Latest Optima model includes power, comfort all mod cons

Kia has expanded its award-winning Optima range in New Zealand with a new sharply priced entry level model brimming with luxury equipment.

With a price tag of $41,990 (plus on-road costs), the new Optima LX is not only aimed at businesses and fleet buyers, but private motorists.

It features the same 148kW/250Nm 2.4-litre GDi engine and six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering column that have impressed owners of the current Optima EX and LTD models, together with a long list of high-tech equipment.

"We have worked with the factory [in Korea] to come up with a package that is streets ahead of our competitors in this price point," said Todd McDonald, general manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

McDonald says the decision to specify the larger 2.4-litre engine was influenced by its advanced direct injection technology that delivers an appealing blend of high-performance power and fuel economy.

The Optima is one of the longest vehicles in its segment. It also has generous interior space thanks to the compact front-drive mechanical layout, long wheelbase and cabin design.

But it is the high level of standard equipment that comes automatically with the LX which will drive attention towards this latest Optima model.

It retains the distinctive LED daytime running lights that have been a much-admired (and safe) feature of Optima models and also has dual projection headlights, foglights and smart cornering lamps that light the direction the vehicle is turning. Plus it has a full-colour reversing camera in addition to the reverse warning sensors, for added safety.

Inside, dual-zone climate air is standard, with rain-sensing wipers, steering wheel-mounted cruise control and audio system controls, Bluetooth connectivity, user interface LCD screen trip computer and a glovebox chiller to keep drinks cold. Remote door locking and alarm, power windows (with driver's auto down/up), heated/electric door mirrors and 60/40 split folding rear seat backs are also included. Wheels are 17-inch alloys, with a full-size spare in the boot.

The Optima LX has a full array of safety features, including electronic stability programme (ESP), ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution/brake assist and six passenger airbags, which helped to garner a five-star ANCAP safety rating for the Optima.

McDonald says a fleet purchase programme has been put together to make the new Kia Optima LX highly attractive to companies and rental businesses with multi-vehicle requirements. The purchase price also includes Kia's five-year/100,000km warranty programme, with 24-hour roadside assistance.