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    Interactive Review: 2012 Kia Optima EX


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    July 5, 2012

    This week in the Cheers and Gears Detroit garage is the 2012 Kia Optima EX. This Optima is equipped with the base 2.4L DI inline-four delivering 200 HP and 186 lb-ft torque, and is equipped with a six-speed automatic.

    First Impressions so far:

    • Love the exterior and interior design
    • Headroom in the backseat is a bit tight
    • The amount of equipment for the price is very impressive
    • Average fuel economy so far: 27.2 MPG

    I will be updating with more thoughts about the Optima throughout its stay. Send in your questions in the meantime.

    Update #1: So far the Optima has been really impressing me. The 2.4L DI four is very smooth and has quite the punch. Average fuel economy has dropped to 25.3 MPG, but that's in line with the EPA rating for the city. I'm expecting that number rise over the weekend.

    As for complaints, I have one dealing with the back window. you can barely see anything out the back window due to the rakish design and large C-Pillars. Thankfully, the Optima has a rear view camera thanks to the optional Premium package.

    I'll another update coming either tomorrow or Monday with highway fuel economy numbers.

    Update #2: My time with the Optima is coming to close, as it will be heading back tomorrow. And, I'm sad to see it go.

    The Optima has really impressed my as a package. The powertrain, design, and features makes for a very formidable player in the midsize sedan market. It does have some problems, some I have talked about here and some that I will talk about in the review. But most are minor, maybe for the back window and not seeing out of it.

    As for highway fuel economy, the EPA rates the Optima 2.4L at 35 MPG. I got close to it, getting 33.5 MPG on my run. If I had gone further, I'm willing to bet I would have matched or even surpassed 35.

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    I drove a Sonata and it was pretty quiet, pretty good for a low $20s midsizer. Never drove an Optima, but I agree with mudmonster about the styling, I like it. I like how the center console angles toward the drive also, give the interior more of a sporty feel, compared with the Sonata that has a generic layout.

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    I'm interested in noise. How loud/quiet is it on the highway. Tire hum, tire slap, engine buzz.... and the like.

    Its pretty quiet. There isn't really a hum from the engine and tire noise was at a minimum

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    How Sporty is the overall feel of the car when you drive it?

    Somewhat sporty. The suspension does a good job of keeping car stable when you're having a bit of fun. I'm finding the steering to provide good feel, but its somewhat too heavy. If this was a sports car, I wouldn't mind it at all. This being a family sedan, I think Kia might want to dial it back some.

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    Hyundai/Kia styling has come ahead lightyears since the beginning here in the US. They have some good looking products. They seem to have hired some good people in key positions. But I still feel concerned that something might be missing in some areas of engineering. Perhaps it is brand snobbery, but some of the other reviews I've read seem to bear this out. Product development has moved along at a fast clip, but some important details are lacking. It's like uneven but rapid evolution. imo.

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    What do you think of this Vs. the Sonata

    i much prefer the styling on this car.

    I prefer the Optima with Exterior and Interior styling. I can't say which I like better for driving (haven't driven a Sonata), but from a few people I have talked to who have driven both, the Sonata is softer, luxury model. The Optima takes the sporty role.

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    What kind of fuel economy are you getting now? Any update on that?

    See Update #2 for my highway fuel economy. Average fuel economy is back up to 27.2 MPG

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    What do you think of this Vs. the Sonata

    i much prefer the styling on this car.

    I prefer the Optima with Exterior and Interior styling. I can't say which I like better for driving (haven't driven a Sonata), but from a few people I have talked to who have driven both, the Sonata is softer, luxury model. The Optima takes the sporty role.

    What I;ve heard too...and agree.

