First drive: Kia Optima 2011 in the UAE

First drive: Kia Optima 2011 in the UAE


The 2011 Kia Optima is hot. It is so hot that it is sold out wherever it has been launched so far. It is sold out in the UAE too, and it isn’t even out yet officially. The car will hit GCC roads by the first week of November, but Kia organised an all-day media test-drive in Dubai.

For those who really just want the Optima just for its mechanical attributes, they don’t have to wait, because the Optima is fully based on the 2010 Hyundai Sonata, down to the choice of an underpowered 162 hp 2.0-litre or a detuned 178 hp 2.4-litre engine and the single airbag in the base model. Likewise, buyers of the top model can get 6 airbags and a panoramic glass roof, but not the 190 hp direct-injection 2.4-litre or the turbocharged 274 hp 2.0-litre that are making waves in the United States.

The event started off from the Intercontinental Festival City hotel in Dubai, where we were greeted with a ridiculous number of brand-new Optima sedans. Media from all over the Middle East and Africa were flown over for the event. The stunning cars all looked identical, except that a few had a mild body kit that is optional on both engine variants. In hindsight, I should’ve looked more closely, as I ended up picking a 2.0-litre model. It turns out the 2.0-litre has one exhaust tip and the 2.4-litre has dual exhaust tips. There is no badging to differentiate the two versions.

The interior is very ‘European’ in the way that Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo and Saab do interiors. The centre-console is tilted towards the driver, and part of the dash is lined with stitched leather. At least in top trim, there is enough soft-touch materials on the rest of the upper dash and door sills, with leather or cloth padding in the door inserts and armrests. As in the Cadenza and the Sonata, about the only thing to whine about is Hyundai-Kia’s tendency to use hard plastics on the upper reaches of the doors — even if very little, it takes away a bit from the premium ‘European’ feel. Hard plastics are also on all surfaces below eye-line, but this is well within class standards. After all, it is not a high-priced luxury car, as much as it looks like one.

In our optioned-up tester, both front seats were leathered, powered and even ventilated. Seat side-bolstering is moderate, but legroom is good front and back, even if not class-leading. Rear headroom may be a concern for NBA basketball players, who incidentally Kia was bragging about sponsoring. The high door sills and thick C-pillar along the back make the rear seating feel a bit “closed” too. Cargo volume is generous.

A quick look at the features revealed a CD/MP3 stereo with USB support and a simple red display with eight Infinity speakers, power-folding mirrors, always-on LED driving lights, LED tail lights, HID headlights, full-colour LCD screen within the gauges, 18-inch alloys, paddle shifters attached behind the wheel, basic cruise control, opening glass roof and full keyless entry with starter button. The dual-zone a/c with rear vents worked extremely well throughout the day. All that, but we couldn’t find any Bluetooth functionality.

The drive till the Hilton hotel in Fujairah and back was interesting in that the provided route took us through winding roads, mountain tunnels and city streets. Handling was rather odd, though only at the limit. Body roll is moderate at most, and well-controlled without being bouncy or floaty. But making sharp steering changes seems to swing out the rear tyres, as if the rear is too light. Braking hard in an emergency stop seems to make the rear move sideways by a couple of inches too. All this can be fun, but not expecting it can cause a few goosebumps, especially when the steering hardly offers any feedback.

Like the brakes, the 2.0-litre engine is adequate if you like loafing around town, but acceleration is very slow. But while overtaking and jumping into crowded roundabouts takes a lot of pre-planning, throttle-pedal response and automatic gear-changes are good so you don’t worry about delays like in other drive-by-wire cars. The 6-speed gearbox seems to be tuned for economy, as it likes to stay in the higher gears, so I made use of the plasticky paddle-shifters on the steep mountain roads. They work well, even if slightly delayed and tending to upshift on its own at redline. Sticking to lower gears made climbing 35-degree gravel slopes easy, as we had to do at a Masafi Springs coffee break.

As for ride, our Optima with its low-profile 225-width tyres on 18-inch wheels rode a bit firmly but still fairly comfortable. The car remains quiet upto a certain point, but at 100 kph and beyond, wind and road noise becomes very noticeable. The buzzy 4-cylinder engine makes itself known on any throttle input too. But stability is superb, even at speeds as high as 190 kph.

