Kia trims Optima prices and specification
IMPROVED suspension and price cuts mark the arrival of the updated Kia Optima mid-size sedan.
The range has been simplified to just two models, the Si and GT, at $33,390 and $43,290 respectively, in turn saving $1100 and $1200.
Both pick up Kia's latest infotainment software with smartphone mirroring, running through a seven-inch screen on the Si and an eight-incher on the GT. Driver aids now include an attention alert and the lane departure warning has been upgraded to lane-keep assist where the car actively corrects its course to stay between the lines.
The downside is the Si no longer has standard satnav and the high-intensity discharge headlamps have been replaced by dual projection units. In the GT, the powered passenger's seat is replaced with a manually operated pew and both front seats lose the ventilation, though seat heating is retained. The panoramic sunroof is also gone, as is tyre pressure monitoring and auto high-beam adjustment.
The biggest improvement can't be seen but can be felt, with Kia Australia gaining access to revised spring rates that weren't available when it launched the last version.
Kia Australia spokesman Kevin Hepworth says the changes improve the car's dynamics, though he cautions the car is aimed at families rather than enthusiasts, who will naturally gravitate to the Stinger stablemate.
"The changes improve the ride and make a noticeable difference to the front end - it no longer pushes wide under hard cornering," Hepworth says. "The steering has also been revised to match the new suspension."
Kia chief operating officer Damien Meredith says the pace of change in the new car market is driven by variations in consumer demand and the Optima revisions reflect that.
"Optima has been a key Kia model, for a number of reasons, for more than half a decade and keeping it fresh and market relevant is a constant review process," he says.
The facelifted Optima can be identified by a new grille and bumper and restyled wheels.
Sales of the four-door mid-sizer are down by 35 per cent to date this year - though the segment itself is down by a massive 25 per cent.
In the Optima's case the drop is largely a result of buyers preferring the Stinger's slicker styling and sportier performance.