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      Chassis
      Joining the company from BMW in December, 2014,  Albert Biermann’s first look at the Stinger signaled to him a car that had to live up to its stunning design from behind the wheel.  “I think for the Kia brand, the Stinger is like a special event,” notes Biermann.  “Because nobody expects such a car, not just the way it looks but also the way it drives. It's a whole different animal.”
      Setting the manufacturing hard-points of the body-in-white would define Stinger and the engineers looked carefully across a landscape dotted with contenders.  At 114.4 inches, the Stinger’s wheelbase is longer than the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS1.  It’s also longer overall (190.2 inches) and wider (73.6 inches) than the others in the segment, allowing for spacious accommodations.  The Stinger’s cargo area is also larger than many in its class, with enough space for full-size luggage or golf bags and a power liftgate with Smart Trunk functionality is available.   
      Riding on a chassis comprised of 55 percent advanced high-strength steel, the Stinger provides an ultra-stiff foundation for the ride-and-handling engineers to work with.  This rigidity also contributes to reduced NVH and a quiet cabin.  The MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension has been tuned to provide optimal feedback to the driver.  A Kia first, ride-damping and vehicle handling traits may be modified by the driver through an electronically adjustable suspension known as Dynamic Stability Damping Control.  While always reacting predictably to the driver’s inputs, depending on road conditions and driving style, the Stinger can be tuned to respond with more agility through corners as the system softens the front shocks and firms up the rear.  Conversely, improved high-speed stability is achieved when the system stiffens the front shocks and softens the rear.  The system is accessed through five drive modes (another Kia first): Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart.  
      Standard variable ratio Rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS) offers razor-sharp feedback through direct mounting of the electric motor on the steering rack, enhancing steering response and reducing unwanted vibration from transmitting through the column.  Steering boost is also adjustable through the five selectable drive modes.
      Powertrain
      If the chassis symbolizes the bones of a gran turismo, then surely the available powertrains represent its heart.  Oriented longitudinally and set rearward beneath the long, sculpted hood, a choice of two turbocharged engines are available.
      While both engines are still under development, the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Theta II engine produces an estimated 255 horsepower at approximately 6,200 rpm.  Max torque of 260 lb.-ft. is available from 1,400 – 4,000 rpm.  Performance credentials are further enhanced through the available 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 Lambda II engine, which is anticipated to produce 365 horsepower at an estimated 6,000 rpm and offer max torque of 376 lb.-ft. from 1,300 – 4,500 rpm.  Kia is targeting 5.1 seconds to 62 mph and a top speed of 167 mph with the twin turbocharged V6.
      The Stinger features a second-generation eight-speed rear-drive automatic transmission.  First offered in the K900 luxury sedan, the gearbox has been designed in-house and rewards drivers with crisp shifts and maximized fuel efficiency.  More typically found in aviation- and racing-engine applications, the transmission features Kia’s first use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber (CPA) torque converter to help reduce torsional vibrations through the drivetrain.  Drivers can let the gearbox manage shifts on its own or may selectively run through the gears via paddle shifters mounted aft of the steering wheel.  As with the suspension and steering, up to five different shift patterns may be selected through the vehicle’s electronic drive-mode system.  Throttle mapping is also adjusted accordingly.
      Recognizing that passionate drivers may not always reside in optimal climes, the Stinger is Kia’s first sedan available with rear- or all-wheel drive.  Rear-wheel biased for optimal control in the wet or dry, the AWD system features a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system which monitors driver inputs and road conditions and automatically applies power and braking force to the appropriate wheels to maintain course in adverse conditions.  Rear-drive vehicles get the benefit of a mechanical limited slip differential to help evenly distribute power through the rear wheels.
      A choice of alloy wheels and tires are also offered.  The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder models ride on 225/45R-18 performance tires while the 3.3-liter V6 is shod with staggered ultra-high performance rubber; 225/40R-19 in front and 255/35R-19 at the rear. Vented Brembo®2 disc brakes are standard on the 3.3-liter twin turbo and feature quad-piston front calipers and dual-piston rear calipers.
      Advanced Technology & Convenience