So the 2011 Kia Optima is a competent midsize sedan that, along with the Sonata, redefines styling in this segment and at a competitive price too, but does not set any class standards in terms of driving pleasure. In other words, if you were planning to buy a VW Passat, save yourself some dough and get the Optima instead.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. i need to know the route you followed till Fujierah , did you went through Dibba via Massafi ?

  2. the last shot of blue optmia is cool

  3. Mash so they wont offer the 2.0 turbo? and i dnt get wat you mean at the end so is it good handling cause the passat is a good handling car?

  4. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    – I don’t remember the route since we were blindly following the route directions in a book, but there was no overall map given. We basically entered Fujairah from the South and left from the North. While going back to Dubai, we took a detour to the Masafi Springs which is nearly opposite the Masafi factory.

    – Last three photos provided by Kia.

    – The Kia is as good as a Passat in handling. Neither is the best handler in this class.

  5. This is the long awaited article…many thanks Mash…wanna know something..why Kia didnt provide GDI engine or 2.0T here?..did you asked them for their plan to bring here?

  6. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    ^The problem with talking to company executives is they always say they will bring those “someday.” I believe neither of those engines can handle high-sulphur fuel (as found in many GCC countries). Till date, I only found one article on the sulphur topic that suggests the UAE is okay but KSA is high-sulphur. Of course the GCC is counted as a whole.

  7. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    Oh, and no Bluetooth (or obvious phone buttons) in the car I drove. I was chatting on my phone the whole time holding it in my hand and running my business, because I stupidly thought I wouldn’t need my headset and didn’t bring it. Will update article.

  8. Interesting read…was waiting 4 it…so wld you say its better than the Sonata, since they share the same platform.
    I think its a poor decision NOT to bring the turbocharged engine and in addition get a detuned 2.4…do they always have to spoil the joy!btwn..mash..did they indicate the likely pricing??

  9. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    Sonata vs Optima is a personal choice. They simply avoided the price topic but I am sure pricing will be exactly the same as Hyundai, as seen in Sportage/Tucson. Optima has a few more touches than the Sonata, such as the part-leather dash and maybe the vented seats?

  10. Looks really awesome.

  11. I think there is a strong resemblance of the rear wid the XF’s .
    And for sum reason .. i dont lyk the Side profile .. looks too fussy .
    And the interior could’ve been betta by design .

  12. Hey Mash… looking for comparison between Optima V/S Sonatta & Tucson V/S Sportage (This one is really overdue now) …….

  13. Sonatta have an advamtage of Life Time Warranty in BAH ….!!!

  14. Mash- if GDI is a problem due to sulfur then how Mazda6 2011 model is coming with DISI engine as you mentioned your previous article?..

    waiting for your comparison between 2011 mazda6 DISI vs New Optima….:)

  15. the kia has scored one above the hyundai in this category

  16. thnx mash. nw the wait is 4 it 2 arrive @ showrooms, so i can take it out 4 a spin. If its good as its looks, i may spend, but will wait 4 more updates frm ur side as well…bt i defintely think waiting for the powerful engines might end up as a VERY LONG wait… πŸ™‚ btwn mash…do u think the 2.4 is a much better investement than the 2.0l, considering there is just a 15 horses difference?

  17. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    – Some companies manage to sel direct-injection and turbo engines in the UAE, though it is unknown what mods they do or if they sell in KSA. Notice that Lexus and Mazda DISI engines are detuned.

    – Optima is better than Mazda 6 in interior materials alone. But Mazda surely handles better.

    – The 2.0 Optima was extremely slow, so I don’t know how much better the 2.4 is. Official Kia figures state 0-100 kph is 1.4 seconds quicker. 10.9 vs 9.5 sec.

  18. looking forward to get detail comparison between mazda vs optima..in terms of performance, handling, build quality, breaking, fuel efficiency etc…

    hope we will not need to wait long Mash…:D

  19. Even the new infiniti M56 comes with a detuned engine, so yeh i guess it is possible but probably involves some mods which, depending on the company may or may not want to spend on the mods.

