Kia Motors is close to its India debut and one can expect some big fireworks in the next two years not just with new launches but with the entire buzz around it. Now, Kia has been trying to give the media a feel of its vehicles and after the Kia Rio and Kia Stinger, we had the chance to drive the Kia Optima sedan in India. Making way through Gurgaon traffic, the big thought in my head while driving the Optima was should Kia launch a car in the dying premium sedan segment in India? Globally, the Optima brand has been around since 2000 and in its 4th generation shares its platform with Hyundai Sonata also on sale in global markets.
The new design on the Kia Optima is very clean yet aggressive. The signature tiger-nose grille carries the face well and the large headlamp cluster adds to that appeal. It also features dual projector headlamps with DRLs. On the sides, the length of the car is evident and the 18-inch alloy wheels add charm to the otherwise simple profile of the sedan.
Chrome on the door handles and below the doors enhances the premium quotient and the sloping roofline gives the sedan a very coupe-ish look. The rear taillights are as aggressive as the front headlamp cluster and a large exhaust brings in a dash of a sporty feel.
The pretty face of the Kia Optima is complimented well with the new interiors and refined chassis. Inside the cabin, the Optima gets an all-black treatment with some silver accents thrown around on the centre console and on the steering. The touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use and supports Apple Car Play and Android Auto. However, the screen size is a bit small when compared to the likes of the Volkswagen Passat.
The 3-spoke steering wheel gets mounted controls and the instrument cluster in the background is impressive too. Considering it is a car made for the global markets, the materials used are top-notch and the car looks and feel well-built. It also features heating and cooling functions on the front seats, wireless charging, heated steering, panoramic sunroofs and a 6-speaker audio system with impressive sound quality.
Globally, Kia is offering the Optima in five engine options mated including a hybrid and plug-in-hybrid variant. We drove the Kia Optima with a 2.0-litre CVVL petrol engine capable of making 196hp of power and 375 Nm of torque. There is some lag in the lower RPM but gets better in the mid-range and only improves thereon.
The gearbox compliments the refined nature of the engine and the car does have impressive levels of refinement as a result. On higher speeds, it is a fun drive with a sporty growl from the exhausts which is nice to ears if you love listening to petrol motors.
The Kia Optima takes on the likes of VW Passat, Honda Accord and does have all the ingredients of the perfect sedan. However, given the massive push towards SUVs, currently, it does not make a good business decision for Kia to bring the Optima sedan to India despite it being an impressive car on pretty much all parameters.