As you may recall, my love affair with the Kia brand started a few months ago during my trip to Orlando on behalf of the Kia Sedona. I admitted then that my impression of the brand was very much still that of the early stages of Kia.
Well, recently, I had the opportunity to test out the Kia Optima for the first time. I was driving up to Virginia alone to take the kids to Grandma’s house and then returning back to Atlanta by myself. Needless to say, I absolutely needed a comfortable, safe and fuel efficient vehicle for the ride!
If this is the first review you’ve seen from me, I love to do what I call my “Real Deal Reviews” where I list:
- The Ideal of a product, or things I loved most
- The Ordeal, or things I didn’t love so much, and
- The Real Deal, which is exactly what you can expect if you’d try it out for yourself.
If you’re wondering if you can trust this or any of my reviews, be sure to start with this post on my honesty policy!
So after yet another classic road trip for the Adams girls, here’s my real deal review of the 2016 Kia Optima:
There are many things I absolutely loved about the 2016 Kia Optima. Yes, part of it is the fact that it feels so good driving in a brand new car and enjoying some of the cool features you get to enjoy in newer model cars. Another part is the fact that it’s a pretty stylish vehicle that both my husband and I could love riding around town. Oh, and imagine how cool I look with this full length sunroof!
In addition to these standard features, however, I found a few special touches to the Kia Optima that I especially loved. Here are my top 5:
I have to admit, I was a little worried taking off on a road trip in a sedan. To be honest, I hadn’t driven one in a while and coming from that SUV life, you naturally worry about how much space you’d have in a sedan. On top of that, we don’t know what it means to travel light. The kids were going to be gone for a month and I had to make sure they had enough clothes, toys and activities to keep them busy.
The trunk space was a big surprise. It could easily fit all of our luggage, a play tent, and we still had room for more. As great as the depth of the trunk was, the back seats can also be folded if you’re trying to store longer items in the trunk. In fact, this really came in handy during my last trip to At Home Stores where I bought some really large items and had to fit a patio umbrella and over the door hanger. Luckily, the kids’ car seats were already removed.
Safety and Convenience Features
Of course, safety is always a big concern and the 2016 Kia Optima had several features I absolutely loved. I like to consider myself to be a pretty safe driver, but here are some of the standard features of the Kia Optima that especially help to insure an even safer ride:
- Blind spot detection
- Multiple airbags including dual front, front seat mounted side, driver’s knee, and full length side curtain airbags
- Anti-lock braking system
- Traction control
- Electronic stability control
- Hill -start assist control
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Heated mirrors (perfect for those cold winter mornings)
There are also some external features that just make me feel safer getting in and out of the car, such as a key-less door opener. When you’re alone in a parking lot and fussing through your purse looking for your keys (that you know are somewhere in there), it helps being able to just open your door, get in and drive home or somewhere safe.
As far as some little tidbits that make your ride just a little more convenient, some of my favorites were being able to pre-set all of your mirrors, steering wheel controls for the radio and blue tooth, and cooled seat cushions. Atlanta summers are really hot and that last feature really comes in handy!
Love for Car Seat Moms
Also, one thing I personally look for as a mom of little ones is how easy it is to put in those car seats! I have had the displeasure of riding in some cars that make the process really difficult with basically hidden anchors or short seat belts that don’t reach over a high booster seat. One of the first things I noticed was an actual compartment that kept the car seat anchors for super easy access. I don’t think I’ve seen that before and I can tell you it made my day! Kudos to Kia for thinking of us car seat moms!
Even if your kids aren’t in car seats, my kids appreciated the adjustable shade window guards on the rear windows. Again, Atlanta summers are hot!
GPS – Gas Locator
GPSs in generally are usually an ordeal for me (possibly due to user error), but the one feature of the GPS I loved was that the pop up feature that appeared seconds after the gas light came on asking me if I wanted to search for nearby gas stations. I was super excited about that because most times if I’m away from home and in need of gas, I’m always concerned about finding a gas station nearby. This was a major time and sanity saver!
My kids love to listen to music in the car and as much as I can’t get enough KidzBop (not!), I would sometimes just prefer to not have it blasting in my ear. Also, they hate when I have to turn the radio volume down to talk to whoever’s in the passenger seat or take a phone call (through my earpiece of course). This is why I loved how easy it was to adjust the balance settings for radio volume. This seriously made us all happy at numerous parts of our trip!
Automatic seat adjustment
One of my biggest ordeals with the 2016 Kia Optima was actually one of my husband’s ideals, so know that his review would look a little different from mine. One of the features of the car was that when you turn the car off, the seats automatically adjust and move further back with the intention of giving you room to step out of the car. While it sounds great in theory, I’m a little on the short side and constantly found it a challenge for me to then try to reach the pedal to turn the car back on for the push button starter. My 6’1″ husband was fine with this of course.
Also, the seat reclined far back enough to cut off the space left for Samara’s legs in her car seat, which was a bit of nuisance as well if I needed her to strap in before I started the car.
I love automatic features just as much as the next guy, but I’m still pretty used to certain manual features and think one major improvement would be to offer the capability to actually set the distance the seat adjusted to the optimal comfort level of the driver.
The Real Deal
All in all, the 2016 Kia Optima was a pleasant surprise for me. I thought it had all of the great features you’d look for in a current model vehicle, along with some extra touches that make either your day to day commutes or long road trips even better. Plus, in today’s economy, you couldn’t help but love the fuel efficiency-up to 32 mi/gallon!
While the 4 of us could fit really comfortably in the 2016 Kia Optima (along with my kids’ dolls which they had the need to also strap in with seatbelts), I probably wouldn’t recommend this for larger families of 5 or more, as it could get a little tight.
With that said, it’s an absolute excellent value for anyone looking for a reliable, versatile and family-friendly vehicle at a cost that will not break the bank. The MSRP on a 2016 Kia Optima starts at $29,690 and it comes with a 10 year/100K mile limited powertrain warranty.
One final note to tell you how much my husband and I loved the Kia Optima…he went out and bought one last week!!!