  20. As much as I love Kias, I would choose a mazda 6 over any of the family sedans even over this. No car can beat it on the fun-o-metre. Hell, even passengers enjoy a mazda 6.
    But, I must say that design is the one of the most attractive in it’s class – Inside and out. It is, no freakin doubt, gonna turn heads on the road and mall parking lots. Personally, I like this design better than the Sonata’s. And I bet it will age slower than the latter’s.

  21. ok when to the showroom the prices are as follow

    – AED 65k

    – AED 72k mid range

    – AED 89k top range

    all of them have 2.4L engine, there is no 2.0 engined offered in UAE.

    the midrange comes with panromic moonroof (or whatever u call it, 6 speed auto, steering mounted controls, cruze controls 17inch alloys

    interior quality falls short incomparision to honda accord, however it is better than americans certainly camry… but for 72k will all these goodies i am not complaining

    interior design wise i am ok with, vert acceptable

    exterior it looks gorgous.

    i would buy is over a camry and a overpriced accord anyday any time…

    but will it sell?

    dealers = Juma al majid they suck big time

    market volume buyers= pathan and malus cant understand anything beyond corolla or a sunny

  22. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    ^Thanks for the prices. And sad that I ended up testing a 2.0L.

  23. Noob^^^^^ πŸ˜›

  24. “if you were planning to buy a VW Passat, save yourself some dough and get the Optima instead.”

    thats all what i needed to hear… good review mashy.. πŸ™‚

  25. I dont agree with MASH , that this car has better interior then mazda , i went to check this car no dout it looks good outside and inside interior looks good but just do little knock knock it feel like empty box , Mazda6 2009 and ownwards(2011 has improved interior) door panel has soft touch material , its only the drivers side of dashboard that got the cost cutting effect , passenger side is compeltey soft (though not leather) , and some plastic on ac panel (Mazda6 utlra has different panel material with wrapping of aluminum) over it…
    the mazda blue odometer in night is treat to watch and drive (compared to booring red with optima)

    have a review of mazda inside and out.
    And this cars chasis does not comes close to Mazda far supperior handling ! plus mazda sounds better in engine , this sounded like chicken to me….

    optima good for certain kind of people but mazda only true driver cars !

    only the negative perspetion of agent is hurting mazda…

  26. this exterior has to much audi in it…

    and second….

    people planning to buy car with 70-80 , go and please check mazda showroom in Abu Dhabi.

    There are 2 2009 Mazda Ultra 3.7 left (2 pieces one test car and other paiti pack)

    they are giving it throw away price of 75K for brand new one and more discount on test car.

    this is price they are qouting without any bargain…

    and they said they dont have any plan to bring V6 any more ! so i feel great deal !

  27. To be honest it looks like bits and pieces of other cars but heck still a cheap and good buy.. id have it over the new camry which is a dissapointment compared to older camrys..

    Those japanese dealers here in the uae should start thinking of getting less greedy and sell their cars for a decent price..

  28. Nice design.
    Good coverage from drivearabia.com

  29. Hey Mash,
    I’m planning to buy Malibu 2010 LT 2.4

    Do you think Kia optima can do better?

  30. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    They are pretty even in terms of space and power (or lack thereof). The Kia might be better built but the Malibu might have slightly better resale. The Malibu handles better and has more standard safety but the Kia is cheaper and has other nice features. Drive both and see.

  31. I drive a 2007 Toyota Prado VX and I was thinkin of buyin a buddy for ‘him’. Because I already have a 4X4, i thought of going for a sedan. I’m totally bemused by the move Kia have taken in the market. The shift to an upper segment has its own risk, but I personally feel they hvnt disappointed the GCC market by bringing out a really gud lukin & value for money car. The ride is worth the price. Went to check out the car myself today, but showroom was closed due to Eid holidays (forgot abt it somehow). Will be goin there 2moro πŸ™‚

  32. Between the Mid Option Kia Optima and the Full Option Renault Safrane V6, which car would you recommend? I have test driven the Safrane and I am pleased with it, lacks a lot in the looks department.

