Auto Review: 2015 Kia Optima Platinum

OUTSIDE of the 4×4 ute (or pickup truck) market, the mid-sized sedan bracket is probably the most over crowded and competitive arena out there at the moment, with more players than you can poke the proverbial stick at – all vying for the econimical or sporty family sedan dollar.

Among them is the 2015 Kia Optima Platinum. A car that genuinely looks great. In fact in terms of exterior styling, comfort, and general look and feel, this car is right up there with the best in the mid-sized sedan range.

The Optima Platinum also delivers an impressive list of specifications as standard, backed by Kia’s exceptional unlimited kilometre, 7 year warranty, which means its essentially got a great deal going for it in terms of what it offers in a value for money scenario.

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It’s got an abundance of driving and safety enhancements including ABS, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, front and rear parking sensors, a rear camera, auto-dimming rear view mirror, blind spot detection, an incredibly effective rear cross traffic alert system, and LED daytime running lights.

You’ll also find cornering lamps, quad front fog lamps, auto-lock doors, key-less entry and start, and all the usual air-bag safety. Seating five in comfort, this car is family friendly with great rear leg room, a decent boot space, rear arm and head rests, leather appointed heated/cooled front seats and and an eight function powered driver’s seat.

The in-car navigation and entertainment system is among the best in class, and the TFT instrument cluster is easy to read, and keeps with the vehicle’s overall classy styling. Outside too it’s got everything that opens and shuts in terms of features and enhancements.

But the Optima’s cool looks and bucket load of features don’t make it the complete package, for that we need a good solid engine performance, a car that’s nice to drive, provides a great driving experience and brings joy to the driver – and those things are simply not there.

Powered by a 2.4L in-line 4-cylinder petrol engine, pushing out 148kW of power and 250Nm of torque through a six speed auto gearbox – providing a package that claims 7.9L/100km – although we were able to pull a more impressive 7.2L/100km in our week long test. A plus for the economics of Kia’s improved, quieter power plant (over previous models).

The stats aside, it’s the power plant and the driving experience where the Optima Platinum stumbles. It’s let down by an average overall driving experience – drifty steering at highway driving speeds, a lack of torque which hampers the ability to best manage ‘traffic’ driving and is down on the punch. We simply expected more bang for our buck I guess.

It gets punished by a number of its more polished direct competitors, that offer bigger power plants (like the Subaru Liberty 3.6R), greater performance and a more potent driving experience (like the 2.0L turbo Hyundai Sonata Premium), and its other big main rivals like the Ford Mondeo, VW Passat and Skoda Octavia.

It’s also skittish over the bumps, particularly through corners, and doesn’t load up very well when pushed into turns. Potholes are not friends with people in the back seats either.

On the market for $40,990 plus on-roads, the Kia Optima Platinum comes in eight colours, including Snow White, Aurora Black, Platinum Graphite, Satin Metal, Golden Beat, Abyss Blue, Smokey Blue, and Temptation Red (as tested).

Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2015 Kia Optima Platinum, contact your local Kia dealer.

Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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