To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Kia Optima review – hands-on

Could be a good option for fleet buyers

Kia Optima Front

The Kia Optima looks fresh and modern

Kia’s cars are a familiar sight on Britain’s roads thanks to the company’s highly competitive pricing and seven-year warranty. Despite their obvious value, Kia’s cars have yet to become quite as desirable as their European rivals. The new, fleet-friendly Optima, with its extensive specification and impressive fuel economy, hopes to change that.

Kia expects most UK Optimas to be leased to businesses for use as company vehicles. The car is particularly attractive to businesses thanks to a claimed 57.6mpg fuel economy and 128g/km emission rating. The Optima’s clean lines give the car an understated, professional look, too.


We had the opportunity to drive the Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi 3 around Millbrook Proving Ground’s hill course, and were impressed by how easy and comfortable it is to drive. Its 134bhp 1.7-litre diesel engine, the only one available to UK customers, is no powerhouse, but it delivers useful power in a stable and progressive manner. Kia claims the manual Optima 1.7 CRDi hits 60mph in 10.5 seconds, and that feels about right. It survived Millbrook’s hill course without incident, giving us faith in its road handling, and its ride was relaxing, but not so soft that we felt disconnected from the road. We haven’t given it a full Expert Reviews road test, but we reckon it’ll perform admirably as an M6-cruiser.

Kia Optima dashboard

The Kia Optima 3 has a 7in touchscreen satnav system

It certainly has enough features to keep its occupants entertained. The Optima 1.7 CRDi 3 has a 7in touchscreen satnav system, a reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, a powerful Infinity speaker system, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and auto-levelling xenon headlights, to name but a few. Fleet drivers will love the auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlights, automatic wipers and cruise control.

In addition to the seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, Kia is also offering a range of service contracts, such as three annual services for £299, which is great value whether you’re a business or private customer.

Prices start from £19,595 on the road for the basic Optima 1.7CRDi 1, rising to £23,200 for the Optima 1.7CRDi 2 Luxe Auto and £26,000 for the Optima 1.7CRDi 3 Auto. The model we tested was the 1.7CRDi 3 Manual, which is £24,495 on the road.

Until we give it a thorough road test we can’t give a definitive opinion on the Kia Optima, but its cabin strikes us as a pleasant place to consume motorway miles or cruise through town. Its pricing strikes us as a little too high, but as most Optimas are likely to be bought by lease companies that’s a small issue. It’s marketed as a repmobile, but it’d make a great dadmobile, too.

To find out more about the Optima and request a test drive, visit

Read more