  33. I have tried the full option Malibu and its handling, cabin features and comfort are terrific compared to the Renault Safrane. But I have been hearing about how expensive Chevy cars are to maintain. Plus the full option Malibu is a lot expensive than the Safrane. There is however a full option 2010 Malibu which has run 24000 Kms going for almost the same price as a brand new Safrane. I am confused, do you think its worth it? For 5 years I have had a company car and I never had to bother about all this
    πŸ˜‰ Among the Optima, Safrane and the Malibu which has more resale value? And also in terms of service which might be better option? Lot of questions!!

  34. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    Safrane for comfort and engine, Malibu for handling, Kia for looks. Resale, none.

  35. Thanks Mash, shall keep that in mind. What about the service?? Which would be good in terms of service besides Kia? Tried the Chrysler Seibring Limited Edition 08 model from pre owned showroom. Has done less than 9000Kms and almost same price as the Safrane. When I spoke abt the Safrane, the salesman said Seibring would be lot cheaper to maintain than the Safrane. Also harped about the Gear box problems for the Renault, and he tried to shove the Seibring to me. Not too many Safranes here, so just a lil bit apprehensive.

  36. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    ^Don’t know what that guy was harping about. The Safrane is a Nissan design, and services are cheaper than a Nissan. For reliability, you’ll have to sit and read my updates for the years to come, as I wouldn’t know definitively.

  37. Cheaper than Nissan wow. The Safrane is available in Arabian Auto pre owned showroom in Aweer I heard for lesser than 77K, havent been able to go there yet.

  38. Prado, I can’t believe you are well educated and still made such generalized, pathetic, and narrow-minded remark about Pathans and Malayalis (not malus) being unable to “understand anything beyond corolla or a sunny”.

    I would like you to know that many Pathans know a lot about cars than you as there are many Pathan mechanics and garage owners in UAE.

    You should know that there are more than 300000 Pathans and 700000 Malayalis in UAE. How many of them do you know that only know about corollas and sunnys?

    Even if you’re right about some of them, did you ever think that they might know about more important things concerning life (such as savings, principles, etc) rather than just knowing a comparison study of two similar vehicles and posting insulting comments on the internet? Look at the examples of Pathans such as Abdul Mohmand (astronaut) or Dr. Mahathir (longest serving prime minister of malaysia).

    Man, whatever ethnic group or nationality you belong to, you have good and bad people just like other groups. You can never generalize. Btw, Im not a Pathan, nor a Malayali. I just like to spread peace and chill.

    Mashfique, I apologize for dragging things a little bit off topic but I was not the one to start and I should respond.

  39. @WA

    u need get some facts staight and think out of the box here and stop issuing self defeating defensive posts

    1) malus what i refered to are = South indians dudes from kerala, i personally never see a malaysian.. or see a malaysian driving in UAE. so your imagination is running a riot here

    2)and yes these 2 people suffer from herd mentality which why u will see them partiular type of cars.

    3) Pathans know about cars than me?.. collectively i doubt it very much

    They depend upon word of mouth for knowledge as most of them are illerate and do not read JD powell reports, or articles highlighting improvements in korean automotive engineering etc. They are not a knowledge based group but a word of mouth based group. so they will buy what uncle or chacha jee tells them rather than a special automotive journal

    Personally i would just be happy if could drive straight!..and so would Dubai police, they statistically are the worst drivers, Gulf new had an article on this some year back.

    now coming back to the topic, the relevance of these ethnic groups accounts for most of the second market. they are usually cash buyers and is bcos of them the second hand for corolla and sunny remains high. they would never buy KIA or hyundai which brings down the resale values of these cars no how good they get matter.

    subaru is another fine example of an excellent jap cars that has a poor resale value

  40. Ya i agree with you W.A. this Prado is mentally retarded, i noticed many of his previous comments also, always downgrading and speaking negative about other people, he must be some crack Arab (who pretend to be emarti, real emaritis are ice people) or stupid English guy….filled with self assumed superiority complex. May be he belongs to one of those groups who buy yaris on loan, put cheap bright white lights, and try to tailgate / flash people on fast lane, finally some day die under the tires of Armada or Landcruiser.

