a heated steering wheel was truly awesome. Kia Optima interior
•    Panoramic sunroof – Having a sunroof makes a car feel so much bigger inside and with three kids bigger is definitely better. With the Optima, we got to experience one of the largest sunroofs anywhere with a dual sunroof that looks like one big futuristic glass dome for a roof from the outside. Come summer, I would love opening up the front panel to feel the breeze. Kia Optima sunroof
•    ECO mode – Want to save even more at the pump? The Optima is still available in a Hybrid version, but even the Turbo model we drove has an Eco Mode so you can drive as efficiently as possible.
•   Massive trunk – We like to say that the only reason why we fit into our current sedan with three kids is because of the larger trunk, but even our trunk was put to shame by the Optima. It swallowed up our massive stroller and all the gear we needed for overnight stays, including TWO portable cribs {one was being dropped off at a cousin’s house along the journey}, bags of outgrown clothing to hand down, boxes of LEGOS, and even a stack of Christmas presents along with our luggage. Kia Optima from side

Mama Likes
•    Keyless entry and ignition – Get in the car or trunk even when your hands are full. With the Optima’s key on you {in your pocket, purse, jacket, etc} you can unlock the doors by pushing the small buttons on the exterior door handles of the car or you can open the trunk just by standing behind it and letting it beep three times. Never having to fish that key out while wrangling your kids and all the stuff that comes along with them is one of my wife’s favorite features. Kia Optima keyless entry•    Heated and cooled seats – Heated seats are the way to my wife’s heart and they are one of the few features she agrees we “need”, which means she *might* actually want to buy a car one of these days.
•    Organizing dream My wife absolutely hates stuff rolling around as she drives, so for her, having a place for everything is a huge deal. Even though the Optima isn't a huge car, there are smart storage areas that let her keep everything clean and clear. Her favorite was this little tech area for her cellphone and cords. Just plug in your phone, slide the door shut, and enjoy a clean and organized console with everything in its place.Kia Optima console
•    Great gas mileage – We’re not going to fit our family into a tiny electric car, but that doesn’t mean we have to pay thousands at the pump. With the Optima, we only had to fill up once and the gas mileage was great. And, I really appreciated this cool low fuel warning feature that could guide us to a gas station if we didn't already know where one was. Note: it was not blurry in real life. This is a sad learning-a-new-lends shot. Optima fuel is low warning•     Taking the scenic road – With a car like this, it almost seems a shame to only use it on the highways. Pop off the main drag and really feel all this little sedan can do – and have a great view for photographs while you drive.
•     Three across no problem – Some sedans are simply impossible for our family of 5 {three of which are in car seats}, so my wife is always excited when we fit comfortably in a sedan and she gets the small car she likes. The other big plus is that there is plenty of room in the back seat for adults. Even though we’re both tall, we could easily sit behind ourselves easily.   Kia Optima back seats•   Cup holders for everyone – Who doesn't love lots of cup holders? With the Optima, you get the standard cup holders in the console and in the back seat, but then you have these awesome integrated cup holders in the door for storing a bottle of water or miscellaneous must-haves.     Kia Optima door with cupholder and speaker
•    Rear cross traffic alert –
While I prefer to back in to just about every driveway or parking spot, and then just drive forward to leave, my wife thinks I’m crazy. It’s for people like her that the rear cross traffic alert was created. When backing up out of a long driveway or a crowded grocery store, hearing an audible beep when motion is detected behind you is a really awesome thing.

•   Blind spot detection system – Although the Optima has good visibility even with the slanted rear window, having an extra alert is a really cool thing.

Kiddos Like
•    Good visibility – Both kiddos agreed that the visibility out of the rear seats was great, even with the sloped roofline of the Optima. Kia Optima sunroof and back seat•    Heated seats – This is something the kiddos couldn’t really appreciate with their huge carseats, but they were still impressed with the option of heated seats and kept saying “I think I feel it heating!” even though 1) it was turned off, and 2) there was no way they could feel it through their seats.
•   Race car – The kids simply referred to the Optima SX Turbo as “the race car” during the week when we were driving it, so it was a sad, sad day to go ba
ck to “our regular car”. We get it, kiddos. We get it. Kia Optima by beach
As a whole, I’d say we walked away from the Optima SX Turbo quite impressed. While most of the features we love on the Optima certainly aren’t exclusive to Kia, they are hard to come by at this price point. The Kia Optima might not have been on our list of vehicles we were considering before now, but a week with a race car has definitely opened our eyes.

Tyler SignatureA big thank you to Drive Shop for this driving experience. All opinions and raves are 100% ours.

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