With bigger dimensions, the next-generation Kia Optima showcases a roomier cabin. The 2016 midsize sedan’s larger size is reflected in its 110.4-inch wheelbase (up 0.4 inches) and its 73.2- inch width (up 1.2 inches). During a one-week test drive, Optima’s stylish interior grabbed the full attention of riders. Seat comfort has improved over the prior-generation, thanks to additional foam in the upper seat-backs and deeper side bolsters. Factor in some generous legroom (45.5 inches) for the driver and front passenger, and the cushy ride wears well on long travels. Rear seat occupants can stretch the lower body with 35.6 inches of legroom. The West Point, Georgia- built Optima offers five trim levels.
There are three engine choices: a 1.6-liter, 178 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder; a 2.0-liter, 245 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder; and a 2.4-liter, 185 horsepower 4-cylinder. Both the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 1.6-liter engine, a new Optima powerplant choice, mates to a Kia-first application of a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Kia’s redesigned Optima provides 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space. The test driven Optima SX Limited with 2.0-liter turbocharged engine collects estimated mpg of 22 city/32 highway and has a suggested base price of $35,790.