  41. Hi Mash, I have settled on a Lancer GT 2.0L 2010 model. Buying 2nd hand though, has just clocked under 10,000Kms. Full option minus the leather seats, interestingly has a very nice touch screen multimedia system instead of the normal display on the dealer models. Also can play dvd in it. Has 5 years extended warranty and free service upto 20,000Kms. I took the VIN number and had it checked from the dealer for any structural damage, and the workshop guy was accomodating enough to pull out the details for me. And has no damage. Service books are in order, its a lady driven car and well maintained. Took a test drive and loved it.
    Anything I should look out for when I take actual possession of the car? Non-commercial I mean. The vehicle passing will be done and only then I will take the car. Tyres are as good as new, no rim bends. It was mentioned 18″ alloys, but the marking on the tyre was 17. I will ask the lady tomorrow abt it. Will be glad if you can suggest any check lists or stuff I should be aware of.

  42. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    ^I think you’re good to go. And if tyre says 17, it is 17, but I believe Lancer came with 18. Odd.

  43. Hello Mash ,
    I really appreciate you answering each and every query posted here . Its really rare seeing someone so helpful . So here is my question ,
    I’ve decided on buying a car or a suv as long as it is under 80000 . I’ve currently decided on these vehicles –
    1)Kia optima
    2)Mitsubishi ASX
    3)Renault Safrane
    4)Chevrolet Malibu ( Used , price – 54k , run 5000 kms)

    Which one should I get out of these and which one do you think is best considering overall statistics ? . And if you would like to suggest any other vehicle (not a hyundai or a mazda) within the price range , please do . I’d greatly appreciate it . πŸ™‚

  44. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    That is a wide range and I cannot make a decision for you, brother. Read the reviews, drive the cars and see what you like.

  45. I have driven a lot of Cars brother . I am buying it for my father to be exact and he drives quite a lot . I have decided on the Mitsubishi ASX . Do you think its a good choice or the mid range optima is better ?

  46. Amazing styling and overall appeal. Love what former Audi Chief Designer, Peter Schreyer, has done with this vehicle. The mid-size segment has been set on its ear with the Sonata and Optima. Honda and Toyota have been left in the dark and must get back to the drawing board quickly. Hyundai/Kia are a force.

    http://www.isleofexile.blogspot.com

  47. Hii Marsh. Just wondering am about to submit my papers for a KIA Optima 2011. But, i would like to have answers for the below mentioned. Please help me out.

    1. I heard that the spare parts of KIA are quite expensive with compared to Nissan / Toyota. Is that true?

    2. I knew from a friend of mine who uses KIA, says that when his KIA completed 40,000 kms. From then on the engine power has reduced a lot. Is this true?

  48. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    ^Never heard either of those things.

  49. The Blue Optima looks awesome. Super snapshot!!

    The Korean are offering better looking and more engine option cars than the Japs nowadays. I think it wont be long for us to see Hyundai/ Kia to supersede its Japanese rivals.

  50. At least their cars are the only ones with a bearable and reasonable price tag for a mainstream avg saloon…

  51. @Prado
    Btw, the reason why I talked about Dr. Mahathir was because he’s known as one of the famous people from kerala because his ancestry roots back to Kerala. If you have a hard time digesting that example, then take the example of Gopalakrishnan who is the founder of an IT company which has more than 100,000 employees. You should’ve tried to understand my point which is to be happy and dont patronize other people or treat yourself superior to others (human or animals).

  52. nice review about this car.will think of it soon…so sad that someone is not into liking of it…just wondering how much would maintenance cost on this one…resell is not the issue..any car used with 100,000km driven would sell cheap. the design will surely put a move on some of jap’s cars.

  53. Hi Mash and Everyone,
    I have just been to Kia dealer in Jeddah, they were having a test Drive week and I was surprised that basic Optima is costing SR 58000, surprising low from UAE, I guess even in UAE the prices have come down a little. Cerrato starting from SR 39500 and Sportage SR 65000. I couldnt get the price for other cars as there was mad rush there.
    Cheers

  54. Hi Mash

    Which car has good value for money ? Optima(mid range)74k Dhs Vs. Galant 2.4 (full option with rear view camera)77Dhs which include insurance + 3years service waranty Vs. Sportage 4×2 (full option)75k Dhs

  55. Currently its the best car but good till you run it for around 100,000 kms max n then xchange with a newer car.

  56. @WA

    i still dont see your point? what has a malaysian FM got to do with South indian driving?, it is like saying trying to connect african americans and africans…they have almost nothing in common

    @ Vee sixer turbo

    retarded?… getting personal are we?