      Offering luxurious amenities and unexpected features have become part of Kia’s DNA and the Stinger continues that tradition.  Multiple Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) seamlessly work together to enhance the driving experience.
      In the United States, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year3.  This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, and 71,000 injuries annually.  A Kia first is the new Driver Attention Alert (DAA)4 system to help combat distracted or drowsy driving.  The system monitors a number of inputs from the vehicle and the driver and will sound a warning chime and display a graphic in the instrument binnacle that it’s time to take a break from driving if it senses the driver’s attention level has been significantly reduced.
      Forward Collision Assistance (FCA)3 with integrated Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)3 with pedestrian detection can detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and help bring the car to a halt.  Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC)3 maintains a pre-set distance between the Stinger and the vehicle in front and can bring the car to a full stop in congested traffic.  Lane Keep Assist (LKA)3 actively monitors the vehicle’s intended lane and will alert the driver with an audible warning along with providing steering input to help maintain the vehicle’s position.  Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)3 scans the area behind the vehicle when backing from a parking space and will alert the driver with an audible warning if cross traffic is detected.
      Connectivity, entertainment and vehicle information can be as important as a dynamic driving experience and the Stinger comes to market with the latest infotainment systems.  The height-adjustable color Head-Up Display (HUD)5 display enables the driver to see key driving information reflected on the windshield glass, including speed, turn-by-turn navigation, audio and cruise control settings and Blind Spot Detection information.  Resting within the center console is a wireless Smartphone charging pad and Bluetooth®6 hands-free operation is standard while many of the vehicle’s subsystems may be accessed through the steering-wheel-mounted controls.
      Long-distance travel is a hallmark of the gran turismo ownership experience and there is a trio of high-performance audio systems designed to turn the interior into a dynamic concert hall as the miles blur by.  The base audio system for the 2.0-liter turbo features six-speakers and a seven-inch haptic touchscreen with the latest version of UVO, Kia’s award-winning telematics systems.  The standard system found in the 3.3-liter twin turbo ups the speaker count to nine and includes an external amplifier.  The available premium Harman/Kardon®7 audio system pumps out 720 watts through an external amplifier to provide crystal-clear music.  With 15 speakers and Kia’s first under-seat mounted subwoofers tucked beneath the driver and passenger seats, the system features Clari-Fi™8, a patented music restoration technology that rebuilds audio signals that are lost in the digital compression process.  This technology returns a high-fidelity listening experience to any compressed digital source.  The system also comes equipped with next-generation QuantumLogic™9 Surround Sound technology, which extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into an authentic, multidimensional soundstage for playback that is clear, refined and full of detail.        
    • By William Maley
      Kia Motors America Announces Record November Sales
      Forte and Sportage Post Best-Ever November Totals; Year-to-Date Sales Up 3.8% IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Motors America (KMA) today announced record November sales of 52,504 units, a 15.3 percent increase over the same period last year. The brand's seventh monthly sales record of the year included:
      Best-ever November sales of the Forte family of compact cars and Sportage CUV Double digit increases over November 2015 for five models: Rio, Soul, Forte, Sportage and Sedona "With the election occupying everyone's attention early in the month, sales picked up throughout November and culminated in a strong Black Friday weekend as our 'Holidays On Us' sales event drew significant showroom traffic," said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer and EVP, KMA. "With third party experts continuing to validate the new Kia as a world-class automaker, and the arrivals of the all-new Cadenza and first-ever turbocharged Soul, we are well positioned to finish strong and carry that momentum into the New Year."
        MONTH OF NOVEMBER
      YEAR-TO-DATE
      Model
      2016
      2015
      2016
      2015
      Rio
      1,440
      898
      27,431
      22,745
      Forte
      8,111
      5,010
      95,732
      73,508
      Optima
      12,330
      13,048
      111,631
      145,732
      Cadenza
      268
      847
      4,310
      6,745
      K900
      52
      228
      754
      2,362
      Sportage
      5,608
      4,211
      74,859
      47,695
      Sorento
      9,698
      9,023
      102,951
      103,377
      Sedona
      2,515
      2,243
      42,236
      34,439
      Soul
      12,482
      10,045
      133,341
      134,974
      Total
      52,504
      45,553
      593,245
      571,577
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