Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
  • Solo diesel engine available from launch
  • Plug-in hybrid expected to join the range soon

The Kia Optima Saloon has just one engine available at present, a four-cylinder 1.7-litre diesel, which offers 139bhp and 340Nm of torque. It can be paired with either six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmissions, dependant on the trim you choose.

It’s no sports car, but there’s enough power to accelerate quickly away from the lights and 0-62mph can be covered officially in 10 seconds if paired with the manual, or 11 seconds with the auto gearbox.

Apart from when accelerating hard, the auto transmission offers timely and smooth gear changes, plus there are shift paddles on the steering wheel so you can intervene when needed. Quiet and refined 99 percent of the time, the engine is excellent at cruising speeds.

Running costs are on par with the competition with an official combined fuel economy of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 110g/km.

Plug-in hybrid expected later in 2016

A plug-in hybrid will join the range later in 2016 and is set to offer an electric range of about 33 miles with a total output of 202bhp and 375Nm of torque courtesy of a 2-litre petrol engine and small electric motor.

Emitting just 37g/km, the Optima plug-in is likely to appeal to company car drivers especially. Official combined fuel economy is set at 166mpg – although this should be taken with a pinch of salt as it depends on how much you can use the electric range.

Composed and easy to drive, the Kia Optima Saloon is impressively smooth and refined on long stretches of road, while around town it’s simple to manoeuvre and control.

Excellent ride quality makes the Optima an ideal motorway companion, but take the car onto a country lane and its flaws are exposed. The steering is too light and lacks any real feel and the car can feel clumsy in the corners if taken at speed. That said, grip is sufficient for everyday driving and the suspension does an excellent job of soaking up potholes and bumps in the road.

You’ve got a choice of two different driving modes – Eco and Sport – which claim to subtly alter the throttle and steering of the car, although you’ll struggle to notice any real change on the road.