    PS are u related to malus or pathans? …. i am sorry is should have smelled it… sorry i meant guessed it.

  57. Whats with this mallu-pathan-corolla debate going on??? I am from one of the underrated race Prado just mentioned, the mallus. Dear Prado, yes you are right – but not completely. The mentality of a vast majority of the Mallus “used” to be something that always favored the Toyotas or Nissans and sometimes Hondas. The simple reason was the inevitable fact that these cars “used” to be cheap and economical to maintain, not to mention their unquestionable reliability. However, things started changing; Toyotas started manufacturing extremely expensive plastic garbage and suffer from expensive dealer maintenance, Honda prices shot up even more insanely just because they were better than Toyota while suffering from expensive spare parts cost, and Nissan’s now non-japanese cars are expensive to maintain. And the Americans and Europeans who were known to make bird poop, now make cars that leave the Japanese in shame. With so many changes that took place, it may be hard for you to believe that the mentality of many of the Mallus, especially the younger lot, has changed to a great extent. If not, then count the number of Mallu youths who drive around in Corollas and let me know when you finish counting 5. They now consider brands such as Hyundai, Ford and Chevy more than any Toyota or Honda. Of course, the ultimate reason for the choice remains Einstein-deep economy calculations – but what are expats here for if not for saving something especially when they remain an “outsider” regardless of the numerous years they live here? If you still blame the race and their mentality, then have a visit to Kerala and tell me the number of Toyotas you can find there over Mercs, BMW’s, Fords, Skodas, VW’s and Audis. Down here for the common Keralite and for any sensible middle-class expat, its more about saving a buck rather than selling yourself to pay off the service bills for an automobile. Thanks to the racist mentality of various other self-proclaimed superior nationalities, and our feelings or situations dont stand a chance to be seen or realized. And if you did not know, there is yet another set of people who also account for large sales volumes of Toyota and Honda. The Egyptians and Syrians. Another country where Toyota is most popular, is the US. Down here too, all my American friends opt for Toyota. Would you dare speak about them just because they buy Toyotas?? What more… your nick reads PRADO, which is definitely not from Kia or Chevy!! And I am one of the mallus whom u criticized, but owns a Ford and has never owned a Toyota, Honda or Nissan.

    There is no end to such baseless disputes dude. Why not enjoy what the automotive world has to offer rather than passing racist comments and sparking violence? I will not continue this conversation anymore no matter what the reply is. Hope you understand brother. No hard feelings and nothing personal. Cheers!

  58. well said vivek…totally agree…

    now..back to the main topic: the optima IS hot ! πŸ˜€

  59. @vivek

    Qoute
    “Racist”
    you do know spanish people prefer buying manuals not bcos they are cheap but bcos they have a macho mentality of not letting other change their gears…. now am i being racist here?…lol

    qoute:
    “sparking violence”…

    Are you for real???…violence over analysing car buying habits?..oh dear you folks need to a grow a thicker skin…lol

    perhaps that is why your country has a history of horrific communal violence?….

    • You will not dare to be racist when talking about Spanish or any Europeans. And “buying manual cars” have nothing in common to “being illiterate” and “suffering from herd mentality” – so now you know what I meant! Oh yea, talking about the history of communal violence – rest of the world enjoys absolute peace n traquility yea! Watch CNN when possible. And for you info, those violences are sparked very much by folks like you – afterall, you are not the only one of your type. You were definitely not analysing any “car buying habits” when you passed your comments and thats evident to everyone here – the reason why you have no support!

      I had decided not to give you anymore replies and waste my time, which is exactly what I will do after this. I just had to tell you that we are what we are and you are no one to judge. If its about car buying habits then that can be discussed in a fair manner…baah! leave it, no point tellin u

  60. Got my Optima 10 days ago. Driven 700kms. With an avg speed of 50km/h (idling time included) fuel economy is 9.1 l/100kms. This is my first car I own otherwise I was driving leased cars provided by the company.

    Everyone was against me buying a KIA but believe me when it arrived those same people cant get enough look at this car. It makes me proud when I see pedestrians waking by circling around and peeking inside.

    The only let down is the KIA badge. I found new badges arrived in the US with only “K” written on it and “K5” instead of “Optima”. Also I’ve noticed a 8″ touchscreen with Navigation which is not available in the UAE.

    Anyone around here knows an aftermarket for KIA parts?

  61. I just wrote a comment this morning and now it has disappeared?

  62. I read few reviews about 2011 Optima mostly I read about car handling and stability on the road. I’m just wondering if this car has that problem then how it won red dot award http://www.kiamotors.com/about-kia/company/corporate-news-view.aspx?idx=549&Page=1&s1=1&sv=

    I loved the interior and exterior when i saw in showroom, but after reading reviews I’m bit hesitate to go for it.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      Red Dot is only a design award. Nothing to do with the drive. Either way, you needn’t worry about this car’s handling. It is fine when *not* driven like a sports car.

  63. @viviek
    Watch CNN when possible. And for you info, those violences are sparked very much by folks like you ***************

    RE: how? i dont see my self going around in head bands and a torch in my hand….

  64. Hi Mash,

    I liked both Sportage and Optima, infact paid Aed 500 to book for a red sportage, later I drove an Optima and I m impressed with this one too!!I have to make a final decision today and confirm to Juma al majid…I m very much confused and dont know which one to go for.I know one is a Suv and the other a Sedan,help me make a choice,which would be better and also which would have a better resale value??Pls give me a response ASAP!!!

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      If you’re buying a Kia, you can forget about resale value right now. The Optima is better than the Sportage.

  65. Hi Mash,

    I fell in love with this car ever since I read your review πŸ™‚
    I have heard that KIA is launching a new model for Optima. Please share if you have any information regarding this!

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      Ironically, Kia told me this is a negative review! Anyway, haven’t heard anything for this market, although the U.S. market gets a GDI, a turbo and a hybrid engine.

  66. I think this is the best review for Optima I have seen so far…I m from Kuwait…I went to KIAs showroom the other day and I was told that Optima 2011 is out of stock as they are going to launch the 2012 model soon…so I thought may be you will have some insights on that!

  67. Any one of you using the optima? I am serious in buying one within next 20-25 days. any opinion? is it a good go?

  68. Yes i own optima sx, its the best. Only dissapointment is the airconditioner which sux when temp is 40-50 degrees, so the only tints which will work is HuperOptik cause its nanoceramic & never fades cause its not dye made. Also my suggestion test drive all cars, i took test drive all cars OVERNIGHT. Finally down to two chevrolet malibu & optima sx. Malibu rocks

  69. Hi Guys,

    I know this is a post that may be kinda late, but I just want to ask. I’ve been curious as to those little square white thingies on the headlight. What is the function of that and is it available in the base model?

    Sorry about bothering Mash, just wanted to check. Hope you could take some time to shoot a one line reply on this one. Would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!

    • The ones along the side of the headlight are high-visibility reflectors that are visible at night when light is shone on them. It’s a basic safety feature on all cars. The white LED lights in the bumper are day-time driving lights only available on the higher spec models.

  70. Thanks for the response. I initially thought they were cornering lights. stupid me.

  71. Hi Mash,

    Thank you for the insightful review. I’m looking for your advice please. I’m confused which to buy between Renault Safrane or Kia Optima, both automatic 2.0 base models? both cars are nice in styling but i feel Safrane is safer and more firm on road. Please advise which one you believe is better. Thanks!

  72. I’m looking at some cars for colleagues at work & have brought the choice down to models from Toyota (Corolla/Camry), Ford (Fusion),VW (Jetta), Kia (Optima 2.4), Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Cadenza.
    I guess the cars will be kept for 3 yrs max, then replaced with new models.
    All models are known by us with the exception of the Korean contingent.
    So service costs, overall running expenses are as important as eventual trade-ins.
    This is where I become a little stuck.
    Any advice appreciated, great review.

  73. Congrats KIA Optima won best midsize sedan in the middle east!

  74. Hey…
    The Kia Optima is great butt I say the carnival is too much better

  75. Hot Car of the Year 2012

  76. The sleek looking Optima has put me in a fix. Should I go for a used Merc C class (which I was close to finalising) or the new Optima? My top 2 concerns are safety and maintenance costs. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  77. hi, go for a new one as used is used even its merc….. I am also going for a mid range optima here in Jeddah. …… for 73 k. …… optima beats others in options……… touch start, bluetooth, 17 inch alloys, rear sensors. …….. hard to get anwhere else.

  78. Thanks Nauman

    Yesterday, I went to Kia showroom with my mind leaning towards Optima. The absolute lack of interest of the staff and the poorly managed showroom has me leaning more towards the merc. If this is how they react to sales, I can only imagine their reaction when I go back claiming my warranty. Hyundai staff was much better and I left the showroom thinking about Sonata as an option.

  79. I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FUEL CONSEPTION (MILLEAGE) ABOUT KIA OPTIMA 2.0 AND 2.4.

  80. Dear Bros’,

    Need ur valuable opinion on buying a car which comes under 65 k uae dirhams. I am confused on whether to go for chevy cruze or kia optima, or fod. Facts to be considered are i have to travel daily 150 km, so definitely i have to think of fuel efficiency and also maintenance cost. kindly advise.

  81. hi mash!
    Dear God, i hope your awake and reply immediately to this. im in a bit of a soup.
    Theres a deal @ the Renault/Nissan showroom :
    1) 2009 Safrane 2.0 with 65000 Km for AED 37000
    2) 2011 Safrane 2.0 with 19200 KM for AED 50000

    Which would you take ?
    Also, should i take a Safrane at all ? i’v read ur review on the 2009 Safrane ur dad uses, seems appropriate but after reading alot of ur stuff, i cant help wonder WHT WOULD MASH DO??

    its my first car, and i’v got to make the deal tomorrow ! DO let me know ASAP [email protected]

    btw, while doing my due dilegence iv stumbled upon your sight, and have to say its asbolutely top notch – your freakign brilliant man πŸ™‚ Cheers

  82. also i might add ^^^^^
    iv driven both cars and love the comfort/engine.
    but im worried about resale value!

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      I wouldn’t take anything less than the 2.3 V6 model (which is what we bought). But if you’re worried about resale, this might not be the car for you.

  83. HI,Mash…am planning to buy a kia optima …but confused wth 2.0 or 2.4 litres..does the mileage makes big difference for both ? also advise the real mileage per litre for 2.0 and 2.4…

  84. ABS is not available in 2.0 model(AED60.900), however it is there in 2.4 L which is AED73.900 with panoramic roof.

  85. Let me know the maintenance expenses compare with same class sedans.

  86. Dear Mash, which car is better ..Optima 2.0L or Nissan 2.4 L

  87. kia optima is cheap to maintain, services much less than Honda ACCORD, 5000km AED170-200 10.000km AED300-400..and u can always ask a discount.

  88. i am driving kia optima 2.0. there is not much difference in power and fuel consumption. Optima consumes up to 10 L(not highway) of petrol per 100KM in very hot summer time, in cooler weather it consumes 7.7L-8.2L per 100Km mixed driving conditions. Full tank is AED107(special), enough for 570-600km until yellow signal is on that will remind you to put petrol even though it has about 8 liters left in the tank. The full tank is enough for 10 days diving From Sharjah, Al khan to Dubai mall.

  89. agree with ali KIA are cheap to maintain,,,

  90. currently i am ordering body kits for Optima 2.0

  91. I am looking to buy Kia Optima 2013 model 2.0 litre. Would you adivse me about it. Did anyone tried it or knew any new feature compared to 2012/2011 model in terms of fuel/power/safety?

    • Add 4k more and get the 2.4 litre model, you won’t regret it. As for safety features, you only get a single airbag. Want more safety features? Then shell out 75k and get the mid-option, which is decently spec-ed, gets two airbags and ABS with EBD.

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